The needler in the haystack.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Why a forensic audit of Recreation is needed and what it night uncover


A rumored years-long fee scam might have netted
participants more than $100,000 in cash.
 
[Does Dan owe Rec an apology? Checking the pools out again Monday afternoon, it seems they may all be open or on the cusp. But who will apologize for Recreation's financial affairs?]

lainfield sweltered in 90-plus degree heat Sunday afternoon, yet only one of the city's three swimming pools -- Rushmore -- appeared to be open a third of the way through the summer pool season. Not a soul was on hand at Hannah Atkins and there was no one in the pool at Seidler Field though three or four fully-clothed teen boys were somehow inside the fence and lounging around the lifeguard's perch.

This failure of Recreation to deliver on one of the basic services expected of it is just one more indicator that things are out of control and there is no sense of accountability.

Annoying as the failure to provide expected services is -- brought to the public's attention by Councilor Williams (see here) and Olddoc (see here) -- there is an ugly story making the rounds concerning Recreation and money -- a lot of money.

Councilor Williams reports what might be a scam of charging vendors for the Parade and Concert venues inflated 'permit fees' per a notice being circulated by the Recreation Division. She has asked for the Council to be apprised of this and what it means.

Meanwhile, Olddoc tangentially alludes to yet another possible scam, this one involving 'permits' for soccer play at Rushmore Field.

And that is the ugly story that is circulating --

There are a good number soccer teams that have been using the ballfield at Rushmore for soccer games for a number of years, for exorbitant fees which have not found their way into the city coffers. In fact, there was a well-attended game taking place when I drove by on Sunday afternoon.

The story is that one person managed to book the field through permits with Recreation for the entire season since 2005 through this past fall. This person allegedly paid Recreation the merely stipulated fee but charged the teams an exorbitant fee IN CASH ONLY for playing privileges.

Estimated receipts ran to $20,000 per season, funneled to this person who made the arrangements with Recreation -- that would be upwards of $140,000 since 2005.

The teams finally became so disgusted with this treatment, especially when they learned that it far exceeded any legitimate fees for use of the field, that they threatened to go to the Union County Prosecutor with records detailing the ripoff.

This, evidently, was sufficient to cause Recreation to 'correct' the permitting policy, terminating the long-term arrangement that had been so profitable to one person. Now that the teams are being treated fairly, I am told they are reluctant to press the matter with the Prosecutor.

A question in search of an answer is whether anyone connected with Recreation profited from this alleged long-term scam.
While some folks have smiled to themselves every time resident Bob Darden calls for a forensic audit of the City, issues with the Recreation Division's finances suggest that a forensic audit is merited, long overdue and necessary to correct financial abuses.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes a forensic Audit is needed. We must go back to when the late Mayor McWilliams was also there. I know there are some hidden skeleton bones there. $20,000.00 dollars to pay a July 4th Parade consultant, when you had a Parade committee that did the work for FREE. Dan let's see will you post this one. Lets get to the bottom of the truth of it all.

linda said...

I think an audit of recreation will be just what this city needs to get the ball rolling on exactly what's going on with not only recreation, but this entire administration. We all know that Dave Wynn seems to be able to get whatever he wants to do without any consequences, so maybe an audit will show us why. If we follow the money trail maybe we can get some much needed answers to all the questions that have been asked and never answered.

Bob said...

The City of Plainfield does need an audit, but this problem with the Recreation Dept. is outrageous. Anyone involved in these scams should be locked up and fined heavily. I can't believe the administration would let this happen. If the council and mayor do not call for this audit, I think we all need to contact the governor's office, as our county prosecutor seems to be worthless. I hope our mayor has the moral fortitude she claims to have, unless she's involved in this.

Anonymous said...

Dan I knew you would not post my comments. Let's get to the bottom of the TRUTH on EVERYONE not just a selected few.

GB said...

The Recreation "Commission", Parking "Authority" and Sewer "Utility" were semi-independent budget items that all got mixed into Public Works Development by those with VISION. What a mess. Please, please lets hurry up and spring forward to when Santa Claus gives out gifts at City Hall [Tax funded for food, gifts and OT of course] atleast the kids have fun.

Anonymous said...

Soccer fields are notorious for being worn out quickly. I do not fault any group assigned to maintain them without BIG BUCKS for upkeep. However, a knowledgeable head guy would know this and shout it from the rooftops so he would not get pointed to for mud fields.

Dan said...

@ 7:37 AM -- If there WAS a $20,000 consultant, it would have been in the budget and approved by the Council (unless David tried to hide it).

So, get busy and submit an OPRA request, get the facts (if there are any) and sign your name.

Otherwise, stop sniveling.

Anonymous said...

No Dan it was not under Mayor Sharon Robinson briggs whom i do not support it was The Late mayor Albert McWilliams who paid a consultant who was a friend of his wife as a consultant for the July
4th parade. This person did not consult on the July 4th parade she just collected a check. The parade committee whom was not paid anything did the entire parade. So yes let's do an audit, and be fair about an audit.

Anonymous said...

First of all it appears one of dave wynn's loyalists are trying to distract from the current picture to protct him with the referral of McWilliams admministration. OOh the spot light is getting too bright. Secondly the mayor isn't going to call for any scrutiny of dave wynn because we might find out why she has allowed so much of his blatant wrong doing. Follow the money. Third the passing of heavy funds is certainly not going into the city coffers but once again follow the money.

Anonymous said...

My best guess is that Dave Wynn is funneling money back to the Mayor's office. Why elsr would she keep this unqualified Director of Recreation

Dan said...

@ 7:37 / 9:44 AM -- You're still not naming names or putting your name to it.

Let's get real, to make a think stick you have to do the hard part.

Unless you're afraid you can't prove it....

Anonymous said...

Why do you folks keep bringing up the late Mayor McWilliams? Key word being "late", so what can you do to him? If you knew that he did something wrong, why didn't you open your mouth at the time? Now he's gone and can't name names of those on the hush mouth payroll, you want to drag his name through the mud. I don't believe two wrongs make a right, so if he did things wrong, then it's supposed to be ok for SRB to do the same? NO it's not. The current Mayor and Dave Wynn are thick as THEIVES, he does not have to answer for his actions and when called on his crap, the mayor is right there to curse, scream and sweep all his crap under the rug, but guess what the day will come when she will be so busy trying to save her own butt, she won't be able to save her boy Dave, ask her other boy Dave how that works.

CFG

Anonymous said...

To keep anything mechanical operating requires M-O-N-E-Y, clear and simple. Is the $X amount only for pools? Probably not, thrown in with balloons and doughnuts so it is probably first come first serve. Be prepared to spend, spend, spend [not on consultants who contribute first and then cry you are out of cash]any other planning just gets us where we are now, running from one fire to another.

Anonymous said...

Dan an doesn't owe apology to anyone either the pools are open or they are not. Let me say this in getto terms either you are pregnant or your not. There are no cusp for that!