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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Oh, Wait A Minute. Now Things Are Really Getting Confusing Here. Open Letters? I Think What We Need Here Is Some Open Questions & Answers?

So, after posting the previous posting, (again, fair warning, this is for hard core Sewerites only) I got an email from CSD Board President Lisa Schicker that said:

“What I forgot to say in the letter [the previous posting] but you can put in your blog if you want, is Richard LeGros signed the checks to contractors, paying them out of SRF [State Revolving Funds] that were not designated for them – the SRF accepts invoices in arrears[?], thus: [1] First disbursement was CSD reimbursement of bond money spent on planning and design – it was to be used for this repayment. [2] Contractors could not legally start billing until one month after notice to proceed – i.e. NTP was August 22, their first bill was for Sept 22, then should not have been paid until Oct 22 [3] Bruce [Buehl, former general manager], Richard signing checks paid MM [Montgomery Mechanical] and Barnard [construction companies] as soon as they got the first check – with not having sent any invoices up to the state as required. They also violated board policy and resolution on first disbursement (which was designated to replenish CSD funds for planning and design) – can be found in July 2005 minutes. This is all documented.”

Uh, O.K. Then this was followed by an email from CSD Boardmember Tacker who forwarded an email she received from Richard LeGros (in response to an email she sent to him about his last “open letter to the CSD” he had sent. Ah, so many open letters whizzing back and forth). In her email to me, Ms. Tacker stated, “The last cashflow analysis I saw before the [recall] election, the wastewater project had right around $100,000 left in it, the old Board was readying to borrow the MTBE money at that time to start the project without the SRF drawdown.”

In his letter to Tacker, Mr. LeGros concluded, “. . . . I claim sooner for if the WWP had not commenced, the LOCSD would not have received the $6.4 million SRF draw nor would you or the new BOD had the 3.9 million in SRF money to use when you and the BOD took control. In short, the LOCSD would have been facing bankruptcy much earlier (around March.) . . . “

Okey-dokey. So, was the pre-recall CSD already dangerously in the red? Were they robbing Peter to cover Paul, so to speak? Or more aptly, juggling accounts while eyeballing the old calendar and the clock was running out? To my knowledge, at that time, the Financial (and other) advisory Committees had been shut down so who was doing the usual advisory committee oversight? Was the rush to get the SRF first draw in hand motivated by a need to plug some looming financial holes that would have opened up had the board voted to delay actual start of the Tri W until the recall election was over? Were there budgetary problems or shortfalls that would have come to light without the first SRF draw? Why would Mr. LeGros think the CSD would have gone kaput in March, if the (old) CSD’s financial house was well in hand and all was in order?

The last auditor’s report noted that there were problems with the way the CSD had originally set up their system, and GM Bleskey has reported that they NOW have put into place a better system of checks and balances, but these emails raise questions that I hope get answered somewhere down the line: What financial shape was the CSD in before the recall and before the very first SRF draw arrived? If the date December 2005 mentioned as the date by which the project could have been delayed without jeopardizing the SRF loan is correct, what was the rush to get funds disbursed to MM & Barnard, payments that appear to have violated normal procedures?

Well, so many questions. Perhaps someone adept at running numbers will send the media another Open Letter, so we’ll learn just what was going on in the Last Days of Pompeii. . . er . . Los Osos. Stay tuned. Varooom, varoom.

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

Churadog asks:

"What financial shape was the CSD in before the recall and before the very first SRF draw arrived?"

I believe that the auditor made a presentation at a recent CSD meeting that Julie Tacker tried unsucessfully to get him to find substantive issues with the old board. Did he not find that there are currently issue with the CURRENT board's handling of finances.

And hasn't Churadog in the most recent posts tried to deflect the auditors findings of technical oversite procedures but no misappropriations of funds with the old board? (more spin churadog?)

The more important question at this point in time should be:

"What financial shape is the CSD in now?"

Nobody has offered any proof of misappropriation by the old board. Did all current CSD requests for various investigations, such as grand jury, state attorney general, county attorney general, federal EPA, etc. turn up even a misdemeanor?

All these cut and paste jobs with out of contents pharses, e.g. "...said john doe, blah blah blah" are nothing but efforts to distort and deflect.

Ask the hard questions like:

What is the state of our finances?

Will the CSD go bankrupt?

What is the WWTP plan now?

What is the contingency for keeping water and fire service viable?

And my personal favorite:

Are Churadog and/or DogPatch going to ask these hard questions of the current CSD board?

Spectator said...

Lisa Says:

“What I forgot to say in the letter [the previous posting] but you can put in your blog if you want, is Richard LeGros signed the checks to contractors, paying them out of SRF [State Revolving Funds] that were not designated for them – the SRF accepts invoices in arrears[?], thus: [1] First disbursement was CSD reimbursement of bond money spent on planning and design – it was to be used for this repayment. [2] Contractors could not legally start billing until one month after notice to proceed – i.e. NTP was August 22, their first bill was for Sept 22, then should not have been paid until Oct 22 [3] Bruce [Buehl, former general manager], Richard signing checks paid MM [Montgomery Mechanical] and Barnard [construction companies] as soon as they got the first check – with not having sent any invoices up to the state as required. They also violated board policy and resolution on first disbursement (which was designated to replenish CSD funds for planning and design) – can be found in July 2005 minutes. This is all documented."

