Tag Archives: Recorder Fund

New Recorder Fails To Comply With Sunshine Law, Florida Working With Mayor To Stonewall

In my Wednesday email to members of St. Louis Democratic City Central Committee, I wrote:

The new Recorder of Deeds has had seven business days to produce copies of thirteen checks from the Recorder’s technology and Preservation Fund.

It’s been sixteen business days since the City Counselor’s Office got involved.

I’ve been trying to get Ed-Recorder Sharon Carpenter’s vehicle mileage logs since April 28th.

Last week, I did not blame newly appointed Recorder Florida.

But now it is obvious that Recorder Florida is working in concert with the City Counselor’s Office and, therefore, Mayor Francis Slay to stonewall release of public records to serve political purposes relating to her Independent bid for Recorder on the November ballot.

Is this what we are to expect on other records maintained by the Recorder? Will it take more than a week to get a copy of your real estate recorder of marriage license?

Shouldn’t Democratic Party voters have all the information on Ex-Recorder Carpenter’s handling of public funds and resources before the August 5 election, not after the election when it suits the Mayor?

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

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McFowland Questions Ex-Recorder’s Mileage, Still No Records From Sunshine Requests

The City Recorder of Deeds office has had thirteen business days to produce copies of thirteen checks from the Recorder’s Technology and Preservation Fund. It’s been seven business days since the City Counselor’s office got involved. Still nothing.

rodcarrequest1I’ve been trying to get Carpenter’s vehicle mileage logs since April 28th.

I had to send a second letter because Carpenter claimed she didn’t get the first. She said it didn’t matter because the car was a special benefit and she didn’t have to keep a mileage log. In 2010, she agreed with State Auditor Susan Montee to keep a mileage log.

I am not blaming newly appointed Recorder Florida. She was just sworn into office.

I do find it suspicious, however, that the City Counselor’s office got involved in Sunshine requests of this type.

The mileage log is of interest because of the mileage Carpenter turned in to the Comptroller for IRS purposes in 2010-2013.

The distance between Carpenter’s home and City Hall is 9.4 miles. sqcmileageirsUsing a generous 10 miles, 20 miles round trip:

In 2013, Carpenter estimated 3,380 miles for commuting to and from work:

3,380 miles ÷ 20 miles round trip = 169 work day round trips
169 work days ÷ 52 weeks = 3 days a week

Is there anyone who believes Sharon Carpenter came to her City Hall office an average of 3 days per week last year?

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

Five Questions for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial Board has decided Sharon Carpenter should exit recorder of deeds race and the office should be turned over to the same mayor who has financially and publicly propped her up all these years.

Top management problems with her office have not been a secret. Why is it that an office holder AWOL for most of four years didn’t draw more opponents this year? That’s a question the Editorial Board needs to be asking.

Another question- Why wasn’t there any follow-up by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to the 2010 State Audit of the City Recorder’s office?

Another question- What is the St. Louis County Recorder of Deed’s Technology and Preservation Fund spent on? That’s a civil service position under a County Executive appointee. That’s the model the Editorial Board wants.

Another question- Why doesn’t the St. Louis County Recorder of Deeds provide Birth and Death Record services?

Another question- Did St. Louis County get back that half a million dollars stolen from its Recorder’s office by an employee?

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

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

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.

citycounselor1

“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.
missingcheckscreditcard2

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

rodfund9of10rodfund8of10

Recorder Must Be Removed, Second Letter to Circuit Attorney

I have written and hand-delivered a second letter to Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce regarding Nepotism in the St. Louis City Recorder of Deeds Office.

“The laudable events of last Wednesday, Recorder Sharon Quigley Carpenter’s issuance of marriage licenses to same sex couples, which I support, do not change the fact that Mrs. Carpenter previously violated Article 7, Section 6 of the Missouri Constitution by employing a family member within the fourth degree.”

“I contacted Recorder Carpenter and asked her to resign. She has not. I am, therefore, again asking that your office pursue Mrs. Carpenter’s removal.”

From 2010-2012, Recorder Carpenter paid $12,015 from the Recorder’s Technology and Preservation Fund, a fund which she alone controls under state law, to Rudy Brynac for “temporary employment” in her Archives Department.

Mr. Brynac is the grandson of Ronnie Brynac, nee Quigley, Recorder Carpenter’s sister, making him the Recorder’s great-nephew, a fourth degree relation according to the Missouri Ethics Commission.

My previous letter to Circuit Attorney Joyce.

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

Sharon Carpenter Must Resign

My email today to members of the St. Louis Democratic City Central Committee.

Today I delivered a letter to Recorder Sharon Carpenter asking her to immediately contact the City Board of Elections to remove her name from the August Primary ballot and resign from office to save her family and the City of St. Louis from her removal by the quo warranto process.

Sharon Carpenter hired a family member with public funds entirely under her control.

