Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Standard-Examiner: Salomon Center Fundraiser Free-For-All

All hell breaks loose this morning in the Weber County Commission Seat "B" race

Amidst a 2010 General Election season which has been heretofore strangely quiet, all hell breaks loose this morning in the Weber County Commission Seat "B" race. It appears that Boss Godfrey, who has a history of using the Salomon Center as a venue for political fundraising activity, has gotten himself involved in c0-hosting yet another political fundraiser at Ogden's Downtown Fun Center. Here's the skinny from the Standard-Examiner:
Fundraiser free-for-all / Charges fly over Salomon Center political event in Wicks-Gibson commission race
The Salt Lake Tribune is all over the story too:
Democratic candidate alleges illegal use of city-owned facilities
Among other things, Democratic Party commission candidate Amy Wicks suggests that Boss Godfrey's role in co-hosting this latest Salomon Center campaign event amounts to a violation of Utah Code Section 10-3-1108 and Ogden City Code Section 2-6-13, which provide as follows in pertinent part:
10-3-1108. Political activity of municipal officer or employee... (2) Except as otherwise provided by federal law... (d) a municipal officer or employee may not use municipal equipment while engaged in political activity.

2-6-13: POLITICAL ACTIVITY:... C. Restricted Activities: No officer or employee of the city shall:... 2. Use, or allow to be used, any city equipment while engaged in any political activity.
Judging from an examination of supporting documents published on the SE site, it appears that the Godfrey Administration is adopting a a highly legalistic defensive posture in this matter, arguing that this campaign event is actually being sponsored by the tenant in possession, Gary Nielson, and not by Mayor Godfrey. The fly in the ointment with respect to that posture, of course, is that Boss Godfrey is prominently billed as a co-host for the event:

Wicks also maintains that use of the Salomon Center for political purposes is prohibited under state and local laws that prevent municipal officers or employees from using municipal equipment while engaged in political purposes.
Those laws are being violated because Godfrey is a member of the host committee for Gibson's fundraiser at the Salomon Center, Wicks said.

Although it's a little early in the game to offer our own legal analysis on this subject, we will invite our gentle readers to chime in with their own comments and observations.

So what about it, O Gentle Ones? Does Boss Godfrey's role as an event co-host convey upon him a possessory interest sufficient to run afoul of the state statute and city ordinance set forth above? And what about Godfrey's ethical posture in this matter? Does Godfrey's self-professed "right to support any political candidate [he] choose[s]" override his ethical obligation to avoid using city-owned property in a manner which arguably inures to his own self-serving political benefit?

Who will be the first to throw in their ever-savvy 2¢?

38 comments:

OneWhoKnows said...

It's hard to believe that Godfrey would inturpt the ordinances in his favor rather than the stated meaning of the law. Still believe he's not running again?

It's also hard to imagine that Gibson would welcome Weber County's own Richard Nixon to his little party for bowling, flying and floating. It's kind of like having a turd in the punch bowl and one as your guest speaker. Those Republicans are in a world of their own, aren't they ?

Obstructionism wont get you elected said...

Non Starter. Amy shouldn't have hit gibson on something that casts a bright light on her opposition to the junction project. Iy has proven to be the biggest success Ogden has seen in 40 years.

Amy is stretching to make an issue out of this and it will likely backfire. Her continual opposition to economic development projects will expose her anti-small business agenda.

Like them or not the tea party folks, the 9-12ers and the beckites have proven that the public is tired of these kind of tactics.

She should recognize that being an advocate for her own cause and vision for the county will benefit her more than her continual Godfrey hating obstructionism. If she has Ideas to to improve the economy, create jobs or cut taxes we want to hear those ideas. Otherwise she comes off looking cheap and petty.

wrong, wrong, wrong said...

"Like them or not the tea party folks, the 9-12ers and the beckites have proven that the public is tired of these kind of tactics. "

Wrong. True tea-partiers oppose taxpayer subsidized money-losers, which is what the Junction and Salomon Center really represent.

borrow and spend godfreyite tea partier said...

What Obstructionism wont get you elected said.

What will it cost us said...

