"FOREIGN TRADE ZONE CONTRACT"
(FTZ is NOT to be confused with NFTS)
Reported by Sam Dehné (1999)How about running through just a little history behind the "governmental" machinations and a few of the facts that were presented as sworn testimony to the EthComm when a very questionable Contract was being solicited by the mayor and some of his friends. It contains powerful evidence of clandestine chicanery that was uncovered by Sam's tenacious and patriotic investigating.
1. Fact: The mayor drew up a plush $27,500 contract for his company (NFTS) with the Reno Airport Authority to establish (FOR HIMSELF) a huge Foreign Trade Zone area.
2. Fact: The mayor and city council handed out plush part-time jobs to 4 of the 8 people on the Airport Authority Board... the controlling body.
3. Fact: These political subordinates "serve at the mayor's pleasure".
4. Fact: Within days of the appointment, his personal favorite, Sue Camp, paid him back by seconding the plush government contract that his private company (whose name showed no connection to the mayor) had been seeking, unsuccessfully, for several years.
This, by the way, was Camp's only day as an Airport "trustee". She was immediately re-appointed to an even "plusher" position as a (normally elected) Washoe County Commissioner... that paid $40,000 plus those standard government perks. Whew!! Busy, Busy.
5. Fact: This plush Airport CONTRACT was never advertised for bids or offered to others... such as UPS and FedEx... as demanded by legal bidding-process laws. It was done clandestinely.
6. Fact: There was no disclosure by the mayor or the Airport that HE owned this puny little company that was receiving one of the greatest government kickback contracts in recent memory. This wrongfully concocted Foreign Trade Zone monopoly scheme had the potential of making the mayor and his family and friends very very rich.
7. Fact: As an example of the clandestine nature of the proceedings, when Sam asked who owned the company that was getting this Contract, there was a loud silent pause, followed by, "a man called Griffin". (As in, "Ladies and gentleman we present... a man called Bill Clinton".) THE OWNER WAS the Reno mayor; the very same person who helped appoint those aviation amateurs to their plush part-time jobs.
8. Fact: After this Contract was doled out by the mayor's cronies, the mayor and Airport continued to violate honorable business and government ethics... by letting the employee company (the mayor's private company, NFTS) draw up the contract, and set itself up to be the exclusive operator of the Airport's Free Trade Zone... GROSSLY OVER-STEPPING THE BOUNDS OF THE DIRECTIVE IN THE CONTRACT.
That is, his company was asked to establish an FTZ.
He should not have been allowed to give himself exclusive operation of the FTZ.
Nevada law does not allow elected officials to have contracts with their govt organizations.
When confronted with this overpowering evidence of wrongdoing, the Nevada "Ethics" Commission whitewashed the affair. The mayor is possibly on his way to making himself and his friends very rich if only this Foreign Trade Zone would work out the way they wanted it to.
Why Did the Ethics Commission Whitewash
the Reno Mayor's Kickback Contract?
Some of you are probably thinking; There you go again, Sam.
This evidence, and other facts and reports that were presented to the Commission, succinctly revealed there was a scheme concocted between the mayor's company and some of his subordinates at the Reno Airport to illegally feather the mayor's nest.
As a VERY MINIMUM, shouldn't the Commission have immediately:
a. declared the mayor's kickback contract with the Airport illegally null and void?
b. directed the state attorney general to investigate further as to the racketeering implications of the nefarious activities?
c. asked the mayor to voluntarily take a lie detector test... to examine the dimensions and legality of his wheeling and dealing?
That Commission might have maybe made some honorable decisions in the past, but in this instance the Commission conducted a Kangaroo Court... and declared ITSELF null and void when it comes to things Ethical.
As it protected the govt from the citizens.
If this had been an Honor Code Hearing at the United States Air Force Academy, the Commission would have been expelled and disbanded... as it ignored the fact that its job is to examine violations of the LAW THAT SAYS ELECTED OFFICIALS ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO GIVE THEMSELVES CONTRACTS WITH THE GOVERNMENT BODIES. ESPECIALLY THE BODIES THAT THEY OVERSEE.Section 2.02.02 of the Reno City Charter Law (also supported by numerous NRS Laws and just common sense) orders that:"Council members will have no direct or indirect leases, contracts, or agreements with the city of Reno." The Reno city council oversees the Reno Airport.
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