Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Very Bad News for West Buechel

Going all the way back to West Buechel's original Insurance Premium Tax Ordinance in 1984 and including all available variations and subsequent amendments, both real and imagined (See: West Buechel: The Great Tax Hoax of 2012), NOT A SINGLE ONE states a purpose for the tax imposed.  

If anyone takes the Kentucky Revised Statutes on this subject seriously, it means the City of West Buechel has a big potential problem.

KRS 92.330 requires of Home Rule Class Cities that the purpose for which a tax or license fee is imposed, "shall be specified in the ordinance, and the revenue therefrom shall be expended for no other purpose than that for which the tax was levied or the license fee imposed. Failure to specify the purpose of the tax or license fee shall render the ordinance invalid."   

The size of the problem would be about $1 Million of Insurance Premium Taxes collected over the last five years. Five years is likely the applicable statute of limitations.


Is there a lawyer in the house?

--------------------

Tom Fox, J. D.
Southern Specialty Law Publishing Company
Louisville, Kentucky

A division of Accountable Kentucky Incorporated
a Kentucky Non-profit corporation
AccountableKY.org

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The danger of legal specialization

The Kentucky Department of Insurance is kind enough to offer Cities and Counties a Model  Local Insurance Premium Tax Ordinance. It is, in my estimate, the best and most comprehensive Ordinance of its type that I have seen, with one serious flaw.

KRS 92.330 requires of Home Rule Class Cities that the purpose for which a tax or license fee is imposed, "shall be specified in the ordinance, and the revenue therefrom shall be expended for no other purpose than that for which the tax was levied or the license fee imposed. Failure to specify the purpose of the tax or license fee shall render the ordinance invalid.

Tough love. 

Further, KRS 92.340 is also very tough.
"If, in any city of the home rule class, any city tax revenue is expended for a purpose other than that for which the tax was levied or the license fee imposed, each officer, agent or employee who, by a refusal to act, could have prevented the expenditure, and the members of the city legislative body who voted for the expenditure, shall be jointly and severally liable to the city for the amount so expended. . . . ."
 Alas, the Department of Insurance's Model Ordinance does not seem to include any provision or reminder that a city ordinance must state a purpose for the tax or license fee. I've read through it only three times, so maybe it's there.

It looks to be a nasty trap for the unwary city official.

Good insurance lawyers are not necessarily good municipal lawyers.




--------------------

Tom Fox, J. D.
Southern Specialty Law Publishing Company
Louisville, Kentucky

A division of Accountable Kentucky Incorporated
a Kentucky Non-profit corporation
AccountableKY.org

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Show Cause Motion Served

Yes, I am an old dog.

Yes, this is a new trick.

--------------------

Tom Fox, J. D.
Southern Specialty Law Publishing Company
Louisville, Kentucky

A division of Accountable Kentucky Incorporated
a Kentucky Non-profit corporation
AccountableKY.org

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Dear Mr. Attorney General - Part 2

Kim Richards - West Buechel, KY, Clerk-Treasurer

If you ever wish to do business with West Buechel City Hall, bring lollipops.  You will be dealing with children.

Evil defective children.

William Golding wrote a book about this place.









--------------------

Tom Fox, J. D.
Southern Specialty Law Publishing Company
Louisville, Kentucky

A division of Accountable Kentucky Incorporated
a Kentucky Non-profit corporation
AccountableKY.org

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This is not legal advice and I am not a lawyer.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

We are off now to annoy the Attorney General

What better way to spend a Saturday evening? Asking the Attorney General to review a West Buechel Open Records response. Can't beat it.


--------------------

Tom Fox, J. D.
Southern Specialty Law Publishing Company
Louisville, Kentucky

A division of Accountable Kentucky Incorporated
a Kentucky Non-profit corporation
AccountableKY.org

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This is not legal advice and I am not a lawyer.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Open Records and Settlement Agreements

This is what the Kentucky Supreme Court has to say about it.

"[I]n Central Kentucky News-Journal v. George, 306 S.W.3d 41 (Ky. 2010) and Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government v. Lexington Herald-Leader Company, 941 S.W.2d 469 (Ky. 1997), we addressed requests for disclosure of settlement agreements in law suits brought by private citizens against, respectively, a school board and a police department. Notwithstanding confidentiality agreements between the parties, we held that the settlements were subject to disclosure. The public's keen interest in knowing the terms of the settlements—the amount of public funds paid out by the agencies in compensation for what injuries to whom—easily outweighed, we explained, the recipients' interest in keeping the settlements private."

