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Thursday, February 21, 2013

POOR STEWARDSHIP OF MONETARY FUNDS IN CUMBERLAND, MARYLAND

POOR STEWARDSHIP OF MONETARY FUNDS IN CUMBERLAND, MARYLAND

Here is my ongoing report which is simply a way to portray the lack of proper stewardship for our collective taxes as spent by the people herein so documented.

I was asked to share this poor stewardship of funds before the current investigation of one man listed herein, so that further opened my eyes to carefully examine this particular example in the paperwork enclosed.

The City of Cumberland is now to pay these fees for H.V.A.C. upgrades from October 12, 2010 on a building that was owned by the city and leased by The Western Maryland Health System and utilized as the former Memorial Campus, and was managed by Ridgecrest Management until May 31, 2012.

It was well known that W.M.H.S. was building a new hospital, and that the city would be encumbered with this building once vacated.

It was also well known long before that Ridgecrest had shown interest in purchasing this property as well, and let it be known there had been a long standing relationship with this management company several years back as well.

The minutes from the meeting (listed below) clearly illustrate the first statement. 

This entire debacle will demonstrate and unveil the flaws and perhaps even greed and lack of accountability for huge sums of money...TAX PAYER MONEY...how does this show any leadership or vision on our local political level?

Now a very short time later we are tearing the building down!

I also have clearly found so far at least two examples where indeed Ridgecrest Investments of Frederick, Maryland had a future purchase interest, and had a contract so affording them the first offer if placed on the market, and I think this to may be a further sticking point in many that really just further convolutes this entire lack of the proper stewardship of our tax dollars, and perhaps wrong doing on many levels as well.

We as an entire country were already immersed into a deep financial recession / depression and this type of stewardship with our tax monies that is simply and bluntly not acceptable! 

All the documents are enclosed herein or linked for your own very close personal inspection as well.

You may easily follow the dates, names of individuals, companies, etc, as that is our job as citizens anyway, and perhaps you can see mistakes and/or connections that are questionable at least if not simply ridiculous in nature.

The proposal appears to have simply passed with little to no discussion at the meeting and from only six days of the date of the written proposal itself, which was recommended urgently by a Mr. John Chapman in the memorandum enclosed.

I would have expected that this be discussed at length in previous meetings, and unless I am mistaken, that discussion never happened.

On a county level recently I attended an emergency measure and I appreciate the efficiency yet hastiness in which we all proceeded on a county and city issue which was a county measure to what was an excellent outcome in the new laws quick efficient passage.

If I am speaking, rest assured I have taken action as always and in the bath Salts case it was all legal and aggressive and proactive with many letters, and I think this issue is going to continue to be the exact same battle it has been, slow and steady with great progress, and ultimately a victory for all of our citizens.

I had many local, state, and federal politicians and other government officials and agencies agencies, and most importantly the citizens behind my shared views, because I wrote them all, all the way to our President, because that is where serious life threatening problems should start to be addressed.

I could care less who got the ball rolling so to speak to stomp the garbage of chemicals out of town, however what I am impressed with is the speed and efficiency in which things can happen and most importantly that we all got that ball rolling together fast. faster then what was headed towards us.

Vision offers prevention through its inherent attribute of being pro active if you have the passion and belief and faith to stand up a use your truthful moral compass and therefore voice.

Not by speaking alone, but always and ultimately only by action when seeking to accomplish anything at all in this life.

It is too easy to offer up the money and therefore a signed contract to the only bidder on a job that perhaps never should have been done to start with.

Who professionally decided that this was such a thing of dire need that was a separate and outside party to the entire transaction?

In a small town we all kind of do know one another or at least exist in a world of one degree of separation, but for crying out loud, so it may be that we interact in business transactions in several various ways with folks that we know, and in a recent case in Cumberland, Maryland, we have men currently under criminal investigation by C3I for theft, and one of them is on this paper work.

How can you not further question this poor stewardship of funds without a fine tooth comb?

Just knowing one man is being scrutinized and is mentioned herein these documents that involve large amounts of money is eye popping enough.

The paper work is here to scrutinize and decide for yourself where the blame lays as well as what its respective punishment(s) should be for whatever has occurred, however one thing for certain is that anyway you slice it or dice it this is another modern financial atrocity to us, the tax payers!.

Concerning critical analysis of these types of transactions, it is truly a part of our job as the ever vigilant citizens we shall be, where ever we each may live in this country, and it is this both right and privilege to be a part of this beautiful checks and balances system on a personal level.

I was asked to reveal this poor stewardship of tax money by a close friend, who also has a close friend in local politics.

We do not speak perhaps as often as we like, but we speak with depth most usually.

I will not state names, but I will say that there is great scrutiny at every level, and there is a core of smart, patient, studious, local citizens that are doing their part to no longer tolerate the ways this city has operated that has kept us stagnant for far too long.

I have no idea at all if this instance is being investigated currently, nor do I mean to imply such or even that it should be inspected under the criminal microscope at all.

I do want you, the reader, to investigate and give thought to most importantly, not letting money ever be thrown away so uselessly again.

When you do the mathematics in real life, essentially each tax payer just got robbed of $ 100 with a kick to the gut to boot.

I do not know about you but I do not like playground politics! 

However you have to follow the connections of associations and the money trail and final outcomes and simply wonder how did this actually happen and why?...and what legal safeguards must be implemented to prevent this from happening ever again?

The documents and some diligent reading can help you draw your own conclusions, and if you have something to share that fits in, by all means contact me, and I will listen and analyze your information for consideration.

I will also add that this was a discovery of a few men other then myself, and I was simply asked to question the cities stewardship of OUR funds...perhaps nothing criminal has transpired, but I am open mined to perhaps something may have as well.

This is the text version below, and there are actual picture versions contained herein too.

