News is again a mite slow here in Emerald City, so we thought this would be an ideal time to take our readers on a little trip down memory lane. Although we're sure that many of you thought that the Crackpot Ice Tower Story was now a closed chapter in the history of Ogden City, we assure that's not the case at all. We'll report a new development in the story; but we'll provide a thumbnail fact summary first, just to bring everyone up to speed. Let's just call this the short version:
As some of you may recall, on or about May 31, 2007, Ogden received a $200,000 RAMP grant for the Ice Tower. Shortly thereafter, the Godfrey Administration began spending money on appraisal, design, engineering, and related work. Somewhere along the line Godfrey learned that terms of the RAMP grant prohibited expenditures on "preliminary work." Nevertheless, the administration just kept on spending anyway; and by June 10, 2008, Ogden's preliminary Ice Tower expenses had run up to a total of $62,949.82.
By way of additional background, many of you will recall on June 24, 2008, the City Council had somewhat reluctantly approved the expenditure of $100,000 of city funds for the ice tower; although approval came along with the condition that none of this money could be spent by the administration until all other needed ice tower funding had been put in place.
Ultimately, on January 14, 2009, Weber County Forum broke the unfortunate news that the RAMP grant had expired and that the city must return the $200,000, plus interest, to the county, which the administration did on or about January 23, 2009.
(The above is the short fact summary, as we said. You can read Dan S.'s long version here.)
Anyway, as the smoke cleared on this story back in early 2009, several probing questions were on the minds of attentive Godfrey watchers all across Emerald City:
Inasmuch as neither RAMP funds nor the conditional City Council budget allocation were available for Ice Tower spending, "Where,exactly, did the aforementioned $62,949.82 come from?" "Had Godfrey diverted this money from some unnamed Ogden City departmental account... or one of his rumored slush funds?" "Did the Administration resort to some other heretofore unknown source of funds?"We didn't have to wait long for Godfrey's answer (or cover story, as the case may be). On February 6, 2009 the Standard-Examiner delivered the heartening news: The $62,949.82 tab had been purportedly picked up by a generous (but anonymous) donor.
And here's where we pick up on the latest story development. Being the curious type, intrepid WCF contributor Dan Schroeder lodged a July 1, 2009 GRAMA request, seeking Ice Tower related documents to show whether the purported $62,949.82 donation had been received in the interval since Dan's previous March 9, 2009 GRAMA request. And here's the response which Dan received from City Recorder Cindi Mansell on or about July 7 of this year, which bears this telling notation midway down the page:
"RECORD DOES NOT EXIST. No revenue or expenditure activity associated with the Ice Tower has occurred since March 9, 2009.Ouch!
While we can't say with complete assurance that the donation has NOT been received by Ogden City from this allegedly beneficent unknown donor, we will point out that Ogden City records DO NOT reflect that such a donation was ever received. You're free to draw your own conclusions about the Boss Godfrey Administration's credibility on this subject of course, given the state of the evidence.
Hmmm... perhaps it might be time for Emerald City lumpencitizens to begin asking hard questions yet again, including this one:
"Does Boss Godfrey EVER tell the truth?"
That's it for now, gentle readers.
And what say our gentle WCF readers about all this?