Here’s why there’s no accountability – people like Greg Einhorn

11 May

I’ve supported the Esplanade House, a transitional housing facility, since it was in a motel on Esplanade years ago. I was very happy when the facility was moved to a new building down the road. When “neighbors” protested, I wrote letters in support. My family made a $200 contribution to help them move – that’s a lot for a working family with one breadwinner. When it was time to build my husband put the floors in. He was paid by his employer, Towne Carpet, who donated the labor. But he didn’t have to do the job, there was plenty more lucrative work in the private sector at the time. He was proud to do it, and I was proud for him to be involved.

Things change. As the original founders of the Esplanade House deferred a public agency, The Community Action Agency, I started hearing complaints. I  remember a friend of mine whose daughter was volunteering at the facility describing what I would call a hostile atmosphere – volunteers being told to shut up and do what they were told.

One day several years ago I went to an inter-agency meeting Downtown, called by then new city councilor Reanette Fillmer. Fillmer was hearing complaints that the city of Chico was hostile toward the homeless,  and she wanted to have a public discussion about it.

Tom Tenorio was invited to speak. He’s a windbag, the kind of guy that inflates like a balloon when other people are looking at him. It was at the meeting I realized the Community Action Agency was just another salary trough, and Tenorio was just another mouth on the teat.

Now Tenorio is under fire for being too extravagant with his personal expenses. Well, duh. People like him are attracted to the public sector because there’s no accountability.

http://www.chicoer.com/article/NA/20180427/NEWS/180429728

A report released by the state earlier this month revealed no significant findings in an audit of the Community Action Agency of Butte County launched in response to accusations of mismanagement of funds and noncompliance.

The California Department of Community Services and Development completed the audit April 20, and issued what the CAA described in a press release as a “favorable” report.

The department in February began investigating the agency for alleged mismanagement of funds and noncompliance with grant requirements after founders of the CAA-managed Esplanade House took their concerns about the agency, provides transitional housing and other services for formerly homeless families, to the state.

But here’s the conflict in that report:

The audit team did not conduct an in-depth review of the agency’s use of the Esplanade house as it is beyond the state’s scope of authority. Daily operations of the CAA, unless there is concern about Community Services and Development programs, are not subject to review by the state agency.

The state did find procedures that could use the agency’s attention to evidence best financial practices, such as ensuring a board member signs and dates the CEO’S timesheets as required by CAA policy.

The audit acknowledged some negative trends related to the loss of federal and state funding, but found the organization’s financials to be adequate and show little debt. It stated, however that decreasing revenues and a higher concentration of federal and state funds could put the agency’s fiscal health at risk.

Why would it be okay for an agency that is “at risk” financially to allow extravagant travel expenses for their board members?

Furthermore, the agency continues to fight public scrutiny, according to David Little’s recent editorial from the Chico Enterprise Record. Little received a complaint from short-lived District 3 Supervisor Maureen Kirk.

“’I am writing to let you know that I am becoming increasingly concerned with the lack of transparency of the Community Action Agency board of directors,’ she wrote. ‘Any agency that receives millions in state and federal funding should be following all open public record laws, and local citizens should not have to hire an attorney to force the issue.’”

LIttle explains, “In this case, though, she was talking about three founders of the Esplanade House, which falls under the Community Action Agency umbrella. They hired an attorney to try to get Tenorio and the CAA board of directors to comply with the state’s open meetings law, the Brown Act, as well as the California Public Records Act.

That should be standard, right?

Well, the CAA seems to be working hard to keep the public away from its meetings.

Kirk asked the board to adopt a policy that it would comply with the Brown Act and Public Records Act. Kirk requested that it be discussed at the CAA’s April 24 meeting.

It didn’t help matters when she arrived at the meeting at the CAA office in Chico only to find out the meeting had been moved to Oroville without anybody knowing.

None of this surprises the three people — Lynne Bussey, Greg Webb and Gary Incaudo — who had to hire the attorney to try to force open meetings.

Their attorney, based in San Francisco, laid out the reasons why the CAA should comply with a Public Records Act request and with the Brown Act in a three-page, well-documented letter.

The CAA’s attorney said, nope, we don’t need to comply.'”

