Saturday, January 21, 2012

City Leaders Duped Reporter on MedHab

San Angelo City leaders duped the public and a talented reporter on Mayor Alvin New's ties to Medhab LLC.  The first misrepresentation centered on Mayor New's position at MedHab.  The Standard Times reported New as a member of MedHab's advisory board.  This was patently false.  MedHab's website listed New as a member of the board of directors and not on their advisory board.  When I notified Kiah Collier, she wrote back:

I reported that because that's what Donna Osborne told me. I called her this morning and she said she told me that because New is an adviser to MedHab, i.e. serves in an advisory capacity on its board of directors. We'll run a clarification tomorrow.  Thanks.

Board members provide governance, a considerable step up from advice. They are either independent board members of insiders.  Osborne's language is typical of today's leaders, obfuscating facts with language. Frankly, it's sad.

The second misrepresentation dealt with substantial investment and corresponding conflicts of interest.  The Standard Times stated:

City staff said New and Brooks have chosen voluntarily to recuse themselves from all votes and discussion on the MedHab deal, even though they do not have substantial interest in the company, defined as owning 10 percent or more of the company's voting stock or shares or $15,000 or more of its fair market value.
This also is patently false.  Mayor Alvin New filed two affidavits, one in May and another in November 2011, regarding his substantial conflict of interest in MedHab LLC.  .

Mayor Pro Tempore Charlotte Farmer and City Manager Harold Dominguez could've shown up with Mayor New's affidavits and laid everything out on the table and the merits discussed. By not being forthcoming City leaders look mendacious and manipulative. It's becoming a pattern with this group.

Oddly, a Standard Times' poll finds the public appalled by the lack of ethics, with 82% voting the city acted inappropriately in changing its ethics rules.  The fodder exists for a follow-up piece, which take awhile given Kiah's leaving for the Houston Chronicle.  While Kiah reports on shipping, will Mayor New's MedHab ship come in?

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