One who intends to leave others better off for his having existed.

3/26/14

Can the Civil Rights Museum Contract be Nullified, if City Council finds Yvonne Johnson as having a Conflict of Interest on the vote?

I believe Yvonne Johnson should have been recused from deliberations and voting on the Civil Rights Museum issue, for the same reasons she should have been recused for Skip's Bessemer Center deal.

A direct financial interest by Yvonne Johnson in the Renaissance Shopping Center Greensboro City Council Vote

http://hartzman.blogspot.com/2013/06/a-direct-financial-interest-by-yvonne.html

From yesterday's legal opinion;


I believe Yvonne voted to enrich Skip Alston and Earl Jones, who she has a financial interest via the Simkins Pac, and Skip and Earl stand to profit from the museum after the debt is paid off via the City of Greensboro's bailout, which Yvonne voted for; 

Hello Mr. Hartzman: Below are some of the answers to the questions you have regarding the Civil Rights Museum.

Does the Museum’s Landlord stand to earn income from the property under any scenario?

"Possibly, if their museum tour/ticket sales increase."

http://hartzman.blogspot.com/2013/09/hello-mr-hartzman-below-are-some-of.html
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"Shah-Khan determined that former mayor and current council member Yvonne Johnson did not have a conflict of interest on the museum vote, which involved fellow Simkins PAC and ICRCM members Alston and Jones. Johnson was listed as a manager on ICRCM documents, before having herself unlisted and then advocating for and voting on the “forgivable” loan.

Shah-Khan’s decision not to recommend that Johnson recuse herself from the Museum vote was striking. After all, Shah-Khan had ruled that former Mayor Robbie Perkins could not vote on a pass through subsidy for Roy Carroll from Guilford County because Perkins owned property (of which he apparently was not paying the mortgage payment) in Carroll’s Centre Pointe building.

If the city can’t get any of the money back, I believe Shah-Khan and some current City Council members may be partly responsible for losing $750,000 of everyone else’s money.

http://www.yesweekly.com/triad/article-17199-on-greensbororss-civil-rights-museum.html

Yvonne should have been excused for belonging to a PAC with Skip Alston which paid Skip's kin and possibly Yvonne's, and for being listed as a manager of one of the Civil Rights Museum's legal entities.
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"Mayor and Council:

...What must be considered is if a conflict of interest exists either under N.C.G.S. §§160A-75 or 14-234, or the City of Greensboro’s Charter, or the City’s Conflict of Interest Policy. ...Direct or indirect benefits are considered under the City’s conflict of interest policy and typically involve financial interests for the Councilmember, his or her immediate family, their partner, or an organization which employs or is about to employ the member, family member or partner...

Mujeeb

S. Mujeeb Shah-Khan
CITY ATTORNEY
OFFICE OF THE CITY ATTORNEY
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What's important here is when Mujeeb states; "What must be considered is if a conflict of interest exists either under N.C.G.S. §§160A-75 or 14-234, or the City of Greensboro’s Charter, or the City’s Conflict of Interest Policy."

Before this letter, Mujeeb only quoted §160A-75 as "What must be considered".

Ethical Responsibilities of the Governing Body of the City of Greensboro
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As Yvonne Johnson was listed as a manager of the ICRCM, and is a Simkins PAC member along with Skip Alston, and the PAC endorses City Council candidates, she should have been recused from deliberations and votes on this issue.


Mayor Robbie Perkins, whose 2011 campaign paid $3,000 for the Simkins PAC endorsement, was the honorary chairman of a recent ICRCM/Simkins golf tournament. Mr. Perkins advocated Greensboro taxpayer money be spent to save the museum, which would let some Simkins PAC members retain fiduciary control over the museum’s finances.
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"No member shall be excused from voting except upon matters involving the consideration of the member's own financial interest or official conduct or on matters on which the member is prohibited from voting...

In all other cases, a failure to vote by a member who is physically present in the council chamber, or who has withdrawn without being excused by a majority vote of the remaining members present, shall be recorded as an affirmative vote..."

