A “Centennial Committee” comprised of community members formed in 2007 before the City of Turlock approved a $90,000 loan to the Turlock Centennial Committee and appointed a Chairman and Co-Chairs.
The City of Turlock or the Turlock Chamber of Commerce have both declined or failed to answer who the Centennial Committee actually is and who should be the guarantor of the loan, although TurlockCityNews.com has found documentation that points toward the Turlock Chamber Foundation. Further explanation can be found in our previous article: Turlock Centennial Committee $90,000 Loan part 2.
TurlockCityNews.com requested and was not provided Centennial Committee minutes by either the City of Turlock or the Turlock Chamber of Commerce, however TurlockCityNews.com has obtained some copies from August 1, 2007 through March 12, 2008
Despite City Manager Roy Wasden responding to a request for further explanation by saying “We have supplied all of the documents that we believe are responsive to your request,” TurlockCityNews.com’s copies of the minutes show multiple members of City of Turlock staff receiving Centennial minutes emailed to them. Again, these were not provided by the City of Turlock when requested. A Civil Grand Jury Complaint will have to be filed to ensure full disclosure.
A 2007 list of Centennial Committee members included Honorary Chair Turlock Mayor John Lazar, Co-Chair Dr. Rob Santos, Co-Chair Turlock Chamber CEO Sharon Silva, Turlock City Manager Tim Kerr, City of Turlock Assistant Manager John French, Steve Boyd of TID, James Brenda, Steve Carkeet, Tony Leo of the Stanislaus County Fair, Toni Cordell of Turlock CVB, Bob Endsley, Ed Felt of TUSD, John Gilbert of Emanuel Medical Center, Turlock Police Chief Gary Hampton, Steve Kyte, Alan Marchant, Kristin Olsen of CSUS, Mary Paes of Medic Alert Foundation, Kim Queirolo, Kirk Sperry, Trina Walley of Turlock Downtown, Sherry Wilson-Denis, Bill Youngdale, Ray Souza, Jonette Crowell, and Abe Rojas.
Later minutes of the Centennial Committee that TurlockCityNews.com could obtain would continue to show people in regular attendance and may have been added to the Centennial Committee such as City of Turlock Arts Facilitator Lisa McDermott, DJ Fransen, Desa Basulto of the CVB, City of Turlock Recreation Manager Judy Loretelli, and City of Turlock Parks Manager Rick Harden.
As to answering questions of who approved budgetary decisions, no relative decisions or voting were documented in the copies of the minutes TurlockCityNews.com obtained. Actually, there were no records of voting on any decision throughout the referenced minutes.
In the minutes for the Centennial Committee meeting for September 19, 2007 an oversight committee to review budget/revenue was listed as a Sharon Silva, Rob Santos, and John French.
John French no longer works for the City of Turlock, Dr. Rob Santos responded from out of the country and said that he would have to refer to his notes but does not recall much involvement with the budget, and Turlock Chamber of Commerce CEO/President Sharon Silva responded to initial questioning regarding the Centennial Committee’s budget and minutes by saying “DJ I will not respond to you anymore, you take everything I say and turn it around to something negative. In fact the chamber had nothing more to do with the Centennial than Rob’s company, we were both Co-chairs. You can do as you always do when it comes to me and print what you like.”
Turlock Mayor and Centennial Chairman John Lazar was asked about his involvement and role on the Turlock Centennial Committee and responded by saying “Because this matter is part of the law suit concerning the former city manager, the city attorney has advised I should not comment at this time.”
Vice Mayor Kurt Spycher has requested that the City Manager provide him with all the answers that TurlockCityNews.com is looking for because he has been asking similar questions for about a year.
Councilman Ted Howze has questioned the status of the Centennial loan in the past, has recently requested bank statements and receipts from day one until present day, and has requested the Centennial loan be agendized for discussion but City Attorney Phaedra Norton and City Manager Roy Wasden are discussing if it would be problematic to discuss because of the City’s pending litigation against former City Manager Tim Kerr that involves the repayment of the Centennial loan.
So without much provided documentation by the City of Turlock, Turlock Chamber of Commerce, and unresolved comments by the Turlock Centennial Committee Chairs, this is all we found in regards to how the Centennial Committee was funded, operated, and spent funds.
In the November 28, 2007 Centennial Committee minutes proposed memorabilia totaling $12,000 and included 100 sets of books at $3,000, 400 coins at $1,750, 150 t-shirts at $1,000, 100 coffee mugs at $750, 500 calendars at $1,500, 500 lapel pins at $750, and 100 afghans at $3,750.
A Turlock Profit & Loss statement obtained from the City of Turlock through a public information request by TurlockCityNews.com shows about $4,700 worth of sales and thus far no inventory of remaining merchandise has turned up.
Centennial Committee minutes also mention that small statues could be done for sale and sponsor gifts.
Reports from some involved people say that three of these statues were made at an estimated $1,000 each but no accounting for these statues appears in any of the documentation provided by the City of Turlock or Turlock Chamber of Commerce and that TurlockCityNews.com has been able to research. A statue has been seen in the Turlock Chamber of Commerce CEO office and in the Turlock Mayor’s office.
In the January 16, 2008 Centennial minutes an update of the documentary DVD states the film was about to be wrapped up with $65,000 spent on the DVD. $20,000 was wanted to rent a projector that could show the movie in good quality outside.
As of December 2008, $16,029.97 worth of DVD’s were sold according to a Centennial profit & loss statement.
The City of Turlock provided documentation showing DVD payments from the Turlock Historical Society ($750 on 12/17/08) and the Turlock Chamber of Commerce ($6,000 on 1/5/09 and $37.50 on 3/7/09).
