Saturday, June 26, 2010

Tour de Drome Follow-Up

Released documents reveal planning details, future plans, and more mayoral travels.

By Dan Schroeder

Two months ago, as the date for the Tour de Drome bike ride approached, I got curious and submitted a GRAMA request asking the city for all records related to the event. A week later I received a copy of the city’s $5,000 contract with event organizer Cindy Yorgason. But it took several follow-up requests, and another six weeks, before the city finished responding to my request.

The remainder of the city’s response consisted of a thick stack of printed email messages and their attachments. From these, I’ve selected and uploaded a small selection that seem reasonably interesting:
Press release
Special event application
Meeting notes
Contact list
The documents paint a fairly complete picture of how the Tour de Drome event was planned, what kinds of expenses it incurred, and who was involved. They also include a few tidbits about the velodrome project itself, the mayor’s velodrome-related travels, and future fundraising plans.

Most obviously, these documents highlight the depth of Ogden City’s involvement with the Tour de Drome event. It was the city that hired Yorgason. Planning meetings were held in the Municipal Building, and Yorgason regularly reported her activities to CAO John Patterson and several other city staff. In fact, eleven city employees are included on the list of contacts that Yorgason circulated, and several others are named in emails due to their peripheral involvement. The required Special Event Application names Patterson and Events Coordinator Carolyn Brierley, in addition to Yorgason, as the responsible parties. The official press release begins with the words “Ogden City presents...”.

Nevertheless, it is equally clear that most of the money involved with this event was laundered through the Ogden Community Foundation. Although the city handled some of the money, especially during the early planning, OCF was brought in at the beginning of April and invoices for expenses were then redirected to them. This means we’ll probably never know exactly how much was spent on the event, or exactly how much money was raised. But in all likelihood, the total expenses were less than the initial budget of $10,000, while the total revenue was not much over $5000. Whether OCF will absorb the net loss is unclear.

An obvious next question is whether this arrangement with OCF was legal. Or more generally, is it legal for a city to put on a fundraising event for the benefit of a 501(c)(3) nonprofit? I suspect that the answer is no, but higher authorities are unlikely to get involved this time, given that the event actually lost money.

However, this event isn’t the end of the story. The same people are continuing to hold regular meetings, planning for another, bigger velodrome fundraising event in October. Presumably the proceeds from that event will also go to the Ogden Community Foundation.

And finally, it’s always interesting to learn about Mayor Godfrey’s globe-trotting adventures. Yorgason told me on May 1 that she had accompanied Godfrey and Patterson on a recent trip to see the Los Angeles velodrome. But now it appears that the mayor may have since taken a much longer trip, to Switzerland, to visit a velodrome located there. Let’s hope that a real reporter will dig up the details on these trips and tell us how much we’re paying for them.


Curmudgeon said...

Nice digging, Dan, as usual. And all from public sources.

Which of course raises yet again, as you note in your get-away sentence, of where The Standard Examiner was on all this?

Thanks yet again, Dan.

OneWhoKnows said...

The Standard is in Godfrey's back pocket! They're not the same bunch that I worked for as a boy when Glasmann and Hatch owned them.

Danny said...

10 seconds in the company of Arrington and Patterson (as mentioned in the referenced emails) tells a perceptive person all he needs to know. These are two very evil, lying, corrupt men.

I don't know how good people can stand them, unless those who can stand either of them are by definition either not good or at least not perceptive people themselves.

When oh when will our missing in action city council clip these sleazy flying monkeys' wings?

When will they stop our city treasury from being used as Godfrey's personal travel kitty?

ozboy said...

Spend ten grand to make five! Typical Godfreyite business acumen.

Thanks Dan, you're a true Ogden treasure and I hereby confer upon you Ogden homeboy status.

Monotreme said...

Is Patterson's assistant Cindy Weloth, mentioned prominently in these documents, any relation to Dave Weloth, who keeps statistics for the Ogden City Police Department?

ozboy said...

Comment bumped to front page

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