OK.

When did the LOCSD get the first check from the SRF? I notice this info is missing.

When did Richard and Bruce sign checks to MM and Barnard, when were they given to them, and when did they clear the bank? Clear the bank is the factor, the rest is insignificant. Were the bills/invoices for net 30 days? Net 10 days? Or due immediately? What were the terms? The terms could have been 2%/10/60 which simply means 2% discount if paid within 10 days, due without discount within 60 days. I notice this information is missing. You will note that paying a bill in advance with a 2% discount is equilivent to 24% annual interest on the amount of the bill. Not to take the discount if one had the money would be fiscally stupid. On the same basis, to pay a bill before it was due would not make sense, in effect a gift of interest to the vendor.

I also notice that you state that the SRF accepts invoices (bills) in arrears. What does that mean?
Bills/invoices to whom: SRF for draw, Bills/invoices with terms from contractors due to be paid from the draw (to substantiate the draw), or bills/invoices that the SRF would pay the contractors, or bills/invoices already paid to be reimbursed? This information is missing. Usually bills/invoices are due when they are due. If not paid on time they are in arrears.

Lisa says this is all documented: I say not so far, please document this. And now I will go to LOSOSOSCSD.org to look up the minutes for July 05. You know, open government.

Spectator said...

In Lisa's letter, aired below, occured:

Schicker’s letter is dated 7/10/06

Dear Mr.Legros:

Thank you for your letter. Unfortunately for all of us, and despite my repeated pleadings, no cash analysis of any type was ever done during 2005 – before the Board that you were part of decided on a 3-2 vote to accept construction bids 46-60% above engineers’ estimate and push forward with construction of the most expensive per capital project in the country-- 20 days before a recall election that was set at the latest possible date, setting into motion almost every one of the current cash problems and legal liabilities that exist for the people of Los Osos.

And now, amazingly, as quoted by ANN:

Ms. Tacker stated, “The last cashflow analysis I saw before the [recall] election, the wastewater project had right around $100,000 left in it, the old Board was readying to borrow the MTBE money at that time to start the project without the SRF drawdown.”

So what is going on here? Lisa says there was no cashflow analysis, and Tacker says there was one!
How can any district survive without a cash flow analysis? No cash flow analysis since they have been paying lawyers big money since assuming office? Whatsamatta them?

Socks, no wonder you are confused by the confused. But you are biased. If Richard is wrong or any strange stuff, not logically explainable, went on that cost me personally this hunk of debt, I will hold him accountable. But there is a big difference between him and these two women. He will accept responsibility, will come up with logical answers, will answer hard questions, and they will not.

ANN: In the meantime, you can be assured that I will assist you in getting down to the bottom of any questions, although I doubt seriously that they will open up their books to me. I doubt seriously that I need to spend the time examining them. All of this stuff means nothing in light of the fact that they stopped a fully permitted sewer system, lost a low interest loan, became CCC rated (as bad as it can get for a credit rating), got fined and sued because of their actions (when they were warned of consequences), yada yada ya. And now they are on the eve of destruction. Even if they sell Tri-W and Broderson property, the contractors will be in court to stop the funds from being touched. I have foresight. (sometimes cloudy). But my hindsight is really clear, and the devil is in the details.

The LOCSD is walking dead. Sacrificing chickens, prayer, or beating the drums MAY save them. Our district needs MANNA from heaven: Not in three thousand years!

And if a shredder starts in the LOCSD offices, or emails are erased, or any information is lost, you can be absolutely assured these NOW people will go to jail. Let them keep their heads about them, and pray for MANNA. It has happened before, if you believe, and you ARE a believer!

ANN: Thank you for putting this stuff up, asking questions, and the humor you bring to this situation, which is an impossible situation. A double dose of beans tonight! You need a saphire martini, stirred not shaken, up straight, with a piemento stuffed olive, stuffed by a true piementodor, after the olive pit was removed by a pitador. Before the beans!

Now of to losososlocsd.org for sunshine!

Shark Inlet said...

Ann,

Don't you realize that the information you gave us in these e-mails is pretty much waaaaaaaay off topic?

Let me summarize...

Richard: The CSD is currently near bankruptcy.

Lisa: No it is not ... don't tell people that it is.

Lisa: By the way, Richard did naughty things a year ago.

Ann (reporting something Julie told her Richard wrote): The CSD was in financial trouble a year ago.


Here's what's funny. As of Sep 27 the CSD was in a sound financial decision. Today we are not. Whether Julie or Lisa thinks that Richard's actions from a year ago are important or not, they are not relevant to the question at hand.

Richard has made some claims about the CSD being near bankruptcy. Chuck seems to have fessed up during the last meeting. The auditor's report makes mention of issues. The reserve fund was drained to pay for fire services even though a month earlier the County had transfered enough money to fully cover fire services into CSD accounts. The CSD bought a "downpayment" for insurance even though in the past the CSD has paid the full amount.

