Category Archives: Misuse of Recorder Fund

More Recorder’s Fund Intrigue, Ex-Recorder Reimburses Fund

Carpenter for Recorder Committee, former Recorder of Deeds Sharon Carpenter’s campaign account, has reimbursed the Recorder’s Technology and Preservation Fund for public money used to pay for a ticket to an event and something related to a silent auction.

On April 15, 2014, the Recorder’s Technology Fund reimbursed an employee the amount of $132.67 identified as “Silent Auction Reimbursement” related to the Spring 2014 annual conference of the Recorders Association of Missouri (check #2126).

According to Carpenter’s July campaign report, her committee wrote a check to the Recorder Fund for $132.67 on May 20, 2014, identified as “Reimburse Account for Erroneous Check Written.”

On September 30, 2013, the Recorder’s Technology Fund paid $75.00 to “Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority” for “Mayor Luncheon Meeting” further identified as “Travel: Legislation” (check #2079.

According to Carpenter’s July campaign report, her committee wrote a check to the Recorder’s Technology Fund for $75.00 on May 20, 2014, identified as “Reimburse Account for CK 2079.”

The two May 20 campaign report entries strangely appear between June 10 and June 13 entries.

On April 28, I hand-delivered a Sunshine request to Carpenter’s office requesting records of the Recorder’s Technology Fund. It took a month for her to comply but I finally received some but not all of the information, which is how I know about those checks. I am still waiting on fulfillment of my June 26 Sunshine request for copies of thirteen checks not accounted for by Carpenter.

On June 3, I contacted members of the St. Louis Democratic City Central Committee about misuse of the Recorder’s Fund, specifically citing the luncheon check.

When I am Recorder, the Recorder’s Technology and Preservation Fund will be an account with the City Treasurer, as required by State law, not a checkbook available for the writing of “erroneous” checks.

When I am Recorder, every check and debit card purchase made with the Recorder’s Technology and Preservation Fund will be itemized on the Recorder’s web site.

Edward McFowland 314-600-1261
Democratic Candidate for Recorder of Deeds

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City Counselor Office Responds to Sunshine Request for Info on Recorder Fund & City Car

In a strange turn of events, the City Counselor’s Office is now representing Recorder of Deeds Sharon Carpenter on Sunshine requests for records on use of the Recorder’s Technology and Preservation Fund and her city-issued vehicle.

How many days does it take to find and copy thirteen checks from 2009-2014? According to the City Counselor’s Office, more than three days.

How many days does it take to find and copy 40-50 pages of credit card statements from 2009-2014? According to the City Counselor’s Office, more than three days.

How many days does it take to find and copy a mileage log for a city vehicle? According to the City Counselor’s Office, more than three days.

Here is the letter dated June 30th from Matthews S. Dionne, Assistant City Counselor.

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“We are reviewing the request to determine what records we have that are responsive to your request…,” wrote Mr. Dionne.

This is very confusing because the Recorder’s Technology and Preservation Fund is controlled entirely by the Recorder. It’s currently a checkbook, not an account with City Treasurer, in violation of state law.

Previously, I had asked Recorder Carpenter for information on the Recorder’s Technology and Preservation Fund. Instead of providing me with copies of checks and credit card statements, she sent me an elaborate spread sheet with various explanations of expenditures. She billed me $280 for creating the spread sheet.

My most recent requests were for copies of thirteen checks missing from the spreadsheet Recorder Carpenter previously sent me and copies of certain credit card statements relating to travel and food.
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Recorder Carpenter agreed to maintain a vehicle mileage log per a 2010 State Audit. When I spoke with her at her office about mileage records, she told me the car was a 100% taxable benefit and she did not have to keep a log.

If that’s the case, I should have received a letter the next day stating there was no mileage log. Instead, I had to send a second letter and now the City Counselor is involved.

I hope Recorder Carpenter is not creating a mileage log to satisfy the Sunshine request, similar to creating the Recorder Fund spreadsheet, and planning on billing me for data entry and creative writing.

Edward McFowland 314-600-1261
Democratic Candidate for Recorder of Deeds

Recorder Carpenter Supports Hobby Lobby, Walmart

Last year, St. Louis City Recorder of Deeds Sharon Carpenter’s Technology and Preservation Fund debit card was used to spend $536.44 at anti-women Hobby Lobby and $59.12 at anti-union Walmart, both in St. Louis County. The Fund is entirely under the Recorder’s control by state law.

