There’s something “vewy vewy screwy” about this $901,000 grant (Updated in bold)

Opinion by Dale Wilson

Out on housing project hill

it’s either fortune or fame. 

You must pick one or the other tho

neither are to be what they claim.”

–Bob Dylan from “Just like Tom Thumb’s Blues

As my childhood hero, Elmer Fudd would say, “There’s something “vewy vewy screwy” about this housing authority grant.

Readers may remember the county listed this $901,000 grant from the Opportunity Fund as going for the “construction of a Boys and Girls Club.” Despite that appearing on 15 different official documents coming out of county administrator, Jim Jones’ office, it was all bullshit.

On July 3rd, yesterday, the county commissioners all gathered to discuss a Memorandum of Understanding to accompany nearly one million dollars of taxpayer money going to the Peninsula Housing Authority. Seems there was a hiccup in the plans.

Nobody can tell exactly where the money is actually going.

Readers may recall the commissioners had to do a “do-over” on the public hearing approving this grant because Jim Jones falsely listed it in the newspaper as a grant “for construction of a Boys and Girls Club.

It was never meant for that purpose. Instead it was actually, allegedly, going to “infrastructure” which includes the destruction of 33 perfectly good homes in order to build a housing project in their place.

We cannot be sure even that is legit.

Now it comes out. The money is actually going into “a gray area” as County Administrator Jim Jones calls it.

Jones now says the money granted to the housing authority will go to a “consortium of owners of the new property.” Get it? Our tax money is going into a “pot of money” for the use of someone who will make a profit but not be identified.

“This money is going to go into that collective pot as their skin in the game, I guess,” said Jones.

It appears our county administrator has to “guess” where nearly a million in taxpayer dollars is going.

Back in April Kay Kassinger, executive director of the housing authority, testified before the board the grant would be used exclusively for “site preparation, grading, storm water remediation, utilities, curb and gutter, sidewalks, water, sewer, power and communications infrastructure.

When it comes time to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding they begin to crawfish. Now it appears the money will be loaned to a Chicago based non-profit, National Equity Fund, Inc. Allegedly a major financier for the project.

“It’s a gray area,” says Jones. “It doesn’t say you can’t use it for a loan. It says it has to be used for the project. Well, the people that they’re loaning it to, the consortium of entities who’s borrowing the money, is the one who is going to build the project,” Jones continued.

Jones went on to say he did not know the identity of the consortium of entities intended to receive our money.  There is no contract assuring anything will be built.

County Commissioner, Bill Peach registered “concerns” about transparency. “The only concern I have is a member of the public saying: ‘Excuse me, you’re loaning money to an entity you haven’t even described?”

Commissioner Mark Ozias said “my other concern would be what assurance would we have that the $901,000 would be used for the purpose that it was allocated for? There were specific underground infrastructure pieces of the project that were specifically attached to the application,” he continued.

“I understand the arrangement but it is a little disconcerting to feel like it’s just going into a big pool,” said Ozias. “They applied for specific elements and this path really potentially muddies those waters pretty considerably,” he concluded.

Readers may recall Ozias shut down public comment, during an official hearing, when these concerns were raised by Port O Call back in April.  It was the first, and only time, in recent memory when public comment at a Clallam County public hearing was shut down by the chairperson, Ozias.

“It’s less of a concern of mine,” said Commissioner Randy Johnson. “If I had a major investor who’s private and doesn’t want to (be) disclosed, why, that runs people away,” he said. “But the agreement says specifically that these funds will be utilized for X. I think that’s what they’re going to be used for, or else we’ve got another problem,” he concluded.

Port O Call suggests if past is prelude then “we’ve got another problem.”

The housing authority wants to take this Clallam County taxpayer money, which they falsely testified as going to local infrastructure improvements, but is actually going to be loaned to an unknown Chicago entity, hoping it will someday be used for something – but there’s no guarantee of anything.