While Lisa says that Richard's claim of near bankruptcy is wrong, she doesn't bother to present information (at her hands) to convincingly argue her position but instead says that Richard is a bad person. Heck ... a simple cut-n-paste from the auditor spreadsheet (or have they not yet hired an auditor) or even typing in values off a bank statement would have taken less time than hunting down the details about what Richard did last Summer.

Classic misdirection and denial.

Ann, you should be ashamed for passing on Lisa's lame defense without first firing off an e-mail to Lisa asking her to actually address the issues.

Maybe in the future you will be willing to spend as much effort questioning the current CSD board members as you spent questioning the last group. That would be a nice and welcome change.

PublicWorks said...

aaaahhhhh,

fear and loathing in Los Osos ....but......

at least it's nice to see everybody's talking to each other!!!! just one big happy family - kinda like Thanksgiving with the in-laws... Richard & Lisa seem to be conversing more in the last couple of weeks than in all the 10 months on the board – people might start spreading rumors!!

how in the world did JFK & Kruschtchev (sic) ever avoid the destruction of the world without e-mail???, maybe there is hope after all (with no pounding of shoes to boot). Perhaps all the directors & ex's should get red phones?

Imagine ---

Julie: "pick up the phone Lisa, Richard's on the line, he's calling the troops to stand down until the finances get straightened out."

Lisa: "Hi Richard, miss ya buddy, Chuck & John are just no fun, there's no one left to argue with, I’m so confused bout what to do!"

Richard: "Doesn’t surprise me. Thanks for picking up, babe, I swung by earlier to pick up
the latest payment copies and invoices, but there were none, not surprising considering you've got no money to do anything. I just don't know what to do with all this time, I can actually go to bed @ 9 now, and it's done wonders for my psyche - sure wish Bruce had given us spreadsheets like these, you don't know how lucky you are!"

Lisa: "You betcha, I count my blessings every day - easier than counting the lawsuits, because I don't run out of fingers - let's just keep working this out - it'll all come out in the wash - no biggie. Maybe you should run in November, think about how much fun we’d have! I could talk to Steve, tell him to keep the seat warm for you?"

Richard: "Don’t temp me!"

Lisa: "Julie wants a word with you."

Julie: "Hey Ricardo, what’s shakin, I’ve got a proposition."

Richard: "Do tell."

Julie: "Dan has kind of worn out his welcome, and we’re in dire need of a GM. That stuff you put together hits the spot, and you know the CSD inside and out, the staff loves you; what do you say? It’s a perfect fit."

Richard: "Hmmm, provocative, I’ve got the contacts to wheel and deal property to boot, I hear that the Tri-W is sale is moving like molasses."

Julie: "Give it a thought, how’s Gordy by the way."

Richard: "He’s feeling his oats, so he’s suing Nipomo now, Bruce is fit to be tied."

Julie: "Well, I guess Al & Keith can’t have all the fun!!! Miss you! Don't be a stranger!"

Richard: "You too. Give Lisa a hug, ciao"

....makes one nostalgic for those old board meetings, doesn't it???

Spectator said...

Darn, I have wasted my time. Nothing on the losososcsd.org websight. And then El Tiberon comes in with brilliance! Is Jack at Breeze/News monitoring this site? How about Hyiatt, Blakeslee, LAFCO, AG, DA, and the Board of Supervisors. Shirley and Jerry especially. How about the absolutely sweet lady Lois Capps. Ain't seen anything from her or Smiley (Able Maldonado), they are too busy defending illegal aliens (non-documented workers, to be politically correct). As to Lois Capps: I thought that government would take care of everyone. Well, take care of me, government knows best! I do not want to pay for this sewer, let the county, let the state, let the feds. ANYONE out there? Who the hell cares for the old folks who will have to move, and can't move. Where is the Sierra club for sending money? Racano can't send any money, he doesn't even work, besides according to others, he may have a "smart pill" addiction. He does ride a bike with a flag.

Got to send them links! There is more intelligence on this site, and more interplay than any other. This is a site of arguement, where facts, documentation, ideas, and rational speculation prevail. This is like a court! It is the essence of democracy. Thank you socks! And thank you for the complement: "angels on the head of a pin". Nothing like metaphysical speculation! Love it! But financial spreadsheets are another matter!

Spectator said...

And passing me by was publicworks with a brillient scenario, well written, but with no substance. Only Joey Racano can do this! Thank you Joey! You have added humor. I will put you in a class with socks!

Mike Green said...

Publickworks! Bwa ha ha ha !!!!
All this info is giving me a real headache, I think I'll step out to my wine bar and theater which I built (without permit) on top of my septic tank and mello out... ahh thats better.
I think I'll call a few friends over for a good nosh.
"Abel, how ya doin buddy, remember me? ya I used to fix your 500SEL mbz way back when (click) hello?
Oh well, I guess he's busy.
Hey Lois! good to talk! hey my wife and I, remember she's the nurse like you, want to know if you'd like to come on out to Los Osos-- (click) hello?
bad connection I guess.
Oh well, I guess it's just us.
Pass the bottle Spectator, Ann your socks are incredible, Yes, Gilda Radner! Thanks!
Strike up some band music and lets put the Titanic on the screen!
Hey anybody bring any smart pills?
Pass em around!

Spectator said...

Mike Green gets the prize! Best ever! Kudos! We got nothing but our humor.