Little describes his experience with the CAA.

“Anyway, we’ve tried the nonlitigious approach with the CAA. Back on Feb. 12, I sent an email to Tenorio requesting emailed notices of all meetings at least 72 hours in advance, as required by the Brown Act.

“’Also,’ I wrote, ‘can you tell me where the meetings are publicly noticed now? I see nothing on the CAA website.’

Tenorio wrote back to politely say the CAA does not fall under the Brown Act. He also said the meeting notices are posted at their offices in Chico and Oroville.”

I’ve had the same fight with the city of Chico clerk’s office and CARD.  Little has a little more clout than I do, and a newspaper to bitch about it in.

LIttle continues, “I argued back that, no, they were a ‘local body created by state or federal law’ and were subject to the Brown Act.

Nearly two weeks later, their attorney, Greg Einhorn, responded to me and said no, the Community Action Agency board is not a ‘legislative body.'”

Little opines  that either the CAA should comply with the Brown Act or lose public funding. Great, I agree.

But something else caught my eye there  –  CAA’s attorney, Greg Einhorn, is the same guy who represented Chico Unified School District in their fight to hide documents and evidence related to the phony allegations former superintendent, Scott Brown, initiated against Marsh Junior High School years ago.  Documents were eventually found showing that CUSD employees were told to destroy e-mails pertaining to the case. The Grand Jury eventually blasted CUSD, Einhorn was eventually replaced after documents were found showing he knew his clients had falsified documents and allegations.   Under Einhorn’s direction, the district spent millions dollars fighting to keep public information from being made public.

And now he’s working for Tom Tenorio and the Community Action Agency, fighting to keep public information from being made public. 

I believe Tenorio needs to step down, and the CAA needs to get their affairs together or be dissolved as a body. The county may need to take over the Esplanade House. They certainly should not receive public funds until they have a full board that better represents the public interest. And the credit cards and expense accounts need to go – they’ve turned a facility that was built to help the poor into a slush fund built to help themselves.

And here are some questions Maureen Kirk and the board of supervisors might want to ask Greg Einhorn:  

  • In your previous work as a lawyer representing Chico Unified School District, did you ever have knowledge that records were being withheld, hidden, destroyed, or answers to requests falsified?
  • Have you instructed any members of the board or staffers of the Community Action Agency to withhold, hide, or destroy records or falsify answers to requests?
  • Do you have knowledge of the CAA withholding, hiding or destroying records or falsifying answers to requests? 

Little is right. Withholding of public information by these agencies is an pattern, as evidenced by Einhorn’s participation, and this CAA case might be bigger than we think. 

 

 

 

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10 Responses to “Here’s why there’s no accountability – people like Greg Einhorn”

  1. Jim May 11, 2018 at 6:45 am #

    The corruption in our government has become pandemic. Top to bottom these “public servants” are only interested in serving themselves.

    • Juanita Sumner May 11, 2018 at 9:57 am #

      Thanks Jim

      I have known and do know public employees who try to buck the system – some of my best tipsters have been public employees. A city worker once followed me out of a meeting to tell me , ” you’re doing the right thing, please keep doing what you’re doing. ”

      They don’t want to be identified, they’re afraid to speak up. Another city employee handed me some documents once, telling me, “if anybody asks you where you got these say you paid for them.” They were budget documents, showing how much of the budget is eaten by cops and fire.

      A county worker called me on my private phone number, how he got it I will never know. He would not give me his name but wanted to explain to me how collective bargaining works at Butte County, how the upper-level employees bargain for themselves but the lower-level employees just take what they get. That’s why there’s so much disparity between the salaries in these agencies.

      I’d say management is the problem, they obviously have the most to lose. But they also intimidate the lower-paid workers out of saying anything about what’s going on.

  2. bob May 11, 2018 at 12:41 pm #

    How do you like this?

    “California’s budget surplus is billions bigger than expected. Will Jerry Brown spend it?”

    Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article210903954.html

    No mention, of course, of giving at least some of that money back to the taxpayers. Instead, there’s talk of raising taxes, as usual.

    So even with all the waste and fraud the budget is billions in surplus (even with all the billions wasted on Brownie’s bullet train to nowhere).

