Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Winners and losers from the state audit of City of Joplin
A few thoughts about winners and losers from the audit:
Tom Loraine- The Osage Beach lawyer's investigation of Wallace-Bajjali and Mike Woolston was completely vindicated with the release of the audit. What Loraine was able to uncover, even without the power of subpoena was completely staggering. Let's remember how quick Mike Woolston and the Joplin Globe were to attack the report. The City Council spent too much, according to the contract, for Loraine's work, but it was well worth the money.
David Humphreys- It was the TAMKO CEO's push for this audit that enabled the level of corruption in the city to be exposed. He and the more than 5,000 who signed the petition for the audit would have undoubtedly preferred that the report would have proven that suspicions of wrongdoing were unfounded, but we are much better off knowing the truth.
Joplin Globe- Just kidding.
David Wallace- He got out just in time and is still living high on the hog in Sugar Land, Texas, and thanks to his Chapter 7 bankruptcy appears to be on the verge of getting out of paying all of the people he cheated in the BizRadio scandal (not to mention the Joplin taxpayers).
Nicole Galloway- She managed to deliver a hard-hitting audit report in understandable fashion and even more importantly to those of us who were there, she was able to keep a straight face when Anson Burlingame defended Wallace-Bajjali.
Rob O'Brian- Not only did the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce president come into criticism for his role in the hiring of Wallace-Bajjali as master developer, but he deleted a critical e-mail in which Wallace initially suggested the city should hire a master developer.
Mike Woolston- It can't be easy to sit in front of everyone and listen for nearly a half hour while the state auditor does everything but call you a crook. It will be interesting to see how Woolston responds to the audit. When the Loraine Report was issued, he was highly critical and this one goes several steps beyond the Loraine Report.
Joplin Globe- I will write more about this later (Does that surprise anyone?) The Globe has done no investigative reporting and much of what was revealed in the audit could have been discovered by reporters long ago. The conduct of the area's newspaper of record since the Joplin Tornado has been atrocious. At a time when the taxpayers desperately needed the Globe to serve as the public's watchdog, the newspaper of Publisher Michael Beatty and Editor Carol Stark was missing in action.
CART- The revelation that CART members paved the path for Wallace-Bajjali to become master developer is not news to anyone who has read Silver Lining in a Funnel Cloud (and please feel free to do so), but it has become apparent that all of the laurels that were sent Jane Cage's way were misplaced.
Mayor Michael Seibert- He doesn't remember why he gave Wallace-Bajjali much higher scores than experienced, competent companies when CART made its choice to recommend the firm?
Joplin Taxpayers- What a mess!
Mark Rohr- His name was not mentioned in the report, but much of what was included in it was an indictment of his conduct of the public portion of the tornado recovery and I have no doubt his name will be brought into this sooner or later.
How did the City of Joplin get into the predicament that was outlined by the state auditor Tuesday night? You can find much more information on Wallace-Bajjali, Mike Woolston, CART, the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce and others in my book Silver Lining in a Funnel Cloud: Greed, Corruption, and the Joplin Tornado. A signing for the book will be held 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, August 29, at Always Buying Books. Copies of the book are on sale there and at Changing Hands Book Shoppe and the Book Guy in Joplin, and at Pat's Books in Carthage. The book is available in paperback and e-book formats from Amazon.com.