Churadogs said...

Inlet sez:"Shark Inlet said...
Ann,

Don't you realize that the information you gave us in these e-mails is pretty much waaaaaaaay off topic?"

Off topic? Is my blog site supposed to have set topics? Set by whom? Guess I'm missing something here. do you have the list of topics I'm supposed to be dealing with on my blog?

Spectator sez:"So what is going on here? Lisa says there was no cashflow analysis, and Tacker says there was one!"

I believe Lisa said that she asked for and was unable to get copies of the cash-flow anaysis. That's different than saying there were no cashflow analysis.

Inlet sez:"Maybe in the future you will be willing to spend as much effort questioning the current CSD board members as you spent questioning the last group. That would be a nice and welcome change. "

Were you at the CSD meeting when the auditor gave his report, or when McPherson presented a financial plan to reorganize the CSD's finances, or when that was brought back, and do you plan to be at the meeting when the audit report that Judge Piquet ordered comes back & etc. so you could have asked your questions then, which would be a nice and welcome change, indeed?

Thanks for the very funny postings. My, My but we do have clever "town characters" gathered 'round the old pot bellied stove. We gotta get a crazy sock club going. If Richard is at least emailing people (can a red-phone hot-line be far behind?), then how's about the rest of you actually showing up at CSD meetings to ask your questions there and then, when you might get some answers. Sure, it's more fun to natter away here, sticking pins in one another, but is it now time to come to the party and hang together on a solutuion? Or just all hang separately . . .?

Shark Inlet said...

Ann, the information was off topic because it didn't address the question that you and Lisa and Julie claimed it addressed. Sort of like asking a person what soap they use in the shower and if they answer "KCBX". The choice to make such an answer lies with the answerer, but the answer is just plain not relevant.

You are also welcome to comment on faults in the current taxonomy of penguin species but please don't expect any of us to think it relevant to the sewer or the LOCSD issues.

As to the auditor's report ... were you at the meeting? Did they allow individual members of the public to ask the auditor questions? Did they allow for public comment to the board on that matter?

Anonymous said...

Churadog,

It is easy to sit in a stadium of (pick your favorite team and sport) and cheer on your side when it is filled only with fellow supporters.

Lions and Christians come to mind when one attends a CSD meeting. No thanks!

What has now evolved because of this intimidation factor is a lack of attendence by any but the most loyal advocates of the current CSD. And this seems to have fueled an unexpectant side effect, a sort of lost synergy due to no fuel being added to the fire, i.e. no real opposition, except a few insider squables.

This lost synergy seems to have led to an unsettling of the CSD. They get positive feed back at their meetings yet sense that the community may not be sufficiently on board with the direction they are going. Quite a quandry!

Anonymous said...

Hi Ann,

"the person calling himself “Richard LeGros” " here!.

Gee, my new title reminds me of "the artist formerly know as Prince" monkier.

I have been reading yours and others postings. Why you just want to continue with the "shame and blame" campaign is just silly. Meanwhile, the LOCSD is burning down around you.

How about some discussion about how to save the LOCSD?

It is now obvious that my spread sheets have brought the CSD's financial mess to the the light of public awareness. The CSD obvioulsy agrees that my numbers are sound for in the last month not they or any one of you have tried to verify, deny or correct my numbers and projections. The best the CSD can do is to insult me?

So intead of wasting all our time with meaningless blogs on what I or the old CSD might have done, try to focus on todays events.

Warmest Regards,

"the person calling himself “Richard LeGros”"

PS: You can drop my title, for I am Richard LeGros. Just ask Lisa as she has been emailing me after I sent her the spread sheets from my e-mail address.

PPS: When you were working the cash register at the bookstore in SLO, what was my response to the question you asked me?

Anonymous said...

Anon above:
This is an excellent point. I have written pretty much every agency involved over the months to let them know, in my opinion, the people at these meetings are not representative of the community as a whole. The responses I get indicate everyone understands this. That's why I feel it's imperative that those of us not represeted in this, as Lacy Cooper loves to call it "representative democracy" continue to express via e mail or letters our feelings; our idieas; our support or lack thereof of this CSD, the Blakelee propsal; etc. All agencies seem very receptive of these comments.

Spectator said...

Schicker sez in her letter, posted on Ann's site by Ann:


"Dear Mr.Legros:

Thank you for your letter. Unfortunately for all of us, and despite my repeated pleadings, no cash analysis of any type was ever done during 2005"

And then Ann quotes Spectator-the-nit picker (me):

Spectator sez:"So what is going on here? Lisa says there was no cashflow analysis, and Tacker says there was one!"

And then ANN (THE believer, but NOT reader) sez:

"I believe Lisa said that she asked for and was unable to get copies of the cash-flow anaysis. That's different than saying there were no cashflow analysis."

Whatsamatta you? One martini and you start spinning? No matter at all, we ALL know you spin, but can you knit? Like fine long colorful striped socks for an old nit picking man (me)?

Confucius sez: Many men spin, but few men knit!

*PG-13 said...

Publicworks > fear and loathing in Los Osos ....but...... at least it's nice to see everybody's talking to each other!!!! just one big happy family…... Perhaps all the directors & ex's should get red phones? Imagine ---
Julie.. Lisa.. Richard.. Lisa.. Richard.. Lisa.. Julie.. Richard.. Julie.. Richard.. Julie.. Richard.


