Archive for Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sen. Pine resigns from drainage district board

October 11, 2008


Election 2008

In-depth coverage of the candidates and the issues, all leading up to the Aug. 5 primary and the Nov. 4 general election.

State Sen. Roger Pine, who has faced criticism for claiming to be a Lawrence resident while living in Leavenworth County, has resigned from a Douglas County board.

Pine resigned from the Douglas County Kaw Drainage District Board last week following questions about the board's finances, according to a report by the Topeka Capital-Journal.

Pine did not return calls to his home Saturday.

Board member Mike Heck said Pine, who served as the board's treasurer, resigned because of a residency requirement recently brought to the board's attention.

"In my opinion, there's absolutely no problem with the way Roger Pine handled the finances of the board," Heck said.

Board payments

According to the Capital-Journal report, since 2002 the board, financed by local property taxes, paid roughly $25,000 to Pine Family Farms for work, and payments have gone to other board members or companies tied with board members.

Questions about Pine's residency led to questions about his role as the board treasurer.

Board member Arch Naramore said he was new to the three-person board and had had questions about the board's bidding process.

"I brought up concerns about the fact that we weren't putting things out to bid," he said. "We discussed it. Our attorney looked into it and said you don't have to have bids unless it's over a certain amount."

He said he didn't know what that amount was, but viewed the board's actions as acceptable because there hadn't been any "major expenditures."

The Capital-Journal also reported Pine wrote $900 checks annually to himself and fellow members for "consulting," while representatives of other drainage boards in Douglas County served for free.

Heck said that any bill paid by the board is done so by the board's vote. He said they meet in the office of their legal counsel, who is now Price Banks.

"We've always believed we've been acting in the bounds of the law on that," he said.

Residency questions

Pine's residency was called into question in August during the Republican primary when a poll worker challenged his status as an eligible Douglas County voter. Pine has lived in Linwood since 1999 but had continued to vote at a polling station near his family farm in Lawrence.

"You don't have to reside within the drainage district, but you have to be a resident of the county that the district is within," Heck said. "So Roger meets the first test but not the second."

Another requirement to serve on the drainage board is that you have to be a property owner, Heck said.

Pine told the Capital-Journal that rather than challenge the assertions, he thought resignation from the board was the best alternative, "especially in the political arena I'm in."

Naramore said Saturday he had learned from Heck that Pine resigned. Naramore said that until recently, he understood that land ownership was a requirement for membership on the board, but he had not been unaware that members had to live in Douglas County.

"If that's what the law is, then he had to resign : or else move," Naramore said.

The drainage board works with city and county officials on water drainage issues. They keep tributaries clear of brush, trees or other blockages.

Upcoming elections

Pine is up for re-election on Nov. 4 to represent Senate District 3, which includes North Lawrence, much of eastern Douglas County, including Eudora and Baldwin City, all of Jefferson County and much of Leavenworth County outside the cities of Leavenworth and Lansing.

Pine's Democratic opponent and current state Rep. Tom Holland, of Baldwin City, said this issue should not be ignored. In an e-mail response to questions asked by the Journal-World, he said:

"Senator Pine's abrupt resignation and refusal to comment is an unfortunate incident where it appears an elected official has abused the public trust and is trying to cover up something. Senator Pine owes the citizens that are under the jurisdiction of the drainage district board, and the constituents of this senatorial district, a full explanation. In order to protect the taxpayers' monies, a full financial audit is warranted."


Mike Blur 9 years, 6 months ago

Pine should personally reimburse each taxpayer in the Kaw Drainage district for funds stolen, either through no-bid contracts or through bogus "consulting fees." His resignation from the KDB is tantamount to an admission of guilt.(BTW, DG CO Commish Jere McElhaney should be questioned about his participation in this easy money scam. According to published reports, he was very much "in" on this grifting scheme.)The Oct. 14 online chat the LJW has scheduled with Roger Pine should be a whopper. If Pine refuses to participate, he should resign his Senate seat immediately. Let's get Rothschild (or could we being back Mathis?) to moderate.

SpeedRacer 9 years, 6 months ago

It is extraordinary that no one has identified that a man who hasn't lived in Douglas County for 10 years was representing us in the state legislature. Doesn't the State certify candidates for office?

