Monday, July 20, 2015

True Confessions Of Ben Holder: Episode 6

Today the True Confessions of Ben Holder continue with what well may be some of the most startling revelations to date.

During the course of my investigation I submitted a public information request to the City of Greensboro asking for:

"Please send me all personnel records as allowed by North Carolina General Statutes for Ben Holder aka Benjamin Holder.

Also, if possible please include job descriptions and responsibilities for each and every position Mr Holder held with the City of Greensboro.

Thanks -Billy Jones"

Ms Carter's reply:
"Dear Mr. Jones,

Thank you for your public records request (4755).

Mr. Holder was employed by the City of Greensboro as “Code Enforcement Officer” from 12/16/2003 to 11/15/2004.  The document: "pos 6964 documentation" was the only position documentation available from that point in time.  I have attached a copy here for your review.

I hope this information is helpful to you. 


Katherine Carter, Public Records Administrator"

Ms Carter's reply included the following attachment: code_enf_Officer which lays out Ben Holder's responsibilities as a code enforcement officer for the City of Greensboro. So what did Mr Holder do for the approximately 11 months he worked for the City? According to the linked City documents he tagged abandoned cars to be towed away. Don't believe me? Click on the link above and read it for yourself.

Now how did tagging abandoned cars qualify Ben Holder for a City Contract as a Mercenary code enforcement inspector overseeing the condition of people's homes and properties? Mayor Vaughan? Councilman Barber?

Ben Holder was hired over Beth Mcgee-Hugler and the Greensboro Housing Coalition to provide housing inspection services to the City of Greensboro but according to documents provided by the City, Ben Holder has no such verifiable experience. Again, Mayor Vaughan, Councilman Barber, did you or did you not force Jim Westmoreland to hire Ben Holder as a contract code enforcement consultant?

Remember folks: I'm citing sources throughout this entire series-- dozens of sources.

So is this about payback? Is that why I'm doing this?

I'm doing this because Ben Holder has been slap dab in the middle of more than one hot button political issue over the course of the last couple of years and to date we have never heard both sides of the story-- only the carefully crafted Public Relations generated copy generated by the city and released to the media.

Ben Holder received thousands of dollars in taxpayer monies-- the public deserves to know the whole story. Ben has been involved in releasing multiple stories of corruption whose outcome may have been to Ben Holder's personal benefit. That, my friends, is motive.

I'm doing this because the time has come when everyone needs to know the truth.

During the course of my investigation I also submitted a second public information request to the City of Greensboro:

"Please Send me the entirety of Ben Holder's work summaries for his recent contract with the City of Greensboro.

Thanks -Billy Jones"

One week and 2 business days later came the following reply:

"Dear Mr. Jones,

The City has compiled the public records responsive to your request (4753).

Due to the size of the file, we are unable to post the results to our PIRT website.  A copy has been burned into a CD, and you may pick this up at the City Information Desk on the plaza level of the Melvin Municipal Office Building between 8:00 am – 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday.


Katherine Carter, Public Records Administrator"
In the file I got from Ms Carter was 471 photographs of run down and/or unkempt properties but none of the Deliverables listed on Page 32 of Ben Holder's contract  with the City of Greensboro. I replied back to Ms Carter:

I got 471 photographs-- that's all. Was that the entirety of Ben Holder's work summaries?
I'm curious as this linked document suggests he actually had responsibilities other than taking photographs: including an inspection audit he supposedly performed in July 2014 at the end of the document.
Is there more somewhere or did Ben do nothing but take photographs? Surely he filled out some form of paperwork? Computerized form?
So what's next I wondered? 

I heard a rumor floated in City offices that Ben was paid by the City of Greensboro to mow and clean yards-- an honest day's work for an honest day's pay. Believe me, $60 an hour isn't completely out of sight when you consider the insurance requirements, gas, equipment maintenance, tipping fees and all the incidental expenses a contractor runs up. Yeah, it's a little higher than most lawn service contractors usually get but not by much. But again, that's only rumor I cannot confirm.

But did Ben Holder fulfill the terms of his contract? And if not then was he paid as if he did?

Eventually pages and pages of documentation were sent to me along with the following e-mail:

"Dear Mr. Jones,

I have attached them here for your review.  If you have any issues opening these files, please let me  know.


Katherine Carter, Public Records Administrator"

Here's what Ben Holder really did.

Because the City closed Heritage House once and for all there was no way Ben could fulfill the Heritage House portion of his contract. He spent one week in July working on Heritage House and moved on to other things.

Because of public pressure, Ben's contracted rate of pay was reduced from $60.oo per hour to $45.oo per hour. I have the documentation to prove it. And Ben paid his own expenses.

Ben then spent 16 to 20 hours per week as per his modified contract traveling all over Greensboro photographing and taking extensive notes on hundreds of properties as were assigned to him to visit by the Code Enforcement Department of the City of Greensboro. His records include well documented times, dates, addresses, conditions, etc. Ben even went so far as to throw in a few extras he happened to run across.

Ben did his job and he did it well. Whatever happened at Heritage House wasn't his fault and I've little doubt those at fault will soon turn up.

Tune in to True Confessions Of Ben Holder: Episode 7  to learn the rest of the story.