What about the money re-directed from BDO to maintain the bonds to pay off the shabby construction?The junction isn't the big winner to re-develope downtown. If it wasn't for the movie theatre paid for by real business owners no one would be there. Hard to show off the city with all the empty storefronts. Instead all of the rates in Ogden city has gone up more than doubled since the mayor took office to repair water/sewer BDO revenue was suppose to be used for city repairs and upgrades.

I'm sure they will find someway to write this all off to a non-profit foundation and then funnel the money into politics so the taxpayer will be screwed both ways as usual by these Republicians at the trough.

Ozboy said...

Rudi

I would like to submit for your consideration the following as the most idiotic comment ever made on this forum.
".....the junction project. Iy has proven to be the biggest success Ogden has seen in 40 years."
(taken from the one above by ".....Obstructionism wont....")

This person is either way too stupid to even realize how idiotic this statement is, or has their head up Godfrey's keister so far they can't tell light from dark, or they are just plain dishonest to the core like Godfrey hisself. (These options are not mutually exclusive)

If the Junktion, a day glow bowling alley and penny arcade, is Ogden's most successful venture in forty years then the tax payers are in even deeper doodoo than any one imagined.

The tax payers are subsidizing the total loser to the tune of $600,000 per year because it cannot make the bond payments. This subsidy has been on going since the place was built and it will continue on into the foreseeable future. Something Godfrey promised on many occasions would never happen.

The debt surrounding the fiasco is around $40,000,000 and most likely will have to be paid by those same tax payers.

The overwhelming amount of office and retail space in the place is vacant with no relief in sight.

It was built after Godfrey and his gang of five council members pulled some very dishonest games in their proposals and made wildly inaccurate projections as to costs and income.

By any remotely intelligent measure the Junktion is a total and complete failure and most likely will go down in Ogden's history as it's all time money loser.

Still another lie in the above post is where the writer claims that Wicks is "anti-small business". She is not, but she does appear to be anti-idiotic and anti-insider dealing which is so pervasive in the corrupt Godfrey regime.

dumb utah politicians said...

Here's one thing for sure. The moronic "dairy farmer," Kerry Gibson, is now cuddling up with Boss Godfrey.

Dumb move on-out-of-touch Kerry Gibson's part.

Curmudgeon said...

Discussion so far has been over whether candidate Wicks made a tactical error, and over whether The Junction has been a spectacular success or a disastrous failure. [My own view: it has been neither as successful as its advocates expected and promised, but it has not been a complete bust either. Some viable elements of it seem to be prospering, particularly the restaurant court across from the theater. Other elements are, clearly, sucking for air [the empty storefronts on Kiesel, eg.]

But Wicks has challenged the fund raiser on two grounds: one ethical, one legal. No one has yet said much about the substance of the legal challenge. Be interesting to read here some discussion of that [discussion -- not just denunciations of those who hold to one side of the question or the other as idiots, morons, sycophants, crooks, etc. ]

blackrulon said...

Won't it save a lot of time and grief it the legal staff or the city attorney just pre "healed" all of Godfreys business and political endeavors?

What we need is a leader said...

Funny no one has addressed the fact that Wicks has failed to lay out her plan for Weber County. The only time she speaks is to criticize others. Her track record in ogden has shown she doesnt care for policies that will bring business to Ogden, they are not productive in creating good paying jobs and by doing so she has fought against economic development and inturn chooses to raise taxes.

In my opinion we dont need another blame shifting, finger point politician in office, we need a leader who has a vision and desire to promote economic development that will produce jobs naturally and get government out of our lives and pocketbooks.

Thanks for the blog. It is a good place to share opinions. I am sure those who use name calling and personal attacts are not characteristic of your hopes for a good honest debate. I enjoy the lively discussion but I am turned off by such things. keep up the good work.

Just Want to Know said...

Someone told me that Kerry Gibson is Godfrey's cousin. Anyone know for sure?

Leader? said...

Neither candidate has made any serious attempt to lay out a vision for the county, or even a campaign platform. All we can do is guess, based on their records as elected officials. So I predict that Wicks would be a champion of mass transit and of fiscal conservativism, while Gibson would do a lot of grandstanding about how global warming is a hoax.

Curmudgeon said...

