Saturday, August 10, 2019

An Email to LAFCO that gave Eric Dreikosen a panic attack

Dear LAFCO director, Jason Fried:

Thank you for your July 11th presentation to the Marinwood CSD about the future for this district.

I think you have identified a few important areas for the Marinwood CSD and I agree with your early conclusions.

1.) Marinwood CSD needs better capital planning 
2.) A merger of Marinwood Fire Department with another agency or outsourcing of our fire protection services is necessary.   

Both of the above should be implemented aa soon as possible for the benefit of the community.

As a long time participant in Marinwood CSD politics as both a Parks and Recreation commissioner, a political candidate and active community volunteer, I am very interested in the long term stewardship of our community.

In addition to the above issues, I have observed many unethical business practices and flagrant abuse of the political process to benefit a small circle of insiders.  We have briefly discussed this by phone in June.

1.) The Marinwood CSD has TWO sets of accounting books but only one is reported the Marin County and the public.  The second set of books for cash business of the parks and recreation department is "self reported income" and is unaudited. In other words, funds are being skimmed from recreation programs to pay for prizes, special events, cash bonuses, etc.  

I believe this is illegal and ALL the CSD Directors know and approve of this "accounting" as a way to reward staff.  This has been occuring since the recession when staff salaries were frozen due to budget constraints.  The practice continues to this day.

For example, this weekend the Marinwood CSD brewfest will be happening.  It is a huge money maker but they hardly ever make money.  The CSD sells tickets @ $20.00 a piece to an hundreds of attendees. (We don't actually know the number since they will not reveal it).  Breweries provide the beer for FREE.  The CSD somehow never seems to be able to "clear expenses" after costs and makes just a few hundred dollars. The other costs are entertainment, tent rental, contract labor costs, etc.  

Brewfests in other communities regularly earn $25-$75k and are fundraisers for charity.  In Marinwood the revenue is poured back into "the cash fund" that is used to pay for "off budget" items.

Skimming is fraud.    I don't know what extent the Marinwood CSD is skimming revenues.  Only a forensic audit can determine this.  I do know that it has been occuring for years and must stop.  Here is a portion of a Q and A with the former CSD Rec Director, Shane DeMarta discussing the brewfest revenue. Note how he dodges questions and the CSD board defends this practice.

At the center of much of this activity is former CSD Director Bill Hansell.  He manages all of the entertainment events as a "volunteer". Of course he also is the manager for the bands and we assume he is paid a "management fee" from the band aka "kickback"

2.) The Marinwood CSD has NEVER properly solicited bids for work as required by law.  All of the work goes to "friends" of the CSD board.  The recent"Marinwood CSD Maintenance Facility" architect was hired in secret and not surprisingly,  Bill Hansel, former CSD manager was hired for an estimated cost of $13,000.  His current billing is expected to be around $40,000 despite not completing a satisfactory plan that complies with Marin County Building regulations.  The current Marinwood CSD director, Eric Dreikosen was hired by Bill Hansell while he was a CSD director.  It is a classic case of conflict of interest.  Here is a portion of the meeting.

Note how the board rushes to quiet up the controversy.  This is an "open secret" that the CSD board does not want to address.  I do believe Leah Green and the board are complicit in the illegal accounting and contracting practices. Only a full investigation by an outside agency can arrive at the truth.

I have more but this is a good start.  I believe that LAFCO has a great opportunity to improve the delivery of government services for the people of Marinwood CSD.

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