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Archive for Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Mayor, county commissioner face more Deciphera allegations

December 19, 2007

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Deciphera legal battle continues

The ongoing legal battle continued today over a closed-door deal designed to provide incentives to keep a start-up company in Lawrence. Enlarge video

Mayor Sue Hack and Douglas County Commissioner Bob Johnson are facing new allegations that they violated conflict of interest laws that if proven true could force their removal from office.

Grassroots Action, a local political activism group, has asked the Douglas County District Attorney to investigate Hack and Johnson's role in an approximately $1 million package of economic development incentives given to Deciphera Pharmaceuticals, a start-up company that was considering moving outside of Lawrence.

Both Hack and Johnson each own more than $5,000 in stock in the company, which is the amount that triggers conflict of interest laws that prohibit elected leaders from making contracts with companies they own.

"The more you look at this situation, the more questions it creates," Gwen Klingenberg, a member of Grassroots Action, said about the group's decision to ask for another investigation of the matter.

Closed-door meeting

In particular, the group filed the charges after news of another closed-door meeting on the Deciphera deal came to light. City commissioners already had reached a settlement with the Kansas attorney general's office on a violation of the state's open meetings act related to a Sept. 20 closed-door executive session where the deal was discussed.

But documents the city provided to the attorney general as part of that investigation revealed another private meeting involving both Hack and Johnson had taken place earlier that same day. Also included in that meeting were City Manager David Corliss, Chamber of Commerce President Lavern Squier, attorney Matt Hoy and LaVerne Epp, chairman of the Lawrence-Douglas County Bioscience Authority.

Both Johnson and Hack defended their involvement in the meeting, and said they did not believe they had done anything to harm the public's interest by participating in the deal. Both also said they were not participating in the deal to further their own financial interests.

Instead, Johnson said he thought many of the concerns being expressed about the process were being made by individuals who had political differences with the two commissions.

"It is what it is," Johnson said. "I think I have been totally and completely honest. If they want to make a big deal out of it, then have at it."

Johnson had publicly disclosed his approximately $8,000 financial interest in the company and had publicly asked his fellow commissioners whether they objected to him being involved in the process. Neither Commissioner Charles Jones nor Jere McElhaney objected to Johnson being involved.

Hack stood by her previous statements that she was acting in the public interest and was not trying to hide her financial interest in the company. But she declined to make any further comments.

"I've said all I'm going to say about it," said Hack, who did not deny attending the private meeting with the chamber president, Johnson and others.

Legal questions

The key legal question could become whether Hack and Johnson participated in the meeting and provided feedback on how the economic development package should be structured. Both Hack and Johnson ultimately abstained from voting on the Deciphera deal, but Grassroots Action maintains that they were required to be completely detached from the deal.

The state law says elected officials can not "make or participate in the making of a contract" with a company that they have a substantial interest in. The penalty for violating that portion of the law is serious: The elected official shall resign from office.

A 2003 opinion by the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission states that making or participating in the making of a contract is defined as "discussions and conversations with other council members regarding the options before the council." Hack and Johnson were the only elected officials from their commissions at the private meeting, thus it is not clear whether that meeting could produce a violation as defined by the legal opinion.

Grassroots Action, however, also is alleging Johnson improperly commented on the deal as part of the County Commission's late September meeting where the Deciphera deal was approved. Johnson technically abstained from the vote but made several comments in support of the deal before abstaining.

Complaint lodged

Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson confirmed that his office received the complaint Tuesday afternoon. He said his office would quickly review it and decide how to proceed. Branson last month received a complaint from Grassroots Action alleging that the city violated the state's open meetings law. Branson turned that investigation over to the Kansas attorney general, who found the city violated portions of the open meetings act.

But the attorney general also investigated whether Hack violated conflict of interest laws and found there was no evidence showing that she did. It was unclear, however, whether the attorney general focused his investigation on the private meeting that Hack attended or only the one official City Commission executive session.

Comments

Richard Heckler 7 years, 1 month ago

  1. At the Douglas County Commission meeting on Oct. 24, 2007, when the County Commission considered, and approved, Deciphera's incentive package, Commissioner Bob Johnson presided over and participated actively in the discussion of Deciphera's proposal. Though Johnson abstained from the vote, he defended Deciphera's incentive package during the meeting (as revealed by the minutes) and said that, if allowed, he would vote for this incentive package (as reported by the Lawrence Journal-World).