What we need:

I suggest you go back and examine Ms. Wicks' voting record on the Council. The notion that she opposes any actions designed to encourage business growth in Ogden is nonsense. She has opposed to several very expensive and very doubtful proposals, like selling Mt. Ogden Park to real estate developers to finance the Mayor's flatland gondola obsession. And I think she voted against putting the full faith and credit of the city behind the Junction construction bonds when the mayor insisted it was just a formality and the taxpayers would not have to actually pay the bonds or the interest one them. That her judgment was sound on that one has been borne out by very expensive experience. Not to mention that the city's original consultant and developer, chosen by the Mayor, warned warned that The Junction would not be an economic success as the Mayor wanted it configured, which prediction turned out to be correct so far as well. I see her votes on those matters as pluses.

The all-Republican Weber County Commission has been for a long time a compliant voice for real estate interests, approving development for development's sake without examining, always, what the consequences and costs to the residents of Weber County might be. [Its sorry performance on the Powder Mountain matter is but one example.] Strikes me it would be wise to have at least one voice on the County Commission who is not in the Utah Realtors Association's pocket [look at who's lining up to donate money to her opponent at the fund raiser], one voice at least that thinks research should come before decisions, one voice at least willing to ask questions, in public and on the record, that no one else on the commission is likely to ask at all, much less in public and on the record.

Putting a third carbon-copy neo-conervative pet of the Utah Realtors Association on the Weber County Commission yet again doesn't seem like wise policy to me.

Hindman said...

Not sure if Amy has shot herself in the foot yet or not but it does appear that Gibson and company should have just rented a facility not owned by the city, county or state to hold his fundraiser.

I fully agree with What We Need... I am very interested to find out what Wicks and Gibson have as campaign platforms for the election bids. I have been completely unimpressed with the current Commission although I had high hopes for Zogmaister - she had turned out to be just one of the good ol' boys.

A number of years back there was some community action regarding changing the Commission from 3 to 7 members - would love to see that resurface.

Gibson Sucks said...

Gibson has never passed up a hand out. Farm subsidies (Hatch Act?)elected to help protect his farm buddies at all our expense (legacy Park Way) and now Ogden City what did you think you were going to get.

I like Amy Wicks! said...

Amy Wicks understands the proper role of government spending... Gibson has his hand in the cookie jar!

Danny said...

This episode closes the issue for me.

Cronyism, insider dealing, government of, by, and for a special class: The Gibson-Godfrey ticket.

Independence, courage, experience, straight dealing, honesty: Wicks.

(Unless you are part of the corrupt insider dealing Godfrey clique, then vote for Gibson-Godfrey and wait for your damnation.)

WB's pal said...

Amy is a smoldering volcano, my buddy WB agees, and that kind of heat and action is exactly what Weber County needs these days.

Vote Wicks or waste your vote on another fat republican know nothing who won't even respect you in the morning.

Danny said...

Note in the SE article you have quotes from Wicks, then opposing ones from

Gibson
Godfrey
Brown
Nielsen

creating a sense of a drumbeat of criticism against Wicks, when in fact, it is only affiliated people criticizing her.

The article is another propaganda piece from the Standard Examiner.

Out from Under a Rock... said...

Built Everything Scottie B....says

Hey..underestimating construction costs and overestimating income is my specialty....I'll show you da money!

OneWhoKnows said...

Like I said....."turd in a punchbowl."

Swim against the current. Even a dead fish can go with the flow. said...

Can you imagine how county departments will have to start being accountable once Wicks and Morgan get elected? And having Commissioners that actually concern themselves with constituents' concerns? Radical ideas!

Dan S. said...

So Godfrey believes he has found a loophole in the law that prohibits using city property for political purposes: lease the property to someone else, so they can then use it for political purposes!

In the present instance, this loophole is undoubtedly wide enough that Godfrey needn't fear criminal prosecution. But what if the political use were more egregious? What if Nielsen were to put political banners on the outside of the Salomon Center and keep them there throughout the campaign season? What if he were to tell his staff to wear t-shirts promoting his favorite candidates, and solicit contributions from all his customers? According to the emails of Godfrey and Nielsen, this would be completely legal. (I doubt that Nielsen would do it, because it would anger too many of his customers. But he seems to think he could do it if he wanted.)

The real problem with Godfrey is that he's continually asking how far he can push the rules, and how much he can get away with. One of these days he'll discover that he has pushed the rules a little too far. But probably not this time.