Please pay attention to the dates as well, they to me are of interest, but perhaps not such a huge sticking point overall, however I may beg to differ.


DOCUMENT 1:


- Order -
of the
Mayor and City Council of Cumberland
MARYLAND
ORDER NO. ____________ DATE: October 12, 2010__
ORDERED, By the Mayor and City Council of Cumberland, Maryland
THAT the sole source proposal of Aircon Engineering, Inc., 7 Williams Street,
Cumberland, MD 21502, for HVAC upgrades at the Memorial Campus be and is hereby
accepted in the amount of One Million, Five Hundred Thirty-two Thousand, Two Hundred
Dollars and No Cents ($1,532,200.00).
____________________________________
Mayor Lee N. Fiedler
Funding:
021.096A.64000

DOCUMENT 2:

to get straight to the point scroll down to the lighter colored text please.


MAYOR COUNCIL 
Lee N. Fiedler Floyd "Pete" Elliott 
Brian K. Grim 
CITY ADMINISTRATOR Harold L. Hendershot, Jr 
Jeffrey E. Repp Mary Beth Pirolozzi 
CITY SOLICITOR CITY CLERK 
Michael Scott Cohen Marjorie A. Eirich 

MINUTES 

Mayor and City Council of Cumberland 
City Hall Council Chambers 
Room 212 

6:15 P.M. 
DATE 10/12/2010 

*Invocation 

*Pledge of Allegiance 

I. ROLL CALL 
II. CITY ADMINISTRATOR'S REPORT 
(A) Discussion by Council on whether to donate surplus property located at 32-34 Marion Street to the 
Habitat for Humanity for a housing project or to advertise the land for redevelopment. 
Item Action:Tabled 

Mr. Repp advised that the blighted property at this location had been demolished in November, 2008 at a cost to 
the City of $5,420. The City currently had a letter of agreement with the adjoining property owners, Mr. and 
Mrs. John Hutson, to allow them to use the lots for parking in exchange for lawn maintenance. A letter had been 
received from Habitat for Humanity expressing interest in the lots for the development of a residential home and 
the adjoining property owners had expressed verbal interest in also purchasing the property to build a garage. 
The two lots had been assessed at $3,000 each. 

In consideration of the neighborhood interest in the property, Councilman Grim motioned to table the matter 
until a formal proposal could be submitted by the Hutsons. The motion was seconded by Councilman Elliott and 
passed on a vote of 5-0. 

(B) Discussion regarding an offer from Leslie Halapy, owner of 222 Grand Avenue, to purchase the 
property at 224-226 Grand Avenue. 
Mr. Repp advised that Council had requested at the previous meeting that the adjoining property owners to this 
blighted property at 224-226 Grand Avenue be contacted to determine their interest in purchase of the property. 
Mr. Halapy of Friendsville, MD, owner of 222 Grand Avenue, had submitted a letter offering to purchase the 
property for $1.00 with the stipulation that he bear the cost of demolition in the spring of 2011. In addition, 
Habitat for Humanity had also expressed interest in acquiring the property for demolition and ultimate 

development. 
Jeff Rhodes, Director of Administrative Services, advised that he had been in discussion with Mr. Halapy 
regarding his proposed use and time frames for demolition and development. At this time, the City had secured 
the first floor of the structure and had cut the grass and wedds on the grounds. The Mayor provided background 
on Habitat for Humanity and their ability to put the property back on the tax rolls. 
Councilman Grim made a motion to table the matter for a future meeting so that additional information can be 
gathered. Councilman Elliott seconded the motion and the motion passed on a vote of 5-0. 
III. DIRECTOR'S REPORT 
(A) Public Works 
1. Maintenance Division monthly report for August and September, 2010 
Item Action:Approved 
Motion: Approve , Moved by Council Member Floyd Elliott, Seconded by Council Member Brian Grim. Passed. 
Council Members voting Aye: Elliott , Fiedler , Grim , Hendershot , Pirolozzi . 
IV. NEW BUSINESS 

(A) Resolutions 


1. Resolution authorizing a Master Equipment Lease-Purchase Agreement with Susquehanna Bank for 
equipment financing in the amount of $1,600,000.00 for a period of 15 years at a fixed rate of 6.0 
percent, to be used for HVAC upgrades at the Memorial Campus.
Item Action:Approved 

Mr. Repp provided a breakdown of current revenues and expenses relative to the operation of the Memorial 
campus, now managed by Ridgecrest Development. He indicated that the City experienced a loss of $34,000 
monthly, with electricity and natural gas denoting the largest expenses. As development of the campus moves 
forward, additional revenues were expected to lead to the eventual sale of the site and contribution once again to 
the tax rolls. 

The goal at this time was to close the gap between revenues and expenses by replacing the existing HVAC 
system with an expandable system that will not heat/cool unused portions of the building; maximizing the use of 
electricity; reducing man hours necessary for maintaince of the existing system; amending the existing contract 
with Ridgecrest to provide for return on thsi investment to the City. 

Details of the sole source property from Aircon Engineering were reviewed, with Aircon being the only 
distributor with the technical capability to design and install this system. The project was expected to be 
completed within 4-6 months at a total cost of $ 1,532,200. Council discussed the possibility of options for 
shared investment with Ridgecrest, current tenant ratios, and the point at which it becomes feasible for 
Ridgecrest to purchase from the City as anticipated. 

The Resolution was read in Title only. Motion was made and seconded to approve the Resolution. The motion 
passed on a vote of 5-0. 

Motion: Approve , Moved by Council Member Floyd Elliott, Seconded by Council Member Harold Hendershot. 
Passed. 

RESOLUTION NO. R2010-08
(B) Orders (Consent Agenda) 

1. Order accepting the sole source proposal of Aircon Engineering, Inc. to complete HVAC upgrades 
at the Memorial Campus in the amount of $1,532,200.00. 

