2/23/08

The big set-up

Pity Carlton Ban... uhh. Alfred Dowe, useful idiot of the For the City group.

He delivered the NorthWest vote - got Harris the slate he wanted, and got the boot.

And due to past problems, there is no recourse for Dowe.

It seemed like each time I wanted to post something this week, the words would start coming and something else would happen.

Something incredibly stupid.

Like? Well....

The Week in Review:

Monday: Valerie Garner announces run for Council, as an Indie. Kudos, I wish her the best of luck. Otherwise - it was a holiday, so things were quiet.

Tuesday: Wishneff shows he has a spine, or at the very least some sense - and walks out of closed door meetings which directly affect the way our money is spent. This was about the Amphitheater. Then the City Council voted to give the developers of the Hancock Building (The Grand Building) $880,000 in small, unmarked bills so long as they promise to never go condo. Whose money?

Wednesday: Dowe is a bad man. Spending that much.. Harris said so, because Darlene said so, because the accountants told them so. Then the Times told us all so.. So?

Later Weds: Harris announces that he is directing someone else to audit the council. And Hackworth and Moon to review things. Very important stuff for the 'mayor' to do.

Thursday: we find out the details on most of these things, thanks to the Roanoke Times and the FOIA. Seems Wishneff is one cheap man, having only spent $123.60 on the city's dime.

Friday: A quiet day, at least it appears so.

Saturday: Dowe, with hat in hand, submits his letter of resignation - just as I predicted when the story broke. Of course, because of the speed of this news, and those that needed to be consulted, dirt that needed to be gathered.. I didn't get a chance to post that prediction. But take my word for it. Ask anyone at work or at home, they will tell you.

So.. now we are going to be dealing with a "special election" to fill the seat of a useful idiot. Anyone have any guesses who that might be?

But still, it's a really crappy way to go out - shafted and set up by your "friends."

18 comments:

Jen said...

Ole Carlton may be safe from City prosecution, but any bets on whether the State comes after him? Pity, wonder what will happen next? Maybe the rest of the high and mighty councilmembers will face judgement.... HMMMM, intriguiging - Corruption at City Hall.

Virginian said...

Where's the "set up?" The gentleman submitted (and was paid for) invoices by the City, then he submitted the SAME invoices to the state. I don't think anyone has said that the state paid the invoices, but this is at least attempted theft, and (if the state paid the invoices again) at most actual theft. He'll probably be procsecuted for it. Even if he is not prosecuted he was blatantly dishonest and he is properly off the Council. I dont know if the man had financial problems, etc., or what pressures he was facing, but if this is a "set up" please enlighten us outside of the know. Precisely how was he "shafted" and "set up?"

PS: I'd like to see Bill Carder be the interim member....

Al said...

Well, I have to toss my views here as well. No set up as I see it but then there is the question of who blew the whistle? And maybe how long did they whistle blower know what was going on? I refuse to believe the Roanoke Times just happened to pick this topic to submit a FOIA request. The amounts were improper but not necessarily criminal. The duplicate billing IS criminal but with a D, as in Caldwell, what's the probability he will bring charges...slim in my view. And BTW,Wishneff has more character that the balance of the total council.

RoanokeFound said...

I have a feeling that if you went back to prior years, you would see exactly the same pattern. Seems to me that if you want someone to do what you want, you give them what they want. But when it's over - it's over...

tax # 2470132 - purchased from Blue Ridge Housing Development... anyone explain that one?

Mr. Dowe has been a pawn of the Council, due to his past - and now they are finished with him.

Virginian said...

I understand that you "have a feeling" and that it "seems to you" that this is a setup, conspiracy, etc. I get that; it is clear. Only how do you tie the apparent personal dishonesty of Mr. Dowe to the conspiracy? The guy stole, or attempted to steal, public funds. What is council (regardless of conspiracies in motion) supposed to do, aside from get the guy off of Council? I also am aware of the apparent conflict of interest with Mr. Dowe's home purchase (as is the Roanoke Times, it is mentioned in today's article)... but what does that have to do with anything? I agree that the purchase has an appearance of impropriety (of the same type that got Fitzpatrick, justifiably, non-re nominated). But where does it fit in? Council did not do anything about it-- it was a dead issue; it took the thievery/attempted thievery to get him off. With all due respect, (and this is not facetious, I think your Roanokefound pages are unbelievably great) you sound like Art Bell. Where's the beef? What's the agenda? Who is profiting from him being gone and why? The Council already had a 5-2 majority for Dowe's side, and it was starting to become 6-1 with Lea's recent moves. Please explain.