    Yet we’ve got to nail the poor and middle class (and everyone else) with regressive huge tax increases on things like gas, diesel and car tax registration to fix the roads. And of course, all the cities and counties are trying to raise their sales and property taxes as well. And let’s never forget that when it comes to high taxes this state takes the cake.

    It’s like I’ve been saying for years, no matter how much of your money they take, they always want to take more and will never stop trying.

  3. bob May 11, 2018 at 7:51 pm #

    This is what happens when the gooberment gets its mitts on a charity. Separation of church and state? We need separation of charity and state, too! And Einhorn should be disbarred.

    There’s enough corruption in this little city to keep an investigative reporter very busy.

    • Juanita Sumner May 12, 2018 at 5:04 am #

      I think Ramsey needs to be recalled too – he’s ultimately responsible for what goes on in the courts. The Grand Jury got involved in the case of Marsh Jr. High and Ramsey still wouldn’t do anything. He could call for an investigation into the CAA but he has too many friends involved.

      • bob May 12, 2018 at 7:46 am #

        Ramsey’s been in there forever and he knows without term limits he’s got the job for life if he wants so he can do mostly whatever he wants. Butte county is his little fiefdom.

        It always amuses me how this country lectures all the other countries of the world on democracy. Yet in this country corrupt incumbents have a higher re-election rate than the corrupt politicians in the Soviet Union’s sham elections.

      • Juanita Sumner May 12, 2018 at 1:38 pm #

        The other problem is, nobody from around here will run against him because if they lose he will be in a position to screw them out of the county, and I’d guess he’d do that.

        In Glenn County, the father of our former police chief – both named Bob Maloney – was the DA. When one of his deputy district attorneys ran against him, Maloney had the guy arrested on trumped up charges. The man was later reinstated and given back pay, and went on to win the election.

        http://krcrtv.com/archive/glenn-county-da-axes-deputy-and-political-rival

        http://krcrtv.com/archive/once-fired-deputy-takes-over-glenn-county-das-office_20160513180551298

        “It wasn’t until the day of his swearing-in that Stewart said he finally entered his new office, more than six months after being elected. Stewart added Maloney, who was still the district attorney, wouldn’t allow him to come inside.”

        Ramsey is petty and cheap, and devious. I could see him pulling the same kind of crap if any of his staffers tried to run against him – and let’s face it, who else is qualified? When the owners of the scrap yard brought in a challenger from Sacramento, everybody screamed carpet bagger.

        A candidate would have to have the backing of some powerful local group – frankly, I’d register CTA as a PAC for the right person.

      • bob May 12, 2018 at 6:28 pm #

        The very nature of politics leads to corruption whether it’s at the national, state or local level and that corruption can be so subtle that the average voter as no idea. Ramsey is corrupt, at the very least in the sense he does not serve the best interests of the public. Just look at the one example you gave about Marsh. Yet how many Butte County voters would consider Ramsey corrupt? What about editors at the Chico ER or News and Review?

        Politics is corrupt. Always has been, always will be. It can be no other way. After all, government is the monopoly on the use of force. You must pay every penny in taxes, assessments, fees, levies, fines, etc. that every politician and bureaucrat demands and you must do everything they tell you to the letter. And if you don’t they will send people with guns after you and put you in a cage.

        How can that kind of power not corrupt?

        This is why it is very dangerous to keep demanding government do more to “help” the people. Yet the knee jerk reaction from the public is for government to “do something” about every problem society faces.

  4. diana May 12, 2018 at 8:06 am #

    Thank you for your efforts to shed light on so many issues. We wouldn’t know otherwise! So many people in Chico Unified know about Einhorn, what he did, etc. Like the other person above, how is it that he is still practicing law let alone not where he really should be confined? Something is very suspicious when the CAA’s actions are questioned for their propriety and their lawyer is someone who is of equal behavior.

    • Juanita Sumner May 12, 2018 at 1:43 pm #

      Thanks Diana, sometimes I worry people are getting so used to this type of behavior it’s not shocking anymore.

      I’ll try to find out how we can help Webb, Incaudo and Bussey, stay tuned.

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