UPDATE:

Turns out the $901,000 grant money will be immediately transferred to a heretofore unknown entity called “Mt. Angeles I LLLP” which is a state corporation with only one “Governor,” Kay Kassinger, executive director of the Peninsula Housing Authority.  The Board of Commissioners appoint the board of directors for the housing authority–they have zero control or influence over Mt. Angeles I LLLP.  There are no contracts between Mt. Angeles I LLLP and Peninsula Housing Authority.  There are no contracts with Mt. Angeles I LLLP and any contractors.  Kay Kassinger can do as she pleases with this taxpayer money with zero oversight.  This seems like a lot of trust placed in someone who has already been less than forthcoming in testimony before the board when advocating for the grant.

Two deputies from the county prosecutor, Mark Nichol’s office advise a Memorandum of Understanding protects the county from liability, according to Jones. Actually it only protects county commissioners if the money ends up in a rat hole. Commissioners can be held personally liable if they mis-allocate public funds.  However, they have Mark Nichols, County Prosecutor and $100 million taxpayer dollars to fight any suits they may arise from mis-allocation of public funds.

It appears they are attempting to shift that liability off onto the already “shifty” housing authority. Once the money leaves the treasurer’s office it can never be recovered.

While the housing authority bills itself as offering “affordable housing” this is a misnomer. Actually they charge “market price” for rents. The rent is subsidized by U. S. government-backed programs such as Section 8. This means a group of unidentified investors will be making a handsome return off “affordable housing” if ever something is actually built.

Port O Call attempted to learn the identities of these “investors” but was repeatedly rebuffed.

The Board of Commissioners are expected to sign off on this disgraceful bit of legerdemain at the next board meeting July 11th. Stay tuned.

How it works

http://www.npr.org/2017/05/09/527046451/affordable-housing-program-costs-more-shel

and here:

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/01/low-income-housing-shows-how-tax-credits-funnel-dollars-to-the-wealthy-under-the-guise-of-benefits-to-the-poor.html

For more information see these stories filed previously at Port O Call News:

I got it figgered..

octopus800

The Peninsula Housing Authority is hell-bent to crush 33 perfectly good homes. Matt Rainwater, head of “Pennies for Quarters” is attempting to provide  homes for homeless Veterans. Get Rainwater and Kay Kassinger, head of Peninsula Housing Authority, in the same…
Read more

19 Comments

  1. Pete

    That the Commissioners themselves are actually voicing concerns (even if only to cover their own asses) means that this is a crime in progress.

    Reply
  2. anonymous

    Isn’t this what our country was founded upon? Isn’t today, the 4th of July, the perfect time for us to reflect on what our country has become, using this as an example.

    Let’s reflect why people fled Europe, and came here.

    Reply
  3. Richard

    This is nothing short of conversion of public funds, its as simple as that! Its white collar theft, and to “loan” it to a Chicago based firm, GET YOUR HEADS OUT OF EACH OTHER’S ASSES!!! This crap needs to stop now!!!!!

    Reply
  4. Paul Revere

    Just a tidbit of advice to our three misguided commissioners. Walk away from this project. The groundwork has already been established for not only gross conflicts of interest but civil and criminal liabilities as well. Also, you might want to consider firing anyone and everyone who brought this shell game proposal to you, or sink with them if you decide to proceed forward. The good ole boy dome of Clallam County will not protect you from a full blown federal investigation. Chicago non-profit???? Hellooooo!

    Reply
  5. Joe

    This is the classic setup for a Ponzi scheme or Money Laundering. The county sends the money to a local not for profit. The local not for profit does not directly use the funds for the intended purpose but invest or loans the money to an undefined consortium out of state. The original funds are comingled with other funds and loaned back for the original intent – low income housing. The pool of comingled funds then get clean principal and interest payments

    Reply
  6. Pat

    Donny O has turned out to be a piece of work! He needs democratic committee support. Who is pulling strings for the Dems? Norma “Big-Mama” Turner.

    Norma is on the board of the Boys &Girls club which gets a new club house as part of the Housing project.

    Movers at B&G pulling strings includes Norma “Big-Mama” Turner, Jim “Slick-Money” Hallett, Carrie “Baby-Face” Heaton and Andy “The Enforcer” Callis among others.