Jen said...

I'm not sure how you think he was set up either. Unless there is a lot more to the City Council side of the story that's yet to come out. It looks like Dowe acted on his own, submitted duplicate requests for reimbursement to two agencies. I do wonder though if this was brought to Mayor Harris attention earlier as was inferred Friday on the news why he didn't act soon and stronger? Does the Mayor have authority to reprimand a Councilmember? I do wonder how it took this long for this information to come to light and I do wonder who is at the root of it all. Interesting times are ahead.

Al said...

I'm going to side with the two above as to doubts about it being a set up. There is no doubt in my mind that Dowe is a dim wit and now, hopefully, a soon to be convicted criminal. I also tend to feel that Harris and company were a bit tired of him but to have it happen this way is a pretty bad reflection on Harris, FitzP, Mason, Trinkle, the Roanoke Times, the RCDC, the business community, the Chamber, Ed Murphy, John Williamson, etc etc etc. If anything was a set up it was, in a manner of speaking, the timing of the information becoming public, but that is really not setting Dowe up, it's just spilling the beans at the most advantageous moment...to add another seat to the council elections picture.

So, who spilled the beans to the Roanoke Time which generated the FOIA request???

RoanokeFound said...

The conspiracy? Watch who gets the nod for the seat. So far, each and every candidate for council has a tie to the current administration.

Dowe did not just do this in the past year, there will be a paper trail - but the council only acted when it suited them.

The orchestra is engaged.

Virginian said...

OK I'll wait and see but why not toss us skeptics a bone and let us know ahead of time? And are you saying Mr. Dowe was fraudulently double billing the City and State before now, or was it something else? And why pull this trick when you've got a reliable vote with you anyway? Its not like Mr. Dowe was a maverick independent or anything....

Anonymous said...

You might want to ask the people of the "new" newspaper in town... Did you notice they led with the Dowe story on Friday just as the Roanoke Times did? Except that the Roanoke Times' FOIA request was on Thursday. The Star-Sentinel has to be put to bed for the printer on Wednesday for a Friday delivery.

Someone knew to look, and it wasn't the Times.

Anonymous said...

I thought the RT story RAN on Thursday -- not that they put their FOIA request in that day.

Anonymous said...

Back up all dates one day- Times and Star Sentinel story ran on Thursday, same day. FOIA request Wednesday by RTimes. For Thursday delivery, Star Sentinel had to be to printer by Tuesday.

Al said...

I'll back way up on one front. If Dowe was doing this back into his prior term and it was known, then WHOEVER knew is a guilty party in my view for not releasing the scoop sooner...but I question if it will be proven that it goes that far back. That would look even worse for the Harrisites. I doubt Dowe felt secure enough in the past to steal. It was only his re-election and feeling comfortable as one of the elite political leaders that he decided to take some extra for Alfred. It is odd however that a FOIA request would be delivered on one day and responded to in one or two days regardless of which paper was first, unless the information was already put together (which I'm sure it was). While that does sound a tad like a "plot" to expose Dowe, I still expect the discovery was "made", probably by an employee (maybe the clerk) who passed it to the mayor and then possible one specific council person got wind of it and tipped of the papers to have then do their FOIA requests. I'll stand with the view that Harris and the Harrisites would rather not have had this come to light and most specifically not prior to the election. If it would have happened after the election they could have appointed another Harrisite to Council without a contest. I also believe that they knew Dowe was brainless, could be controlled, but they did not feel he was going to steal.

Anonymous said...

Al is right about who and right about the Mayor knew a long time ago ... back in May and whether he asked Dowe to "cool it" is only Harris' word. Look at the person with character that would have to become a "whistleblower" himself or be accused of knowing and charged with oversight.

RoanokeFound said...

