Some brief background- The State of California has instructed over 400 Redevelopment Agencies, RDA, to dismantle, cease and dissolve. While many cities and towns are blaming the State for their financial woes by ending the RDA, the truth is, these funds have always belonged to the State of California. The funds were kept in a separate bank account and an annual report was sent in to the State accounting for these funds.
As the Department of Finance is sorting through all the “woes, blaming, pleading and bonding” of their funds to avoid return these tax increments (IE. Project Phoenix), there are some established rules to include “Conflict of Interest” and reporting procedures.
The 29Palms City Council RDA is now called the Successor Agency to the Dead RDA or something close to that. An Oversight Board was selected to “Over-See” the actions of the Successor Agency. Each Oversight Board Member is directed to represent the tax entity to insure the return of the funds to their college, school or in this case, The Hi-Desert Medical Center.
Actually, that is not the case for our District hospital. For some reason, Mrs. Korina Cole of 29 Palms, was appointed by Resolution to represent our hospital’s tax increment at the March 2012 HDMC Board meeting. (I have requested a copy of the report presented at this meeting from the City of Twentynine Palms regarding the selection of a hospital representative, see stamp page 5.)
Korina Cole’s father-in-law is the present Mayor of Twentynine Palms, husband Kevin Cole is a Staff member and past Mayor of Twentynine Palms. As Community Service Director for the city, Kevin is a staunch supporter for Project Phoenix and so is Twentynine Palms resident/wife/daughter-Korina Cole. She voted twice in support of Mayor John Cole as a member of the Oversight Board without recusing herself due to her conflict of interest through her relationships, fully abandoning her responsibilities to the hospital to represent their tax increment.
I emailed the following request to the HDMC hospital on May 27, 2012. Here is the content of the request.
The most salient part of the information provided by the HDMC is the unbelievable gravitas of Warne in meddling with the Hospital board’s legislative process.
“Korina Cole did not disclose her personal relationships with the Mayor of 29Palms nor that she is married to a 29Palms City Staff member. In my opinion, this is an Ethics violation for accepting this position and then concealing her relationships.
A member of the Oversight Board should have been selected to represent MY/OUR tax dollars that belong to My hospital. I do not feel Ms. Cole is an unbiased representative that will take a stand for MY/SB County rate payer’s hospital.
Please accept this correspondence for the following requests:
1. Replacement of the HDMC representative to the Oversight Board.
2. A copy of Korina Cole’s Form 700.”
I also included the link to the story: “Where is the Oversight?”
The initial response from the Hospital felt this was a matter for the City of 29Palms and HDMC Staff did not know about Cole’s family ties.
On June 13th, I had an opportunity to discuss this matter in more detail with HDMC CEO Chad Chadwick and he requested I “copy” him with my letters when I file with the Department of Finance/Public Integrity Unit.
Korina Cole’s Form 700 (Statement of Financial Interests) reported to the hospital is sloppy and incomplete, filing only the cover page. As an elected Board of Director for the hospital, she failed to report her income from wages, stocks, bonds or her husband’s income and their place of employment.
Gee folks, nothing personal here. There are rules and regulations that must be followed.
Excuse me, is it too late to withdraw my last vote for the HDMC Board of Directors?
Update: Error Correction:
From: @hdmc.org>Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2012 17:16:07 -0700To: <MargoSturges>Subject: Error correction – sorry
Hi Margo, I need to point out an error in my cover letter. The last document was the agenda of the July 10th meeting, not the June 10th meeting as it said. Sorry for the error.
Say hi to Bob and the (kids).
Support Cactus Thorns Blog