Item Action:Approved 

ORDER NO. 25,183 

Motion: Approve , Moved by Council Member Floyd Elliott, Seconded by Council Member Brian Grim. Passed. 

2. 
Order authorizing the execution of Change Order 2 to the existing contract with Carl Belt, Inc. for 
Cavanaugh Ball Field Renovations (19-10-REC) in the increased estimated amount of $9,500.00; 
bringing the total contract price to $44,249.68. 
Item Action:Approved 

ORDER NO. 25,184 

Motion: Approve , Moved by Council Member Floyd Elliott, Seconded by Council Member Brian Grim. Passed. 

3. 
Order authorizing a letter of recommendation from the Mayor and City Council to the Evitts Creek 
Water Company to proceed with the sale of land owned by the Company to the Western 
Pennsylvania Conservancy. 
Item Action:Tabled 

Mr. Repp presented a letter for consideration with a recommendation from the Maor and City Council to the 
Evitts Creek Water Company that the sale proceed, with deed restrictions, of 3,659.7 +/-acres of land in the 
City's watershed to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) for the amount of $4 million. The deed 
restrictions would be development through a sales agreement and would reserve the City's right to produce water 
for municipal use, prevent the introduction of pollution of water resources, and permanently protect the natural 
and undeveloped condition of the property. Mr. Repp advised that the City had retained a PA licensed attorney 
who has worked with the WPC on other acquisitions. He stated that the by-laws of the Evitts Creek Water 
Company (ECWC) require a recommendation from Council, though the actual sale would be contemplated by 
the ECWC. 

Council Members Pirolozzi, Hendershot and Grim expressed concerns over the strong wording in the letter and 
stated that they had been under the impression that Council would be considering the recommendation, not 
actually approving the recommendation at this juncture. Mr. Repp advised that the by-laws of the Evitts Creek 
Water Company (ECWC) require a recommendation from Council, though the actual sale would be 
contemplated by the ECWC. 

Mayor Fiedler discussed the terms of the agreement, stating that he felt it was a strong document that protected 
the City's rights in perpetuity and preserved public access to the lands. Ronald McDonald, Herb Broll, and Carol 
Taccino voiced opposition to the sale of the land and suggested that any decision should be decided by the 
citizens through referendum. 

Motion: Table , Moved by Council Member Mary Beth Pirolozzi, Seconded by Council Member Brian Grim. 
Passed. 

4. 
Order authorizing the execution of a Modification Agreement with the Evitts Creek Water 
Company reflecting changes to the May 17, 1983 Agreement regarding assets and operations of the 
Evitts Creek Water Company. 
Item Action:Appro

PICS OF ALL DOCUMENTS:



Did anyone attend the training program? I would love to know.




















I just want to prevent these tragedies from repeating, and I want to know where the money, and the equipment is, and why we used such poor vision and poor stewardship making these decisions, as has proven to have transpired.

Politically speaking, well, who should be held responsible?

Read the above and below perhaps again even more carefully, slowly, with deep thought and intent, and do your due diligence elsewhere if so needed, and then it should be rather plain to see that any reasonable person would at least hold those accountable for such poor stewardship of our tax dollars fully accountable, and when it comes to crimes, there is another fine group of professionals to help introduce folks into the legal system if they need to be held so accountable.  

Further more we have this school debacle which was all apples before the cart, but that is all too typical here with seemingly no vision, backwards planning (can that be called planning) and even often less accountability.

Politics, hospitals, money, lawyers, and the same old loop we all know and accept to well today.

I have many trusted professional friends in these occupations, however, it is a common place a lot of damage can be done quickly because the dollar amounts are huge and the knowledge precise, and the legal path treacherous, and therefore is truly a common loop that also consistently includes insurance companies as well.

We need to come together and better scrutinize our political officials, our public servants, and all governmental financial transactions more properly with efficiency and accountability.

We also should strongly push to support quality local businesses and promote a competitive marketplace in which they can thrive and therefore have an even better local economy to serve which will serve us back competitively as well.

Small towns do indeed lend a hand to doing business with friends and family, however, any decent ethical businessman usually resists this temptation, for it has long been well known that types of complications and business relationships can and do often bare rotten fruit. 

Perhaps none of that went on either, but you have to question it at a time like this, or you are not truly even trying to see the big picture, reguardless of what it may be.

I want a full picture, an honest picture first, and then we can plan how to prevent repeats and punish anyone involved in any wrong doing that may happen in any circumstance.

The financing was for roughly $ 1.5 million for 15 years at 6% in 2010.

So we in 2013 are tearing down the building in which we still have a debt to pay for the H.V.A.C. system, that may not even be in tact anymore, and also possibly not fully accounted for, and the bill will be paid in the year 2025

Why are we paying for this? 

Amortize that and how do you think that bodes for our collective failure!

Failure is failure, and this is not acceptable on any level.

Again, where did these funds go, and who is closely knit in all of these contracts thus far?

One man is already under criminal investigation with our local C3I department, as fully documented herein, which makes me think modus operandi from school days, and I just start thinking and studying the information from my source and the timing of things that have transpired. 

Local politics:

When we have one bidder, how do we actually know the bid is respectable and at least reasonable if given it had been made in a competitive marketplace?

Who in our city has that responsibility?

My Father was the Assistant Head of Construction in Washington D.C. after retiring as a Colonel from the Army after serving 28 rewarding years.

I know the man, Tom Gard, that is in charge of the $ 1 BILLION overhaul of the entire Cannon Congressional building.

I have a small amount of an idea about accountability and contracts as well as politics.

Auto repair shops have guidelines (MITCHELL) for the industry that take a lot of guess work out of repair pricing and they tend to offer more transparency and honesty, however as there is no perfect system there is obviously room to bid against accepted industry standards as well. 

