Saturday, May 24, 2014
Sources: C. J. Huff keeping second set of books
Huff went ballistic when the report first came out, one source said, and immediately set up an interview with a sympathetic media source, the Joplin Globe, which would explain all of his speaking appearances.
Most of them, according to the story by Emily Younker, were a result of a thank-you tour as Huff went from place to place, state to state, thanking different groups for their support of Joplin following the May 22, 2011 tornado. That tour cost R-8 taxpayers $89,000, according to the article.
The Washington Speakers Bureau was dealt with in one small paragraph in which Huff said the Bureau had approached him, he had done one speech for them and that was it.
That version of events conflicted, not only with what the high school students had written on their blog, but also a recorded conversation between one of the students and a representative from the Speakers Bureau, who said Huff had spoken frequently for the Bureau.
The issue was never raised again in the Joplin Globe, nor were any speaking fees mentioned in the financial disclosure forms C. J. Huff filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission for 2011, 2012, and 2013, with the most recent one being filed earlier this month. Those forms, which Huff signed under penalty of perjury, indicate that he had no outside income during 2011 and that his only outside income during 2012 and 2013 came from a family house rental business.
After the Joplin Schools Watch blog post, administration sources indicate,Huff instructed Bright Futures Executive Director and Joplin R-8 executive director of communications and community development Kim Vann to keep a second calendar, one which was not available to the media, for his outside speaking engagements.
Not long after that, I received an e-mail from C. J. Huff asking that I not write about his speaking engagements because he had received threats and he was worried about his family's safety.
It is appearing more and more likely that R-8 Board of Education members will be asking C. J. Huff for a breakdown of how many speeches, if any, he has made for pay over the past three years, how much he was paid for those speeches, how much time he has spent away from the school district, and for good measure, they need to ask whether he received any taxpayer reimbursement for any speech that he was paid for.
And good heavens- can you imagine the taxes someone would have to pay for a series of $8,000 speeches (plus travel expenses).
It would probably be a good idea if C. J. Huff simply provided his income tax forms so all questions to be put to rest and his name could be cleared.