OpenCdA has written several posts about the alleged corruption of city officials in Bell, California.
Some of the nagging questions are, “Didn’t the State require independent audits of Bell’s books? If so, why didn’t the auditors question such things as the ‘secret formula the public could never find out’ ? Since the public ultimately pays for the City’s audit, isn’t the public entitled to a diligent independent audit rather than one designed by the alleged crooks to conceal financial mismanagement?”
To get an answer, OpenCdA contacted Jeff Gottlieb, one of the Los Angeles Times’ two principal reporters covering the Bell scandal story. Mr. Gottlieb had, in fact, written an article that at least partly answered the nagging questions. His article was published in the LA Times online on June 2, 2012, and headlined California disciplines accounting firm that missed Bell irregularities.
Apparently the California Board of Accountancy takes is mission seriously.
ADDENDUM on 11-18/2013: LA Times reporter Jeff Gottlieb’s article linked above was preceded by one headlined Audits of Bell were ‘rubber-stamp,’ state Controller says. The earlier article was published by the LA Times online on December 22, 2010, and included these indictments of the City of Bell’s independent auditors, Mayer Hoffman McCann (MHM):
“The long-awaited report is being closely watched because Mayer Hoffman McCann audits the books of dozens of government agencies in California and has 30 offices nationwide.”
“The controller’s office found that MHM failed to comply with 13 of 17 “fieldwork auditing standards” when reviewing Bell’s books in the 2008-09 fiscal year. The firm focused mostly on comparing financial numbers year to year rather than looking at potential for inappropriate or illegal activities, the controller’s report said.”
OpenCdA’s posts on June 18 and June 22, 2013, were titled Another Mayor Arrested – Corruption and “Corruption becomes a kind of cancer” respectively. These two posts introduced readers to the work of the Charbonneau Commission in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Commission was created in late 2011 to investigate widespread corruption in the building industry in the province of Quebec. Quebec Premier Jean Charest appointed the very highly-respected Quebec Superior Court Justice France Charbonneau to preside over the inquiry.
After a brief summer hiatus, the Charbonneau Commission has resumed its hearings. Today’s post links readers to an interesting news report in The Globe and Mail newspaper online version. The news report offers a tantalizing hint about how much fighting public corruption has saved Quebeckers in real dollars. The article includes these statements:
- “Fighting corruption may have generated nearly a billion dollars in savings…”
- “Strict anti-collusion rules in the awarding of government contracts that the Parti Québécois minority government adopted late last year have reduced costs for major infrastructure projects.”
- “Bids on government contracts are lower since corrupt practices have been eliminated.”
The Quebec government will release a detailed cost savings report later in November.
“Fighting corruption … in monetary terms is quite profitable,” Conseil du trésor Chair Stéphane Bédard said. “The effects are tangible for the pocketbooks of Quebeckers.”
OpenCdA has followed the criminal trials of several public officials in Bell, California. Their actions have been accurately described as “Corruption on Steriods“.
However, the city of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, will soon be looking for a new police chief, and Bell’s former Chief Randy Adams sounds like he would fit in perfectly in our city.
It will take some creative accounting to match the salary Adams received in Bell, but we’re sure that Coeur d’Alene’s Mayor and City Council has the vision to find a way.
If you’re in the Coeur d’Alene area and get your cable TV from Time Warner Cable, remember that CDATV Channel 19 may now be on channel 16-2.
If you tune to Channel 19 and see the message headlined “Get your TV picture back,” you may not need to order the cable box as the message says. Try running the “program channels” function on your digital television set, then tune to channel 16-2 (or 16.2).
OpenCdA’s post dated October 27, 2013, and titled Really? questioned whether either The Coeur Group or the NIC Republicans had “wholeheartedly endorsed Steve Widmyer for mayor” as stated in a letter to the editor by John Barlow of Coeur d’Alene and published in the Coeur d’Alene Press .
Here is the reply OpenCdA received today from Luke Kilcup, whose email identifies him as the Chairman of the North Idaho College Republicans and the State Treasurer of the Idaho Federation of College Republicans. (more…)
[ “Bang n’ Burn in ‘Bama, Baby!”
[ Newsies playing with toys.
An alert OpenCdA reader sent us to the Spokesman-Review’s gossip blog today to find today’s winner of a bottle of LoctiteR Threadlocker. It will have to be shared jointly by Spokesman Review columnist David F. Oliveria and former Coeur d’Alene City Councilman Chris Copstead. Together, they came up with this gem.
Apply the LoctiteR liberally, Chris. As the minutes of the November 20, 2007, Coeur d’Alene City Council meeting show, you weren’t on the Council when Mary was wrongfully fired from the Planning Commission.
But never let facts stand in the way of a good hate piece, right DFO?
Former Republican Congressman Richard G. Renzi of Arizona has been sentenced to three years in federal prison. Renzi was found guilty of 17 felony offenses including conspiracy, honest services wire fraud, extortion under color of official right, racketeering, money laundering and making false statements to insurance regulators.
This press release issued by the US Attorney for the District of Arizona is dated today, however it is clearly a press release issued earlier announcing Renzi’s conviction but before sentencing today. Still, it provides some details about how a very corrupt US Congressman abused his position to both commit the crimes and avoid prosecution. Here is the FBI’s press release on today’s sentencing.
Here is the Los Angeles Times story reporting on Renzi’s sentencing.
OpenCdA envies Arizonans with a US Attorney who doesn’t turn a blind eye to the corruption of public officials regardless of their party, their position, or their political connections.
There was an interesting letter from John Barlow of Coeur d’Alene in the Sunday, October 27, 2013, Coeur d’Alene Press. He was endorsing Steve Widmyer for Mayor, and his endorsement letter included this sentence:
“Every organization that has interviewed all the candidates so far has wholeheartedly endorsed Steve Widmyer for mayor”
Really? Barlow’s letter was clearly limited to the mayoral candidates, and all the mayoral candidates were interviewed at both The Coeur Group Forum on October 2 and the North Idaho College Republicans forum on October 14. OpenCdA was not aware either of those organizations had endorsed Steve Widmyer. We would appreciate it if someone could provide OpenCdA with copies of those organizations’ letters or statements of endorsement.
OpenCdA wonders if letter writer John Barlow is the President of Hagadone Real Estate Holding Co. identified on the Hagadone Corporation website. According to the Secretary of State’s voter information webpage, there are two persons named John Barlow registered to vote in CdA City elections. One lives on E. Fernan Hill Road and the other lives on 22nd Street. The letter to the editor does not indicate which, if either, was the letter writer.
The revelations just never end in the corruption trial of former Bell, California, Deputy City Administrator Angela Spaccia.
This LA Times article explains how Rizzo and Spaccia had a Wells Fargo & Co. pension expert draw up a really, really, really, really generous and very personalized pension plan — just for them.
The Times article is so clearly written that no explanation is necessary.
Wow! Just wow!