BY LINDA BENTLEY | APRIL 3, 2013
The puppeteer from Pennsylvania
Chutz donated $4,050 toward the support of a slate of candidates he is backing to take over the town of Cave Creek
CAVE CREEK – The local council election is heating up with a slate of challengers seeking to secure the remaining four seats on council after Vice Mayor Ernie Bunch and challenger Adam Trenk won their posts in the March primary.
Proposition 459 will also be on the May 21 ballot.
Prop. 459 is a referendum on Cave Creek Town Council’s decision to rezone two parcels (four acres) to the west of the CVS drug store, which is located in Carefree, at the northwest corner of Cave Creek Road and Carefree Highway, from Desert Rural Residential to General Commercial.
A yes vote will affirm town council’s vote approving the rezoning, while a no vote will have the effect of overturning council’s decision.
The referendum was initiated by Carefree resident Jim Peirce, who seemed to have no problem with Carefree Town Council when it voted in favor of CVS and Lowe’s at the same corner.
Meanwhile, campaign finance reports indicate the slate of challengers outspent incumbents 7-1, with Trenk amassing the largest war chest at $19,520, with all but around $800 coming from out-of-state and out-of-town contributors.
The next highest campaign finance report came in at $5,919 from the Political Action Committee CaveCreekElection2013.com, whose chairman is Sewickley, Penn. resident Mike Chutz (r).
Chutz donated $4,050 toward the support of a slate of candidates he is backing to take over the town of Cave Creek.
Eileen Wright, whose campaign finance report makes little sense in that she claims her political action committee donated $4,433 to itself, came in next highest with $5,133 in contributions.
She also reported receiving a total of $700 in donations from Chutz, even though the donation limit is $450.
Wright also received $450 from Gerald Freeman, who filed a lawsuit that ended up getting Councilman Dick Esser booted off the ballot using Kentucky statutes.
Mike Durkin indicated he had a $2,000 surplus from a previous campaign (or at time Statement of Organization was filed for the new committee), only Durkin didn’t have a previous campaign or $500 Threshold Statement.
Durkin only reports that he had $2,000 but doesn’t disclose the source(s), the sole purpose of filing campaign finance reports.
Additionally, Durkin used his personal candidate campaign finance report to send out mailers to solicit votes for the entire slate of challenging candidates, which is against the law.
Reg Monachino came in with $600 in donations but appeared to have $1,439 in outstanding debt at the end of pre-primary reporting period.
Charles Spitzer initially filed a $500 Threshold Exemption Statement but filed a Statement of Organization to exceed that limit on March 21.
Incumbent Councilman Thomas McGuire filed a $500 Threshold Exemption Statement.
Immediately after council members Jim Bruce, Dick Esser and Shelley Anderson withdrew from the race, Chutz sent Thomas an e-mail asking him to withdraw “for the good of the town.”
Chutz, a part-time resident who is not registered to vote in Cave Creek, claimed he was on a plane or he would have made his plea in person.
Why is a Sewickley, Penn. resident trying to replace the Cave Creek Town Council by making $62 million in debt an issue?
Durkin claims to have been a resident of the town for 25 years but he never attended any of the numerous meetings and public hearings over the past several years regarding the necessity for building or expanding the existing sewage treatment plant, the requirement to start planning for it when the existing plant reached 85 percent capacity, discussion and action to purchase the state land upon which the new plant sits and the numerous hearings regarding the WIFA financing.
Nor was Durkin in attendance at any of the countless meetings during which the town discussed and eventually voted in favor of purchasing the Cave Creek Water Company, which included the possibility of purchase through condemnation.
In fact, neither Durkin nor Wright attended a single meeting during which the town extensively discussed these plans and projects.
Now that it’s all said and done, the slate of candidates led by Chutz has made the town’s debt for these projects the basis of its campaign.
The town, on the other hand, under the stewardship of Town Manager Usama Abujbarah, which the challengers have made known they’d like to replace, has never missed a debt payment even during the economic downturn.
Chutz has also ineffectively involved himself with municipal projects as far away as Hawaii.
As a minority shareholder of Hawaii Waste Systems, LLC, Chutz took over as president in 2010 following the abrupt resignation of Jim Hodge in March 2010.
Hawaii Waste Systems, the low bidder at nearly half of what the other bidders said it would cost, contracted with the city of Honolulu to remove 100,000 tons of solid waste off the island each year at a cost of $99.89 per ton.
The plan was to ship the trash to a landfill in the Pacific Northwest.
The contract was awarded, despite the fact it lacked approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ensure it would not be exporting invasive species of pests, insects or animal and plant diseases along with the garbage.
However, since applying for a permit with the USDA in 2006, the federal government, after issuing a FONSI (Finding of No Significant Impact), rescinded that finding when it learned Hawaii Waste had changed how it planned to transport the waste to the Roosevelt Landfill in southwestern Washington state.
Meanwhile, Hawaii Waste continued receiving waste from the city that it was unable to transport to the mainland.
Hawaii Waste was storing wrapped waste bales at its permitted facility until it ran out of room.
Some of the waste was being stored at Kalaeola Harbor awaiting shipment to the mainland, but because of the cost for storage, the company moved the trash to two un-permitted facilities in an industrial park.
Because Hawaii Waste’s contract with the city was for shipping the trash to the mainland, something Hawaii Waste never did receive a permit from the USDA to do, the city never paid Hawaii Waste.
In addition to not being paid, the city fined Chutz’s firm $40,400 for storing trash on the unpermitted sites.
This is the same Pennsylvania resident who is backing a slate of candidates to take over the town of Cave Creek, utilizing a platform of fear mongering about debt and claims of fiscal irresponsibility.