corruption

BREAKING NEWS! Part 1 of the Case Alleging Fraud on WWTP, SFR loan, and sewer rates

By Donna Westfall – (Credit to CBS News..com/news/60-minutes-most-famous-whistleblower/, Cassi Feldman, February 4, 2016)

October 16, 2016 – Remember Deep Throat?  No, not the movie.  Remember that guy that helped Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein expose the Watergate scandal that toppled the Nixon presidency.   Mark Felt (William Mark Felt, Sr.) who was the FBI secret informant who’s identity was not disclosed until 2005. Deep Throat is the pseudonym given to him. He died in 2008.

Then there’s Jeffrey Wigand, former director of research for cigarette producer, Brown and Williamson.   He had a confidentiality agreement with his employer.  In 1995, he was interviewed by Mike Wallace and declared that shocking statement, “We’re a nicotine delivery business.”  CBS was fearful of lawsuits over his confidentiality agreement with his employer and ordered 60 Minutes not to air the program. A year later, on Jan. 26, 1996, The Wall Street Journal published a front-page story on Wigand. The CBS Evening News aired part of the Wigand interview that night, and 60 Minutes finally aired its full two-part interview with Wigand on February 4, 1996.

The people who run CBS now do not try to influence the stories on 60 Minutes. “There’s still plenty to learn from what happened 20 years ago,” says Jeff Fager, Executive Producer of 60 Minutes. “Taking on powerful institutions is the hardest part of journalism, and often the most important. Reporting stories that someone doesn’t want covered is what journalism is all about.”

Try telling that to the Del Norte Triplicate.  Maybe if the Triplicate wasn’t so biased and bad at their job of reporting and investigating the news, this information would have been stuck under their doormat instead of mine.

For eight years I have been warning and admonishing the City Council of Crescent City  with allegations of fraud and corruption concerning the wastewater treatment plant upgrade/expansion, the State Revolving Fund loan and the sewer rates.  Four of those years was as a sitting member of the council and routinely the vote on expenditures of public funds was 4 to 1.  I was the minority.  They didn’t listen. When the four voted to approve spending $30,000 on designer error, I questioned WHY and voted NO.  Because guess who gets to pay for that designer error?  You do, if you pay a sewer bill.

Every time there was a 4-1 vote, that meant that things like double billing, paying for something we didn’t get, or paying for something that was different than what was supposed to be provided was approved by the four council members and paid out under the state revolving fund loan (SRF) .  The ratepayers are on the hook to repay that humongous loan, even though they are only supposed to pay for operations and maintenance per Prop 218 of the California Constitution.  Developers are supposed to pay for expansion. That’s the law.   If you’re a city voter, read the pro’s and con’s to Measure Q. If you have questions, send them to us in the comments section.

Most of the suspected fraud and corruption was based on bits and pieces of solid evidence with gaps that were difficult to fully connect.  Over the years, more and more evidence surfaced until most of the gaps were filled, showing a road map of the corruption that my former fellow council members chose to ignore or to hide.  The last few years, people have contacted me with even more specific detailed information. If up to $15 million of that $44 million SRF loan was used to line pockets illegally, I think we have a right to know and I think we have the power to pursue those responsible.

Here we’ll reveal the beginning contents of one of the documents.  We have blacked out names so that none of the whistle blowers will be discharged, dismissed, harmed, harassed, intimidated or retaliated against since that is the tradition that plagues this area.

We will suggest that our local Grand Jury start a serious investigation now that Judge Darren McElfresh is oversight for the Grand Jury.  We believe that Judge William Follett stopped thorough investigations into the past complaints submitted to the Grand Jury.

 

 

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5 Responses to BREAKING NEWS! Part 1 of the Case Alleging Fraud on WWTP, SFR loan, and sewer rates

  1. Wesley Nunn Reply

    October 17, 2016 at 8:01 am

    By the way, the Triplicate has refused my letters in the past without ever offering a reason.

    • Samuel Strait Reply

      October 17, 2016 at 4:21 pm

      Mr. Nunn you are indeed a lucky man. You did not have to deal with the consistently idiotic reasoning that Mr. Fornoff employs when he can’t come up with a reasonable explanation for refusing to publish. When you edit from the stand point of your personal environment, it is very difficult to explain your actions in a manner that doesn’t invite ridicule. Feel blessed that you avoided Mr. Fornoff’s world view on what ever your letters contained.

  2. Wesley Nunn Reply

    October 17, 2016 at 7:58 am

    Kathrynn Murray helped conceal the alleged municipal fraud by voting to censure Donna Westfall from investigating. Now Murray bails out of the mess she helped cause and wants to be County Supervisor??? Politics at its very worst!!!

    • Joyce Reply

      October 24, 2016 at 2:51 am

      This article keeps it real, no doubt.

  3. Michael J. Ceremello, Jr. Reply

    October 16, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    I think the larger question here is whether this is a valid accusation or not. Accompanying that question is why a published newspaper such as the Triplicate does not do the investigation which is warranted of all of us in the field of journalism. Why is the Triplicate a protector of abusers of the public trust, which seemingly defines city hall? When is the Triplicate going to stop being a mouth piece for city and county government? How is the Triplicate being paid off by those in government? Surely this can’t just be some bad old boy system where the Triplicate gets its jollies screwing the public.

    As to the issue of Measure Q, increasing your rates to pay for a project that ran some $17 million over cost, is protecting your government from financial bankruptcy when they have already exhibited their moral bankruptcy really worthwhile. Vote No on Q.

    I attended the State Water Board meeting where your city was asking for a forgiveness of interest. When one of the Board members asked what the consequences would be of not granting the request, staff responded, “I would rather not say in public”. Then your utility manager had the gall to say they would need to borrow even more for a second phase.

    My question to you, dear citizen and voter of Crescent City, is how high do you think your rates are going to have to go given the exodus from your town because there are no jobs? The few left will have to pay more and more. It has to stop somewhere.

    As the State is to blame for imposing ridiculous demands on small communities such as yourself, as the State refused to address the lies in the Will-Dan consulting report where they included inmates in your population to determine sewer users, and as your councils of the past are to blame for going along with the program rather than fighting it, I would say it is highly appropriate that your city join Vallejo, Stockton, and others in filing for bankruptcy.

    The buck shouldn’t stop with you and your wallet. Let the fools who put you in this position deal with the idiocy of their decisions.

    Michael J. Ceremello, Jr., Candidate for City Treasurer, Dixon, Ca.

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