Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tricky Dick – Shady Tommy

The Million Dollar Mystery story broke just 4 days ago, and yet we have heard more Fiction over Facts!

If that weren’t bad enough the Cities Response flip flops worse than my banks interest rates. “Subject to change daily, In effect from one day to the next, but not guaranteed until the fallowing business day.”

So far this is what we have been told:
  • In a Times Leader story that appeared on July 7, 2006, Leighton said the new fire engines replaced vehicles that were 27 years old. He was quoted as saying that $860,000 was used to purchase the new engines with “money coming from multiple sources including grants and city coffers
  • There were no bids “we used COSTARS”
  • Ok there were Bids
  • A sworn affidavit signed by McLaughlin and given to the requestor, Karen Ceppa, attributes the lack of documentation to the fact the engines were purchased with a donation
  • Leighton said proper procedures from the receipt of the grant to the purchase of the fire engines were strictly followed.
  • “The public was not misled at any time,” he said. “The city made significant improvements in the fire department from 2004 onward which included construction of Hollenback firehouse, equipment upgrades and the purchase of new fire engines and ambulances, which were financed by a variety of sources, including the grant through Kids for the Kingdom.
  • The mayor told council the remaining balance of $140,000 of the $1 million donation was spent on completion of the construction of Hollenback Fire House.  
  • There was no indication in either set of meeting minutes that council approved the use of the remaining $140,000 of the private donation to fund the fire station's construction.
  • Councilman Bill Barrett, who has served since 2004, also said last week he learned about the donation only within the past few weeks and originally thought the money for the fire engines came from a grant
  • "It's not who you think it is, trust me," Leighton said, even though a name was not posed to him.
I know that’s a lot to swallow, unless you’re a councilperson in Wilkes Barre or working City Desk at the Times Leader.

For the rest of us, Questions:
  • Where was the One Million Dollor Check deposited? We know it wasn’t into the general fund, as Karen Ceppa would have seen that. 
  • So was a special account used, and if so do we have those statements?
  • Assuming that The City followed some logical banking practice, and set up a special account for the Million, we know a check for $860K should be paid to KME-Kovatch Organization, which built the fire engines, but was the other check for the remaining $140K issued to the general fund to pay for Hollenback or issued to the contractor directly?
  • Did City Council then over pay the contractor by $140K?
  • Either way find the cashed One Million Dollar GIFT Check, and you will find the account it went into.
  • Then audit that account, and you will see where the $140K really went.
To quote King Tommy “Trust Me” follow the Money, and you will find the $140K because it’s not where you think it is "Trust Me”

Wake Up Wilkes Barre

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