Sun. May 19th, 2024

By Investigative Reporter Linda Sutter – April 2, 2024

The Harbor District recently found itself under scrutiny after a thorough review of its travel and training budget uncovered unsettling discrepancies. A staggering $14,000 of public funds had been spent dubiously, painting a stark picture of fraudulent spending practices within the organization.

Attempts to conceal these misdeeds from the public eye were evident, as false justifications were shamelessly plastered across official documentation. Take, for instance, the incident on December 14, 2023, when a receipt for $723.00 labeled a staff meeting as a compliance gathering under Government Code 12950.1, specifically addressing sexual harassment issues. However, upon closer examination, it was revealed that this was, in fact, a Christmas party for employees and windfarm representatives. The true nature of the event was confirmed by the Harbor’s own bookkeeper, who provided authentic supporting documentation, debunking the initial misleading portrayal.

Further instances of misrepresentation surfaced, exposing a pattern of deceit. A $200.00 expense at Paragon Coffee, initially documented as a staff meeting expense, was later revealed to be an expenditure for employee appreciation, as indicated by bank statements. Similarly, $165.00 purportedly spent on danishes for Harbor staff in Racine, Wisconsin, was proven to be another fabrication.

Perhaps most egregious was the $1,300.00 allocated for a golf tournament, falsely portrayed as a Harbor masters conference. Additionally, a concerning $109.00 was spent at a Sacramento bar by Comptroller Thomas Zickergraf, further highlighting the lack of fiscal responsibility within the organization.

Despite looming bankruptcy, the Harbor District continues its reckless spending, epitomized by lavish lunches and a penchant for frivolous expenditures masquerading as legitimate business expenses. Meanwhile, the glaring irony of the Harbor’s inability to host government meetings in its new, lavishly furnished offices serves as a stark reminder of the organization’s misplaced priorities and financial mismanagement.

Another fiasco resulting in mismanagement of the Harbor is the old England Marine was recently leased out to Doctor Kirk, a new resident of Del Norte County. Unfortunately, Kirk could not get permits for his business which resulted in him having to pay on his signed contract lease for an empty building. Before the Harbor Commissioners today was whether or not they should give Kirk an abatement (free rent) for 2 months until he gets his permits from the Coastal Commission. The Harbor District is currently on the brink of bankruptcy. They voted 3/2 against Kirk receiving abatement for his empty building. It is worthy to note Kirk pushed to get this building leased knowing permits were his responsibility and knowing he had to deal with the Coastal Commission.

As the truth behind the Harbor District’s dubious spending practices comes to light, urgent reforms are imperative to restore public trust and accountability. Failure to address these systemic issues not only jeopardizes the financial stability of the Harbor but also undermines the integrity of public institutions entrusted with taxpayer dollars

5 thoughts on “Unveiling Fraudulent Spending and Looming Bankruptcy: The Harbor District’s Troubling Revelations”
  1. The CRESCENT CITY HARBOR should be annexed to the City of Crescent City or SOLD to a private investor!
    The reduction in operational overhead would save the constituents of Del Norte County MILLIONS of Dollars. Selling the Harbor would make the property a TAX REVENUE (alternative to taxing the poor) for the local Bureaucracies.
    We also wouldn’t need the Try-Agency (Tri-Agency) to have influence for local economic opportunities.
    Or WE continue condoning Government enabling more poor Government!

    1. No matter how we do it it has to be taken away from these guys running it in the ground now, if not too late.

      1. It is already too late. The damage is long standing and not much can be done about it. The current “Hail Mary” is off shore wind that even if it were remotely possible, could not come soon enough to bail the harbor out before it’s current debt sinks it. Not to mention the fact that the harbor hasn’t a chance of doing it alone, and any other County or City government wishing to get involved will only make things worse. Quite frankly the harbor’s trouble began over a decade ago when it’s Commission failed to address its dredging problem, then compounded its problems with a series of questionable hires who prompted the fantasy’s of a “quick” fix. Solar panels, high end resort parks, a fancy hotel, and now “wind power”. It seems to be the same the world over when governments unqualified to make sound decisions, jump at the first pie in the sky pseudo remedy only to make things measurably worse. That is precisely the place that the harbor currently occupies.

        1. Good analysis of this situation. Any suggestions on what you think can be done to right this sinking ship (not to mix metaphors)?

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