From 2010 to 2012, during two summers and two weeks in a winter, Sharon paid over $12,000 from the Recorder’s Technology and Preservation Fund to Rudy Brynac for “temporary employment” in her Archives Department.

Rudy Brynac is the grandson of Ronnie Brynac, Sharon’s sister, making him the Recorder’s great-nephew, a fourth degree relation according to the Missouri Ethics Commission.

Article 7, Section 6, Missouri Constitution is very clear on Nepotism: Penalty for nepotism. Section 6. Any public officer or employee in this state who by virtue of his office or employment names or appoints to public office or employment any relative within the fourth degree, by consanguinity or affinity, shall thereby forfeit his office or employment.

I then delivered a letter to Mayor Slay recommending Deputy Assessor Shawn Ordway be appointed to fill out Sharon’s term. Under Section 105.030 Missouri Revised Statutes, the City’s mayor fills a City Recorder vacancy.

I have not met Mr. Ordway but I know he is the former Cole County Assessor and, therefore, uniquely familiar with Recorder land records services. What is important here is stability and continuity of services for customers.

Due to irregularities in expenditures, such as the hiring of the Chief Deputy Recorder’s son to perform over $100,000 in office renovation services, I have also asked that the Mayor’s appointee remove the current Chief Deputy Recorder. I have suggested that she be replaced with a supervisor from one of the Recorder’s departments, someone familiar with day to day operations but no previous relationship with the office Technology and Preservation Fund.

The final letter I delivered today was to Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, explaining the situation and providing her with the check numbers, dates, and amounts, and requesting that she proceed with quo warranto removal of Sharon in the event she does not resign.

Those dates, check numbers, and amounts include: 6/10/2010 Check #1945 $240; 6/24/2010 Check #1948 $1,200; 7/9/2010 Check #1949 $1,155; 7/21/2010 Check #1951 $600; 8/5/2010 Check #1953 $960; 8/23/2010 Check #1957 $1,200; 8/27/2010 Check #1959 $600; 5/27/2011 Check #1993 $384; 6/9/2011 Check #1995 $768; 6/23/2011 Check #1997 $960; 7/7/2011 Check #2001 $864; 7/20/2011 Check #2004 $864; 8/12/2011 #2008 $1,380; 1/5/2012 Check #2015 $504; 1/12/2012 Check #2021 $576.

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

Nepotism in Recorder Office

June 4th I emailed this information to members of St. Louis City Democratic Central Committee.

From September 2009 to December of 2013, Sharon Carpenter paid Superior Building Group L.L.C. a total of $108,123.00 from the Recorder Technology and Preservation Account for office renovations.

Sharon explained renovations in a letter to me, “the Recorder’s office had become a hazardous workplace.” That is an interesting choice of words coming from someone who smokes in her office and endangers the health of employees and customers.

“The renovation was over-seen by the Board of Public Service from selection of the contractor to assurance that the contract was completed on time, within budget.”

The contractor selected is owned by Jim Treis, the son of Peggy Meeker, Sharon’s Chief Deputy Recorder and Office Manager.

Did Sharon or Ms. Meeker volunteer to the Board of Public Service that the company was owned by Ms. Meeker’s son?|

Who actually made the contractor choice? Board of Public Service or the Recorder’s Office?

This is not an account with the City Treasurer. Who signs the checks from the Recorder Technology and Preservation Account?

When I am Recorder, this will never be an issue because we will have a Code of Conduct that eliminates nepotism.

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

Modernizing the Recorder Office

June 4th I emailed this information to members of the St. Louis City Democratic Central Committee.

Modernizing the Recorder of Deeds office should mean more than renovating or redecorating it.

There are many changes I will bring to the Recorder office. In addition to making the office smoke-free and providing complete transparency on the Recorder Technology and Preservation Fund by publicizing it online, as your next Recorder of Deeds:

I will provide for online credit card payment for deeds and marriage license copies.

I will make land deed and marriage license indexes available online for free.

The public should be able to search these records without paying a subscription fee, which is what Sharon Carpenter does. Why aren’t Recorder indexes searchable online in St. Louis City?

Boone County Recorder of Deeds has a registration system for free marriage and deed searches
Cass County Recorder of Deeds has a registration system for free searches or subscription for copy purchase
Franklin County Recorder of Deeds has a Marriage License Search and Deed Search 1964-Present
Greene County Recorder of Deeds has a Marriage License Search and Deed Search
Jackson County Recorder of Deeds has a Marriage License Search and Land Records Search
Johnson County Recorder of Deeds has a Deeds Search
St. Charles County Recorder of Deeds has a registration system that allows you to do searches for free and pay as you go for copy purchases, or choice of other subscription deals
St. Louis County Recorder of Deeds has a Deed Search

But not us. Sharon Carpenter was once a leader in records technology but no more. It’s time for change. I will bring that change.

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