Since Johnson acknowledges an $8,200 financial stake in Deciphera, we regard his participation in the County Commission's deliberations on this matter as an apparent violation of K.S.A. 75-4304, which forbids official participation by local governmental officers or employees in the making of a contract with any business in which the officer or employee has a substantial interest.

  1. Bob Johnson also apparently attended a meeting with Lawrence Mayor Sue Hack, City Manager Dave Corliss, and Chamber of Commerce president Lavern Squier, among others which discussed Deciphera's tax break on the afternoon of the very same day that the City Commission held its illegal closed meeting (9/20/07). According to a recently released email by a participant, the two meetings that day (the City Commission's executive session, followed by the "afternoon group") produced an effective "consensus" in favor of granting Deciphera public incentives including a tax break. Again, given Bob Johnson's financial interest in Deciphera, his participation in this meeting (with City and Chamber officials) appears to have been unlawful.

  2. Sue Hack's role in forging the "consensus" at the two meetings on 9/20/07 also appears to have violated Conflict of Interest laws. When she filed the legally required form disclosing her significant financial interest in Deciphera in November 2007 which she had earlier failed to do, in violation of state law this financial interest was revealed to exceed $5,000. So Hack's participation in these and other meetings on Deciphera (if any) also appears to have been illegal.

OnlyTheOne 7 years, 1 month ago

Well you can certainly tell the "Deciphera" folks and those of us interested in point of law and ethics in politics!

blackwalnut 7 years, 1 month ago

Thanks to Grassroots Action. When citizens like this take responsibility for their government and take action, there is hope. Without watchdogs the foxes will destroy the whole henhouse.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 1 month ago

"I wonder what incentive were given to the Merc in it's recent growth?"

You're really desperate, aren't you, consumer1? There was no city funding of anything that happened at the Merc. None was asked for, none was given.

coneflower 7 years, 1 month ago

Good for Grassroots Action. These citizens are doing the job that real journalists used to do, when journalism used to be about investigating, discovering and reporting the truth. Please take note, Chad Lawhorn.

Bradley Kemp 7 years, 1 month ago

I think anytime someone is in the same room as two men named Lavern, there's got to be something fishy going on.

coneflower 7 years, 1 month ago

It appears that any development deal supported by Mayor Hack is filled with rewards for her and her friends.

And they have the nerve to turn around and try to destroy the bus by handing it over to profit makers. The T is a service!!! There is no room in there for any profit!!! Some things are not designed to make a profit, like education, and public transportation is one of those things.

Sigmund 7 years, 1 month ago

Just how much will the citizens of Lawrence take before they demand real reform, openness, and transparency from the city government, not just on Deciphera but on all the grants, contracts, tax rebates or abatements? Lawrencian's don't trust the plc/gra anymore than than they trust the current seat warmers du jour.

Ask yourself why no member of the present nor past commissions want a to implement the most basic of reforms: Requiring that every LLP, LLC, and partnership disclose the real people who will benefit from contracts, grants and tax rebates; and an independent audit of the City of Lawrence's finances over the last five years and ongoing yearly audits thereafter.

These two reforms would allow all the citizens of Lawrence to monitor the how well city officials, elected or otherwise, are performing their duties. This accountability is something they desperately hope to avoid.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 1 month ago

"Lawrencian's don't trust the plc/gra anymore than than they trust the current seat warmers du jour."

So exactly which "secret deals" and conflicts of interest by the PLC (which is still unrelated to the GRA, despite your efforts to link them) created this distrust you invoke, Sigmund?

And if the GRA is so "untrustworthy," why is that they are taking the very clear lead in demanding the accountability you say you want?

rumor_man 7 years, 1 month ago

Is Deciphera contagious?

It sounds like something I wouldn't like to be in contact with.

Sigmund 7 years, 1 month ago

Demanding accountability on Deciphera is little more than a one-time game of political gotcha, not long lasting reform. The plc/gra approve basically the same deal. Their opposition to WalMart was hardly conflict of interest free for two plc/gra Kommissioners. And from the public record it is easy to make a prima facie case that Dave Burress and others violated the open meeting laws in the process.

But Bozo, I am so pleased that you support my proposed reforms! Requiring that every LLP, LLC, and partnership disclose the real people who will benefit from contracts, grants and tax rebates; and an independent audit of the City of Lawrence's finances over the last five years and ongoing yearly audits thereafter.

Do you think the plc/gra (a progressive coalition by any other name would still smell like grass) will be joining us in our call for reform? If not, why not?

