Thursday, December 15, 2016
Sewer rate hikes aside, if the City & Caesar are willing to go to these lengths to cover up dated Bicentennial financial records, what else is being hidden?
Remember, the final vote on yearly sewer rate increases is tonight: Bump? Hike? If sewer rates are higher, then that's an increase, by definition.
Meanwhile, keeping up with the vandals is a wearying task, indeed. They molt, they swarm, and all I have is this Kay Jewelers fly-swatter.
Following is a letter I've submitted to the News and Tribune, and which I'll probably read aloud tonight, assuming council doesn't postpone its meeting to watch a high school basketball game, seeing as diversity in New Albany is guaranteed so long as everyone went to the same school.
For another letter writer's tale of dithering, go here.
In 2013, New Albany city councilman Bob Caesar was chairman of New Albany’s Bicentennial Commission.
More than 600 days ago, I asked Caesar for financial records detailing the committee’s activities. I specifically sought details about the “official” Bicentennial book, “Historic New Albany, Indiana: By the River’s Edge.”
How was it contracted, published and sold? What is the status of the Redevelopment Commission’s loan, without which the book wouldn’t have been published at all?
Supposedly 5,000 Bicentennial books were published at a cost of $144,000, or $28 per book; to this day, they’re routinely gifted by Mayor Jeff Gahan at ribbon cuttings and public ceremonies.
If books remain unsold, how many are there, and where are they being stored? Who paid for the ones that Gahan gifts?
At various points, Caesar confirmed publicly that he would make available this information, and in a 2015 e-mail, he conceded the records were in his possession, “Upstairs under a lot of stuff.”
Naturally, I’ve been stonewalled ever since.
Earlier in 2016, when I reminded Caesar of his obligation to the taxpayers, he imperiously told me to file an open records request with City Hall. I did, and was stalled by city attorney Shane Gibson for almost five months before this answer arrived: “The city does not possess the above referenced items.”
Sadly, this isn’t the first time our mayor, his team and his political allies have seen to it that information like this is withheld. If they’ll willing to go to these lengths to cover up dated Bicentennial financial records, what else is being hidden?
For a more detailed rendering than the newspaper's arbitrary length standards allow, see these previous posts:
(1 of 2): It has been 600 days since I asked Bob Caesar to show us the Bicentennial accounts, but at last, an entirely unsatisfactory answer has been proffered.
(2 of 2): It's been 600 days, and Bob Caesar and the city of New Albany continue to stonewall a legitimate request for Bicentennial Commission records. Can't someone just tell us about the books?