What the voters should be asking is this: Should we support elected officials who are continually pushing the limits to see what they can get away with?

Biker Babe said...

@Dan S - you said:

The real problem with Godfrey is that he's continually asking how far he can push the rules, and how much he can get away with. One of these days he'll discover that he has pushed the rules a little too far. But probably not this time.

I agree .. except I don't recall him ever asking ...

just sayin ..

BB

Dan S. said...

BB: Good point.

Waterboy said...

If the Junction is being run by the "tenant in possession" then why is the Ogden Police Department providing security? I know that officers are working the Junction as a part-time job. They are in uniform and they handle incidents at the Junction when they are working that job. It would be interesting to find out if these officers are being paid separately or through their regular Ogden City wages... I know that officers can take on part-time jobs in uniform, but they are paid by the hiring entity and the officer must obtain approval through the Chief. If they are paid through the city, then I would think that it would make the Junction more of an Ogden City property than a "tenant in possession".

Dan S. said...

Waterboy: Are the city police working inside the salomon center (routinely) or just outside?

Waterboy said...

My understanding is that it is a part-time job, aside from their regular duty 40 hour work week as a police officer. It is not a premises check or routine on duty walk throughs. It is considered something like "extra duty" or "off duty" employment.

I am in favor of the officers being able to pick up part time jobs off duty. It is tough making ends meet for everyone. I just don't know if the city is footing the bill for police security at the Jucntion.

I know that there is also a paid security company (not the police department) that works there as well. I am not sure if they only work the parking structure or not.

And to answer the question, Yes they are working inside the Junction (Fat Cats, etc).

Vocabulary Nazi said...

"Junction" = entire former mall site including parking garage, office buildings, restaurants, apartments, Treehouse Museum, etc.

"Salomon Center" = a single building housing Gold's, Fat Cats, FlowRider, iFly, etc., owned by the Ogden City RDA and leased to Gary Nielsen and company.

See details and map here.

Waterboy said...

My apologies for the confusion. I did mean the Salomon Center. Thanks for the correction.

history tells all said...

This issue is so small, I have info that will show how all the republicans have use Taxpayers money for their own personal use. Just wait the culture of corruption is leaking and it is time to spot the leak.

I like that there is one state rep. that is calling for accountability of the 13 million dollar pay out to the governor buddies. See ABC 4 news last night, with Chris Vanorcur. Great story. Get on it Rep. Neil Hansen

googlegirl said...

Channel 4:

What did Governor Herbert know and when did he know it?

ozboy said...

And speaking of political corruption here in the land of the pure and holy, the Tribune has an outrageously funny Bagley cartoon up today that hits it clean outta the ball park!

See it here:

Bagley Cartoon

A true believer said...

Well Mr. Ozmoid, it is no surprise that you would think such a scurrilous attack on the honorable Governor Herbert was funny. You are so warped with your insidious liberalism that you think anything is funny that attacks any of our upstanding Republican leaders.

There is not one shred of credible evidence that would support the notion that Governor Herbert is anything but righteous and honorable in all that he does. This also goes for his son who is the target of communist agitators like you.

You can attack our Republican leaders all you want, but the truth is they are all called by God and they are all perfect in all they think, say and do.

It has always been that the righteous must suffer from the slings and arrows of low life slime like you.

Tired said...

Dear Obstructionism Won't Get You Elected: Whatever you say, Boss Godfrey!

really? said...

Does anyone know that the very person who wrote the feasibility study for Fat Cats and the Junktion is now, and always was, the Chief Operating Officer of Fat Cats? Want proof? Let me know. I have a letter from Fat Cat's legal counsel that proves it.

Can you say bullshit and dishonest?

oldguy said...

Obstructionism? If memory serves me that was the favorite label of the Geiger boys/Godfrey bad ass group way back in the days of the Petersen/Godfrey ski resort - urban gondola fiasco. You'd think that Godfrey and Co. could come up with a new approach especially since the obstructionism BS fell flat just as the G boys did and our little buddy is destined to do.

Another OldGuy said...

Oldguy,

My fuzzy old memory seems to recall the Geigerite's favorite name for those who opposed their dumb ass ideas was - Naysayers.

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