Trenk slate displays hostility during Rancho Mañana forum

Trenk passed out illegal campaign flyers and lied about water

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SCOTTSDALE – On Saturday, the Rancho Mañana Homeowners Association (RMHOA) allowed the first hour of its annual meeting to be used as a candidate forum for the upcoming March 10 recall election.

adam trenkVice Mayor Adam Trenk (l) and Councilman Reg Monachino passed out campaign mailers, which contained a message from Mayor Vincent Francia supporting the Trenk slate.

Although Trenk is a lawyer and aware of campaign finance laws, which require a “paid for by” disclosure statement on campaign advertising, the flyers being handed out that were also mailed contained no disclosure.

It appears the postal permit printed on the flyer is the same one used by another illegal mail piece supporting the Trenk slate, Sara Vannucci’s political action committee in support of the Trenk slate and by Monachino.

I asked Mayor Vincent Francia if he knew who produced the campaign mailer that was quoting him and, if he did in fact make the statement, if it was solicited by someone in particular.

Francia responded, “No, I don’t know who produced the mailer. I haven’t seen/received it yet. I assume the mock-up below your email is the mailed piece? I further assume that whoever sent it is aware of campaign finance laws.

“About six days ago, Adam Trenk asked if I would write a few sentences in support of the incumbents. Adam quickly added that if I did not want to, he understood, because of friendships involved.

“Unfortunately I’ve lost friends over this. Choices. Cause and effect. But this mayor is heartbroken over what this recall is doing to our community.

“I thought about writing a few sentences and then did so – a story in itself - then emailed them to Adam.”

RMHOA Acting President Craig Jones said Councilman Charles Spitzer asked him to read a note explaining his absence.

Spitzer said since a quorum would be present it would be in violation of the open meeting law because the meeting was not open to the public and he wanted to avoid any more lawsuits.

The recalled councilmen, who knew about this forum for weeks, could have asked Town Clerk Carrie Dyrek to post a notice of quorum as they had her do for the forum orchestrated by Vice Mayor Adam Trenk on Feb. 12 and the forum being held tomorrow night at a private citizen’s home, for which Councilman Reg Monachino has apparently produced an agenda.

Jones held up the recent newsletter mailed out by the town and said the letter from the mayor states the water issue at Rancho Mañana has been resolved.

What the mayor wrote was actually written primarily by Tony Geiger of the Water Advisory Committee (WAC) addressing problems with the water treatment plant, not Town Engineer David Prinzhorn’s unilateral decision to cut off providing untreated CAP and Vermeersch Well water to the golf course, which was apparently due to Prinzhorn’s misinterpretation of Rancho Mañana’s contract with the town.

Prinzhorn pinned it on the WAC, claiming it reviewed the contract and determined the golf course was only entitled to treated effluent.

Either Prinzhorn is lying about the WAC reviewing the contract or the WAC did so in violation of open meeting laws, since the Rancho Mañana contract has never appeared on any of their agendas.

As the forum got underway, Trenk stated he wasn’t going to address the allegations by the recall committee and said he and his slate: councilmen Mike Durkin, Monachino and Spitzer, were elected because they recognized something was amiss at town hall.

He then accused Sonoran News of calling for a recall one week after they were elected.

Susan Clancy, who is challenging Trenk in the recall, said leadership isn’t about being in charge but about serving all of the citizens and businesses of Cave Creek.

Clancy said these councilmen came into office angry and she is running to restore maturity and honesty to council.

Monachino said he was there because Dick Esser, his opponent, has made accusations about him and claimed when Esser was on council he did nothing for years.

Monachino said his record is one of accomplishments.

Esser said he was not going to respond to Monachino’s allegations and chose to take the high road.

He said the Allreds, since purchasing Rancho Mañana Golf Course, have turned it into a thing of beauty.

 “I now have your back and I always will,” Esser told the homeowners, adding, “I need your support and want your vote.”

Esser, through his 70 years of government connections, has been instrumental in securing funding for various town projects that the town was unable to afford. For example, he secured $350,000 in grants to pay for improvements that turned the left turn lane on northbound Cave Creek Road on to Carefree Highway into two lanes.

Durkin said there have been allegations that the town spent $80,000 on road software.

He said, “Ask your friends on Morning Star Road,” and stated “Before this council took office there was no capital improvement plan and no maintenance being done.”

Durkin called accusations of their lack of transparency “ludicrous.”

Durkin stated more than half of the town’s budget is for paying off debt for infrastructure.

However, as Esser pointed out later, this council has held three times the number of executive sessions than they had in eight years.

Mark Lipsky, who is challenging Durkin said, “I’m hearing a little bit of a thread of anger from the candidates being recalled – anger with which council members who came into office and, first off, beheaded a man …”

Lipsky said it was a “fit of disruption we are still feeling today.”

He said he would like to see people in office who are not there in anger but for the love of Cave Creek.

Steve LaMar, who is challenging Spitzer, found Spitzer’s claims about violating open meeting law interesting and read from Trenk’s deposition in the Abujbarah lawsuit, which he said was supported by material evidence, that Trenk, Durkin, Monachino and Spitzer, with the assistance of Glassman, violated open meeting laws.