OhHai 7 years, 1 month ago

So why was the Chamber of Commerce at yet another meeting? Why are they so involved in all this mess? What do they even do? Besides run the City Commission...

monkeyhawk 7 years, 1 month ago

The GRA (PLC) seem to actually think that Branson will help them with their endeavor. The D.A. has much bigger fish to fry. Since he is one of the few names being considered for the "big" job, he certainly is not going to rock the local boat before he makes the leap.

lunacydetector 7 years, 1 month ago

something i wrote last night that ended up getting buried......

i find it interesting that we've been hearing from Grassroots Action. in an article from December 8, 2006, it states:

"Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commissioner David Burress, Kansas University associate professor Kirk McClure and about a dozen other Lawrence residents have formed Grassroots Action, a Lawrence-based NONPROFIT that hopes to lobby city and county leaders for "progressive change." http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2006/dec/08:

they didn't legally register as a non-profit corporation in the state of kansas until December 4, 2007. they also are not listed on the guidestar non-profit corporation website.

how can some group claim to be a non-profit for almost a whole year, without registering with the secretary of state's office? did the reporter(s) make a mistake? perhaps i am wrong but didn't they also try to organize debates with city commission candidates? maybe someone could explain this to me. is there a one year grace period before you have to register as a corporation or something, or is this just reporting errors that they've been a non-profit up until December 4th of this year?

i'm not defending what transpired, just think it odd.

lunacydetector 7 years, 1 month ago

guess i should've clicked on the link before i reposted, because now, the page says "Not found." hmmmm.

kansasbrandon 7 years, 1 month ago

Grassroots Action needs to lay off the grass.

kansasbrandon 7 years, 1 month ago

"progressive change" = stagnant economy & higher taxes

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 1 month ago

"Their opposition to WalMart was hardly conflict of interest free for two plc/gra Kommissioners."

Really? What conflict is that?

monkeyhawk 7 years, 1 month ago

Good point, Ks. Brandon.

I guess they are not satisfied with the damage they have done to our city. They bankrupted our general fund in order to provide every social program they could dream up, and slammed the door on any and all business that did not meet their personal likes. They imposed a "living" wage which further enhanced their short-sighted visions and now they want to continue to control even after being soundly defeated at the polls. They even want to dictate to KU what they should pay their bus drivers.

GRA/PLC = lessons on how to poison a city.

blackwalnut 7 years, 1 month ago

It's the current commission that is out to destroy everything good in this city - the bus, the library, social programs, retail health - all in the name of saving taxes, while throwing bushels of tax money at corporations and developers (and enriching their personal coffers on the side).

You can't blame the past commission for the current commission's failures. I'd take them back in a heartbeat, over this crooked crowd.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 1 month ago

""progressive change" = stagnant economy & higher taxes"

Lawrence's government has been anything but "progressive" for most of the last 30 or more years. It's been a rubberstamp to sprawl and corporate welfare, and that's why taxes have risen, and with a return to rubberstamp government, taxes will continue to rise.

lunacydetector 7 years, 1 month ago

retail health? but it was the so-called 'progressives' that adopted the new much more restrictive development code.

blackwalnut 7 years, 1 month ago

It will be interesting to see if the Douglas County DA will agree to investigate, given his admission of personal relationships with some of the people named and his previous refusal to do it (bumping the job off to Morrison).

Even more interesting will be whether, if the DA does investigate, he will conduct a real investigation rather than feigning one (and any wrongdoing uncovered gets more than another gentle tap on the wrist).

monkeyhawk 7 years, 1 month ago

"It's the current commission that is out to destroy everything good in this city - the bus, the library, social programs, retail health"

Translation - all the "free" things that no city is obliged to offer. The "free" things that less than 50% of citizens are required to provide to the whole.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 1 month ago

So the story goes Hack family insurance covers First Management and other local developers. The right vote in this case could influence the future for the insurance company. Would not want to upset the clientele in fear they would relocate their money.

For all of the years between 1985 to present with the exception of 3 years the developer anti economic growth machine actions did nothing but support sprawl and inflate property values = sneaky way to increase taxes to cover the cost of community services.

Meet the anti economic growth machines "Bedroom Community"

If economic growth had been managed properly property values might have maintained the norm increase of around 4% over the past 22 years.

blackwalnut 7 years, 1 month ago

moneyhawk:

It is called a community. There used to be a concept like that, alive and well in America, and it's what made America great.

You probably think they should not pave any roads that you don't drive down, is that right?

blackwalnut 7 years, 1 month ago

lunacydetector (Anonymous) says: retail health? but it was the so-called 'progressives' that adopted the new much more restrictive development code.