    Follow the money

    Reply
  7. Scott

    I would contact the Boys and Girls Club and see why they are putting so much pressure on the commissioners. I am tired of my tax dollars going to all these non profit organizations. They should fundraise from donors and not use tax money.

    How much will pay the salaries of the executive director and others?

    Use my tax dollars for Government Services!

    Angry Scott

    Reply
  8. Carrie

    There are rumors that Callis is close to Jake Opelt. Jim Hallett slipped into the night resigning from the Port Commission not too long ago.. In Callis, Hallett and Heston you have an Insurance Company, Investment Advisor and Banker. Could something be up between these three?

    Carrie

    Reply
  9. Luke

    I wonder….

    Does Callis Insurance write the policies for Peninsula Housing Authority and the Boys & Girls Club?

    Does Hallett Advisors sell investment services to both groups?

    Does either or both the Boys & Girls Club and Peninsula Housing Authority bank with Key Bank?

    Someone should investigate for insider dealing

    Reply
  10. anon

    The public admissions alone sound like the PHA is being abused to run financial crimes. What the hell is going on here?

    Reply
  11. michael gentry

    Can the public sue for the release of the names of those getting this money?

    Reply
  12. Sharon

    LLLP – Dangerous Ground

    This type of partnership provides limited liability for the general partners of the limited liability partnership. This is unlike a limited partnership where the general partners are jointly liable for all obligations of the partnership.

    http://markjkohler.com/limited-liability-limited-partnerships-lllps-sense/

    Obviously they want no personal responsibility or accountability for their actions.

    Which local law firm is helping them dodge this bullet?

    Editor’s Note:
    As with most of these raids on our treasury our county prosecutor provides “cover.”
    In other words, taxpayer money is used to defend those who make off with taxpayer money. See how nicely this works.
    See how important it is to elect people whom we can trust.

    Reply
    1. D

      Who the f#ck is trustworthy? Everyone has a price

      Reply
      1. Let's abuse the poor some more

        But D, not everyone commits public crimes so many times that we’ve lost count. Don’t just say “oh well” as if nothing’s wrong here. None of the people involved should be in public office, they should be behind bars.

        Reply
        1. Tired of BS

          It isn’t just the commissioners, City Council, Port Commissioners, etc.

          The PHA, B&G, the individuals are all involved.

          Why don’t they just use their own money and stop taking public money?

          Because they don’t want to upset their comfy little lives but use public money to assuage their guilt and make them feel better for helping kids and less fortunates.

          Reply
  13. Anon

    several of the houses are headed to Port Townsend

    Reply
  14. Alpha

    Follow the Money!

    It is not the person giving the money that is the problem. Behind the scenes, the ones receiving the money are the people influencing and corrupting.

    Who is receiving the $900,000?
    Who got the $300,000 contract to cut down the trees at Lincoln?

    There you go.

    Reply
  15. anon

    Your article states:
    Kay Kassinger can do as she pleases with this taxpayer money with zero oversight.

    This is not true. Given the facts reported, Ms. Kassinger has no such authority or ability. The entire Board of the PHA must decide, and anyone who votes for this low income tax credit scam is equally culpable. Plus that LLLP is not legal. Plus, where is the supreme stakeholder HUD in all this?

    Not one bit of this sounds legit.

    Editor’s note:
    Port O Call suggested the grant will be awarded to the Peninsula Housing Authority.
    They will immediately transfer it to another entity, Mt. Angeles View I LLLP.
    Kay Kassinger, executive director of Peninsula Housing Authority, is the sole “governor of said organization.
    She, then, can do as she please with the taxpayers’ money.
    It gets even murkier. Suddenly, on June 16th, 3 weeks ago there cropped up yet another shadow entity named, “Mount Angeles Ventures, LLC.
    Not even one “governor” is named in their listing with the Secretary of State.
    If the board of commissioners go along with this they are “in on it.”

    Reply
    1. i don't matter

      So did the county do the dirty deed this week?

      Editor’s Note: I read where they approved the grant to PHA so they can “loan” it to another entity.

      Reply

Leave a Reply to D Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*