Sorry it's taken me so long to chime in again - but here's my take on it. Someone with scruples leaked this information. Someone on the Council itself.

I have a feeling that if we get access to the 06, 05, and 04 records - Dowe is not the only one overspending the city's dimes. The real question is, how badly are we being duped?

A good amount of this hangs on when the "special election" will be, and who gets appointed. Yesterday it was supposed to be attached to the May elections, and today I am hearing maybe November. Wonder what's on the docket that needs such overwhelming support?

If this does not show how insular and unresponsive the City has become, nothing will get the message out.

I'll have a post tomorrow (hopefully) with some more probable cause, and a host of other things.

Although I wonder how much of this stems from Loose Lips Dowe's mention of a "downtown hotel project" a few months ago before anyone in the city had even discussed it publicly?

Al said...

Certainly the temporary appointment will be a Harrisite. And maybe that the one ultimately elected whenever will likely be a Harrisite as will most of those who seek that slot. If there is a D chosen to run, knowing who controls that party just confirms all that. Reed indicated he had "no idea" what the party would do, I think when asked about bringing forth a candidate. While it is probably contained in the by-laws my bet is the #4 person in the vote at the firehouse primary a few weeks ago OR one selected by the committee. (If the election were to be in May.) But I still question that any of this supports the set up theory as it just replaces one Harrisite with another. Given the current make-up of council I tend to think Dowe was the lowest on the economic level. I still think the character of some would keep them from stealing and the financial status of others would not necessitate it. But that is not totally true for members going back a few years. I do agree it was probably someone on Council who "leaked" it and initially I had a suspect but as I think about it it could have been another one or two. FitzP appears to be on the outside now after loosing the primary...and he does have the personality of a 7 year old who might like to get even with Harris. Findings of other abusers would present the possibility of additional resignations combined with potentially taking some ex-Council members out of the picture for the future AND give Roanoke the first real opportunity for a dramatic change in the way things are done. Wouldn't THAT be great!

Cranky Pants said...

Whoever thinks Wishneff has scruples is kidding themselves. He voted for school division budgets that he hadn't even studied (by his own admission)as a school board member. The whole Save the Stadium fiasco was orchestrated by his client, Berglund Chevrolet, who wanted the land that the city had designated for the amphitheater. Notice that no one is talking about putting the amphitheater on land that has already been prepared for it.
That makes Dowe's expenditures pale by comparison!
However, the whistle might never have been blown had not Dowe made some other blunder. It remains to be seen what that might have been.
The bottom line is that thus far, there are no decent candidates for city council. Valerie Garner will have to show me that she's more than a one-issue candidate. I agree with her issue, but the city's problems extend beyond the Countryside golf course boundaries. And, as far as Anita Price is concerned, she's on the ballot because the High Street Baptist bus probably discharged 75% of their membership to go vote for her (and Mr. Lea) in the primary. Saw it happen with Angela whatsit a few years back. Thing is, she has a finger in the development pie due to her husband's construction company, so, yep, we have another conflict of interest issue.
Any of you chortling over the mess at the Transportation Museum? The railroad dumped their archives onto the museum and then the museum didn't know how to do conservation of the collection. Then they didn't have the money. Now the railroad is taking their stuff back, but much of it has been damaged. And poor, ole Bev Fitzpatrick strikes out again.

Al said...

Sure is a mess! And now I see a judge may decide that the election to replace Dowe might not be until May or 2009! So the majority can appoint a temporary for 15 months, then have an election to replace that appointee who will serve for only 12 or so months. In the spirit of getting an elected official in there ASAP to finish Dowe's term, this sure smells bad. Politically, maybe???

I also can understand the notion that Valerie might be considered a one issue candidate. A lot of people come into these situations driven by one issue but that's not all bad. What she has is a lot of energy, a very good mind, the ability to look at and evaluate things and probably make the right decision AND I feel that her honesty and integrity are steller.
I feel she is a good listener and would make a very refreshing change for the citizens of Roanoke. And while I have no idea of what her long term plans may be, I do not currently see her as a power grabbing "I'll stay here forever" sort of gal. And she sure does not have any ties to "the business community". I'll take Valerie and a council driven by honesty and common sense any day. Might even make me want to move back to Roanoke!