Yes.

To protect retail health.

To protect the health of retail businesses already here. No point in putting in a bunch of new stores that will put existing stores out of business. That would hurt the city. Create empty buildings and laid-off workers. Even if the new stores would profit friends of the mayor.

It's not a hard concept to grasp.

monkeyhawk 7 years, 1 month ago

I don't drive, I ride the bus.

It's almost "free".

Richard Heckler 7 years, 1 month ago

CEK Insurance company continues growth WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 2, 2002 Company: CEK Insurance Inc., 1011 Westdale Road. Owners: Joe Baker, president; Mark Tomes, vice president; and Al Hack Jr., treasurer. Number of employees: 26. Years in business: 70.

If my memory serves me well it seems Bob Johnson was associated with CEK at one point in his life.... maybe still is?

blackwalnut 7 years, 1 month ago

moneyhawk says "They bankrupted our general fund ..."

You believe that?

The current commission claimed the city was broke within weeks of taking office. At the same time they are pushing huge, new, optional expenditures - a new huge development project at practically every commission meeting - that cost millions and millions of dollars. You are not that gullible and neither am I.

They must have a pretty long list of developer projects they promised to run through in their terms, because they're pushing them through awfully fast. The $30 mill library and new post office, a new hotel that will ruin a historic neighborhood, this Deciphera $1 million giveaway, another unwanted Wal-Mart, another giant apartment complex never mind how overbuilt Lawrence is with apartments... and any day now Bonnie will be back with the multimillion dollar ice rink...

But no money for running the library, keeping the pool open, maintaining public transportation... no money for the things the last commission found it easy to fund, somehow.

justthefacts 7 years, 1 month ago

For those wanting to find out who constitutes "Grassroots," they can make an open record request directed at the AG and/or DA's office asking to see any correspondence from those entitites to the complainants. As long as the letters are not part of an on-going investigation file (which could then qualify for closure under the KORA, see KSA 45-221(a)(11)) you should be given copies of such correspondence FROM the public agencies (KSA 45-221(a)(14) allows correspondence received from individuals to be closed). It may not give you the names of ALL members, but it should provide you with information about the people who have been contacted about these matters by those public prosecutor's offices.

As for conflict of interest laws, for those who want to know more about the laws that apply to local officials, you may want to go the Ethics Commission's web page at http://www.kansas.gov/ethics/ and looks at the statutes and regulations that apply to local officials (not state level; there are different rules for each). You may also want to read the opinions on that web page, to see what types of conduct the Commission has said do (and do not) constitute "participation" in forming a contract.

Sigmund 7 years, 1 month ago

Bozo, the conflict is/was that WalMart is the largest seller of Organic and Natural Foods in the World and would be in direct competition with Les Merc. And what about the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on the Placemaker Grocery store study. Tell me that was a public spirited expenditure not meant to benefit PLC/GRA contributors. But enough of the same old tit-for-tat politics of division.

Bozo, I am so pleased that you support my proposed reforms! Requiring that every LLP, LLC, and partnership disclose the real people who will benefit from contracts, grants and tax rebates; and an independent audit of the City of Lawrence's finances over the last five years and ongoing yearly audits thereafter.

Do you think the PLC/GRA (a progressive coalition by any other name would still smell like grass roots) will be joining us in our call for long lasting reform? It will give them a chance to show their superior stewardship and will help to justify their holier-than-thou attitudes. If not, why not?

justthefacts 7 years, 1 month ago

Go to http://www.accesskansas.org/srv-corporations/index.do

If you want to do an online search of corporation filings, in Kansas.

Kontum1972 7 years, 1 month ago

Corliss and Hoy...both attorneys, in the same room with Hack and Johnson....gee whizz folks...cant say there wasnt any legal counsel present or did these two lawyers flunk this part of the bar exam for the State of Kansas?

Something really stinks!

I am in favor for buying some good rope and hog tieing these people and running them out of town keep their property and sell it and give the money to a charity in Lawrence. Didnt these people take an oath to assume this position I know there has to be some part in that oath that said to uphold the Law for the City of Lawrence, Kansas?

pity2bu 7 years, 1 month ago

Lawrence Squishheads + Whining = GRA

A group for non development. Hey let's get the Boog man in here and then light up and pass another doobie. We want the 1960's back, the fall colors from the shrooms made everything Boogiful. The tye dye shirts meant something too.

