My View

By Don Sorchych | September 9, 2009

Bil Canfield Cartoon

Don Sorchych
Questions in Carefree

Carefree administration corruption is showing more every day. Sonoran News has been a victim of their outrageous abuse for many years. Finally they stumbled in a very public way and pieces of the puzzle are falling into place.

As if the purchase of the building at 8 Sundial Circle isn’t controversial enough, the town council approved an unqualified bidder to be awarded a contract on that building according to the Registrar of Contractors (ROC).

The question is was the contract a payoff?

Chris Mellon once advertised with Sonoran News and told our advertising management he was promised business if he dropped our advertising. He was also getting pressure from Carefree about his vehicles, outside parking, etc.

Linda Bentley’s articles reveal discrepancies about when the bids were opened. Mellon changed the scope of work and the bond requirement without council approval as well as having sought early payment. But most of all the ROC said repeatedly Chris Mellon & Co. was not qualified to bid unless they agreed, upon application, that he could use a dba from the registered entity, Back to Basics Corp.

A friend called me to say that the town allegedly called Mellon and told him to come in at under $19,000 and Mellon responded he would have to change the scope of work to achieve that bid.

We now know Mellon came in at $11.55 under $19,000 and he did change the scope of work.

The question is if Mellon was called, who actually picked up the phone and called? Most likely it would be Vice Mayor Glenn Miller or Planning Director Gary Neiss.

And if they did, it would be bid rigging, a very serious offense.

The time of the alleged call is an issue. Was the call to Mellon after T’s Construction’s bid came in at $19,000, since their submittals were 52 minutes apart? And don’t forget, the bid submittal was supposed to be at 9 a.m. and contractors we talked to were not told they could be late, although somehow Mellon and Gale Totten knew.

Councilwoman Vanik, in a possible attempt to get the other bidder, T’s Construction, in play asked since the difference between the bidders was $12 if they had to vote for the low bidder.

Neiss said they did and he was wrong; according to procurement rules the council was not bound by such limits but had voting authority to choose a higher bidder.

It is interesting she tried. Maybe she didn’t have current information about promises made to Mellon by GOBs.

A side story is interesting in light of her question. Ryan Ducharme was at the town hall building when he was approached by Gale Totten, owner of T’s Construction. Ducharme said Totten told him he was moving from the adjacent office because Ducharme had set up a “recall” office. Then, according to a complaint filed with MCSO by Ducharme, Totten said, “We know where you live and you had better keep your doors locked.” Ducharme said Totten went into town hall, came back and repeated the statement.

Linda Bentley called Totten and he denied he made the threatening statement and even offered to apologize if he in anyway offended Ducharme.

You have to wonder what the GOBs and GOGs, like Vanik, thought about the conflict.
More light was thrown on the issue of intimidating potential advertisers.

One advertiser, like Mellon, told us they were getting heat for advertising with us. Eventually they stopped advertising and recently told us they could now give us a name since the person who threatened left town.

Now who would that be? None other than former mayor Ed Morgan. The business owner went on to say he still couldn’t advertise since Morgan has friends that still do business with them.

I had warned these GOBs about the theory of law, which is called Tortuous Interference. Our advertisers have contracts with us. It is interference with such contracts that are actionable and so there is a possible cause of action against Morgan and eventually his lackeys.

Don’t say you cowardly thugs weren’t warned – again.

My View three weeks ago attempted to defend the Carefree majority from a notorious GOB, Matthew Dingman who is one of the town’s PAC men. Dingman tried to shove down the throats of the town residents the dirty dealing he and other GOBs do to the town rank and file that voted against both GOB proposals concerning a direct vote for mayor and four year terms.

There should be a message there, as there is in valuation of councilmen Bob Coady and Peter Koteas’ towering votes.

Dingman brags about the quality of those who served on council and it is true Carefree is loaded with talent, but the most talented have had enough and they like retirement. Kiwanis is a good example. Many heavyweight executives belong to Kiwanis but they don’t need ego enhancement. They have been there, don’t need the gratification and enjoy their retirement, while lesser lights like Vanik become president-elect.

Morgan is a good example of an industry Vice President who longed to be a CEO and reached the pinnacle as Mayor of Carefree, a position that is CEO of the town. Dingman heralds the Morgans of the world as “talent.” Morgan was good at selling business systems in a very political environment, period.

Dingman complained of anonymous contributors to Your View and yet Morgan’s sneaky buddies, which may include Dingman, slyly, secretly and illegally threaten Carefree businesses about advertising in Sonoran News. Maybe in the interest of transparency Dingman will disclose their names to be consistent with his rant.

Ducharme is closing in on 406 signatures, twice the 203 valid signatures he needs to recall David Schwan, who had the fewest votes in the last primary.

The public will be reminded, step by step, how Schwan’s administration and his fellow travelers denied constitutional protection to Ducharme and Rod de Szendeffy by not only denying them access to town hall to gather signatures but used town ordinances to defy only their use of signs while non-conforming signs flourished in Carefree.