In that case those are guidelines based upon recommended hours of labor a job should both take as well as be charged for. The shop gets to set the labor rate that is reasonable to the marketplace in which they exist.

Did we get bids from other companies (NO) or how about pay a fee for an estimate of the identical work perhaps, so that they could give us a bid for only comparison purposes and never with any intent on actually bidding the contract itself?

Is there a tool in place in our local politics for that purpose?

I am not accusing anyone of anything here,  I am simply pointing out this very very poor at best stewardship of our tax funds and following a paper trail, and will share that trail candidly with you, the reader.

On a similar note...

Cumberland, Maryland is about to hire an architectural firm to design the new school...however they have not asked WE the people what we want for our children !!!

Share this and speak up and let them know we want a school of science and technology as I have suggested, and only of course if you agree and see the vision it offers, so that our kids can have a better promise then the legacy of post industrialization and poor vision a few of our selfish leaders offer upon OUR collective table today.

I know folks that can and have offered to assist me to bring to fruition a modern science and technology campus to this area with both the high school and a college such as the University of Maryland for example.

Does a 38 year Doctor from Howard University sound like a joke? He eared his doctorate at M.I.T.

How about a man and close personal friend at N.A.S.A. who has said he would help?...most especially with the critical thinking phases and writing of a very respectable proposal with vision and purpose?

Think for only thyself in a narrow scope of mind and we get more of what we have, and I will not stand for it, as I always speak my mind.

This area's leadership,  other then a few respectable selfless men, on a whole has been a collective failure for generations because it lacks a collective visionary mission that will catapult us into the future instead of always leaving us lagging behind the present and suffering.

Is that not yet still abundantly clear?

I plan on changing that alongside you each because I do not believe this is the best we have to offer.

I am sick of kids going to jails and prison and I see it here as if we were like a miniature Baltimore, another city I respect, but find lost in Maryland's lack of PRO-ACTIVE political activism on local levels, where things truly are the most important, at each of our homes.

I have watched a generation playing a game, ironically called jail break, while growing up and then watched many of them turn to hard drugs and crime, because that culture is so woven deeply into a large part of our city, and truly get adjudicated and carted off to jail, where afterwards they are never ever the same again,, and typically with not an ounce of proper corrections instilled.

Jail break...it seemed such an innocent game, and now I see the new generation coming of age, playing the same game, and I ask myself, will they to fall to these same pitfalls as too many before? 

Can I make a difference? 

Can we make a difference? 

Does anyone even give a good damn anymore?

How could and should have this money been spent to benefit them?

However unfortunate that is on a personal level, we can each change anything we so desire together, if we care enough to make a difference, and get and stay involved at any level.

These men I personally know and I have spoken about would offer help at no expense, because their motivation is never really money. 

I know others locally and politically that are interested in helping with a school of science and technology as our new high school campus, as they too see this vision and have offered to help bring promise and jobs and structure to this area where most we all have suffered far too often and far too long.

I have many friends in local politics, and truly no enemies, however I play no cards with party affiliation and have been "shut out" with a lack of communication or interest about my suggested proposal for the most part, as I did not get one candid call back from anyone locally. I did however speak to two local folks in politics that were very candid and I had hoped to speak with them again soon, however after several attempts I never heard back from the "key" players that I was informed I should get in touch with.

The University of Maryland is who my friend Dr. Efimba suggested I contact with our local collective, and see if they shared an interest and vision for a Campus of Engineering here in Cumberland, Maryland to compliment our possible new science and technology high school.

Sounds ridiculous, huh!

If my health is well, I will run for Mayor one day.

My personal work and accomplishment speaks for itself as well as my writing and sharing thoughts that are the start of dreams.

Having been published at The United States Department of Energy in 2010 was both unexpected and still exciting to me on a personal level.


If you read the above link, you will see what I am making reference to in my statement below.

My point to accent here is that I was offered a program that enhanced my life.

I studied it and watched it before my eyes, and it fit with other research and studies I had been doing while ill and too often bed ridden, and what I learned was amazing.

Help comes in many forms, and this helped me to write with huge passion and vision once again and use my voice and my mind to speak about the changes that need to be made on so many levels.

It also helped me heal and become healthier and more productive as a citizen, which is something the entire program is designed to do, and finally, it ha allowed me to hopefully share that message and wisdom, but this will only make sense if you give that article a quick glance. 

As your Mayor one day, I would like to express to you know that I would always be thoughtful of this beautiful area and its finances and most importantly it's respective citizens, no matter which walk of life you choose.

I would scrutinize any transaction and I have friends that would be my eyes as well that think the same way, and I am sure I would have others being eyes too that I did not know on a personal level, and that just makes it all even better, too know inside myself that there would be so much better scrutiny and better accountability, and then quicker progress.

I never expect perfection from anyone, I do however demand transparency and honesty and appreciate passion, hard work, dedication, perseverance, vision, and drive.

Back to these enclosed documents, the political espionage in our city needs to stop as the staus quo alone is not even close to having been met, and I do hope you will share this, and propel this across this City of Cumberland, so that we can collectively rise upward and therefore forward as one with an organized concise clear path and purpose.

I have seen some progress recently but nothing like I have expected to see which I think we all expect to see as well as deserve.

I stand for something and fall for nothing, and I hope others will stand by my side and lead as one, because I for one do not have the strength against such corruption.

The great thing about public records is that contracts may be studied and connections made to see who is a beneficiary at anytime, and all too often not in the best interest of our beautiful Queen City, Cumberland.

Transparency works, and this is only part of the reason why.

My sources are sound, my documents pure proof, and the trail is self evident.


RECENT WCBC PRESS RELEASE:

ABOUT C3I CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION, WHICH COINCIDENTALLY OR NOT HAS A MAN WITH THE SAME NAME INCLUDED.

