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March 6, 2005
An audit of receipts for "Colleyville Proud" reveals where  the Colleyville Area Chamber spends Colleyville taxpayers' money. 
Miscellaneous receipts show less than $50 was spent with Colleyville businesses. The current Chairman of the Chamber's business received 76% of miscellaneous funds.  The Chairman's business is located in Hurst.

Concerning "Colleyville Proud", the Chamber was paid a $5,000 check on December 23, 2004, allegedly based on receipts that documented expenses.  The only receipts provided amounted to $1,606.85, except for a bill to the City of Colleyville, from a third party, in the amount of $5,200 for a sprinkler installation at Bransford Park.

Chamber President Ret Stansberger threatened to "return the city's membership money."
Despite the decision of the Colleyville City Council that all organizations receiving taxpayers funds would be required to submit receipts and By-Laws of their group, Chamber President Ret Stansberger initially refused to provide the information.

In a letter dated to Stephen Seidel, Assistant City Manager, on December 2, 2004, Stansberger wrote,
"As the Chamber is a vendor, rather than an agency, the document incorrectly requires the Chamber to provide certain information that is normally required of an agency.  Our request was identical to last year's request and the council's approval was the same as last year.  Therefore, we would assume the contract would be the same as last year.  We are including a signed contract with the date changed for you to have executed."

LNO has learned that Stansberger threatened to "return the City's money for membership," if required to conform to the documentation submittal.  However, the City Manager, Bill Lindley, remained firm in his interpretation that the City Council gave no waiver to the Chamber in its requirements.

Apparently Stansberger relented because the By-Laws of the Chamber and receipt documentation, albeit it sketchy, was obtained through Open Records from the City.

The receipts provided by the City via Open Records, in relation to "Colleyville Proud," totaled $1,606.85 with the overwhelming amount of these funds paid to the Better Signs and Banners, a Hurst business listed as that of the current Chairman of the Chamber.

Lynn Stillman, is listed as Chairman of the Chamber on the organization's web site.

Stillman's company was paid more than $1,200 for "Colleyville Proud" signs, that was, in turn, paid from  taxpayers funds. The signs state the event is "Sponsored by IESI Corporation."  It is not clear how much, if any, the Chamber collects from IESI.

The City provided a copy of the check to the Colleyville Chamber of Commerce for $5,000, dated December 23, 2005.  The legend states this is "Agency payment to Colleyville Proud. Proof of receipts and bylaws located in City Secretary's Office."  Click on Check to enlarge.

The following is a summary of the receipts provided.  Out of the funds spent, less than $50 was spent with Colleyville businesses although reimbursed from Colleyville taxpayers' funds. Services like signs, water, donuts, etc. are easily available within the City of Colleyville.
Date Amount Business Location of Business Description
03.16.2004 $924.00 Better Signs & Banners Hurst 4 signs
03.20.04 $25.41 Krispy Kreme Grapevine donuts & OJ
04.01.2004 $83.86 Wal Mart Grapevine work gloves, water, camera
04.02.2004 $45.76 Sams Grapevine 2 coolers @22.88 each
04.03.2004 $10.26 Eckerd Drugs Colleyville no explanation
04.03.2004 $16.07 Kroger Colleyville Browny towels
04.03.2004 $7.73 Kroger Colleyville bags?
04.29.2004 $13.82 Market Street Colleyville Cinnamon Apple & pound cake
06.24.2004 $5.00 not listed not listed donuts
09.16.2004 $288.00 Better Signs & Banners Hurst 4 change dates on signs
09.24.2004 $95.50 Sa-So Best Grand Prairie 34 whistles & 40 fluor. flags
10.06.2004 $31.68 Wal Mart Grapevine water
10.06.2004 $28.08 Lowe's Southlake 24 Men's brown jerse
10.06.2004 $31.68 Wal Mart Grapevine water
Total $1,606.85      
Where spent?        
Colleyville $47.88      
Other cities $1,558.97      

The actual receipts can be viewed in PDF format, Click Here.

In the Chamber receipts are reimbursements to Rich Munson.  Munson, is a previous vocal critic of the Hall Johnson improvements in Colleyville. Munson also was an active supporter of the "big box ordinance," as well as,  the turning down of the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market in 2000.

Munson purchased large volumes of water from Wal-Mart in Grapevine, while living only a few blocks from numerous stores in Colleyville offering the same products.  Munson is not listed as a member of the Chamber on their web site.

Munson, is listed as an appointed Colleyville official as a member of the Zoning Board of Adjustments.

Of unanswered questionable procedure, found in the "Colleyville Proud" receipts was an invoice made out to the City of Colleyville by Premier Landscaping for $5,200.  The invoice states that the bill is for the  sprinkler system installation in one of the City's own public parks, Bransford Park.  There was no capital improvements voted on or referenced to be permitted or conducted under the auspices of the Colleyville Area Chamber of Commerce when the Colleyville City Council approved funds for the Chamber in the City of Colleyville annual budget.  At first glance it appears the Chamber determined that "planting wildflowers" , in the "Colleyville Proud" project, included permission to arbitrarily award a contract for capital improvements on city property.

Click on invoice to enlarge

Without explanation, this large city capital expenditure, although billed to the city, was allegedly paid for by the Chamber and apparently submitted as part of the documentation covering expenses related to "Colleyville Proud."  LNO has asked City Manager Bill Lindley  how this expenditure was authorized, a.) as a capital expenditure on city property paid for by a private organization and b.) how this type of expenditure could have taken place without the required bid process of the city. Lindley told LNO on Friday that he would investigate the expenditure and provide details in "a couple of days."
Click here to see the check documentation submitted by the Chamber.

Premier Landscaping's address is shown as this house behind the Chamber.  There are no signs or other designation identifying the business on the exterior.  The business nor the individuals listed in public records are shown as members of the Chamber.
While the Colleyville Area Chamber was doing business with its Chairman for signs, the landscaping contract went to a business that is not shown as a member of the Chamber. 

There are several companies that are listed as offering landscaping services, at least two are located in Colleyville;   The Lawnfirm and Unique Landscaping.

Public records listed the business contacts of Premier (and both as "President" )as Randy Ferrari and Gregg Short.

The Colleyville Area Chamber of Commerce also billed Colleyville taxpayers for the following:

Amount Description - Click on each to see billing
$750.00 To pay for a table at the annual awards banquet
$350.00 For a booth at the Chamber Business Expo
$4,250.00 For ads in the Chamber directory
$400.00 Charge for city employee Welmaker in Leadership Colley.
$1,200.00 For ads in the chamber newsletter
$425.00 Memberships and building fund
$200.00 Bills for monthly luncheon exhibit table @$50/month
$75.00 Bills for "reserved attendance" of city employees
including Bill Lindley, Lin Pryzbyl, Scott Wellmaker and
Tommy Ingram
$15.00 Bill for "reserved attendance" of Joe Hocutt
Total to date
The Chamber presented a budget to the city and City Council approved $7,053. However, according to the bills received to date from the City, $597 more than the approved amount has already been paid out this year.  The fiscal budget year for the City is October- September.
Taxpayers are being billed for "reserved lunches" regardless if the party attends and more than $5,600 in ads that are primarily mailed to Colleyville residents.  The ads are included in the Chamber directory and newsletters that contain a heavy contingency of businesses not located within the city limits of Colleyville.

Previous articles concerning the Colleyville Area Chamber of Commerce can be seen at the links below.

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