According to a Turlock Centennial Committee profit & loss statement, about $55,000 of corporate, individual, and business contributions were accepted. These funds have not been recorded to have paid back the Centennial Loan as of yet. A Centennial Melon Carnival donation request letter states donors may use the tax deductible 501(c)(3) # 77-0221721. This number belongs to the Turlock Chamber Foundation.
The Turlock City Council adopted Resolution 2007-03 on or about December 11, 2007 which authorized and provided for a loan of $90,000 to the Turlock Centennial Committee. The Turlock Centennial committee was obligated to re-pay this loan to the City using moneys the Turlock Centennial Committee received in the form of community donations.
A City of Turlock lawsuit against former City Manager Tim Kerr, 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.
Councilman Ted Howze alleged in an Op-Ed piece that Kerr illegally authorized, at Mayor Lazar’s request, the Centennial Committee to divert $55,000 in community donations away to paying back $90,000 Centennial loan without Council authorization into additional events for Centennial celebration.
Howze also stated that “The real tragedy of the situation was Mayor Lazar’s absolute unwillingness to hold the former City Manager accountable because Tim Kerr enabled the Mayor’s political and personal financial agenda.”
A 2007 City of Turlock Resolution states the City intended to celebrate the Centennial of its founding in a series of community event celebrations and the City Council directed the Centennial Committee to plan and conduct the City’s Centennial celebrations. The Centennial Committee intended to raise funds to offset the costs of the Centennial that the City of Turlock intended to fund the Centennial activities through appropriations and a loan to the Centennial Committee.
The City Council voted unanimously on December 11, 2007 to appropriate a $90,000 “Centennial Committee Loan” to be paid back to the City by the Centennial Committee from community donations. This funding will provide $50,000 for the documentary DVD and $40,000 for the cost of the commemorative John Mitchell statue in Central Park.
An additional $30,000 from a Downtown Improvement Project fund was approved to cover the remaining cost of the $70,000 statue.
Council also approved spending $43,500 for the remaining Centennial budget.
A 2008 resolution states that the City of Turlock appointed Rob Santos, DVM of the Turlock Historical Society and Sharon Silva, CEO of the Turlock Chamber of Commerce as Co-Chairs of the Turlock Centennial Committee. The resolution states that because of the work by both Chairs and contributions by both organizations, the City Council voted unanimously on June 28, 2008 that after the City receives repayment of $50,000 of the proceeds from the sale, licensing, and/or showing of the Centennial documentary DVD, the Turlock Chamber of Commerce and the Turlock Historical Society are entitled to divide the further proceeds as they see fit.
The City of Turlock’s Centennial was in 2008 and the Centennial Committee Chair Mayor John Lazar and Co-Chairs Dr. Rob Santos, DVM and Turlock Chamber and Commerce CEO/President Sharon Silva were appointed by the Turlock City Council. The Centennial Committee was given the responsibility by the Turlock City Council to plan and conduct activities marking the occasion.
The Committee scheduled a calendar of events throughout 2008. Many will be activities that enhance normally scheduled Turlock community events and will not result in additional costs to the City.
Other planned events and activities are unique to the Centennial year and will carry significant costs. The Committee Co-Chairs and its members are dedicated to raising funds through donations from individuals and businesses throughout the Centennial year for these activities.
As the Centennial year approaches, funding needs to be appropriated both for a loan to the Centennial Committee in anticipation of its fund raising activities, and to pay for ordinary expenses related to Centennial celebrations.
Centennial activities requiring funding are separated below by event and total a requested $173,500 from the City of Turlock. A summary of costs and sources of funding has previously been mentioned.
A) Turlock Melon Festival. The Centennial Melon Festival would remember the once annual event that honored the City’s largest agricultural commodity. The event would be held at the Fairgrounds with music, refreshments, and entertainment. Request for fees, costs, and marketing: $25,000
B) City Recreation Department Events. The Recreation Department intended to add Centennial activities to three regularly scheduled recreation events: Healthy Earth/Healthy Families outdoor activities and marathon, Turkey Trot Centennial Run, and Holiday Parade. The Recreation Department requests funding for additional publicity, t-shirts, pennants, and commemorative awards and photographs in the amount of: $6,000
C) Centennial Website. A website will allow people to view the Centennial events calendar and historic photographs, purchase commemorative merchandise, and read stories and recollections from Turlock’s first on hundred years. Centennial websites attract interest and attraction for many years following their inception. Due to the time constraints and workload of the City’s IT department, the cost of developing the website by contractor is estimated at $4,000.
D) 100 Trees for Centennial Park. The Municipal Services Department collected 100 names or donors for 100 trees to plant at Centennial Park along with an inscribe plaque. This activity is entirely self-funded.
E) Centennial Merchandise. The centennial committee has chosen a select list of commemorative merchandise. The cost for the inventory will be $12,000.
F) Centennial Art Exhibit. The centennial art exhibit at City Hall, “Turlock – Past and Present” will display contemporary, local art juxtaposed with framed, historic photographs. Cost of framing and displaying the historic photos will be $2,000.
G) Reception and Special City Council Meeting. The actual date of the City’s centennial will be the occasion for a Special City Council Meeting and Reception on February 15, 2008. Cost for the refreshments: $2,000
H) Centennial Float. A centennial float will be used in the Festival of Lights parade. The float construction cost is $2,500.
I) Commemorative Statue of Turlock Founder John Mitchell. Acclaimed Oakdale artist Betty Saletta’s creation of a bronze statue of John Mitchell would cost $70,000.
J) Documentary Film/DVD. A full length documentary of the first hundred years of the City of Turlock including interviews, historic pictures, and recollections by area residents carries a cost of $50,000.