Friday, April 30, 2010

Gateway News Response - Commerce City Truth Test

This afternoon we were emailed a document from the City of Commerce City PIO Kim McCarl entitled "9News story undergoes Truth Test" from the Office of the Mayor, that would be Paul Natale.

The city of Commerce City is completely off track and needs to get back to the real story.

9NEWS Quote: Councilman Jim Benson was quoted as saying he's never seen a deal like this before.

City’s Truth: This is opinion.

Gateway News: Opinions are neither true or false, they are opinions. We live in America, so we can all have and voice our opinions. Has this changed and I missed something?

9NEWS Quote: Flannery says the current deal he has was Commerce City's, not his.

City’s Truth:   Over a two month period prior to the final approval of the contract, an industry expert and the city attorney structured a proposal on behalf of the city council. On Aug. 24, the city council declined that proposal and presented the contract that was eventually voted on at the Aug. 31 meeting.

Gateway News: The deal is Flannery’s, he is living in the house with his family. How could the deal not be his?

9NEWS Quote: "It's just that one thing led to another. He kept being given extension after extension after extension and it was all based on the fact that he couldn't sell the Arizona residence," Benson said. "And then all of a sudden, I find out that in October of last year, he did sell it. I didn't even know about it for six months."

City’s Truth: It is true that the city council, including Councilman Benson, approved a number of extensions on the contract.

Gateway News: The point is that extensions were given based on the sale of his house in Arizona, and when Flannery did sell it, Flannery did not tell the city council and they had to find out six months later. The problem is that Flannery said he would pay the city back when the house was sold and he kept it a secret when that happened.

9NEWS Quote: The council discounted the loan and gave Flannery $72,000 and agreed to pay his real estate taxes and insurance for the Commerce City home until Sept. 1, 2011.

City’s Truth: This statement is misleading as to what the city manager has paid on the home in Commerce City.

Gateway News: This quote comes directly from an email to Kathy McIntyre, Editor, from Bob Gehler, City Attorney for Commerce City. So what the city is saying here is that the statement from their own attorney is misleading, as well as their own contract dated September 1, 2009.

9NEWS Quote: The council called the $72,000 a relocation fee and made the decision in a closed-door, non-public meeting.

City’s Truth: This statement is false. The decision to approve this agreement was done at a public city council meeting with a 5-2 vote in favor of the contract.

Gateway News: Council went into Exec. Session and then come out and voted with no discussion.

9NEWS Quote: Despite the sale of his Arizona home, Flannery has not paid the Commerce City loan because the new contract says it does not have to be paid until September 2011.

City’s Truth: This statement is true. The contract clearly states that the loan is due in full on Sept. 1, 2011.

Gateway News: Our question is how will Flannery pay the loan back in full on September 1, 2011 if he cannot get a mortgage?

9NEWS Quote: The final deal with the city essentially gives Flannery an extra $72,000 on top of his salary and allows him to live in the $450,000 home, interest free, with all taxes and insurance paid - without having to repay the loan for four years.

City’s Truth: Council felt strongly that it was an equitable agreement that followed industry standards for compensation of city managers. The home loan is currently accruing interest at the rate of .34 percent annually, the rate the city would earn on any of its short term investments.

Gateway News: This does not follow any industry standards that we have found anywhere. Can the city please share with the citizens these “industry standards”? And .34 percent is lower than real industry standards for municipal short term investments, which can be as high as 1.5%. And what if the city needed this money for an emergency? He did get an extra $72,000 for what we still do not know, he does live in the $450,000 house interest free because he is not paying anything. It is principal and interest free both. And yes the city is paying taxes and insurance and no payments will be made for four years.

9NEWS Quote: McIntyre poured through Flannery's job contracts and spotted the sweetheart deal after covering a city council meeting. The more she asked about it, the more she feels the council did not answer her questions.

City’s Truth: Documents related to the purchase of the home in Commerce City were sent from a fax machine belonging to the Gateway News.

Gateway News: Not only did Realtor Kristi Douglas use the fax machine at our office, she used the copier, printer, and computer as well. We all knew about the $450,000 loan for the house being given BUT we were told it was going to be paid back in six months or when Flannery’s Arizona house was sold. That was in 2007. None of that ever came to fruition. And now in 2010 after the house is sold in Arizona, no payment has still been made.

Further, the documents that we poured through were the documents we requested after this subject was brought up by council women Jadie Carson just recently. The documents are referring to the numerous amendments and real estate documents, NOT the documents that contained information about the original $450,000.

9NEWS Quote: "We've had budget crunches. And that is a lot of money. You can provide a lot of services to people for that amount of money. Services they don't have right now," Benson said. 

City’s Truth: Commerce City has maintained, indeed added, services to its citizens.

Gateway News: We would like to request details of these added services to its citizens, not just a summary that explains nothing. Further, the quote was in context of the money given to the city manager. We think the correct interpretation of this quote is what services COULD be given to the citizens in substitution for money given to the city manager? An example would be, a possible extra Police Officer?

1 comment:

  1. NICE Gateway,

    Rip that crap apart.