Editor’s Note: Update in BOLD type.
Since the beginning of this year there has been at least 15 occasions where false information was placed on official county documents to mislead the community into thinking a grant of nearly one million dollars was going to “construction of a Boys and Girls Club.” What this taxpayer money was in fact going to is to destroy 33 homes owned by the Peninsula Housing Authority.
Since January this erroneous information has appeared in a letter from the Op Fund advisory committee, on the official agenda at county meetings, in a letter from the county prosecutors office, on proposed resolutions, on budget change documents and in the daily paper as a paid official announcement.
County Commissioner Randy Johnson calls it “clerical errors.” His man, Alan Barnard whom Johnson appointed as chair of the Opportunity Fund Advisory Committee wrote a letter to the commissioners recommending approval of the grant to “build a boys and girls club. He, if anyone, should know Op Fund money cannot go to a non-profit yet he put it right in his letter to the commissioners in recommending approval of the grant. Barnard said, “The EDC wrote that letter, I just signed it.”
Commissioner Mark Ozias claimed he did not know Op Fund money could not be awarded to a non profit. (He’s only been in office two years.) Port O Call suggested to Ozias, chair of the board of commissioners, hold off on the public hearing into the award of this grant until an investigation could be conducted to determine the source of this fraudulent information being foisted upon the public. Ozias was unconcerned and suggested everything is in order.
If Commissioner Johnson’s EDC wrote the letter recommending the grant, must he recuse for conflict of interest?
The following is a letter delivered to the county commission this morning. A copy was also delivered to the reporter for the daily paper who covers county commission meetings. Don’t hold your breath waiting for the daily paper to report on this fraud perpetuated upon the taxpayers. That is not a slam on the reporter who is an excellent journalist. It is an opinion of complicity involving the editorial staff of the daily paper.
Here is my letter to the commissioners:
CORRESPONDENCE TO CLALLAM COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
April 4, 2017
Good Morning Gentlemen of the County Commission
A couple weeks ago I stood before you in opposition to actions you were contemplating that day–clearing the way to provide a million dollars of taxpayer funding to the Peninsula Housing Authority under the false flag of building a Boys and Girls Club.
I suggested to you that the hearing that day had been improperly noticed in the community and people were not aware of the actual intent of your actions that day.
You all listened politely that day and went on to vote unanimously to do the deed. It is my belief that every one of you knew that day there was subterfuge affecting this action yet none of you stood on the side of the public to slow down the process and take a closer look.
Since that day I have taken a closer look. I find that this Opportunity Fund Grant application is false. I find that the letter sent you by the county prosecutor’s office is filled with falsehoods. I find that the agenda published that day is false. I find that the resolution upon which you voted is false. I find that documents have been back dated and changed after notice was published. As you know some of these are crimes and misdemeanors. Remember the Shelia Roark Miller fiasco?
You may recall we had a county elected official investigated for just this kind of behavior. After spending $60,000 on an investigation the report came back that her behavior may have included a few felonies and certainly a few misdemeanors–all for backdating a document.
Of course this body protected her then and is now protecting those who brought forth this false and misleading document which will likely lead to an award of one million dollars to a questionable beneficiary.
In the same way you went to outside counsel to investigate Shelia Roark Miller I urge you to go to an outside agency, preferably the state’s attorney general, to have them find out who started this million dollar bamboozle and determine if laws were violated and if so, how this can be punished.
If an outside agency determines no crimes then we have only assured ourselves of the veracity of this action. If however crimes are found then we need to root out these bad apples so we can restore faith and trust in our county government.
Now I hear you thinking we can save money by having our own county prosecutor investigate this. That will provide no assurances since the county prosecutor’s chief deputy authored the letter that gave cover for this illegal transaction. We need an outside and unbiased agency if we are going to restore trust in what you guys do up there.
I think all of you agree by now that this grant is not going to build a Boys and Girls Club–was never intended for such. They used the good offices of the Boys and Girls Club to escape further scrutiny. Now, lets look at how many times the Boys and Girls Club was inveighed to further this fraud.
1. Work session agenda February 6
2. Agenda item summary February 6.
3. A request for legal action requested on January 19th.
4. David Alvarez response to the request for legal opinion.
5. Jan 10th Memorandum from Alan Barnard, Chair of the Op Fund Advisory Board. (actually authored by EDC)
6. BOCC Agenda for February 14th.
7. Proposed budget resolution submitted that same day.
8. Budget change form submitted February 28th.
9. Budget resolution 4 with a January date crossed out and a February date written in and signed by all of you. This is similar actions that got Shelia Roark Miller in trouble.
10. A county-paid legal notice published in the daily paper.
11. Public comment by Kenneth Reandeay who is bamboozled by this charade.
12. Minutes of action taken week of February 13th. Signed by all of you.
13. Notice of hearing on February 28th.
14. Yet another Budget Resolution on Feb. 28th.
15 A budget change form filed on Feb. 28.
Now, while we’re at it lets examine why the PHA does not have the respect and appreciation within the community that the Boys and Girls Club does. Let’s examine why they did not feel they could carry the weight of community approval to qualify on their own. Let’s see why they did not feel comfortable bringing their own case before the court of public opinion.
They have recently been caught conning their own clients in a tool sharing scheme. The federal government paid for the program and yet they charged their clients, the poorest of the poor, $25,000 for the tool sharing program. This was reported by KING-5 news in Seattle where two million people saw it. None of our local media outlets saw fit to report on our neighbors getting hosed by their public housing authority.
None of you, who appoint the board of directors, made any public statements about the public housing authority gypping their clients–obviously you approve or you would have publicly chided them for it.
Instead you shovel them a million dollars of taxpayer money to continue their sordid ways.
One last thing. You have already over committed the OP Fund. It cannot possibly service all the debt you have placed upon it including the Carlsborg Sewer which this body has assured us will pay for the Carlsborg sewer. It cannot possibly pay off the lasting debt of the business incubator project which this body approved, it cannot possibly continue to prop up the Economic Development Council with continued infusions of taxpayer money yet yielding nothing in return.
I hope you fellows will take a deep breath and sort out this cacophony of errors and see where you want to take this body and this county as we move into very difficult fiscal terrain. Trust is the currency of government’s interaction with the people. Nothing in this entire transaction inspires any trust in this board, the county prosecutor’s office, the public housing authority nor the Boys and Girls Clubs.
You have another hearing on this matter set for April 11th. I hope you will postpone that hearing until we can sort out the bad apples from the basket so we can move ahead with a modicum of trust restored. Thank you.