Oh another comment, GRA wants to assist Boog in passing the living wage reform for the city bus drivers. Its a stressful job and they need more money. Its the bus drivers and that system that bankrupt the city in the first place.

Boog buy something, quit renting, buy a car, and pay taxes like the rest of us and you won't need to take the bus and listen to the whining drivers. They get paid too much as it is and stressful what were you smoking Boog prior to the interview.

WWoftheW 7 years, 1 month ago

There seems to be group of people who don't believe in services like the T and the library, but also don't believe in paying a living wage so people can afford to buy cars and books. A group that believes in paying developers to develope so the developer has no risk of his monies, and complains when city monies are being wasted on the residents for services like transportation and yet don't believe in paying "those people" enough to support a family. A group that would like to not have to see and deal with "those people", but require "those people" to work cheap so the members of this group can really gain profit and don't have to do the menial work themselves. Isn't funny that those are the same people critizing GA and supporting the present City Commission. I read it best on the JW blog a few months ago - the Aspen of the Plains.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 1 month ago

"Bozo, the conflict is/was that WalMart is the largest seller of Organic and Natural Foods in the World and would be in direct competition with Les Merc. "

Yea, and that "conflict of interest" explains perfectly why they approved the expansion of the S. Iowa Wal-Mart to allow the addition of the largest grocery store in town.

"Do you think the PLC/GRA (a progressive coalition by any other name would still smell like grass roots) will be joining us in our call for long lasting reform? It will give them a chance to show their superior stewardship and will help to justify their holier-than-thou attitudes. If not, why not?"

Perhaps if you took your "holier-than-thou" attitude to one of their meetings, you could suggest it to them.

pace 7 years, 1 month ago

"Hack stood by her previous statements that she was acting in the public interest and was not trying to hide her financial interest in the company. But she declined to make any further comments.

I am sick of that. She seems to have lawyered up. Thanks to the Grassroots people. She promoted our tax money to be given to a company that she had investments in. Is she really so stupid that she didn't know the rules? She should resign.

justthefacts 7 years, 1 month ago

FYI - most public bodies that allow public comment at meetings (which by the way and contrary to popular myth is not required by the Kansas Open Meetings Act) do not use the allocated time to engage in a debate with commentors. To do so would be to invite public arguments and/or require that others be forced to listen to personality conflicts run amok.

As any good lawyer will advise a public body client, the use of public comment time is to allow the public to comment. Period! Public comment time at a public meeting is not and has never been intended to be used as time where officials may be openly grilled by those attending meetings. If you think it should be, you will need to get new laws passed (but keep in mind that the same law will then apply to everyone - do you really want to require a city commission to publicly answer all questions posed to them by everyone? What about the questions a giant corporation may want answered in public?).

Those who publicly attack others are not often going to get good reactions from those who are attacked. Rather, persons wanting to have a civil discussion that goes both ways should make a private appointment with the person(s) in question.

Persons who believe all their elected officials are legally required to publicly or privately answer any question posed to them are dellusional. There is no such law. Rather, when such answers or defenses are given by a public official, it is usually based upon a personal desire to obtain/retain/restore good relations with the public, an investigation where sworn testimony may be taken is going on, because an action has been filed in court thus compelling answers, or because someone doesn't have good self-control. Keep in mind that most mature adults who have ever watched a TV show about the legal system know that anything you say can and will be used against you.

Sigmund 7 years, 1 month ago

There are some people that think the City should subsidize MV Transportation to the tune of one-million-five-hundred-thousand dollars per year, each and every year, no matter how little it is used., and never require them to design a useful system. They might as well put in a monorail... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xaBe7b...

And that we should spend thirty-million dollars on libraries in the digital age, whether or not we can afford them, greedy developer also build unnecessary libraries don't you know. Those people are called the PLC/GRA.

Now they are demanding accountability on Deciphera, which is little more than a one-time game of political gotcha, not long lasting reform. The PLC/GRA approved basically the same deal. In fact, they hope that they can push Deciphera for political points without long lasting reforms so they can continue business as usual if they win the next election.

You say you want openness, transparency, and accountability in Lawrence government? Require that every LLP, LLC, and partnership disclose the real people who will benefit from contracts, grants and tax rebates; and demand an independent audit of the City of Lawrence's finances over the last five years and ongoing yearly audits thereafter.

Those reforms will allow the citizens of Lawrence, of whatever political bent, to monitor public officials public performance. While I am not surprised that the PLC/GRA opposes such long term reform, I am disappointed that the current Commissioners, excepting the Mayor, have not taken to the idea.