Lawson v. Office of Attorney General, 415 SW 3d 59 (Ky. 2013)

--------------------

Tom Fox, J. D.
Southern Specialty Law Publishing Company
Louisville, Kentucky

A division of Accountable Kentucky Incorporated
a Kentucky Non-profit corporation
AccountableKY.org

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West Buechel - Let the process begin

Yep. It might take a year or two to get to the bottom of this.

What of it?



To:

Kimberly R. Richards, Clerk-Treasurer
City of West Buechel
3705 Bashford Avenue
West Buechel, Kentucky 40218


DELIVERED BY Fax to 502-456-6928
& via emailed PDF attachment to r.richards@westbuechelky.gov & k.richards@westbuechelky.gov
           
           

Re: Open Records Request – August, 2016 City check issued for $10,350  


Dear Ms Richards:

The August, 2016, Check Detail report you prepared recently shows a City check having been issued on August 13 in the amount of $10,350 for "Legal  Services – Admin."

I hereby request to inspect that cancelled check and to inspect all documentation supporting such expenditure of public funds.


Sincerely yours,


Thomas Fox



--------------------

Tom Fox, J. D.
Southern Specialty Law Publishing Company
Louisville, Kentucky

A division of Accountable Kentucky Incorporated
a Kentucky Non-profit corporation
AccountableKY.org

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West Buechel - Brazen Illegality

On Friday Rick Richards, Mayor of West Buechel, released a list of checks the City had issued during the month of August, 2016. One of these checks was in the amount $10,350, for "Legal  Services - Admin," but the name of the payee was intentionally omitted ( "xxxxx" ).

  
In a breathtaking display of bluff, bluster and bravado last night, Mayor Richards and his two primary co-conspirators, City Clerk-Treasurer Kim Richards and Mayor Richards' long time personal attorney (who is also City Attorney), John Casey McCall, stonewalled the West Buechel City Council and refused to disclose to whom and for what purposes this $10,350 check was issued.

Richards' plan of bamboozlement hinges upon an erroneous assertion that a city's settlement of legal claims against it can be kept secret, even from the City Council. Under Kentucky Open Records law, such use of public funds is not exempt from disclosure and will not remain hidden for long.

Given the amount of the check, in excess of $10,000, if there is anything significantly crooked about the secret payment, it might easily be classified as a Class C Felony.


  

--------------------

Tom Fox, J. D.
Southern Specialty Law Publishing Company
Louisville, Kentucky

A division of Accountable Kentucky Incorporated
a Kentucky Non-profit corporation
AccountableKY.org

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Friday, September 9, 2016

West Buechel: State Suspends Road Aid Payments

Re-posted from AccountableKY.org:Watchdog :West Buechel: State Suspends Road Aid Payments

The Commonwealth of Kentucky has suspended making monthly Road Aid payment to the City of West Buechel due to the City’s failure to submit a Uniform Financial Information Report (UFIR) for FY 2014-2015. The last Road Aid payment was made in May, 2016.

The City cannot submit a UFIR for FY 2014-2015 until that year’s Financial Statements have been audited by an independent CPA as required by law. Our repeated requests to inspect the City’s Financial Statements for FY 2014-2015 have gone unanswered. The Financial Statement required by KRS 424.220 should have been finalized and published a year ago. An independent audit of the City’s Financial Statements cannot begin if the Financial Statements do not yet exist.

The State Road Aid allocated to West Buechel will continue to accumulate. Those funds, which are about $2,000 per month, will not be paid to West Buechel until the City gets its financial reporting in proper order and a UFIR is submitted.


--------------------

Tom Fox, J. D.
Southern Specialty Law Publishing Company
Louisville, Kentucky

A division of Accountable Kentucky Incorporated
a Kentucky Non-profit corporation
AccountableKY.org

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West Buechel Late Pay Update | Watchdog

Re-posted from AccountableKY.org:Watchdog : West Buechel Late Pay Update

 ------------- 

We previously reported $5,000 in late fees imposed upon the City of West Buechel by Kentucky Retirement Systems because of Kimberly R. Richards' multiple failures to report or pay retirement contributions on time. See: Gross Negligence. Ms. Richards has been City Clerk-Treasurer for West Buechel since Richard W. Richards took office as Mayor in January, 2015. She continues in that position with an annual salary in excess of $60,000. By a recent Open Records request to Kentucky Retirement Systems, we have been advised that an additional $1,000 late penalty has been imposed.