A homeowner said to Trenk, “Your proposal (to cut off CAP and Vermeersch Well water) would have turned our golf course brown.

Trenk responded, “It was not my proposal, but I supported it.”

Trenk went on to say Rancho Mañana Golf Course is only entitled to treated effluent and they were receiving potable drinking water.

Trenk is wrong. Rancho Manana’s contract is not just for treated effluent but for supplemental water from other sources, as needed seasonally.

Contrary to Trenk’s assertions, neither untreated CAP water nor Vermeersch Well water are considered potable.

The homeowner asked how the issue could go on for so long and said it seems there was an agreement whereas Town Engineer David Prinzhorn was going to shut off water.

He asked why it got to a point that Mr. Allred had to bring lawyers to town hall to “draw a line in the sand.”

Durkin said since this council has been seated they found numerous problems and stated the town is “blessed to have” Prinzhorn.

Although he was not privy to the various conversations, Durkin said he called Dale Samar, Rancho Mañana Golf Course general manager, and asked him if he was satisfied with the solution.

Durkin said Samar responded, “Absolutely.”

“This council is engaged with all these activities,” said Durkin, who also stated Prinzhorn “may have over responded.”

Monachino said this council has spent tens of thousands of dollars on equipment that hasn’t been maintained.

He said on March 2 $170,000 will come to council for approval to repair pipes on Black Mountain.

Lipsky, addressing the recalled councilmen’s negative references to the previous administration, said, “I hope you guys realize Rodney Glassman was the previous administration. The previous administration was your administration.”

And, to squelch any speculation about Prinzhorn’s plan to stop providing water to Rancho Mañana Golf Course, LaMar read from Prinzhorn’s e-mail directing staff to do exactly that.

He said Prinzhorn’s solution will cost the town three times what it is paying for untreated CAP water and pointed out backwash from the treatment plant, Vermeersch Well water and untreated CAP water are not potable water sources.

Trenk responded by saying even though they’re only paying $.48 for CAP water, the town needs to pay for electricity to pump it.

He stated, “We’re already blending Vermeersch Well water. We do it in Desert Hills … we do it everywhere.”

That’s not true. Vermeersch Well water is not considered a potable water source. It has arsenic levels so high the treatment plant doesn’t have a tank big enough to even blend it for use as potable water.

Esser was asked what was going on with APS’s 69-kV power line upgrade project.

Esser said the improvements and upgrades have been completed at the generating station and APS has filed a condemnation lawsuit to obtain 1,000 feet of right-of-way from the town along the southern boundary of the Whispering Hills subdivision along Carefree Highway.

He said there were new developments indicating there’s a 60-foot utility easement along the south side of Carefree Highway, which is where Whispering Hills wants APS to place its poles.

Another homeowner, irritated by all the campaign literature, which he threw against the wall, asked when moving forward if the town will make its maintenance plans available to the public.

Monachino said the town has a 10-year road maintenance plan and logged 82 miles of roads. He said the town will be spending $750,000 this year.

When asked if it was online, Monachino said it was not but will be.

LaMar said the town needs to fund its road maintenance and “take back our roads,” which he said were being used by the “big box bars” as parking lots.

He said, “You can’t underfund necessary services and call it budget savings.”

Lipsky said after the storms Spur Cross Road was left for three months as a dangerous, narrow, single lane, while School House Road, which is how you get to Trenk’s property, was fixed right away.

Clancy reminded citizens that they voted in a referendum to go into debt for water and wastewater infrastructure. It was not just a decision made by a previous council.

Before they were through, Jones asked Trenk to explain the $10 million notice of claim the Rose Law Group, his employer, filed against the town.

Trenk said the Rose Law Group has people that work in that area and he is walled off from having anything to do with the lawsuit.

When it was pointed out that T.C. Thorstenson, one of the claimants is a friend of his, Trenk said yes and when he came to him for help, Trenk referred him to someone at his law firm.

So the vice mayor referred a friend to the law firm where he works so they could file a $10 million claim against the town, which he supposedly represents.

Trenk then said the claim stems from activities performed in Grapevine Wash by former Town Manager Usama Abujbarah and former Town Engineer Wayne Anderson, without an Army Corps of Engineers permit to repair prior storm damage that claimants say have damaged their property.

Trenk’s most recent vilification of Abujbarah is a claim that he destroyed evidence after being fired by having IT personnel clean personal information off his work computer so it could be used by Glassman, as claimed in a recent motion for an order to show cause seeking sanctions for “spoilage of evidence” filed by defendants in Abujbarah’s lawsuit.

The town, as a policy, doesn’t save any e-mails on its server past 30 days. IT personnel did what they needed to do to prepare the computer for a new user.

Judge Gerlach appeared to find the recent hysteria over this a non issue and had his clerk send the parties an e-mail stating, “By minute entry, the court is denying the motion for order to show cause re: sanctions for spoliation of evidence. Because of that, there is no need for a response memorandum.”

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