SMe 9 years, 6 months ago

Caught again!And this time he thought resignation was better than questioning accusations! You want a politispeak translation of that?I'm guilty but if I quit maybe they'll leave me alone and it'll all blow over.Well, Roger I'm afraid there's probably more gonna come out slowly but surely. What'da ya think?

Keith 9 years, 6 months ago

As usual, if there is some cloudy dealing in Douglas County involving politically connected families, you have to read about it in the Topeka paper. Wouldn't want to ruffle any feathers at the club.

somebodynew 9 years, 6 months ago

Yes, and how convenient that it took this long to find this out. And how about the financial dealings?? It seems he is all about accountability in the gov't, but doesn't seem to need it here. Maybe because those checks were going to him???? As an old TV program once said.."Very Interesting...??"

terrapin2 9 years, 6 months ago

How convenient!!!! OK, Pine show us the Statement of Work detailing the scope & expectations of the "consulting" services" you and the other members performed, including the number of billable hours!!! Pine's best move would be to end his campaign now, but if he's too blind to see the light it will be up to the voters to oust him in the November election! Let's put an end to this notion that Pine is "representing" us Lawrencians while living in Linwood!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 6 months ago

It should be pointed out that Pine does live in the Senate district he represents, but he has been voting in the wrong precinct on issues that only Douglas County residents should vote on. The water board scams pretty well speak for themselves.

nedcolt 9 years, 6 months ago

dosn,t surprise me ,in north lawrence Pine always acted like everyone owes him something even though he took huge farm subsidies,and you wonder why the little farmers cant compete.........

ASBESTOS 9 years, 6 months ago

Senator you are a fine example of just how corrupt politicians are these days.You didn't see a problem? Maybe you should just resign if that is all the better judgement and decision making you possess.Moron!

ashmole 9 years, 6 months ago

What scum. Another local politician only interested in lining his/her own pockets, in the grand tradition of Sue Hack. Public servant my you-know-what.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 6 months ago

"I will never buy anything from any Pine again including bed plants"Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think that the Pine's greenhouse just north of the turnpike is affiliated with Roger's Pine Family Farms.

nedcolt 9 years, 6 months ago

Mike Hecks father and Roger Pine are business partners,,,

Mike Blur 9 years, 6 months ago

There's a longer and more detailed article at the CJ's web site: are other interesting names named in that article.Pine is a hypocrite of the highest order. Roger, was it worth it, destroying yours, your family's, and your business' reputation for a measly few thousand bucks?

Bob_Keeshan 9 years, 6 months ago

Where are the naysayers who have been calling this a non-issue?I'm sorry, Roger, but you moved. All families make decisions about their residence, most families choose to live by those decisions.How convenient for you that so many of your so-called friends and neighbors have chosen to look the other way for almost 10 years. Here's a saying you're probably familiar with - We reap what we sow.

Strontius 9 years, 6 months ago

I look forward to Sen. Tom Holland serving in Pine's place next session!And kudos to that brave poll worker who brought this corruption to light. That person should be well commended.

Mike Blur 9 years, 6 months ago

Perhaps Mike Heck's dealings should be investigated as well, given his aforementioned relationship to Roger Pine and his assertions that there was "no problem" with the way Pine handled the board's finances. There's many stories here that the JW is sitting on, and probably will let the CJ scoop them on.

texburgh 9 years, 6 months ago

Pine does live in the senate district so he is eligible to serve as senator - the seat is not a "Lawrence" seat; it covers a much wider area. BUT - Pine's service on the Drainage Board was prohibited and it was only this disclosure that caused him to resign,Pine filed for elective office (Senate) using a false address - the Douglas County one,Pine voted in Douglas County knowing full well that he does not live in Douglas County,Pine misrepresented his address to election officials,If his registration address is in USD 259, did he vote on bond issues, LOB increases, or school board elections when he did not live here? Doesn't that constitute voter fraud?Where are the republican extremists demanding voter id's so they can weed out all the supposed voting illegals? Are they out there demanding Pine's resignation?I guess we'll just have to help Pine resign by voting for Tom Holland.

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