Cultural Alliance Director caught lying
Cultural Alliance Director caught lying about use of taxpayer money
5/9/10 – The Director of the Banning Cultural Alliance, Carol Newkirk, lied to the public when she stated that no public (redevelopment) funds were used for a political propaganda event . Documents obtained by the Banning Informer now show that the taxpayer forked up the money for “Hang the Politicians”, a so-called “art” exhibit promoting Mayor Bob Botts and Council member Don Robinson.
In October of 2009 The Banning Informer had reported on an event held by the Banning Cultural Alliance for the benefit of Bob Botts and Don Robinson ( click here for article). Under the disguise of an “art” exhibit, the event was geared to promote Botts’ and Robinson’s political image with the public : it was political campaigning at its finest ! The subject was also covered on the “Pass Politics” Radio Show of November 18, 2009 ( click here to listen ) .
It should be noted that Bob Botts and Don Robinson are among those City Council members who have always voted to fund the Banning Cultural Alliance with redevelopment money. Bob Botts is a former Vice President of the Alliance (view) , his wife Ann is on the Alliance’ Board and so is Don Robinsons wife (view).
In light of public criticism and a Grand Jury investigation, the Director of the Banning Cultural Alliance, Carol Newkirk came out on October 27, 2009 to assure the public that “no city funds were expended for this event “ ( “Hang the Politicians” ). She did so, however, without offering proof – we just had to take her word for it. After all, the Alliance would never lie – or would they ?
Watch Newkirk’s statement before the Community Redevelopment Agency :
The above statement shows that even the Banning Cultural Alliance realizes that public (redevelopment) funds should not be used for political campaigning the likes of “Hang the Politicians”.
CAUGHT IN A BOLD FACED LIE
As it turns out, however, the Alliance Director flat out lied in everyone’s face. Only 2 weeks after making this statement, Newkirk submitted to the City an “Annual Work Plan and Budget” for Fiscal Year 2009/10, in which she details how the Alliance intends to spend the $ 131,500 they received for the fiscal year.
This ” Annual Work Plan and Budget” submitted on Nov. 4, 2009 ( view ) is signed by both Newkirk and City Redevelopment Manager, John Jansons. The document shows that $ 604.16 in redevelopment funds were spent on the “Hang the Politicians” exhibit and another $ 604.16 were spent on the “very Special Reception” ( as referenced in the above event flier ) held for Botts and Robinson. ( The identical dollar amount – to the penny – of both expenditures raises questions of them being ” doctored” ; the actual amount spent may have been much higher). This document goes to show that the total amount of taxpayer money used for “Hang the Politicians” was $ 1,208.32 – not “zero”, as Alliance Director Newkirk had stated publicly.
In this context it is also important to note that the Banning Cultural Alliance received the $ 131,500 for FY 09/10 in early July of 2009. However, the contract on which the funding was supposed to be based was not executed until November 12, 2009 – 4 months later. If you are the Cultural Alliance, this is how it works in Banning : you get the money first and you worry about signing a contract and submitting a budget later. Only corrupt governments do business in this manner.
WHEN IS ENOUGH ENOUGH ?
Alliance director Carol Newkirk lied to all of us. This entire episode goes to show the the Cultural Alliance operates with lies and deception and cannot be trusted. Did Newkirk also lie when she was called to testify before the Grand Jury? If the Alliance lies about this matter, chances are they are probably lying about everything else too.
The fact of the matter is, the Alliance has been covertly using taxpayer funds to further their political agenda. This also goes to show that the Alliance is a political organization that is not focused on “art”, but is actively pursuing a political mission as shown by “Hang the Politicians” , engaging in political campaigning for certain City Council members that fund them.
The Grand Jury is correct : Redevelopment funds are being abused in Banning when it comes to the Banning Cultural Alliance . That’s why they called for a “cease and desist” of all further funding . Taxpayer money certainly must never be used for political propaganda and campaigning for “Politicians” – as in “Hang the Politicians”.