By Donna Westfall – October 2, 2018 –
During the days of the Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrade/expansion, I became a whistleblower. The only thing wrong with that is that I didn’t know squat about whistleblowing, or whistleblower laws. This is what I did. I went and talked with our City Manager(s) and requested public records to try to follow the money. Because when you’re green and inexperienced in corruption, you initially think that the folks governing our City are not corrupt. Big Mistake!
In the past, I had 1 guy thrown in jail for defrauding an insurance company. It was easy to follow the money because I had access to the information.
But, in this town if someone doesn’t want you to have that information, all kinds of roadblocks will be set-up. For example: Kelly Schellong was Mayor for one year and then wanted to be Mayor for a second year. Well, in my experience, the Mayor has greater access to the books than a city council member. I was never allowed to become Mayor. But I was censured which included removing me from all committees and prohibiting me from talking with any contractors.
Recently, a whistleblower came forward and told me that from 2008 to 2009, meetings were held at City Hall the day after the council meetings. All department heads attended these meeting. Legal Council attended these meetitngs. The City Clerk attended these meetings, and at least one person from the City Council would attend these meeting. But, in all that time, I was NEVER asked to attend these meetings. Want to know why? Apparently all sorts of tomfoolery was taking place. It was the best open secret around but I was never privy to it.
So, after a fashion, I figured out that information was deliberately being kept from me so I drove down to San Franciso and met with an FBI person. What happened next? Nothing. In the ensuing years, I’ve learned that those with potentially important information for investigators first have to reach the right person at the FBI. I learned that this year from a retired federal marshal.
Also, if you call the national tip line, 1-800-CALL-FBI, it can sometimes add an unnecessary step to the process. If you want to get anywhere, this is what you have to do: Call the local or closest FBI field office. Ask for the public corruption supervisor. The field office that services Del Norte County is located in San Francisco. Their telephone number is (415) 553-7400.
If you know something that looks and smells like corruption, don’t hesitate to call. Be sure to ask for the public corruption supervisor.