Beaumont Sewer Requisitions

Federal Laws require both the Trustee and the Issuer (Beaumont Finance Authority, Utility Authority, CFD District) to maintain bond records for the life of the bond plus five (5) years.

Although secured some Bond Requisitions before the resignation of former Finance Director Aylward (available below); the City destroyed most of the documents on the theory that the City can’t be forced to produce documents they don’t have.

To quote City Attorney John Pinkney:  “The law does not require the City to do what it is not capable of doing.”

Yes, the current Beaumont City Council violated State Hiring Laws to hand-pick a Lawyer that thinks it’s ok to destroy government documents in order to conceal criminal activity.

The Requisitions tell us what the City Staff and Council requested from the Trustee, but the Trustee is required to maintain their own records which include Bond Fund Accounts for each Account listed on the Bonds.

The Bond Bond Fund Accounts generated by the Trustee, Union Bank, are needed to know exactly where all of the money originated and where all the money went.

Below is a transcript from the Beaumont City Council Meeting dated March 15, 2016, in which City Attorney Pinkney tells a story that Union Bank keeps no records, threw the City’s Bond Requisitions in boxes in the corner of the room and allowed outsiders bring their own equipment into the Trust Department and copy Beaumont’s documents. The documents released by Pinkney were not Bond Fund Accounts generated from Union Bank; they were the City’s Bond Requisitions in the same jumbled mess that are presented on the City’s website.
It is unknown if Union Bank refused to release documents or if Union Bank released the bond fund accounts and Pinkney destroyed them. Pinkney has been paid over $1 Million in the last year.  To Aklufi/Wysocki’s credit; they only carried off $1/4 Million/year.

It’s actually not a completely made up story.

In October, 2012, the Beaumont-Cherry Valley Water District requested documentation of all money received by the Water District through Beaumont’s Bonds.  The Water District was told by the City that they didn’t have the staff or equipment to copy the documents and if the Water District wanted the documents they would have to ‘come get them’.  The Water District’s Finance Director and another Employee went into Beaumont City Hall with their own copy machine and made their own copies.

Pinkney wasn’t around in 2012, so someone had to tell Pinkney the story that he plagiarized.

Who knew that Pinkney was using this plagiarizing story?

Mayor Mike Lara most likely knew the story.  His cousin, Tony Lara, worked at the Water District at the time. Former City Manager now Transit Director Elizabeth Gibbs-Urtiaga, Planning Director Rebecca Deming, and Assistant Planning Director Kyle Warsinski also knew the story and could have told it to Pinkney.

Beaumont City Council Transcript March 15, 2016:

Agenda Item #4, Action Item, Public Hearing Request Item A legal action regarding production of Bond Reconciliation Documents by Union Bank pursuant to Legislative Subpoena issued on March 1, 2016.

30:45 City Attorney Pinkney:  As part of the City Council Investigation and Reconciliation of prior use of bond funds; on March 1 [2016] the Council voted to issue Subpoenas authorizing the Mayor to execute Subpoenas directed at Union Bank compelling production of Bond Requisition Documents.  The Subpoena was signed by the Mayor that evening and the subpoena was then sent out for Service the next morning and was actually Served on Union Bank the very next morning after the Council Meeting.

31:00 Pinkney:  Once Union Bank received the Subpoena the matter was assigned to a Senior Attorney at Union Bank by the name of Joe Catalano.  He contacted me in response to the Subpoena and he made it very clear from the outset that Union Bank would comply with the Subpoena and Mr. Catalano cooperated in producing the documents that were identified in the Subpoena issued by this Council.

Mr. Catalano indicated that they had some documents and other documents would have to be pulled from storage and that it was going to take upwards of six weeks for the Bank to pull the documents, review them, copy them, and then produce them and of course the City would be responsible for paying the cost of the coping.

32:00 Pinkney:  So we discussed an alternative approach that we recommended, which was to have a Copy Service go to Union Bank’s Offices in Downtown Los Angeles and have Union Bank just bring the documents in and have our Copy Service go ahead and scan the documents digitally right there in their Offices.  And by doing that we were able to significantly expedite the production of the Records.  The Copy Service went to Union Bank’s Offices on March 9th and 10th and they scanned the Documents that were provided by Union Bank;  it was approximately nine (9) boxes.  We did not make hard copies, we only made digital copies.  The files on a thumb drive were delivered to us in digital form on Friday of last week.

33:00 Pinkney:  It was somewhere between 14,000 and 15,000 pages of documents that were produced by Union Bank.  These documents contain confidential Account Numbers;  people’s account numbers, companies’ account numbers and so the responsible thing to do is to go in and remove those or redact those account numbers.  So we had to review all 14-15,000 pages of documents since last Friday.  We’ve done it as quickly as we possibly could and we converted them to a searchable format, so we went through a redacted all of the account numbers.  There were some tax ID numbers that we also redacted.  Then we downloaded it onto thumb drives.

34:00 Pinkney:  Today I sent out a copy of the thumb drive to Union Bank.   They had requested a copy of what we had digitally imaged by our Copier Service, so that was sent out to them.  Ms. Bingham has been waiting for quite some time on production of these Documents in response to her Public Records Act Request, so I wanted to expedite getting those documents to her, so this evening before the Council Meeting I did provide to her a thumb drive of the documents in a searchable format.

34:35 Pinkney:  There were some Invoices from Aklufi and Wysocki and it was probably about 1/2 inch thick.  I have not reviewed them, but they contained descriptions of the work that was done.  I don’t know if that work was done for the City or done for somebody else, but I did pull the legal bills.  I’m going to redact the time entries, which are privileged, and then we’ll produce those separately and that’s about 1/2 inch of documents.

35:15 Pinkney:  But since last Friday there just wasn’t enough time go through all 15,000 pages.  I think had we given this task to the City Staff with the workload that they already have, trying to fit that in between doing their regular job, it would have taken weeks and weeks if not longer.  They would have had to print the documents out, redacted them as we did before, and then scan them back in the system to produce them digitally.  So we, the approach that we took was very fast and it was probably the most expeditious way to get these documents completed.  The City Manager has a copy of the file and so those documents will be made available publicly.  The Press Enterprise has asked for a copy of the documents so I’m going to go ahead and send it to them as well so they have a copy.  They made a Public Records Act Request as well.

36:15 Pinkney:   We have that task completed and we will provide a copy of those Documents to Urban Futures  as part of your investigation on how bond funds were used.  You’ve hired Urban Futures to perform a reconciliation and these documents were critical to them in their reconciliation process, they couldn’t finish their review and report until they had these documents, so they now have them.