February 21st, 2013 by WCBC Radio

The three Cumberland city employees who were investigated by the C3I Unit concerning theft allegations will have to wait until next month if they will be indicted by a grand jury. The city has had little to say on the matter, only confirming that an investigation had been conducted of three employees of the city’s public works department, concerning allegations of theft from the department’s garage. Those being investigated include longtime assistant of Public Works John Chapman. Although the case was before the grand jury Wednesday, Allegany County States Attorney Michael Twigg told WCBC News that they needed time to evaluate additional information.




Cumberland Times-News

January 30, 2013

Three city of Cumberland employees target of theft investigation


Jeffrey Alderton and Greg Larry
Cumberland Times-News
— CUMBERLAND — Three city employees are under investigation by the C3I Unit concerning theft allegations.

In response to a Times-News inquiry, City Administrator Jeff Rhodes confirmed Tuesday evening that an investigation was under way  concerning three employees of the city’s public works department.

Wednesday, the C3I Unit said in a news release to the Times-News that an investigation is under way concerning allegations of theft from the city’s Public Works Department garage.

“The allegations came to light after a review of invoices for purchase made for the city garage and several discrepancies were discovered. An investigation was initiated at that time,” said a C3I spokesman who declined to elaborate on the allegations or on-going investigation.

The city and the Public Works Department administration “is cooperating fully in the investigation and has taken appropriate administrative action regarding three employees in accordance with the city’s policies and procedures, pending the outcome of the investigation,” read the news release.

Late Wednesday afternoon, State’s Attorney Michael O. Twigg said he was aware of the matter and confirmed that the investigation is continuing. He declined to provide any further details.

At about the same time, City Administrator Jeff Rhodess told the Times-News the investigative matter did not affect any services to city taxpayers. He declined to provide any more information regarding the ongoing investigation and any action the city has taken concerning the employees involved in the investigation.

The Times-News also attempted unsuccessfully to contact City Attorney Michael Cohen about the theft investigation involving the city.

Greg Larry may be contacted at the glarry@times-news.com and Jeffrey Alderton at jlalderton@times-news.com.

http://times-news.com/latest_news/x2056599861/Three-city-of-Cumberland-employees-target-of-theft-investigation/print




Perhaps the above investigation has nothing at all to do with the poor stewardship of funds, however knowing that the Cumberland Times news states their was a discrepancy in invoices, and that means a very likely manipulation of paperwork and purposeful deception, and I see a common name, I cannot help but desire to further scrutinize anything that could have transpired that fits the same modus operandi.

This contractual business herein all appears to have transpired within a very small time frame with little effort other then a few papers, consisting of a proposal with estimate, a memorandum, and and finally an order sealing the funds for the contract.

Perhaps all that was months in the planning, but on paper it is suspicious at least.

The proposal is made on October 6, 2010, Wednesday

The Memorandum is made on October 7, 2010, Thursday

Order is made and dated October 12, 2010, Tuesday

In less then a weeks time this went from a proposal to an order!

That alone seems suspicious or probable cause perhaps enough for further professional law enforcement scrutiny.

On a local level, do we NOT have a political tool in place to prevent expedited funds in large amounts in times of non natural disaster types of emergencies?

The verbiage used in the Memorandum is in such a nature as to make it sound overly alarming and needed desperately and immediately, yet I do not see this scheduled as an emergency initiative on the meeting minutes.

These funds were at the very least authorized under a great amount of duress if there was any real concern, however again, the meeting minutes do not reflect any real concern but rather expeditiously approved the proposal into an "approved" status and therefore an Order was signed issued.

Perhaps to save the smoking gun for last, read this article very thoroughly in its entirety.

first a quote from the article:

...the most poignant...

“No that wasn’t the way the facility was handed over to us — it was much worse. We have cleaned it up a lot. Between us and John Chapman’s (assistant director of public works) crew there has been a tremendous amount of cleanup and replacement of carpet, cabinetry; fixing bathrooms and repairing holes.” said Laughlin. ”During the bid people came in with crowbars and tore off anything that they thought they could salvage. My understanding is that they were unsupervised while this was going on. We just haven’t had the resources to go around and fix the non occupied areas.” 


FULL ARTICLE:

August 16, 2011

City leaders updated on former hospitals, other projects

Perkins still a go at Canal Place

CUMBERLAND — Brenda Smith, economic development coordinator, provided a final update to the City Council Tuesday on the Perkins restaurant and the former Braddock campus of the Western Maryland Health System.

John Laughlin of Ridgecrest Development provided an update on the former Memorial campus. All projects are moving ahead, officials were told.

The Perkins project is within its lease option, according to Smith.

“They hope to exercise that fully within the next few weeks, basically before Labor Day weekend, and during that time they will also be speaking with city staff making sure the necessary permitting process is being followed and they are doing everything that they need to do,” said Smith. Once the company finishes negotiating with its investors, it will be able to move quickly with that project, she added.

The Perkins and Marie Callender’s Inc. bankruptcy has not affected the project in Cumberland, according to Councilman Nicholas Scarpelli.

“We do have two parties that have expressed an interest in the Braddock campus but we do not have a formal confidentiality agreement with them,” said WMHS spokeswoman Kathy Rogers in a email to the Times-News prior to Tuesday’s meeting.

The conversation with the interested parties is very preliminary, Smith said.

“They feel very good about the direction those conversations are going and that conversation is ongoing,” said Smith.

Smith will be leaving her position as the city’s economic development coordinator to fulfill a position as the new executive director for The Greater Cumberland Committee.

During his presentation, Laughlin noted that there had been some interest in the Memorial campus.

“Current tenants are happy and are in an expansive mode. We had a visit by the new president of Allegany College of Maryland (Cynthia S. Bambara) and she is very interested,” said Laughlin. “The building lends itself to living, working, teaching, relaxing, and doing all that in one location particularly for students.”