WWoftheW 7 years, 1 month ago

Sigmund; The last commission did support a city auditor and a planner that makes sure plans that are approved are followed and a city economic developer instead of relying on the Chamber to push their agenda. Did you know that the monies cut from city services match the extra amount given to the chamber this year? It is the present city commission that is claiming funding issues as the reason not to hire these approved positions.

Sigmund 7 years, 1 month ago

WWoftheW-

So I can add you to the growing list of supporters calling for long lasting reform. Require that every LLP, LLC, and partnership disclose the real people who will benefit from contracts, grants and tax rebates; and demand an independent audit of the City of Lawrence's finances over the last five years and ongoing yearly audits thereafter.

Glad to have you on board!

Richard Heckler 7 years, 1 month ago

Citizens do not need to belong to any specific organization to be in substantial agreement that corruption stinks and/or be concerned that tax dollars are being wasted or spent irresponsibly. That would seem to be the a the lions share of our population.

It's hard to find very many citizens who believe that Lawrence should have a 1000 acres of space sitting vacant for warehouses that somehow justifies spending millions upon millons for new infrastructure as the current governing bodies scream for tax increases while existing infrastructure is ignored. There is still space at East Hills and the Farmland property is on the table that will require some tax dollars for clean up and improving infrastructure. Light industrial acreage is difficult to sell off = long time if ever a payback is realized.

The icing on the cake is revealing conflicts on interest boosting personal wealth with a nice tax dollar infusion aka our local bio science authority plus a mobile tax rebate and telling the citzens there is no money for sidewalks,public transporation or a library.

Additional icing on the cake is an additional $100,000 annually to the Chamber of Commerce the Mayors employer. What's up with that?

Kontum1972 7 years, 1 month ago

Merrill, ever been to the CoC xmas party @ Holiday Inn?

blackwalnut 7 years, 1 month ago

How can the commission justify giving the Chamber of Commerce an extra $100,000 from the city's tax coffers when the city is said to be too broke to maintain services like the library, bus and pool, or maintain the roads?

Richard Heckler 7 years, 1 month ago

I wonder if the Chamber of Commerce leadership has got more dirty laundry stashed in a closet? Just a passing thought.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 1 month ago

Additional icing on the cake is an additional $100,000 annually to the Chamber of Commerce the Mayors employer. This how much of an increase the Chamber received this year to create economic growth. It is now $190,000. So now I am curious about the salary amount dedicated to Mayor Hack coming on board??

Richard Heckler 7 years, 1 month ago

"Kontum1972 (Anonymous) says: Merrill, ever been to the CoC xmas party @ Holiday Inn?"

No, is it fun? Wonder who pays for that?

Godot 7 years, 1 month ago

At some point someone negotiated on behalf of the school district that it would get to keep its share of the property tax. Who, what, when, where, why and how?

What is not clear to me is this: will Deciphera's rebate be only for the city and county share of the tax, or will Deciphera receive a full rebate of all real estate tax, while the city and the county pay the school district to make up the loss?

jayhawklawrence 7 years, 1 month ago

Sigmund wrote:

Just how much will the citizens of Lawrence take before they demand real reform, openness, and transparency from the city government, not just on Deciphera but on all the grants, contracts, tax rebates or abatements? Lawrencian's don't trust the plc/gra anymore than than they trust the current seat warmers du jour.

Right on target Sigmund.

jayhawklawrence 7 years, 1 month ago

If Sue Hack's fall from grace makes us all take a closer look at what goes on in our town and some real improvements can take place, then this could turn out to be an unexpected benefit.

It is ironic that KU gets high marks nationally with the Public Administration degree but that cutting edge leadership is sometimes lacking at city hall.

If Sue Hack is as good as she wanted us to believe, then where is the full disclosure?

Eileen Emmi Jones 7 years, 1 month ago

I think the entire city commission should disclose everything, including all the names associated with the Deciphera deal, apologize to the citizens for breaking the law, rescind the Deciphera deal, and in the future follow the law to the letter.

If they will not do that, they should all resign. Sue Hack can go first. As mayor she is most culpable and most responsible.

Deciphera can start over at square one, and follow the rules this time.

coneflower 7 years, 1 month ago

I'm very weary of this new commission pulling all the strings to give money to developers and new companies, while cutting the services that many citizens depend on - the latest being the T bus.

This commission does not care about Lawrence. I cannot wait to vote every one of them out, but I'd prefer they all resign first and spare us the next five years of pillaging.

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