Can’t recall ever laughing so hard while reading this blog.

Spectator > ...publicworks with a brillient scenario, well written, but with no substance.

No substance? No substance? We need substance to post on this blog?

Thankfully, Spectator momentarily misplaced his humor but quickly found it again buried in Mike’s theatre of the absurd.

One more thing. What exactly IS an open letter? And why am I the only one who hasn’t received one?

Shark Inlet said...

The anonymous individual who writes about folks who disagree with the "new" board being uninterested in attending meetings these days makes a good point.

I would like to offer a slight variation on that idea.

I think that at first those who disagree with the actions of the "new" board did show up and did make comments about the likely effect of various possible board actions (interestingly enough many of those comments were dead on accurate). I believe that these folks learned (over time) that the "new" board is simply uninterested in listening. This raises the natural question "why should I go if they'll ignore what I say and if I have to suffer rude comments?"

Maybe they are even thinking that it would be best to not help the board out by making comments. After all, if stupid actions will cause the whole house of cards to fail sooner, maybe it is best to let the board do what they want. Personally this is not my approach, but it would be very understandable.

Another thought comes to mind. Maybe the LOCSD board shouldn't view public comment as the only opportunity for input. Maybe if they read and carefully consider open letters (such as "Richard"s) and if they read and consider postings here and letters to the editor of various papers ... maybe if they try to listen to folks who aren't already in their small group of die-hard supporters they would make some wiser decisions.

Your comment about hanging together or hanging separately was a nice touch ... my question is this ... why should I hang out with people who are being rude to me and making decisions that cost me money and are unwilling to listen to my complaints?

*PG-13 said...

Spectator > If Richard is wrong or any strange stuff, not logically explainable, went on that cost me personally this hunk of debt, I will hold him accountable. But there is a big difference between him and these two women. He will accept responsibility, will come up with logical answers, will answer hard questions, and they will not.

Audit trails are usually pretty clear. (I say clear cuz nothin in this fiasco is ever what it seems and clear is not part of our vocabulary.) So despite Spectator’s natterings about 2%/10/60 bill paying and the associated savings even while the ship is sinking (Get real! This is an extraordinary stretch for rationalization) I do agree with him that sorting out what was paid to whom, when and when it was cashed should fall out in the books pretty clearly. I appreciate (read: respect) Richard LeGross stepping forward and participating in this exchange but I have to wonder whether 'Richard’s logical answers to hard questions' are quite as unbiased and responsibility accepting as Spectator assumes. Mr LeGross’ posts suggest some unwillingness to clearly explain and accept responsibility. As I noted in yesterday’s thread (Start Yer Engines, Part HUH?), I find Mr. LeGross’ explanations often disingenuous and interestingly revisionist. His statement regarding his reason for forcing TRI-W construction was ONLY to halt pollution as soon as possible so as to bring Los Osos into compliance with Porter Cologne stretches credulity.

In response to Churadogs question, "why did you vote to pound millions into the ground weeks before a recall election that was all about getting a fair hearing for a different (out of town) plan?"

Richard LeGross (July 11 blog entry)> I never wrote I would be violating the "law" if I did not vote to start the waste water project; I wrote that we (Los Osos) are acting (polluting) IN VIOLATION of the LAW (Porter Cologne Act). I voted to start the waste water project to bring Los Osos into compliance with the LAW (Porter Cologne Act – ed) as quickly as possible at the least cost to the community. You know this as I have written my response to your "why" question several times before.

Then the very next day Mr Legross is quoted> “. . . . I claim sooner for if the WWP had not commenced, the LOCSD would not have received the $6.4 million SRF draw nor would you or the new BOD had the 3.9 million in SRF money to use when you and the BOD took control. In short, the LOCSD would have been facing bankruptcy much earlier (around March.) . . . “

His story seems a little convoluted. He now seems in agreement with at least the first part of my analysis of yesterday:

*PG-13 (July 11 blog entry)> Reviewing your previous posts it is very clear - both explicitly by your language and implicitly by context - that you felt legally bound to proceed with TRI-W to protect the SRF loan and fulfill construction contracts. To now suggest otherwise is disingenuous… No, your primary concern was not pollution compliance. It was contract compliance. And if it is shown that contract compliance was not a necessary reason for spending so much money so quickly then bias is the only other alternative….

Given the further developments being discussed here today there might well be more than simple bias. By his own admission Mr LeGross had some fore-knowledge of the state of of the books. Which probably explains why he was the only one in the world capable of creating those spreadsheets. IF it is shown SRF funds were prematurely drawn or inappropriately applied to cover (read: hide) holes or inconsistencies in the CSD budget accounts, this becomes a very serious issue of fiduciary mismanagement. Given all the other crap floating around – plus the now documented lack of appropriate accounting processes and sufficiently detailed pre-recall CSD records necessary to prove mismanagment - we might not ever know the truth about this. But some full and totally clear disclosure – without spin or bias or revisionism – is in order. We're talkin fairly large amounts of money here. Does independent auditor sound appropriate? Accounting books can be cooked and spun, much like scientific facts, but they offer a better place to start than he said/she said and then he did so she did.