The two required reports and the contribution payment for May, 2016, were six days late. The City has not paid any of the accumulated $6,000 in fines.

 --------------------

Tom Fox, J. D.
Southern Specialty Law Publishing Company
Louisville, Kentucky

A division of Accountable Kentucky Incorporated
a Kentucky Non-profit corporation
AccountableKY.org

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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

West Buechel: Show me EVERYTHING

I'm beginning to believe that the City of West Buechel's banking records are "public records" within the meaning of Kentucky's Open Records Act, and that they are subject to inspection by the public upon reasonable request. It shouldn't be a big deal, but so it seems to be, nonetheless.

When faced with the questions:
  • How much money has the City of West Buechel collected;
  • How much money has the City of West Buechel spent,;
  • and What was that money spend upon?

You'd think the answers could be obtained without getting the Attorney General and the Jefferson Circuit Court involved.

No so.

Now that I have Kentucky's Attorney General and a Jefferson Circuit Court Judge in agreement, along with a lot of other lawyers, judges and legislators, that public bank records ARE public records subject to examination by the public, maybe these questions can now be answered.

You see, the problem is that NOBODY KNOWS! Except, maybe West Buechel's City Clerk-Treasurer, but she's not telling. She not telling even though the City has paid her over $100,000 in eighteen months from January, 2015 through June, 2016. She not telling because she's the Mayor's ex-wife and not even the Mayor can tell her what to do if she doesn't want to.

So, YAORR (Yet Another Open Records Request), as follows:

-----oOo-----

September 7, 2016

To:

Kimberly R. Richards, Clerk-Treasurer
City of West Buechel
3705 Bashford Avenue
West Buechel, Kentucky 40218


DELIVERED BY Fax to 502-456-6928
& via emailed PDF attachment to
r.richards@westbuechelky.gov,
k.richards@westbuechelky.gov
& brdlawfirm@gmail.com


Re: Open Records Request – City Bank Records


Dear Ms Richards:


Since I will be spending some of my time in West Buechel City Hall examining the previously specifically requested City banking records, I’d like to take the opportunity to also examine all of the City’s bank records from January 1, 2015 to the date of my examination, whenever that may be.

That is my request, in general. Show me everything. But, to be specific, I now request to examine and scan, at my option, each monthly account statement, every check and each deposit slip for the following City bank accounts:

BB&T deposit accounts

• xxx-4321
• xxx-4356 Payroll
• xxx-4313 State Grant
• xxx-4119 Municipal Road Aid
• xxx-4518 Buechel Festival
• xxx-4828 General
• xxx-4437 Christmas Fund
• xxx-4836 West Buechel Grant
• xxx-2003 New General Fund Account (created 1-5-2015)

PNC deposit accounts

xxx-1999 Explorer Post 790

Bank of New York Mellon (BNY Mellon)

I do not know the account number for this, but it was created in 2012 as a conduit for loan proceeds from the $260,000 bond issued through the Kentucky Bond Corporation by the prior administration. This account had a balance of only a few thousand dollars when Richard Richards took office in January, 2015.

Clearly, my examination of these bank records cannot be accomplished in just a few hours, or even in only one day. Find me an out of the way corner in City Hall to do my work and this process will not interfere with normal City business. These are not the type of files that are frequently in “active use,” except possibly when the City’s independent auditors may, someday, be at work.


Sincerely yours,


Thomas Fox


--------------------

Tom Fox, J. D.
Southern Specialty Law Publishing Company
Louisville, Kentucky

A division of Accountable Kentucky Incorporated
a Kentucky Non-profit corporation
AccountableKY.org

----------- oOo ----------

Self-help Law Books on Amazon
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This is not legal advice and I am not a lawyer.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Fox wins Open Records suit against West Buechel

By an order dated August 29, 2016, Jefferson County, Kentucky, Circuit Court Judge Ann Bailey Smith granted the motion of Thomas Fox for Partial Summary Judgment in an Open Records Act lawsuit he had filed in November, 2015 against the City of West Buechel, Kentucky. This Judgment ordered City officials to allow Fox to inspect certain specified banking records and other documents.
--------------------

Tom Fox, J. D.
Southern Specialty Law Publishing Company
Louisville, Kentucky

A division of Accountable Kentucky Incorporated
a Kentucky Non-profit corporation
AccountableKY.org

----------- oOo ----------

Self-help Law Books on Amazon
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This is not legal advice and I am not a lawyer.