Recorder of Deeds Debit Card transactions*
09/24/2013 $47.53 Walmart: cleaning supplies
10/17/2013 $229.97 Hobby Lobby: Microfilm & Marriage Dept. renovation
10/30/3013 $306.47 Hobby Lobby: City Hall Mayor Open House Nov. 2
10/30/2013 $11.59 Walmart: City Hall Mayor Open House Nov. 2

I support the Recorder’s issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples last week. I do not support spending public funds at Hobby Lobby and Walmart. I am a consistently progressive.

Edward McFowland 314-600-1261
Democratic Candidate for Recorder of Deeds

*From Spreadsheet submitted by Recorder to Ed McFowland in response to Sunshine request for information on Technology and Preservation Fund. Page 8 of 10  and Page 9 of 10

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More Misuse of Recorder Fund

June 3rd I emailed this information to members of St. Louis City Democratic Central Committee.

Recorder of Deeds Sharon Carpenter paid a total of $12,015 plus free parking at Kiel Garage to a music merchandise major named Rudy Brynac to be an intern in her Archives Department during summers of 2010 ($5,715) and 2011 ($5,220) and 2 weeks in Jan. 2012 ($1,080).

She paid him from the Recorder’s Technology and Preservation Fund.

In a letter to me, Sharon wrote, “It may not be used to hire employees for the office. The only exception to this is the hiring of an individual temporarily to perform work that cannot under usual conditions be carried out by existing staff.”

I do not know what necessary work the music merchandise major performed that other Recorder employees could not perform. What I do know he was paid much more than Dr. Lana Stein, who worked temporarily in the Recorder’s Archives Department from Jan. 2009 to June 2010 and paid $4,805 from the Recorder Fund.

I also do not understand why there are so many travel and food expenses paid from Recorder Fund. Example: $950.00 (check #1991 4/5/2011 for Recorder Association of Missouri Conference “Extra Meals Staff” has nothing to do with technology or records preservation, let alone a necessary and prudent spending of public money.

The office is budgeted for travel from General Revenue. I will be requesting those records.

Edward McFowland 314-600-1261
Democratic Candidate for Recorder of Deeds

Misuse of Recorder Fund

June 3rd I emailed this information to members of St. Louis City Democratic Central Committee.

Sharon Carpenter misuses a special fund- established by state law for technology and record preservation- as an expense account.

Section 59.319.1 RSMO and 59.800.1 RSMO require the fund- monies from fees on document recording and copies- to be used “for record storage, microfilming, and preservation, including anything necessarily pertaining thereto” and “exclusively for the purchase, installation, upgrade and maintenance of modern technology necessary to operate the recorder’s office in an efficient manner”.

Some of the expenditures which obviously do not qualify as technology or preservation related include:

1/14/2009 Check 1853 $102.00 to Rent A Center for something related to Presidential Inaugural

8/24/2009 Debit Card $2,378.04 to HDC Home Decorators for rugs for the Recorder and Chief Deputy Recorder’s offices

6/10/2010 Check 1946 $170.00 to Kiel Parking for parking for an intern

3/25/2013 Debit Card $94.41 to Joanies to Go for a Staff Meeting

9/30/2013 Check 2079 $75.00 to Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority for “Mayor Luncheon Meeting” with note “Travel:Legislation”

A Total of $493.53 spent on “City Hall Open House Nov 2” “Mayor Open House” with note “Office Supplies” including
10/30/2013 Debit Card $45.00 to “Gooey Butter”
10/30/2013 Debit Card $11.59 to Wal-Mart
10/30/2013 Debit Card $306.47 to Hobby Lobby
10/30/2013 Debit Card $99.97 to “Gordmans Architectura”
10/30/2013 Debit Card $30.50 to Pint Size Bakery & Coffee

This is just a sample of the inappropriate spending. There are a lot of travel/food related expenses, including trips to visit a technology vendor and “legislation” meetings, and office renovations paid for with this account. I am still reviewing the information and will get back with you on what I find.

Sharon took a month to respond to my Sunshine request for information on this special fund and she billed me $280 in clerical services to create a spreadsheet instead of just copying the checks. I asked to pick it up but she sent it by Fed Ex. More money wasted.

When I am Recorder, the technology and preservation account information will be published on the Recorder website- complete transparency.

Edward McFowland 314-600-1261
Democratic Candidate for Recorder of Deeds