Monday, December 8, 2014

Greensboro only different; Lincoln County NC Nepotism, Crony Capitalism and Self Dealing

On November 3, 2014, I sent the following information request to Lincoln County's governement, whose attorney Wesley L. Deaton refused to provide, and has also refused to say why in writing other than quoting statute;

"from: George Hartzman

To: camartin    @lincolncounty  .org,
apatton    @lincolncounty   .org,
tjackson   @lincolncounty   .org,
mlide   @lincolncounty   .org,
crobinson   @lincolncounty   .org,
cmitchem   @lincolncounty   .org,

Dear Lincoln County;

Please provide the following information via email and PDF document for Lincoln County's 457 plan per North Carolina Public Records Law;

2013 plan year end consolidated account statement/asset listing (not individual account statements or loan information).

2013 plan year end fee disclosure documentation.

I used to be a normal stockbroker/financial advisor until I started teaching financial ethics to CPAs and attorneys.

In the past, I have personally profited from excessive retirement plan fees, and would not be "teaching ethics" this way before the financial crisis and it's aftermath.

I have personally charged as much as 2.5% of a retirement plan's assets per year, and frequently run into similar situations.

This is redemption.

I intend to tell the truth, and make employees in North Carolina better off for my having existed...


George Hartzman

I have recieved answers to the same information request
from at least 20 other North Carolina municipalities.
On November 17, 2014, I recieved the following from recently terminated Lincoln County Manager Tracy Jackson;

"Mr. Hartzman,

Our plan administrator has provided Lincoln County with the information we requested, but they have pointed out that the information is protected under the trade secret exception of the NC Public Records Law.  I passed this along to our County Attorney, and he concurs.

I regret that Lincoln County is not able to provide you with the information you requested as it is protected information.

Please contact Wesley Deaton, County Attorney, if you have any questions regarding this matter.

Wesley L. Deaton
Pendleton, Pendleton & Deaton, PA
PO Box 2459; 3638 N. Hwy 16
Denver, NC  28037"

Mr. Deaton never got back to me with a reply.
Tracy Jackson was fired at the first meeting of Lincoln County's newly elected board, after which they hired Kelly Atkins, husband of clerk to the Board of Commissioners and works for Denver Construction Company, which Wesley L. Deaton represents along with the County.  Denver Construction Company has also recently profited from work performed for Lincoln County.

"After reconvening from a closed session, commissioners voted 3-2 to terminate County Manager Tracy Jackson’s contract, effective immediately...

“To me, it was uncalled for,” [county commissioner Alex Patton] said. “Every commissioner had just rated Tracy and given him good marks on his evaluation. My disappointment is that we had two commissioners elected that had never served with Tracy, never worked with Tracy, and they decided not to give him the benefit of the doubt to see what kind of job he does. Two of the three sitting commissioners voted not to fire...

After returning from a second closed session, the board voted 4-1 to appoint Kelly Atkins as the interim county manager, with Patton in opposition.

“Kelly (Atkins) is a friend of mine, and I think the world of him,” Patton said. “But my concern is ...Kelly has no experience as a county manager…

A native of Lincoln County, Atkins is married to Amy Atkins, who serves as the clerk to the Board of Commissioners. ...For the past two years, he has been the chief financial officer for Denver Construction Company.
"Even more puzzling was the board’s decision to hire Denver Construction Company chief financial officer Kelly Atkins as the interim county manager.

...Denver Construction Company hosted a Lincoln County Republican Party candidate meet-and-greet in September and that the business has also been the recipient of public construction contracts, including the $2 million Airlie Business Park shell building, which broke ground in October. Atkins is also the husband of Amy Atkins, the clerk to the Board of Commissioners.
Two years of experience as a chief financial officer, a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a previously held position as director of the county’s Planning and Inspections department hardly seem to be the appropriate qualifications for someone who will serve as the top administrator for a county of nearly 80,000 people with a budget of nearly $90 million, even on an interim basis.

...These are the kinds of moves that make people shake their heads at their local government. Even if these changes turn out to be the right ones, in the end, commissioners need to remember that they work for the taxpayers, not the party or their friends or themselves.
An unfulfilled information request to Lincoln County on November 17, 2014;

Please provide all communications between tracy jackson and Wesley L. Deaton over the last 30 days in pdf format.

Please provide the communication outlining the explanation of public records law from the plan administrator in pdf format.

Please provide the communication outlining the concurring explanation from Wesley L. Deaton in pdf format.

Please provide all communications containing the word "hartzman" over the last 45 days in pdf format.
This really wasn't nessessary.

Trying to prevent a political activist from showing your municipality how to give its employees a raise by lowering exessive fees being charged doesn't make much sense...