Saturday, January 31, 2015
They buried it for three years and now the Globe wants to report on Wallace-Bajjali?
How could they not know?
In the top story in today's Joplin Globe, Seibert says he was unaware that Wallace-Bajjali had any such legal obligation as the $1.5 million that was due on December 31.
"I was not aware of other commitments of Wallace-Bajjali other than those we were working on within the city of Joplin," Seibert said.
Anselm told the Globe he knew about the lawsuit, but he did not know the details.
They should have known, but there is no way the Joplin Globe can hold their feet to the fire.
The Globe has been fully aware of the checkered history of Wallace-Bajjali Development Partners and has hidden all but a small portion of it from its readership to placate the well-heeled, non-elected people who have been pulling the strings on the public part of the city of Joplin's recovery from the tornado.
Those people, whose names were unfamiliar to most of us three years ago, were the ones who were insistent on bringing in a master developer when there was a serious question about whether such a position was necessary. They were the ones who insisted on projects being done in parts of town that were not even in the path of the May 22, 2011 tornado.
The only media to sound a warning on Wallace-Bajjali was the Turner Report, as I noted the SEC fraud investigation into the firm, the fines against David Wallace and Costa Bajjali and the $1.2 million they were ordered to repay investors. That was on March 31, 2012- almost three years ago.
That warning was sounded before the Joplin City Council voted to enter into a contract with the Texas company. The Turner Report has continued to write about the master developer since that time.
The Globe limited its coverage of Wallace-Bajjali to a brief mention of the SEC problems and the reassurance of then City Manager Mark Rohr that he had personally checked into Wallace and Bajjali and the problems could be blamed on partners who had taken advantage of them.
That was the extent of the Globe's reporting on the problems of Wallace-Bajjali, with a few brief exceptions, but all of the exceptions had to do with things that were happening in Joplin.
Area readers who were interested in the background of the city's master developer had to do their research in the Amarillo publications or on this blog.
That certainly makes it difficult for the Joplin Globe as Wallace-Bajjali's glorified Ponzi scheme falls apart and leaves Joplin in a precarious situation.
How can a newspaper fail its readership for three years and then suddenly attempt to appear to be a government watchdog?
When Bruce Speck was finally ousted as Missouri Southern State University president in 2013 the Globe editorialized that something like the Speck reign must never happen again. This came after the Globe stopped reporting on what was happening at the university and even gave Speck tips on how to manage the media.
When Wallace-Bajjali skipped town, the Globe editorialized that we are better off without the firm, with the implication that we must never let this happen again.
I can't wait to see what the Globe Editorial Board says after the upcoming state audits of the city and the Joplin R-8 School District are released.