In addition, Laber’s Office Furniture is interested in occupying a 10,000- to 15,000-square-foot space. Laughlin said the company is currently looking for a local manager.

“We can move forward hopefully this fall if the resumes come flooding in. It’s a high priority at a number of different levels not just for the management of Memorial but also for perspective of how the Hagerstown operation (Laber’s) is looking for space out here,” said Laughlin.

Laughlin said there were some constraints with the property such as high rental prices and the large amount of construction needed to customize the size of the spaces, which are more conducive to larger business.

The facility was left in a “deplorable condition” following an auction held on premises. During the auction, people bid on entire wings and floors of anything they wanted to take, according to Laughlin.

“I toured the facility recently and I was unpleasantly surprised at its physical condition. It appears cabinetry and sinks were pulled off the wall,” said Scarpelli.

Scarpelli questioned whether that was the way Laughlin found the facility once Ridgecrest Development had taken over.

“No that wasn’t the way the facility was handed over to us — it was much worse. We have cleaned it up a lot. Between us and John Chapman’s (assistant director of public works) crew there has been a tremendous amount of cleanup and replacement of carpet, cabinetry; fixing bathrooms and repairing holes.” said Laughlin. ”During the bid people came in with crowbars and tore off anything that they thought they could salvage. My understanding is that they were unsupervised while this was going on. We just haven’t had the resources to go around and fix the non occupied areas.”  

Scarpelli questioned who received the money from the auction. Laughlin confirmed that it was the hospital that received the money.

Laughlin said he had spoken with Councilman David Kauffman and Acting City Administrator Jeff Rhodes about working toward a cost analysis of the facility and making the costs more flexible.

“The HVAC system no doubt will save the city money but it means large areas of the facility no longer have heating and air conditioner beyond some very general level. That is going to add to the cost consideration,” said Laughlin.

Despite the constraints, there is a bright spot, according to Laughlin.

“The good news is when we signed on about 18 months ago the goal was to lease about 10 percent of the facility. The facility has about a quarter of a million square feet of usable space about 15 percent of that is leased today,” said Laughlin.

Because 15 percent of the facility building has been leased the deficit has been cut in half, according to Laughlin.

Also discussed were the following:

Heritage Parklet

Cathy Coughenhour explained to the council that the Heritage Parklet Welcome Center is a violation of her rights and felt that the idea behind the parklet was to move her out of the space. She suggested a variety of other places the welcome center could be placed with the most viable option being the park area in front of the Times-News near the Downtown Manager’s office. Kauffman said it wasn’t her appearance on the parklet but more a matter of property interest.

Timber management

Paul Eriksson, a natural resource technician, explained that some timber management of the Evitts watershed would be good for its sustainability. He suggested that money from the timber sales could go toward hiring a consultant for a resource management plan and possibly more staff to work on managing the land. Paul Yockus, chairman of the Shade Tree Commission, noted that Eriksson had the group’s full backing.

“I hope the city gives him the go-ahead and the help to do this,” said Yockus.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.
From the article:
"John Laughlin of Ridgecrest Development provided an update on the former Memorial campus. All projects are moving ahead, officials were told."
...again the quote:
“No that wasn’t the way the facility was handed over to us — it was much worse. We have cleaned it up a lot. Between us and John Chapman’s (assistant director of public works) crew there has been a tremendous amount of cleanup and replacement of carpet, cabinetry; fixing bathrooms and repairing holes.” said Laughlin. ”During the bid people came in with crowbars and tore off anything that they thought they could salvage. My understanding is that they were unsupervised while this was going on. We just haven’t had the resources to go around and fix the non occupied areas.” 
Laughin is affiliated with Ridgecrest, who was obviously under contract at the time and seemingly in charge.
another of his quotes supports this as well:
“The good news is when we signed on about 18 months ago the goal was to lease about 10 percent of the facility. The facility has about a quarter of a million square feet of usable space about 15 percent of that is leased today,” said Laughlin." 
Another poignant quote follows: 
"The facility was left in a “deplorable condition” following an auction held on premises. During the auction, people bid on entire wings and floors of anything they wanted to take, according to Laughlin."
and yet another:
1) "Scarpelli questioned who received the money from the auction. Laughlin confirmed that it was the hospital that received the money.

2) Laughlin said he had spoken with Councilman David Kauffman and Acting City Administrator Jeff Rhodes about working toward a cost analysis of the facility and making the costs more flexible.

3) “The HVAC system no doubt will save the city money but it means large areas of the facility no longer have heating and air conditioner beyond some very general level. That is going to add to the cost consideration,” said Laughlin."
WHO WAS SUPPOSE TO OVERSEE THIS AUCTION?

Is the heating system we purchased even left in tact and operable? It would appear the answer is no when reading the quotes from the article sited.
Perhaps W.M.H.S. was contractually suppose to get the funds garnered by he auction, and perhaps not depending on what was sold.
Who ultimately should have been responsible for the oversight of the auction?
I would also like to point out the recorded minutes versus the above article and consider versus the Ridgecrest contract, also included in a link only herein.
What role Ridgecrest Management alone may have played in this, or what contractual liability they were obligated towards and may be responsible for, as a way perhaps seeking our funds back in full or partially, as seen by a court of law if a civil suit would arise because of a lack of diligence to our city.
I also read this which makes absolutely no sense at all!
"Laughlin said he had spoken with Councilman David Kauffman and Acting City Administrator Jeff Rhodes about working toward a cost analysis of the facility and making the costs more flexible."

“The HVAC system no doubt will save the city money but it means large areas of the facility no longer have heating and air conditioner beyond some very general level. That is going to add to the cost consideration,” said Laughlin."
What does that even mean exactly?
Does it mean the HVAC is intact and operable? It hardly sounds that way?
If it will save us money as stated, then why will large areas no longer have heating and air conditiong above some very general level?
Double talk is what it all sounds like.
It sounds more to me like he brought it up himself knowing damn good and well it was at issue after the auction. Otherwise I would like to hear a thorough explanation.