§ 160A‑75. Voting.
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"Any officer, department head or employee who has financial interest, direct or indirect, in any proposed contract with the city or in a proposed sale of any land, material, supplies, or services to the city or to a contractor supplying the city, shall make known that interest and shall refrain from voting upon or otherwise participating in the making of such contract or sale.

...Violation of this Section with the knowledge expressed or implied of the person or corporation contracting with or making a sale to the city shall render the contract void."

Sec. 4.131. - Conflict of interest: Greensboro Code of Ordinances, City Charter
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Compromised Fiduciaries: Conflicts of Interest in Government and Business

"The antithesis of conflicts of interest is the fiduciary principle: government and business actors are agents who are supposed to be acting for their principals, not for their own interests (or the interests of others besides their principals). Agents and principals not infrequently have conflicting interests; the agents have both the ability and the incentive to serve interests other than those of their principals, and they sometimes do so at their principals’ expense.1

Government officials ...have an obligation to deal openly and honestly with other people and to use prudence in dealing with other people’s property.

...When government is involved in bailing out or managing a business, the potential for conflicts is pervasive, and some of the conflicts may be intractable.

Government ethics law and corporate law on fiduciary duty both have as their objective to reinforce the fiduciary principle. Persons trusted with positions of responsibility are fiduciaries, charged with serving the interests of persons to whom they owe fiduciary duties, preferring those interests to any other interests.

Officials in all branches of government owe fiduciary obligations to the public...

Any time a government or corporate official acts (or does not act), he could be seeking to advance interests other than those he is supposed to be advancing. These illegitimate interests include self-interest narrowly construed; they also include interests of others with whom the official may feel personal or professional kinship, such as a former colleague, or someone similarly situated to the official or whose favor the official would like to curry. Some of these interests could be characterized as self-interest broadly construed...

The best counterweight to conflicts of interest is a strong commitment to personal and professional responsibility that empowers a business or government decisionmaker to overcome the motivation to advance interests other than those he is supposed to be advancing. Decisionmakers in business and in government should be firmly committed to principles of ethics, not just to obeying narrowly defined rules.

1. See Kathleen Clark, Do We Have Enough Ethics in Government Yet?
An Answer from Fiduciary Theory, 1996 U. ILL. L. REV. 57, 74 (“Numerous
courts have recognized the fiduciary obligation of government employees, even
in the absence of specific legislative or regulatory endorsements of such duties,
and these courts have imposed fiduciary-like remedies in response to violations
of the conflict and influence components of that obligation.”); see also Exec.
Order No. 12,674 § 101(a), 3 C.F.R. 215 (1990) (“Public service is a public
trust.”), as modified by Exec. Order No. 12,731, 3 C.F.R. 306 (1991) (codified at
5 U.S.C. §§ 7301, 7351, 7353 (2006)).

http://www.minnesotalawreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/HillPainter_PDF.pdf
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A Comparison of Hartzman's Yes Weekly Column on the Civil Rights Museum and the News and Record's

http://hartzman.blogspot.com/2014/03/a-comparison-of-hartzmans-yes-weekly.html

Dear Steve Bowden, Chairman of the George C. Simkins Jr. Memorial PAC

http://hartzman.blogspot.com/2013/08/dear-steve-bowden-chairman-of-george-c.html

Yvonne Johnson, Skip Alston and Robbie's self dealing vote for Skip's $150,000; Simkins PAC and money for family members

http://hartzman.blogspot.com/2013/10/yvonne-johnson-skip-alston-and-robbies.html

9 comments:

Hartzman said...

Did u understand my article today? Maybe it's u.

W.E. Heasley said...

George:

Good points.

Regarding fiduciary duties, it would appear that duties go beyond legislation. That is, a fiduciary needs to consider that even a hint of conflict of interest, even the slightest possible connection to a conflict of interest should be a signal.

The signal for the fiduciary means they surely need to follow legislation, but rather than trying to find ways that a situation is not a conflict of interest via legislation the fiduciary should be investigating ways that a situation might, may, could be a conflict.

