Nov 17, 2010

Part One - SETRPC (Part One)

In his latest posting, Philip R. Klein presents the first of a 10-part series on the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission (SETPRC):
To give you an example of one taste of the corruption - to start this multipart story over the next 10 weeks - we wanted to start with something simple before we get to the real good stuff over the next weeks.
Klein offered this simplistic description of the SETRPC:
Many years ago - a quasi government clearing house was created. It is called the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission. It's job is to apply, accept and distribute that money to the places to which it needs to go to help in disaster relief or funding for projects through non-profits. And when you get a bunch of money - well here come the politicos. In fact - politicos run the SET Regional Planning Commission and are assigned to its board and leadership.
Here are the facts, according to Chapter 391 of the Texas Local Government Code:
  • The Texas Legislature created the Southeast Regional Planning Commission in 1970 as one of 24 regional planning commissions that cover the state. These regional planning commissions are voluntary associations of local governments.  Klein's description of the commission as a "quasi-government clearing house" underscores his ignorance.

  • As such, § 391.006 clearly states that at least two-thirds of each commission must be composed of elected officials from the region.  This is distinctly different from Klein's claim that "when you get a bunch of money - well here come the politicos."

  • The primary purpose of the SETPRC is not to provide disaster relief or funding for nonprofit organizations as Klein claims. Instead, § 391.001 directs these regional planning commissions to join and cooperate to improve the health, safety, and general welfare of their residents, and plan for the future development of communities, areas, and regions. While disaster recovery falls under the purview of the SETRPC, it's not the primary purpose as Klein claims.
One would expect a self-proclaimed political consultant to understand the basic concepts.

Klein's premise in 33 words is that Bo Alfred, Bobbie Prince, Suzanne Simmons, and Jimmy Grimes conspired to defraud the Hardin County Disaster Recovery Alliance, Inc., of $15,000 to illegally remodel a home belonging to Jessie Haynes, a resident of Jefferson County.

Typically, Klein claimed that an anonymous agency with the "Federal Government in Texas" is investigating:
What started as a place for help - has turned into a political piggy bank for political officials which has drawn two investigations by the Federal Government that has been on going for the past two years, according to sources close to the Federal Government in Texas.
I'm skeptical that this unnamed agency chose to reveal this investigation only to Philip R. Klein and the Southeast Texas Political Review. If PRK's dubious claims are true, a two-year investigation into this incident with no official indictments speaks volumes about Klein's credibility.

Regarding the Hardin County Disaster Recovery Alliance, Inc, Klein claimed:
After the storm - both federal and private funds were placed into grant system for the citizens of Hardin County Texas. It is called the Hardin County Disaster Recovery Alliance, Inc. It is managed by the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission. It is funded - big time - more than $15,000,000 (yes we said millions).
Compare Klein's claims of $15 million dollars with the corporation's Form 990s (annual contributions are in parentheses):
While the 2009 Form 990 isn't online yet, the nonprofit reported income of $780,893. The income over the existence of this nonprofit totaled $6,163,599, not $15,000,000 as Klein claims.

Neither is this nonprofit managed by the SETRPC. The principals in the corporation are Treasurer Joe Penland, Secretary Rita Peterson, Executive Director Tony Thornton, Director Fred Williams, Director Lance Harmond, and Director Fred Ariline.

After this, Klein's conspiracy theory crosses into the Twilight Zone: 
According to records and interviews given to the Review - Jessie Haynes made contact with Bo Alfred regarding some funding for her home that "was damaged" by the hurricane. She needed some money because her insurance company was...well...let's just say not paying. Why? There were questions regarding if the damage was from the hurricane or simply on old house that was falling down and she wanted a remodel job?
The three documents that Klein posted do not support these unsubstantiated allegations. I'm reminded of Klein's claim last week that Judge Gist was fired, then rehired after the Southeast Texas Political Review exposed a conspiracy involving Judge Layne Walker and Bigfoot, currently living in Colorado.

To be continued - I'll have more tomorrow!


Anonymous said...

Didn't Klein take out am SBA loan for a swimming pool in his back yard?

Anonymous said...

it looks like someone altered those docs that Klein posted.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to jump in, but is there a way to contact Gus Pillsbury?

I'm an elected official in Hardin County and have some info that Phil Klein overlooked in his article.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:54 Click on the @ sign at the right to reach Gus.

Anonymous said...

its kind of srange that no body in bridge city has recieved any funds from the setrpc ,this is where the flood was!!!!!!! i know for a fack thay they have recieved 150million for ike ,so far the only ones to get any thing is hardin co.looks like set up to me.

Anonymous said...

Klein -- I know the Lord will reward me several fold for what grief you caused me in my employer -- setrpc-- thinking I may have been in communications with a pot stirring, ignorant who writes assumed facts without verifying or simply asking questions. You caused me hell and I don't even know you. Grow up. I'd never lend you the credibility of my acquaintance. Feel the wrath when it comes buddy! You will pay for wrongly endangering my income.

Anonymous said...

From a Hardin county resident--It's Nov 2014 and I am still waiting patiently for reconstruction assistance.