Tag Archives: Sunshine Law

Ex-Recorder Sharon Carpenter Failed To Comply With State Audit Agreement

Thursday, I received the following response from the City Counselor’s office to my Sunshine Request for mileage logs that Sharon Carpenter told State Auditor Susan Montee she would keep.nomileagelogsqc

As suspected, Carpenter did not actually maintain any such records.

The only documentation on her vehicle use is the estimated mileage she turned in to the Comptroller’s office for IRS purposes.

Based on her paperwork and using a generous 20 mile roundtrip commute, Carpenter is alleging that she drove her city vehicle to work 3 days a week in 2013 and 2012, and nearly 4 days a week in 2011.

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

 

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

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

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 Fails To Respond to Sunshine Request

I have been trying to get copies of the mileage logs for St. Louis City Recorder’s City-issued car from January 1, 2011 thru March 31, 2014. I have hand delivered two requests to Recorder Sharon Carpenter’s office, including one a week ago, June 25th.

Comptroller Darlene Green has sent me the mileage reported by Recorder Carpenter for IRS purposes. These records show a great deal more in commuting miles to and from work than what is generally held to have been Carpenter’s infrequent visits to her City Hall office over recent years. My hope is the mileage logs will shed some light on her use of the taxpayer funded car.

Recorder Carpenter agreed to maintain a Vehicle Use Log for the car as a result of the January 2010 Audit by Missouri State Auditor Susan Montee.

The Audit stated:

“The Recorder used a city-owned vehicle for personal use and did not maintain vehicle usage logs to document commuting and personal use of the vehicle. The Recorder reported estimated personal usage of 4,000 miles and commuting usage of 4,844 miles to the City Comptroller’s office for calendar year 2008 and was taxed for this usage. The Recorder does not maintain a vehicle usage log to document miles driven for official, commuting, and personal use. Service department records show the vehicle was driven a total of approximately 13,000 miles during 2008.”

“Without adequate usage logs, the Recorder cannot effectively demonstrate the purpose for which the vehicle is used. Vehicle usage logs should include trip information (i.e., beginning and ending odometer readings, destination, and purpose).”

“WE RECOMMEND the Recorder of Deeds prepare a vehicle usage log to ensure personal and commuting mileage reported for compensation is adequately supported.”

According to the Audit, Recorder Carpenter responded in the affirmative.

“The Recorder provided the following written response:
The Recorder has implemented this recommendation.”

This is not the first time, Recorder Carpenter has not responded in a timely manner to a Chapter 610, Revised Statutes of Missouri request for public records. She took a month to respond to my request for copies of records relating the Recorder’s Technology and Preservation Fund.

It is disturbing that a public records office has such a hard time providing public records on its finances.

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