This is the second part of an ongoing series of articles investigating a $90,000 “Turlock Centennial Committee” loan the City of Turlock gave out and is still outstanding.
The first article “Turlock Centennial Committee $90,000 Loan Part 1: Who Owes and Where is the Money?” led to stonewalled responses and contradictory information as the City of Turlock and Turlock Chamber of Commerce was not forthcoming with most of the information requested. Neither organization answered the questions as to who owes the loan repayment and where is the money?
People can read that article so we’re not going to recap the multiple issues addressed there, but we may have found some information as to the title; Who owes and where is the money?
Despite Turlock City Manager Roy Wasden’s statement that “The Centennial Committee may have been enacted as a committee that was a part of the City and that this is similar to one city department working with another,” TurlockCityNews.com didn’t buy into that idea.
A City of Turlock Demand shows that a payment to the order of Turlock Centennial, 115 S. Golden State Blvd., Turlock, CA 95380 (Turlock Chamber of Commerce’s address) was made for $141,750 ($90,000 Centennial Committee Loan, $30,000 Centennial Commemorative Statue, and $21,705 for 50% of budgeted Centennial Activities) per Resolution 12/11/07.
After reviewing a Turlock Centennial balance sheet that shows a $2,500 payment to John Lazar, the Turlock Mayor’s FPPC campaign files were pulled for review at City Hall by the City Clerk.
On 12/03/07 Mayor Lazar loaned $2,500 to the Turlock Chamber Foundation City of Turlock Centennial, 115 S. Golden State Blvd., Turlock, CA 95380 (Turlock Chamber of Commerce’s address) according to his FPPC form.
On 12/11/07 Mayor Lazar voted to approve a $90,000 loan to the Centennial Committee and other funding, all totaling $163,500, according to City of Turlock Resolution 2007-303.
On 12/19 the Turlock Centennial Committee balance sheet shows that Mayor Lazar paid $2,500 and Lazar’s FPPC form shows that his loan was paid back by Turlock Chamber Foundation City of Turlock Centennial, 115 S. Golden State Blvd., Turlock, CA 95380 (Turlock Chamber of Commerce’s address).
This led to researching the Turlock Chamber Foundation’s IRS tax 990EZ form that shows the Turlock Chamber Foundation’s net assets or fund balances for the end of the year went from 2007’s $112,244 to 2008’s $164,785 and states under the additional supplemental information that “Revenues and expenses increased over prior years due to the Turlock Centennial Special Event held in 2008.”
TurlockCityNews.com obtained a copy of a Turlock Centennial Melon Carnival contribution request letter that stated “Donations are tax-deductible, using the nonprofit charity 501(c)(3) # 77-0221721. This 501 (c)(3) referenced is the Turlock Chamber Foundation’s number.
A Turlock Centennial Celebration profit & loss statement (from an unspecified account) for September 2007 through December 2008 shows that total income of $238,249.56 includes City Contributions of $141,750, DVD Sales of $16,029.97, Corporate Contribution of $38,750, Individual/Business Contributions of $16,235.34, and other sources of revenue.
The Centennial profit & loss statement ends with a net income total of $79,960.77.
An ongoing City of Turlock lawsuit against former City Manager Tim Kerr explains how the City of Turlock loaned the Turlock Centennial Committee $90,000 which was obligated to repay the loan to the City using moneys the Turlock Centennial Committee received in the form of community donations and that the Turlock Centennial Committee subsequently received significant community donations. However, rather than ensure the loan was repaid to the City as required and directed, and as was Kerr’s fiduciary and contractual duty, Kerr authorized the committee to divert community donations to be used for purposes other than repayment of the City’s loan. Kerr’s actions caused the Turlock Centennial Committee not to re-pay a portion of the loan to the City.
Vice Mayor Kurt Spycher and Councilman Ted Howze both state in a March 19, 2010 Turlock Journal article “City countersues former manager” that they heard from multiple sources that Kerr did indeed tell the Centennial Committee they would not have to pay back the loan.
Councilman Howze went further up the chain of command and has questioned who gave Tim Kerr the order to do so, Howze suggests it was Mayor Lazar.
Howze has said “I was told by a member of the committee that Tim Kerr and Mayor Lazar had both told them they didn’t have to repay the loan.”
Despite the City’s lawsuit allegations and Councilman Howze’s individual accusations, TurlockCityNews.com has not been able to find a City of Turlock resolution forgiving the loan or for authorizing alternative spending contrary to the Council’s approved spending, repayment of the Centennial loan.
Reminding TurlockCityNews.com readers, we are working with limited information as the City of Turlock and Turlock Chamber of Commerce have been less than forthcoming, if not hostile, in regards to providing us with all the information requested and have both previously made definitive statements that we may not get any further information. A Civil Grand Jury Complaint must be filed to ensure we solidify our conclusions as to who the Turlock Centennial Committee is, the appropriation of funds, and to try to hold Council responsible for ensuring repayment of our City’s funding.
The last public statements from the City of Turlock was at the June 8, 2010 Council Meeting when City Attorney Phaedra Norton believed addressing a request by Councilman Ted Howze to agendize the issue of the Turlock Centennial Loan may be problematic as the City is in litigation referencing the loan but would meet with City Manager Roy Wasden to discuss what they could do to accept Councilman Howz’s request.
As of now, documentation points toward that appearance that the Turlock Chamber Foundation accepted the Turlock Centennial Loan of $90,000 by the City of Turlock and has not repaid the loan with the contributions listed in excess of $55,000, DVD sales of around $16,000, and other revenue generating sources while the Turlock Chamber Foundation’s IRS forms show net assets or fund balances for the end of the year went from $112,244 in 2007 to $164,785 in 2008 and states under the additional supplemental information that “Revenues and expenses increased over prior years due to the Turlock Centennial Special Event held in 2008.”
Will our Turlock City Council hold the loan guarantor (no matter who it ends up being) accountable for the repayment of our tax dollars? TurlockCityNews.com hopes so.
What was our part 2 of this issue will now be part 3, soon to be published:
Turlock Centennial Committee $90,000 Loan Part 3: Committee Function, Spending Issues (coming soon)