By Donna Westfall – July 14, 2017 – On the Crescent City-Del Norte County Taxpayer’s Association agenda last night, July 13th, was Agenda Item #5: “Discuss whether or not to continue to endorse the recall against Sup 2nd District, Lori Cowan.” The Board of Directors thought that the point had been made about her self-serving, flip-flopping, unethical nature and discussed if it was time to pull the plug on the recall. Instead, there was a energetic and animated discussion of the Oxford House deal.
Of particular concern was Lori’s statement to the Del Norte Triplicate that she spoke to the FPPC who indicated she would be allowed to vote at the next BOS meeting on that $40,000/year contract for a house she sold at 230 E. Lauff, Crescent City in February 2017 and turned into a halfway house.
I followed up with an email to Lori asking her who she talked to at the FPPC and what exactly did she ask? No response yet.
I also emailed the FPPC “Advice” department, who emailed me back and told me to contact the “Enforcement Department.” Since they’re closed on Friday’s, I’ll be back in contact with them on Monday.
Here are the facts and problems:
- A house worth almost $1/4 mil is listed for $220,000 and later reduced to $120,000. Then Lori brings in a buyer at $80,000. Well, no problem so far because if you have a seller willing to sell at that price, and a buyer willing to pay that price…. no problem.
- However; a deal at some point was structured to turn the house into a halfway house and Heather Snow, Executive Director of the Department of Health and Human Services asked that it be put on the agenda requesting $40,000/year. Now we’re getting into the problem area. The halfway house is already up and running with 10 women there.
- Oxford Houses are financially self-sufficient. Their website gives the impression that they take great pride in not using taxpayer funds for their homes. The tenants pay for rent, utilities, food, etc. SO, WHAT IS THE $40,000 FROM THE COUNTY FOR?
- Also, who wrote up the contract for $40,000?
- An email was sent to Heather Snow asking these and other questions. No response so far.
- A complaint has been put in with the Board of Realtors by one of Lori’s constituents. They’re wondering if she had any part in structuring the deal prior to close of escrow.
- A complaint have been sent to Jennifer Perry, Assessor, complaining about the fair market value of the property and reassessment. If this is a scam, then the tax rolls have also lost revenue.
Since this looks like a question of ethics, a possible scam and taxpayer fraud, in an 8-0 vote, the tax association board voted to continue to endorse the recall until questions surrounding the Oxford House deal are answered.