Spectator said...

PG-13 winds up with the following commentary:

"Given the further developments being discussed here today there might well be more than simple bias. By his own admission Mr LeGross had some fore-knowledge of the state of of the books. Which probably explains why he was the only one in the world capable of creating those spreadsheets. IF it is shown SRF funds were prematurely drawn or inappropriately applied to cover (read: hide) holes or inconsistencies in the CSD budget accounts, this becomes a very serious issue of fiduciary mismanagement. Given all the other crap floating around – plus the now documented lack of appropriate accounting processes and sufficiently detailed pre-recall CSD records necessary to prove mismanagment - we might not ever know the truth about this. But some full and totally clear disclosure – without spin or bias or revisionism – is in order. We're talkin fairly large amounts of money here. Does independent auditor sound appropriate? Accounting books can be cooked and spun, much like scientific facts, but they offer a better place to start than he said/she said and then he did so she did."

Well, there is supposed to be an independent court required audit underway, and it was supposed to start a long time ago. I have no idea what is happening or if it is still being obstructed.

Anyone involved in book keeping could have produced the spreadsheets that Richard did. Anyone using excel could do the same. It is not rocket science! He went to the CSD office and got information which he then used. He also used the previous budget projections that he had knowledge of and are posted on the LOSOSOSCSD.ORG web site. Cash flows are speculative in their nature. They are based upon "what if".

If anyone is basing their speculation on the old worn concept: "The former LOCSD Board of directors (3) started construction when they KNEW the recall would be sucessful and wanted to make sure that the next board would be LOCKED into a project that they could not stop. Or at least, would not be so STUPID as to stop it.", history has shown otherwise. 1. Yes, they were so stupid to stop it. 2. That person should be immediately hired as the oracle of Los Osos in that THEY KNEW the recall would succeed. 3. If anyone expects representatives to do NOTHING when the District was founded to create a sewer system, and it is fully funded, permitted, contracts let, 20 million of property owners bond money has been used to develop plans etc. on the basis of the POSSIBILITY of a recall?

I need this person. I will go to the track for a week with a couple of grand in my pocket. That person will tell me how to bet. I will give that person 90% of the winnings and come back with more money than you could ever imagine, or at least checks made out to the IRS and us.

By the way, I am still looking for Crosby's report and comments. Since you have the documentation on theis 04/05 report, please pass it on. I would like to see how things changed from the previous year (03/04) which Crosby also produced.
I felt the election could go either way by fifty votes. I was close in my prediction. AND I am no oracle.

*PG-13 said...

Regarding my statement that "By his own admission Mr LeGross had some fore-knowledge of the state of the books. Which probably explains why he was the only one in the world capable of creating those spreadsheets."

Granted, that last bit was a tad bombastic.

To which Specatator responds> Anyone involved in book keeping could have produced the spreadsheets that Richard did. Anyone using excel could do the same. It is not rocket science! He went to the CSD office and got information which he then used. He also used the previous budget projections that he had knowledge of and are posted on the LOSOSOSCSD.ORG web site. Cash flows are speculative in their nature. They are based upon "what if".

Not sure whether Spectator agrees with Richard LeGross having some fore-knowledge of the state of the books. That should be a fair conclusion. He certainly should have and his words since indicate that he saw a budgetary crisis coming - sooner rather than later.

Now the issue about Richard and the spreadsheets.

(May I call you/him Richard? That seems, so, what, informal? But it's a darn bit better than 'He-who-goes-by-the-name-Richard-LeGross'. Thank you for clarifying that! ;-)

Oh yes, the spreadsheets. Yes, Spectator is certainly correct. Spreadsheets aren't rocket science. Not even close. Any body can do them. Assuming they have the data to put into them. All of which was apparently easily available at the CSD office. Cool. But am I the only one who finds it curious that this data has been so easily available yet neither board seemed to have a clue about their finances? Like Spec says, this isn't rocket science. So why is it such hot breaking news to so many? I admit, I'm late to this dance, I've only recently started attending meetings and I only know about much that went on before through this blog correspondence. Can I presume that fancy pretty charts like Richard's spreadsheets were commonly used to report financial status at CSD board meetings since ...? Are those spreadsheets and reports posted on the CSD website? (I've looked and couldn't find the content you say is posted there.) If the data is freely avaiable and putting it into a spreadsheet so easy, why then is so much of this disclosure now such a surprise and so controversial? I imagine some of those old charts might be helpful right now. They probably would have been especially helpful to the new board when they landed in the hot seat.

Spectator, more on that> If anyone is basing their speculation on the old worn concept: "The former LOCSD Board of directors (3) started construction when they KNEW the recall would be sucessful and wanted to make sure that the next board would be LOCKED into a project that they could not stop. Or at least, would not be so STUPID as to stop it.", history has shown otherwise....

Goooooolllly, silly me. I guess I was sorta thinking along those lines. Not that these were the only considerations for moving so aggressively on TRI-W in the days preceding the recall. But dang, were we sharing the same planet during those days? Tagging that an old worn concept seems a bit odd. I thought it was at the core of much of the discussion.

