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Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2008 | On Wednesday morning, we were treated to a love-fest between Centre City Development Corp. chairs Fred Maas and Jennifer LeSar and members of the Council Rules Committee. As usual, only councilmember Donna Frye asked the inconvenient questions that should have dampened the euphoria of her fellow councilmembers Jim Madaffer, Scott Peters, Ben Hueso and Tony Young, but didn’t.
As she pointed out, the current operating agreement between CCDC and the city preludes the council from exercising its oversight role of the corporation. As it stands now, the City Council can neither select nor dismiss CCDC’s president. Their board is an independent fiefdom that’s not required to act in the public’s interest. That’s a lot of power for an entity that operates on public funds.
The malfeasance of CCDC’s board is obvious by former CCDC President Nancy Graham’s actions. As Frye pointed out, the CCDC board awarded Graham a $65,000 bonus of taxpayer money without the public knowing why. This is because the award was made in closed session. Even so, for more than a year, Maas has refused to honor Public Records Act requests to provide documents on the Graham bonus to the public.
On April 23, 2008, Graham told the public at a CCDC board meeting that she was never involved in the 7th and Market project that was ultimately her downfall. Board directors, aware that she was lying to the public, sat there and did nothing. Maas and LeSar went so far as to defend Graham in sickening hyperbolic statements.
If the City Council believes that Graham is the only bad apple at CCDC, they are whistling Dixie. Some members of the public know better.