The H.V.A.C. system was installed right? I mean after all we are all having to pay $ 1.5 million for 15 years at 6% now!
This is why we spent the $ 1.5 Million to start with in just 2010, finished in 2011 and then what in 2012 in question, and next only to have the buildings torn down after they were stripped from the inside of valuables with that money then being paid to W.M.H.S., 
The city in 2010 for some reason seemed to think it better to invest with this upgrade in HVAC system as noted in the minutes, had an ongoing relationship with Ridgecrest Management which was referenced as having thought to be very likely to purchase the Memorial Campus from the city in the future.
That is absolutely absurd and not a qualified factor when reasoning to spend these funds this way on city property only manged, and very poorly it appears, by Ridgecrest.
Total duress in the Memorandum and a conflict of business interests it sounds more and more like to me personally.
Then to top all that off if that is not enough is this quote about who got the money from the auction. ..and I would like to know how much that was and who got what as well!
Is W.M.H.S. responsible for the damages and ill being of the building left in such poor shape after the auction? If not, who the hell is???
"Scarpelli questioned who received the money from the auction. Laughlin confirmed that it was the hospital that received the money.

Laughlin said he had spoken with Councilman David Kauffman and Acting City Administrator Jeff Rhodes about working toward a cost analysis of the facility and making the costs more flexible.

“The HVAC system no doubt will save the city money but it means large areas of the facility no longer have heating and air conditioner beyond some very general level. That is going to add to the cost consideration,” said Laughlin."
Why did WMHS get the money?
...and then the last quote above flies in the face about everything in the Proposal From: Aircon To: John Chapman...we funded this in 2010 for the reason Laughlin states he is requesting a cost analysis to make it more reasonable, and the original request alone stated it was because of running a deficit in operations due to using to much electricity/fuel for heating and air conditioning and that the upgrade was needed to urgently address the upcoming air conditioning season, not about saving funds.
From the minutes of October 12, 2010:
"Mr. Repp provided a breakdown of current revenues and expenses relative to the operation of the Memorial campus, now managed by Ridgecrest Development. 

He indicated that the City experienced a loss of $34,000 monthly, with electricity and natural gas denoting the largest expenses. 

As development of the campus moves forward, additional revenues were expected to lead to the eventual sale of the site and contribution once again to the tax rolls. 

The goal at this time was to close the gap between revenues and expenses by replacing the existing HVAC "


OK so lets spend more in a moment of dire economic times with a building running at a deficit.

If this is even an accurate quote, and again it is from the meeting minutes, would he mean to perhaps say this was a measure to close the gap between revenues and liabilities?

I think that is a hard quote to paint any different or ever talk your way out of, but that is just me.