Regarding my powers of divination. Uh, yes, (1) I kinda thought the recall election had a chance, and (2) if elected I did think the new board would probably stop the TRI-W construction (that wasn't even hard, isn't that what they said they were going to do?) and (3) no, I don't expect elected representatives to do NOTHING. So while their actions didn't surprise me they did disappoint me. Isn't there still some fair controversy about whether they really needed to do it? Isn't that too at the core of these on-going financial disclosure issues?

So, I'll be happy to go to the track with you and gamble with your money. Oh boy, when do we leave?

Spectator said...

To PG-13:

Thanks for your opinion and the time spent writing it. Nobody in the public had any idea the finances of the board were so bad until Crosby let the cat out of the bag at the June 8 meeting early THIS June with his comments. When it came out two weeks before the meeting that CDF had not been paid (Bleskey forgot was the excuse) and the the LOCSD had transfered reserves meant to improve the fire house to pay it in a scramble, we were starting to get an idea. At the same time a court ordered audit by an independent auditor was not occuring to my knowledge. When it was found out that even more reserves had been transferred to an operating account, and found out that the lawyers had been and were reaping $120,000 a month, in addition to the $520,000 put into an escrow account for Ripley, what had happened was obvious along with future effects. The question now is will they have to default on loans to stay in business? The other question is how many bills are way past due, and the effect of non payment.

At this time I wonder if the pool money that was supposed to be held in trust even exists, or if it has been transferred back to the county.

Now it is common for goverments to borrow money from accounts and then return the money to avoid paying interest on a short term outside loan. But it appears that money has been internally borrowed when there is no chance of repayment. The LOCSD only receives limited income in the form of property taxes, water receipts, and grants.

As of Oct 1,1905 the reserves were intact, but as of now have been spent. More will come out on this, the court audit will appear sometime in the future and then we ALL will know the exact state of finances at an exact time for the LOCSD. We will also know the exact status of funds as of Oct 1,2005 when the new board took over.

I need an oracle to got to the track with...........lose one race with a two dollar bet, and home we go! I can't handicap.

Churadogs said...

Spectator sez:"Well, there is supposed to be an independent court required audit underway, and it was supposed to start a long time ago. I have no idea what is happening or if it is still being obstructed."

Obstructed? If you're refering to the auditor that was supposed to be appointed by Judge Piquet (to sort out SRF funds from other funds, apparently Piquet delayed appointeing the auditor for three months.I gather that's he's now at work and should have his report shortly, but nobody I've spoken to knows why the judge didn't appoint whoever he was supposed to appoint as quickly as possible, given the gravity of the situation. Guess you'd have to ask Judge Piquet?

Meantime, to Mike Green, gone to see the Pirates movie yet. Arrrrrgggghhhhhhh. A hoot!

Anonymous said...

Sheesh cash flow analysis? its not the cash flow its the budget. The Local Agency Investment Fund is a gigantic pool that has become so murky it is like swimming through
row-to-row kelp beds a Sargasso like prospect.

Bleskey sez its the color of money. I wonder if it is due to a lack of any signifcant staff and a GM who must spend most every minute outside on his cell phone smoking those coffin nails trying to resolve crisis after crisis.

We seem to all be in that murky LAIF pool together ... Help is there a "doctor' in the house ... a "dentist" oh, sorry, I mean a couple of ace accountants / financial types with quick books software, touche and ross, and excel spreadsheets at their finger tips in the house who can work through that murky pool and reconstruct the budget ...

Anonymous said...

What does the 'color of money' mean?

How about 'show me the money'.

PublicWorks said...

Trivia question for the day:

Are there more lawyers or auditors that the property owners are paying for?

Anonymous said...

Is it true?? Los Osos will be held accountable for polluting the gound water. Is the no account Dan Blesky still Los Osos's GM? Maybe the State will save some $$$ and turn Los Osos into all esturary!!!

Great Grey said...

Let's clear up a few things, shall we?
The Waste Water Project was started at Tri-W in compliance with
regulations mandated by the State of California, which issued a "start-by" date that, if ignored would have precluded LOCSD from receiving *any* SRF funds for the project. At the time construction began, LOCSD was solvent, and was well within the FY05-06 Budget.

The check from the State of California was deposited 08/29/05; $6 million was placed in a trust account that earned higher interest, and $486,144.00 was placed in an account entitled, "Waste Water Checking."

Schicker stated, "“What I forgot to say in the letter [the previous posting] but you can put in your blog if you want, is Richard LeGros signed the checks to contractors, paying them out of SRF [State Revolving Funds] that were not designated for them – the SRF accepts invoices in arrears[?], thus: [1] First disbursement was CSD reimbursement of bond money spent on planning and design – it was to be used for this repayment. [2] Contractors could not legally start billing until one month after notice to proceed – i.e. NTP was August 22, their first bill was for Sept 22, then should not have been paid until Oct 22 [3] Bruce [Buehl, former general manager], Richard signing checks paid MM [Montgomery Mechanical] and Barnard [construction companies] as soon as they got the first check – with not having sent any invoices up to the state as required. They also violated board policy and resolution on first disbursement (which was designated to replenish CSD funds for planning and design) – can be found in July 2005 minutes. This is all documented."

