Monday, February 28, 2011
These comments were presented at the Bastrop County Commissioners Court on Monday, February 28, 2011.
Last week a report summarizing Bastrop County’s accomplishments in 2010 appeared in the Bastrop Advertiser. Of course, the real story of any public relations ploy is most often in what is omitted. And this list penned by you, Judge McDonald is missing something very obvious.
Did the 381 Agreement for the proposed Central Texas Airport just happen to slip your mind? If the airport would be such a good thing for the county, why aren’t you taking credit for it? I think we all know the answer to that question.
Enabling such a destructive and dangerous project to come into this county has to be one of the most misguided decisions in this Court’s history. The end run around the citizen’s of this county just exacerbated the error. The unanswered question is why the Court hasn’t yet done anything to correct the situation.
Yup, the ‘good ol’ boys, behind-closed-doors approach really backfired this time. When are you going to wake up and realize that it’s not up to the Court and special interests to dictate OUR future.
Phil Cook eloquently summarized the situation in a recent Letter to the Editor:
It’s going to take a long time for this Court to regain the respect and trust of the people of this county. Here’s a suggestion.
If a bill for a special utility district is introduced to the Legislature, just say NO by passing a resolution of non-support. This Court has already done quite enough for the developer by providing a 30 year 75% tax incentive. Further public support for a project that touts itself as being privately funded would just make matters worse.
So are you going to step up and finally do the right thing or is it going to be more of the same old, same old?
No response from developer
By Terry Hagerty
February 27, 2011
City Manager Mike Talbot told the Bastrop City Council Tuesday night that James Carpenter, the developer for the proposed Central Texas Airport proposal in western Bastrop County, has gone nearly a month without responding to requests for further communication on the project
Talbot said that three weeks after he sent a Feb. 1 registered letter to Carpenter he has heard nothing back. In the letter, Talbot discussed the perception some citizens have expressed that the city is being obstructive in communications with Carpenter about the proposed airport project.
Talbot’s letter to Carpenter states, “The council and I have been disturbed to have heard complaints voiced, over the past several weeks, in various forums and directly by local citizens, to the effect that the City of Bastrop has been ‘non-responsive and /or obstructive’ to you and your team in your development of the project. In the City’s view, nothing could be further from the truth.”
Copies of the letter were also sent to Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt and Sen. Glenn Hegar.
But the city also “reaches out” in the letter, asking Carpenter for a follow-up meeting after Carpenter’s representatives appeared before the city council last November seeking support.
At that time, the council said they needed more information before deciding whether they might support a Municipal Utility District for the airport that would be within the city’s extra-territorial jurisdiction.
Carpenter also did not respond to requests at that meeting.
Talbot also said in the letter that the city looked forward “to meeting with your team in a specially scheduled workshop session.” Talbot added the city cannot “perform a meaningful evaluation” of the airport project without such a meeting and better overall communication with Carpenter.
On Tuesday, when some council members quizzed Talbot if the city had an official position on the airport, he responded, “We are not opposed to any legislation right now,” but that more specifics from Carpenter need to be seen.
At press time, Carpenter had not returned a phone call from the Advertiser and had not contacted the city.
Friday, February 18, 2011
It’s more than laughable that Judge McDonald has the nerve to say that he bases his decisions on ‘community input’ when there was ZERO opportunity for the public to participate in decisions regarding the CTA.
Airport opponents lob questions
By Cyndi Wright
February 18, 2011
Opponents of the proposed Central Texas Airport project voiced their concerns in commissioners court on Monday, including one who pointed out that County Judge Ronnie McDonald accepted a campaign contribution from CTA developer Jim Carpenter and another who spoke of a 2009 lawsuit in which Carpenter and two businesses he was associated with were found guilty in a jury trial of fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.
In a prepared statement, Candace “Sister” Boheme called it “funny business” that, according to campaign records, McDonald’s campaign accepted $500 from Carpenter.
“Among the list of notable contributors is the one and only Jim Carpenter, who donated $500 to the cause,” she said during citizens comments at the meeting. “The question is, whose cause? Yours or his? Or are they the same?”
She also pointed out that from January 2008 to the end of June 2009, McDonald’s campaign received $1,700 and all of 2010 brought in roughly $2,000.
