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Thread: Small Town Corruption?

  1. #1
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    Question Small Town Corruption?

    The following came to pass in the last few days in Martinsville, Virginia, home of the famed NASCAR Speedway. Are there similar problems with alleged corruption in other small southern towns, or is this just an isolated event in 2006?

    "Conscientious city resident pays off non-refundable deposit"
    by Bill Wyatt (Friday January 6, 2006 at 12:35pm) [martinsvilledaily.com]

    "In today's Martinsville Bulletin it was reported that the City of Martinsville had reserved space at the Berry Hill Resort in South Boston with a non-refundable deposit of $1,745, but the resort had refunded the money because a "private group took over the city's reservations." City Manager Dan Collins would not identify the group to the Bulletin, but we have learned who it is. Although we have not been given permission to release the involved party, we feel it is important to point out that the non-refundable commitment the city made was returned because a conscientious city resident paid off the amount in the interest of resolving a controversial issue and diminishing the embarrassment to new city manager Dan Collins who had recommended Council spend over $9,000 for a three-day retreat to discuss the financial distress of the City."
    http://www.martinsvilledaily.com


    January 6, 2006 Post #4 by "Joe Fridays" on the martinsvilledaily.com forum:

    "According to an initial release from the city manager's office, the money paid to the site of the proposed city retreat was non-refundable and then in another release he indicated the resort would refund the city's deposit when the retreat was canceled and another private group was able to obtain the use of the city's reservations.. According to a news item on the Martinsville Daily website today, the money was not refunded by the resort but was paid back by a concerned citizen to avoid further embarrassment to the city manager over his ill-advised retreat. Certainly this citizen has the best interests of the citizens of Martinsville at heart and is only trying to do damage control but if the report in the Martinsville Daily today is factual and true, therein lies another serious problem."

    1) If the press release from the city manager concerning the city receiving a "refund was false or misleading and he (the manager) knew there would be no refund coming from the resort and that the lost funds would be replaced by a private citizen, where does that place the integrity in his dealings with the citizens when controversal issues arise?"

    "2) This question would not have surfaced if, as the Daily reports, the original press releases from the city manager had admitted an error was made and a financial loss would be incurred by the city instead of saying the resort was accomodating the city and agreeing to refund a non-refundable deposit when this was false and misleading."

    "3) There is no shame in admitting an error. The shame occurs when the facts are concealed from the citizens and a misleading and, perhaps false, explanation is given to avoid EMBARRASSMENT!"

    "4) Not only does this "official" explanation suddenly take on a smell of "dead fish", the citizens also learn that the city manager's son is the resort manager! While a conflict of interest may not exsist, the appearance of such does."

    "5) If misleading and misinformation is present in this minor incident what can citizens expect from the city leader in the future regarding major controversial matters? This may be a minor incident but the implications are far greater than this issue."
    http://martinsvillemedia.com/forum/s...1196#post41196

    Last edited by ChiptBeef; 01-06-2006 at 09:10 PM. Reason: Update with urls.

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    Verification of facts.

    The story can be verified in the local newspaper article "City to bring retreat home" of January 6, 2005 at http://www.martinsvillebulletin.com under "Archive."

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    Re: Small Town Corruption?

    A local resident shares her opinion in a local January 8, 2006 editorial:

    Budget to tight for retreat

    "Why on earth would some of the Martinsville city council members and city department heads need to get away to a retreat to do their business? If they can't concentrate on matters at hand in their offices, what are they doing in these positions to start with? I though the city's budget was already tighter than a gridle stretched out on an elephant. I don't know why they are "stressed" out from being in the office... Maybe you need to find out how to cut your cell phones off, like school children have been instructed to do, therefore avoiding disruptions."

    "While the "getaway" total price tag of $9,266 doesn't sound too exhorbitant for 19 people and one motivational speaker, wouldn't it be better to help the economy at home instead of Sout Boston's economy? I'm glad to see that Councilman Terry Roop opposes the out-of-town excursion. The same objective can be accomplsihed in a meeting over donuts and coffee, in a local setting. And it will certainly be a lot cheaper."

