But I had questions beyond stereotyping after reading AP's WV statehouse reporter, Jonathan Matisse (AP archive, @jonathanmattise, firstname.lastname@example.org) account that "$1.3 million in leases, insurance policies, labor, catering and other contracts" have benefited board members, the executive director or family, according to a preliminary report by Legislative Auditor Aaron Allred:
- Liability insurance for about $386,300. A board member owns the insurance agency.I wonder about the excuse that authority officials used with the WV leg members today, that it has "has wrongly operated like a nonprofit, not a state agency, for its entire 18-year existence." Such an explanation seems pretty thin, given that a non-profit's bylaws could (and I would say should) prohibit conflicts of interest and nepotism and that its fiscal policies should require competitive bidding and so forth.
- $820,400 in labor. The executive director and another authority board member serve on the contractor's board.
- Industrial storage building lease from the Wyoming County Economic Development Board for about $34,800. One authority board member is a development board employee. The executive director and another board member are development board members.
- Others include: almost $5,900 to a catering company owned by the executive director's mother; $24,300 for vehicle maintenance through a company owned by a board member; $28,400 to a building maintenance company whose board includes the executive director; $23,300 in printing services from a company owned by the executive director's dad; and $36,700 from the state Division of Tourism, for which the executive director serves as a board member.
Also I wonder what kind of oversight that WV is providing to its state grantees to get away with such for 18 years.
I tried to read up on the history of the trail authority, but the authority denied me permission to read its blog. And maybe because of snow, the legislature's website (including the code section establishing the trail authority) was down on the evening of 11/18. As recently as November 2, http://www.register-herald.com/news/mountain-state-s-atv-trail-system-is-the-new-tourism/article_f9f25926-a2b6-5269-b83f-772e00cbbff6.html
So here are my last questions. Are there any other state-created authorities, and if so, how many other, if any, are behaving this way? Also does similar corporate behavior exist among "real" non-profits with state contracts.
I'd love to have some follow-up from Mr. Mattisse and the other WV statehouse reporters.