Thursday, March 09, 2017

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST at St. Augustine Beach?

Yes, dear readers, it strongly appears that controversial contractor-politician LEN WEEKS had a triple conflict of interest concerning the St. Johns Cultural Council's work on a New Deal building in St. Augustine Beach.  WEEKS was Cult. Council Bd. member, construction manager and general contractor, a possible violation of the IRS 501c3 "innurement" or personal benefit rule.  An outspoken SJCC Board member, architect LES THOMAS got up after I spoke about the conflict and claimed at the February 6, 2017 St. Augustine Beach City Commission meeting that WEEKS was never a board member and construction manager and general contractor at the same time -- government records provided by the City of St. Augustine Beach show otherwise.  I sent them to Mr. Thomas.  No response.

Controversial LEN WEEKS, ex-Mayor of the City of St. Augustine, destroyer of 211-year old DON PEDRO FORNELLS HOUSE at 62A Spanish Street on September 25, 2014, was fined only $3600, after which Code Enforcement decision he was publicly hugged by St. Augustine City Attorney ISABELLE CHRISTINE LOPEZ.  WEEKS has the ability to get his way with both itty-bitty cities, the City of St. Augustine (of which he was Mayor and with whom he and ex-Mayor JOE BOLES still have  a no-bid, below-market lease of 81 St. George Street at the same time WEEKS' father-in-law, a retired economics professor, has a below-market lease of a store in the Lightner Museum and City Hall.

Here's my e-mail to LES THOMAS after the March 6, 2017 St. Augustine Beach City Commission meeting, where SJCC's effort to "transfer" its lease to the Burkhardt family's dodgy Dance Company was unavailing:

-----Original Message-----
From: Ed Slavin <>
To: lta <>
Sent: Tue, Mar 7, 2017 12:28 am
Subject: Ex-Mayor Len Weeks had a triple conflict of interest re: St. Johns Cultural Council?

Dear Les:
A. Here is the 2004 document, which I promised to e-mail to you some two hours ago, as your Cultural Council and Dance Company group members departed from the St. Augustine Beach City Commission chambers.

B. Does the enclosed document refresh your recollection?  You were mistaken, apparently, in what you told St. Augustine Beach Commissioners at their February 6, 2017 meeting.  You directly contradicted what I said, falsely claiming that Len Weeks was never a member of the St. Johns Cultural Council at the same time that he was their construction superintendent/contractor. Correct?
C. The enclosed 2004 SJC Cultural Council document establishes beyond peradventure that the ex-Mayor of the City of St. Augustine Claude Leonard Weeks, Jr. a/k/a "Len Weeks" had (at best) blurred ethical lines in his work on the Old St. Augustine Beach City Hall job.  Mr. Weeks ahda triple conflict of interest or appearance of impropriety as:
1. St. Johns County Cultural Council Board member, 
2. "Construction Manager" and 
3. General contractor.
D. Here in St. Johns County, as George Orwell wrote in Animal Farm: "some animals are more equal than others."
E. No more "alternative facts" from the St. Johns Cultural Council are either desired or required.
F. "Democracy dies in darkness" -- The Washington Post.  "Secrecy is for losers," as Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan said. Or as Judge Damon Keith wrote for the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Detroit Free Press v. Ashcroft, 303 F.3d 681 (6th Cir. 2002):

Democracies die behind closed doors.   The First Amendment, through a free press, protects the people's right to know that their government acts fairly, lawfully, and accurately in deportation proceedings.   When government begins closing doors, it selectively controls information rightfully belonging to the people.   Selective information is misinformation.   The Framers of the First Amendment “did not trust any government to separate the true from the false for us.”   Kleindienst v. Mandel, 408 U.S. 753, 773, 92 S.Ct. 2576, 33 L.Ed.2d 683 (1972) (quoting Thomas v. Collins, 323 U.S. 516, 545, 65 S.Ct. 315, 89 L.Ed. 430 (Jackson, J., concurring)).   They protected the people against secret government.
G. I shall accept your apology upon receipt.
Thank you for all that you do for our community, Les.
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin

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