For example:

(1) fiduciary X is faced with situation Y. X could then consult legislation L in such a way to find any possible way, only within legislative wording, that a conflict of interest is a non-conflict.

(2) fiduciary Q is faced with situation Y. Q consults legislation L in such a way to find any possible way, even beyond the wording of particular legislation, that a conflict is indeed a conflict.

Which leads to this question: which fiduciary would one want, X or Q?

Hartzman said...

My understanding is if the property pays off the tax credits and debt with the bailout money, the for profit entities go away and the owners of the Sit in Movement non profit own the property, and the exhibits, and won't have property tax obligations.

If the project goes cash flow positive, Skip and Earl can start taking salaries.

The non-profit could sell the property.

The non-profit could become a for profit.

It will be theirs to do what they want with it, after mismanaging the museum.

City Council will have bailed out members of the Simkins PAC, and the Simkins PAC helped put some of the Council in their seats.

Yvonne is in the Simkins PAC. Skip is the Treasurer of the PAC.

Both look like have paid family members from the PAC's assets.

If money changed hands to their kin while the PAC was under their control, Yvonne and Skip have a financial interest in each other.

Yvonne untied herself to the museum to advocate and vote for the museum bailout, which could enrich Skip.

Yvonne was endorsed by the Simkins PAC, whose Treasurer is Skip.

Skip stands to benefit from the museum via Yvonne's actions.

Yvonne stands to benefit from Skip's actions via the Simpkins PAC.

It's a conflict of interest.

According to the city charter, the vote/contract should be nullified by a Council vote.

Hartzman said...

"Any officer, department head or employee who has financial interest, direct or indirect, in any proposed contract with the city or in a proposed sale of any land, material, supplies, or services to the city or to a contractor supplying the city, shall make known that interest and shall refrain from voting upon or otherwise participating in the making of such contract or sale.

...Violation of this Section with the knowledge expressed or implied of the person or corporation contracting with or making a sale to the city shall render the contract void."

Sec. 4.131. - Conflict of interest: Greensboro Code of Ordinances, City Charter

Hartzman said...

Yvonne didn't refrain from voting.

Yvonne violated the Charter.

As Yvonne maintains power and her salary via help from the Simkins PAC, of which she is a controlling member with Skip, and was listed as a manager of the ICRCM, she has a conflict.

Hartzman said...

By retaining fiduciary control,
the City of Greensboro determined that Skip and Earl
could profit from the facility in the future via a taxpayer funded bailout.

Hartzman said...

If Greensboro's taxpayers pay off loans tied to bailing out Earl and Skip, which have nothing to do with saving the museum, as Allen seems to have no problem with by not saying so, either Allen doesn't know what he's talking about, or he is purposefully not telling some truth.

http://hartzman.blogspot.com/2014/03/news-and-record-editorial-board.html

Hartzman said...

I believe Allen has done a disservice by misinforming Greensboro's residents as to the messedupness of the current situation.

The answers to the initial set of questions wasn't "satisfactory".

Skip and Earl need to step away from the project.

The sustainability plan is completely unrealistic and Allen won't say so.

This is an example of why Greensboro is such a mess. Not only have some our leaders been corrupt, our news industry has less than informed their audiences of the situation, and the News and Record's Allen Johnson has advanced the priorities of some whose intentions have been less than above board, and who have deceived the public on multiple occasions.

I believe Allen has done a disservice to our community with this propaganda.

Hartzman said...

Greensboro's City Council/Staff knew the Civil Rights Museum was/is financially unsustainable in April, 2013

The city knew the museum could not not pay current liabilities and long term debt.

Greensboro's Manager and Legal Council let City Council vote to give the money to the museum, knowing the venture was unsustainable, and City Council left the same leadership in charge of the facility, right before the 2013 election.

Greensboro's City Council voted to leave Skip Alston and Earl Jones, now candidates for state office, in a position to profit from a taxpayer bailout of the museum.

http://hartzman.blogspot.com/2014/02/greensboros-city-councilstaff-knew.html