    Kaye Grogan
    Fieldale, Virginia

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    Re: Small Town Corruption?

    There may be more corruption being swept under the rug. A relibale source, who is not willing to be identified out of fear of reprisal or retaliaton, has verified that retired Henry County, Virginia school board member Kelly Cecil has been allowed to retain his school board supplied lap-top computer, as well as his password that allows him access to confidential personnel and financial matters not accessible by the general public. Normally, retiring school board members are required to relinquish these items. Mr. Cecil was replaced by school board member Rudy Law in a November 8, 2005 election. It has been inferred that Mr. Law may have knowledge of this, but has not taken action to correct the situation.

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    Re: Small Town Corruption?

    There are also local allegations that Mr. Rudy Law, who runs "Rude Dog" auctions, ran auctions by contract for the Henry County School system and used to take some of the better and more valuable school property prior to the auctions and sell it privately for profit, in violation of his contract with the school system. Yet, he is now charged with the finances of the school system as a school board member for the same school district. Rudy Law should make out pretty well, now that he has an "inside" track to more school property.

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    Re: Small Town Corruption?

    I got the following details from our local paper, the Martinsville Bulletin. I can't post urls yet, but they have a web site with a short on-line edition. The stories about the former Bulletin reporters are not listed in their on-line edition. I'm sure everyone has complaints about government where they live. I think we've had more than our share of scandals over the years, though.

    "Clower indicted" - April 2, 2002: Sid Clower, a former local official, was sent to jail for criminal acts.

    "Clower released" - December 2, 2003: Sid Clower was released from jail after it was finally learned he stole more than $818,000 from local government.

    "Sterling: One more stop in career - Kentucky" - May 18, 2003: Wayne Sterling resigns from his economic development job after only 18 months making $200,000 a year, so he can retire in Kentucky.

    "Schools block reporter" - May 27, 2005: Hays Burchfield, a former Bulletin reporter, was served with no-trespass notices by law enforcement because he was found in unauthorized areas of local schools, talked to students without proper authorization and interfered with a bomb threat at one school.

    "Hairston resigns" - June 17, 2005: Douglas Hairston, a former Bulletin reporter, resigned from his job after printing a 1,170 word editorial in that paper called "Cancer in the community" attacking the president of a local media group, Media Six, Inc. and using threats of intimidation against the same individual.

    "Fore resigns from EDC" - October 17, 2005: Danny Fore resigns from his economic development job after only 11 months. He had just returned from a business trip to Germany. No information was released from his letter of resignation.

    "Why did it happen" - October 20, 2005: Local officials questioned why Danny Fore resigned from his $160,000 per year job. To this day, we still don't know why.

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    Re: Small Town Corruption?

    Nobody has heard anything publicly about the two former Bulletin reporters. There has still been no formal, public explanation why Danny Fore resigned from the Economic Development Corporation (EDC), which has deep ties to the local Chamber of Commerce. Now, the Executive Director of The Harvest Foundation (Harry Cerino) has resigned after allegations of impropriety were reported to the Internal Revenue Service. It may not be corruption, but it smells fishy.
    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win" - Mahatma Gandhi

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    Re: Small Town Corruption?

    Well, well, well.

    Although No one has made these allegations about me in any form other than from the cowardly shadows of Anonymity, and this forum must be so obscure that it has taken me 3 years to stumble upon it, I feel that I should set the record straight.
    Kelly Cecil by all accounts was an honest and honorable man, if he did indeed keep his laptop I have no knowledge of it. May he rest in peace, and enough said on this.
    As to the auctions I preformed for the schools before I was elected, I won those contracts through the bid process, everything was handled by the facilities director, everything was doccumented and recorded. Anything that I took from the Schools I bought at public auction like anyone else.
    If you have any questions you can call me at 276 629 5550.

    Rudy Law

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    Re: Small Town Corruption?

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    Welcome to the site Rudy. I'm glad you can set the record straight.
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