|Testimony to Pueblo City Council
Urban Renewal Authority and Convention Center Vender Fees
April 7, 2008
Madame President Barbara Vidmar and Distinguished Council Members,
My name is Dr. Alvin Rivera. My topic is "Urban Renewal Authority (URA) and the use of Vender Fees.
Urban Renewal Authority and Convention Center: This is a complex matter and due to time limitations on this Public Forum I may be unable to cover the scope of the problem. In attending the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) budget committee (March 10, 2008), I was perplexed that Larry Daveline, with his auditing firm of McPherson, Breyfogle, Daveline & Goodrich (MBDG), appeared to be serving as a consultant and auditor at the same time. It struck me as a "conflict of interest." How can he do both?
Further, on the same point, I wrote in my attached testimony (March 11, 2008) to the URA Board:
Further, why is the MBDG firm offering to reconstruct the 2007 audit? In fact, he is calling for breaking out the other URA project[s] from the Convention Center project. According to Mr. Daveline, "This standard of accounting procedure should have been followed in previous years." What's the deal? Consequently, by not following accounting procedures by separating the Convention Center's finances and the other URA finances has resulted in a co-mingling of Vendors Fees and other URA revenue streams.
This co-mingling of revenue streams makes it impossible to determine how the Vendor Fees have been spent. Is this illegal? I think the answer is yes.
In this same regard, is it a crime if there is a misuse of the Vendors fees?
It is my understanding that the Urban Renewal Authority has, over the years, accumulated a significant reserve of resources from the Vendor Fees. Through a Freedom of Information Records Request, I am requesting the records for the past three years of how the Pueblo Convention Center Vendor Fees have accumulated and been used.
A colleague of mine, Ted Freeman, has experienced resistance in getting of information he has requested, as well as many long unwarranted delays. I trust this quest will be honored in a timely fashion, consistent with the Open Records laws, and I believe in the end, the truth will be revealed and the "public interest" will be served.
I wrote to city attorney, Tom E. Jagger to request this information, but he is denying that the City Council or city government has any jurisdiction over the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) (letter of March 25, 2008). He wrote, "Any inquiry related to URA should be addressed to the Authority which is a separate body corporate and engages its own legal counsel."
Yet, in a review of the URA's Audited Financial Statements, December 31, 2006 and 2005, it reported, "Reporting Entity:"
The governing body of the Authority is appointed by City Council and the Authority is fiscally dependent on the City of Pueblo, Colorado (the City) inasmuch as the City has the ability to modify the decisions of the Authority's governing body. As such, the Authority is a discretely-presented component unit of the City of Pueblo, Colorado.
So, which is it?
Is the City Council going to continue to deny its role in accountability or is it going to step into the "batter's box" and hit a home run?
However you chose to argue the point, I am once again requesting through a Freedom of Information Act, the records for the past three years of how the Pueblo Convention Center Vendor Fees have accumulated and how they have been used. Please, no more delays. Thank you.
Peace, Alvin Rivera
Alvin D. Rivera
10 Sepúlveda Dr.