REVENUE: 
In businessrevenue or turnover is income that a company receives from its normal business activities, usually from the sale of goods and services to customers
LIABILITIES:
In financial accounting, a liability is defined as an obligation of an entity arising from past transactions or events, the settlement of which may result in the transfer or use of assets, provision of services or other yielding of economic benefits in the future.
EXPENSES:
In common usage, an expense or expenditure is an outflow of money to another person or group to pay for an item or service, or for a category of costs.
I do not mean to be picky I just truly think he purposely mislead with his answer that made it look like at the time with well know low revenue and high costs, his answer painted a picture saying in the short term we would save funds by not having such high heating and cooling bills.
The picture he did not paint accurately was the truth that this was $ 1.5 MILLION at 6% for 15 years and therefore a long term liability on a building not making any money at all but running already at a deficit, and furthermore that it was obvious by this time the damages done during removal of items by folks who were left unsupervised placed an even larger onus or liability on the cities financial plate.
With no work at least the budget deficit could have been met for 42 more months for the $ 1.5 million., or 3 and a half years longer from that date, therefore at least until April 2013, and still at least operable.
We could have waited longer to shop around and even look at alternatives to solve these issues.
This would also have kept the building in operable condition while we waited to make the sale, and if we felt so certain that Ridgeway was the best perspective purchaser, as they had a contractual right to be he first purchaser of the building, why did we not negotiate a contract with terms for them purchasing that equipment in good faith?
Once again an example of the apple cart before the horse with our financial planning, or lack thereof.
When this happens so often you have to wonder why?
...and when money is involved, it is always the first suspected greed breeding motive that must be examined.
I hope that I am wrong, but I see so much gross negligence in so many facets of this situation it makes me have to wonder, and why my source came to me on behalf of a friend in local politics just leads me to believe this entire thing stinks more then imaginable on many levels.
Again, I hope against all odds I am very wrong.
However I'd rather be wrong and look a fool then be right and be silent.
Aircon seems to have done a great job in their contractual due diligence to my knowledge, and appears to be a great local company with a Vice President who is a Professional Engineer, properly educated and trained to conduct business as so licensed, and appeared to be thorough in the proposal.
It was a Mr. John Chapman that made the original Memorandum, so he knew and was well aware of the H.V.A.C'S intrinsic useful as well as its financial value as well as who rightfully so owned it.
Was he really unaware that the building was being ripped to shreds, after all it is a city owned building and he should be aware of who owns what and where and how these things would be removed, or perhaps that was Mr. John J. DiFonzo's job, after all he appears to be Mr. Chapman's boss and they each signed off on the Memorandum.
I am at such a loss for words myself, I mean really, who can figure it all out?
Perhaps I twisted that up or put some spin on it, however that is the only way I can see that, because I can not justify another way.
What happened to the new $ 1.5 million H.V.A.C. and why was it no longer able to be as efficient as it was when it was funded?...as in the quote below?
Is it there still and functioning or was it all taken?
That below is a quote from 2012 after the expenditures and upgrades had already been completed.
“The HVAC system no doubt will save the city money but it means large areas of the facility no longer have heating and air conditioner beyond some very general level. That is going to add to the cost consideration,” said Laughlin."
As Laughlin seems to have been under contract and present while the building was getting torn apart inside, as he personally made statements to in the article, what civil responsibility does this company have to our city and how do they explain this perceived pure dereliction of duty? ..and please if I am wrong I would appreciate your explanation at any time at all please, because I seek the answers and the truth.
I will call them and simply inquire as a citizen, a reporter and a writer for Mountain Maryland Blogspot. .
I will simply call anyone I can find involved through the paper trail and see what there is to be said, after all it certainly makes sense one way or another...right?
I will also call some local politicians for comment, and post those comments here as I get them.
“The HVAC system no doubt will save the city money but it means large areas of the facility no longer have heating and air conditioner beyond some very general level. That is going to add to the cost consideration,” said Laughlin.~2012
I have more first hand knowledge about the interior of the building being gutted, of stainless steel and cabinetry and other items through many local sources allowed to go in with a few guys and take out whatever they could to scrap or do as they please, after they had placed their bids at auction and were granted some entrance and a right to remove certain articles.
I would like to see who was in charge of the auction, what the bids were and who placed them, what they each were entitled to legally remove from the premises versus what was removed and their accounting of the funds they garnered from scrapping or selling this merchandise.
I would also like to know who was in charge of the auction. 
The city, W.M.H.S., or Ridgecrest, another entity?...as no where does it state such that I have read thus far, or what its date was.
For some of the local "junkers" it was quite the gossip at the time.
Most made their bids and hired cheap local under the table labor for several days and used that labor to do as they please.
Nothing like cheap unsupervised labor ruining our local assets! ( or is that liabilities ??? )
So who or what folks dropped the ball of coordination and communication with this entire this project.
Is it a wonder that Canal Place and The Footer Dye Works is such a similar fiasco with wasted time and funds?
I will continue to work on the timeline, make more interviews, and find more sources to supplement this article as so needed and found, however I think as it is presented thus far it is a last very compelling in many many areas and I hope you the reader will deeply consider what is actually happening all around us with less accountability and too much supposed authority making poor decisions with no long term vision and all often rooted in greed.
It seems to me you would have to work really hard at messing up this bad unless somehow it fits a different kind of plan.
HERE IS A LINK TO THE CONTRACT BETWEEN RIDGECREST AND THE CITY OF CUMBERLAND
this is 34 pages long, otherwise I would have posted it in it's entirety.
It was then terminated effectively on May 22, 2012 by the city with an effective date of May 31, 2012.
You may watch that video fro that day at this link.
We seemingly released Ridgecrest of any liability in this vote, which to me is asinine, as none of this was unknown at those times either! 
However, civil recourse may exist if there were any criminal culpability proven in a similar case.
More about Memorial Hospital:
The campus, which is still owned by the City of Cumberland, was under lease to development company Ridgecrest Investments Inc,[4] who in turn leased out space to a number of private tenants for the three years following the hospitals closing. The agreement between the city and Ridgecrest Investments was terminated in early 2012 due to the low percentage of the site being leased to tenants. A few months after, all tenants were told to vacate the site by the end of the year as the city works to divest itself of the property.[5] The agreement between the city and WMHS upon the closure of the hospital does not allow the site to be use as a hospital, or any other type of facility that would compete with the services of Western Maryland Regional Medical Center.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memorial_Hospital_(Cumberland)
The contract seems to have issues as well, with the buy back or purchase  conflicts of interest.

I will furthermore try to answer these questions through more investigative journalism and research and construct an even better time line and players to fill in the blanks, answer questions, and hopefully bring awareness to the FACT of this atrocious stewardship of our funds, as well as illustrate the players involved even more clearly.

The best thing I do see is a very articulate description in the proposal for the H.V.A.C. to be conducted by Aircon.

They seemed to, from what I have read thus far, held up their end of the agreement beautifully and in a timely fashion. 

Too bad it was all for nought however for the City Of Cumberland, Maryland and it's the tax paying citizens.!

Ultimately, we are now going to pay an amount not to exceed $ 175,000 to demolish the building now which was once fully operational, such a short time ago, as an entirely functional hospital, and now due to poor management, it is just the type of distraction added to a long list of liabilities that further distracts our cities citizens on the road to progress.

Again, if you have any further information to share please get a hold of me through an email first.

Thanks for your time and consideration to these matters.

notable links:


February 1st, 2013 by WCBC Radio

WCBC News has learned the identity of the three Cumberland city employees who are  under investigation by the C3I Unit concerning theft allegations and they include the assistant director of public works. John Chapman, along with city employees Rodney Long and Troy Zembower, according to a source, have been providing work on automobiles on city time, using city tools and resources and charging private individuals for the work which has been performed in the city’s Public Works Garage. The city has had no official comment on the report, other than to confirm that a C3I investigation is underway.


http://www.wcbcradio.com/?archiv=assistant-public-works-director-among-those-under-investigation

http://www.airconeng.com/new/contact.html

https://www.cumberlandchat.com/smf/index.php?topic=16736.5;wap2

C3I ~ 301-777-0326

http://www.ci.cumberland.md.us/new_site/index.php/contents/view/247

Here is a list of names from all these documents and related or possibly related articles of any parties involved simply as a reference and in no certain order:

If I overlooked your name or you want to be removed from this listen please simply make a request and I will promptly follow through.

Butch Hendershot
Brian Grimm
John Chapman
Rodney Long
Joe DiFonzo
Troy Zembower
Lee Fiedler
Jason Pannone
Jeff Repp
Mary Beth Perlozzi
Michael Cohen
Marjorie Eirich
Joe Urban
Terry Boutwell
Floyd Elliott
John Swygert
Mr. Laughlin