This is pure and simple baloney.
LOCSD did pay some bills prior to the receipt of the SRF funds, and was reimbursed for those costs.
All other payments made after the receipt of the SRF funds, and up to September 30, 2005, were verified by an independent project manager, and the **paid bills** were provided to any agency requiring them.
At NO time was the District in dire financial straits up to September 30, 2005, nor was there any thought of dipping into MtBE funds, as these funds had been court-ordered to be used only for the *direct* improvement of water quality.

Time was of the essence, insofar as getting started with the Project. These were State mandates.

With the change in the make up of the Board, General Manager Bruce Buel was placed on Administrative Leave, and in his place, one Daniel Bleskey was appointed Interim General Manager, at a cost that was 250% MORE than the salary for Mr. Buel. Bleskey brought on Board the law firm of Van Blarcom, Leibold, McClendon and Mann; at exorbinant costs- $250 per hour, and finally Burke, Williams & Sorensen were retained, after paying settlements of $185,603.86 ***FROM SRF FUNDS*** to them, with promises from Bleskey to pay an additional $302,396.14 (Still payola) over the course of one year.
THESE lawyers are in the $250-$260
per hour league, with some of them billing up to 22 hours in one day!

So, I ask you: When you have an Interim General Manager who has *under oath*, admitted to having NO accounting education, and you have a BOD who is hell-bent on "Moving the Sewer" no matter what cost, whst do YOU think is going to happen to the financial health of this little District?

Oh, and Bleskey fired the last remaining person with fiduciary and fiscal responsibility- Pat McClenahan- and in her place hired TWO people: a CPA at $110 per hour and an Interim Administrative Service Manager at $5,000 per month, 20% MORE than Pat was making.

And you wonder why the District is out of money?

No, Julie and Lisa's little smokescreens are VERY transparent, even though their running of the Los Osos Community Services District is NOT.

Mike Green said...

Ann, could you send me an e-mail?
click on my name. Thanks.

Churadogs said...

Great Grey sez:"Time was of the essence, insofar as getting started with the Project. These were State mandates."

And the Dec 2005 date that Schicker mentions? More balony?

Also, if I'm not mistaken, McClenahan is in "lawsuit" now concerning her employment (or unemployment) so her record will be part of that suit and until that time, what she or Bleskey did or didn't do vis a vis fiduciary management do will remain under wraps as a "Personnel" matter. (Unless some anonymous poster is telling tales out of confidential school here?)

Anonymous said...

FYI:

It is the employer who cannot disclose confidential personnel information. The employee can disclose any information regarding themselves that they wish.

Shark Inlet said...

Yes ... but I wonder whether Pat (for example) would be allowed to make public the depositions given by Blesky and others before the conclusion of the court case without some sort of approval.

In other words, we can probably get Pat's story, but the CSD can always keep us from finding out what their side of the story is as long as they have the ability to drag the hearing on and on and on. Even then, I rather doubt that Dan would say "yeah, Julie told me to fire Pat" or "yeah, I knew that the SRF funds could not be used to pay Al's lawyer for work done on Measure B but I told Pat to do it anyway."

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that the independent auditor ordered by Judge Piquet? is now at work. Report slated for the July 25th (last I heard) hearing.

if he/she is any good they should be able to shed some light on the SRF loan disbursement and how it wa spent.

Hopefully, he/she will be objective. So, perhaps it is best to wait for that before skewering the CSD.

The wisdom of hiring of Dan Blesky is now an open question even within the board. The new proposal for financial rescue even includes the option of finding a different company to manage the CSD.

oxpictus said...

The depositions of both McClenahan and Bleskey were a matter of public record and were available on the website of The Tribune around February 24th.

Anonymous said...

The Independent Audit of the Waste Water (SRF) fund is on the Tribune's blog, if you are interested. It supplied information from 2/15/06 through approximately 4/6/06.

Anonymous said...

In addition to that information provided to the AG office by the former ASM. Everything she provided was absolutely on target and completely correct.

Anonymous said...

I take umbrage at even the phrase, " ...wisdom of hiring Dan
Bleskey..."

There was absolutely NO wisdom shown when he was hired. This guy was the supreme loser from day 1.

Of course, it was our own Julie (Queen of ...whatever) who hand
selected Bleskey.( Make of this, as you wish.)

Churadogs said...

Anonny-moose sez:'Anonymous said...
FYI:

It is the employer who cannot disclose confidential personnel information. The employee can disclose any information regarding themselves that they wish.

9:51 AM, July 14, 2006 "

and I'm sure the employee's lawyer has told the employee in no uncertain terms to ZIP IT until the case is heard and resolved.

Shark Inlet said...

oxpictus,

Are those depositions from Pat's suit against the LOCSD or from a lawsuit of contractors vs LOCSD? If it's the second, the lawyers on both sides would take only peripheral interest in the question of whether the payments were legal or not.

Anonymous said...

It is my understanding that the deposition given by Bleskey and the statement taken from McClenahan were in connection with how much money remained, of the initial SRF first payment from the State to the CSD. Bleskey had stated that there was far less left, than McClenahan stated that there was. The Audit recently performed on the Wastewater Fund coincides with statements given by McClenahan to the A/G's office in February.