“But something very strange happened in the last six months of 2009,” Boheme said. “Nearly $12,000 worth of strange. Those contributions started flowing in just weeks after the 381 agreement had been delivered to the county.”
Monday, February 14, 2011
These comments were presented at the Bastrop County Commissioners Court on Monday, February 14, 2011.
Some funny business has been going on in Bastrop County the past few years. Let’s start with the Planning and Development department.
In 2005 some big changes took place when Joe Ternus arrived on the scene. He stayed around for a few years retiring at the end of May 2008. Within 6 to 8 months, he popped up on Jim Carpenter’s ‘team’ as an engineering consultant, a position he still holds to this day. From the documents recently released by the Attorney General, we now know that the first applications for the Colorado Riverland Ranch aka the Central Texas Airport were submitted in August 2007 while on his watch.
The next big reshuffle came in the summer of 2009 when Ronnie Moore was hired by the County at the end of July. Keep in mind that Mr. Moore had previous employment experience with TxDOT Aviation Division in the 90s.
The revolving door between the public and private sector is no secret. Employees in the public sector enforce rules. They also learn all the devious ways to skirt around them which comes in very handy in the private sector. Well, the County’s not exactly the private sector but you get my drift . . .
About one month after Mr. Moore was hired, the first draft of the 381 Agreement was submitted to the Commissioners Court. Is it purely coincidence that Mr. Moore arrived just in time to broker the airport deal? Or does it point to something else . . .
Now let’s move on to Campaign Contributions . . . specifically yours, Judge McDonald.
From January 2008 to the end of June 2009 you garnered a modest $1,700.
All of 2010 brought in a little over $2,000.
But something very, very strange happened the last six months of 2009. Nearly $12,000 dollars worth of strange. Those contributions started flowing in just weeks after the 381 Agreement had been delivered to the County. Among the list of notable contributors is the one and only Jim Carpenter who donated $500 bucks to the cause. The question is . . . whose cause . . . yours or his? Or are they the same?
Finally, another little publicized financial nugget is that according to the County Auditor the Central Texas Airport project has already eaten up over $47,000 of taxpayer money in attorney fees. And that doesn’t even include County employee hours wasted on the project. And here you’ve been telling us that the airport wasn’t going to cost the taxpayers anything. Yeah, right.
Just WHAT is going on in this County!? As I was saying . . . it looks like a whole lot of funny business to me.
Monday, February 7, 2011
The house of cards known as the proposed Central Texas Airport and ‘Green’ Corporate Centers is a good example of a ‘paper tiger’ - something that appears to be solid and impressive but in reality is just all smoke and mirrors.
Anyone who’s poked around the project a bit has pretty much figured that out. It’s on paper, on the web and hyped to any one who will listen (including our illustrious Commissioners Court). But none of it has any ‘reality’. It’s all one big mind-trip with no substance.
Well, there’s an interesting face in this house of cards that fits right in. A major component of the master plan, Tiga Energy Services, is quite a ‘paper Tiga’ in it’s own right. If you think this is some well-established business with a stable of satisfied customers, think again.
If you go to Tiga Energy Services website you’ll see that they have exactly two clients. Wanna guess who? Yup . . . the Central Texas Airport and ‘Green’ Corporate Centers. Neither of which exist!! That’s some on-the-ground track record!
When the developer first presented the project in the spring of 2009, this paper kitty was named Pico Energy Services. But just before the 381 Agreement was submitted to the Commissioners, Pico transformed into Tiga and went ‘public’ on the SEC with an initial offering of $1,000,000. It appears they only sold $220,000. About half of that was estimated to go to the ‘executive officers, directors or promoters’ of the company. Well, I guess that’s one way to secure a salary!
Anyone who has the financial expertise might want to take a look at these SEC documents (the link is from the Tiga site). Comprehension is way beyond the skill-set of us ordinary mortals but there are undoubtedly some interesting nuggets buried in there. At least there appear to be to this untrained eye.
It is just this kind of corporate, financial sleight-of-hand that is bringing the county to its knees! Et tu Bastrop?! Will a taxpayer bailout be waiting at the other end when it all comes tumbling down?