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.
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."
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
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.
Better Signs & Banners
donuts & OJ
work gloves, water, camera
2 coolers @22.88 each
Cinnamon Apple & pound cake
Better Signs & Banners
4 change dates on signs
34 whistles & 40 fluor. flags
24 Men's brown jerse
The actual receipts can be viewed in PDF
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 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
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.
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:
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
Previous articles concerning the
Colleyville Area Chamber of Commerce can be seen at the links below.