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Yucca Valley Gets the “No-No Nuaimi” Notice from the State Department of Finance

By   /   December 20, 2012  /   35 Comments

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Yucca Valley, Ca.-On November 13, 2012, Town Manager Mark Nuaimi went to Sacramento to “Meet and Confer” with the California Department of Finance to discuss the denials issued to the Town for requests to be paid out of the dissolved Redevelopment Agency as a ROP, Recognized Obligation Payment.

These very large requests failed to meet the criteria of a “Recognized Obligation” after several submissions, explanations and back dating of inception dates while failing to provide a solid contract prior to the accepted cut-off date, June 27, 2011.

In a letter dated December 18, 2012 the DOF writes: “Based on the review of additional information and documentation provided to Finance during the Meet and Confer process, Finance has completed its review of the specific item being disputed:”

NO to the $250,000 funding for the new dog park. “Finance continues to deny this item at this time.”

NO to the $500,000 funding for the General Plan update. “Finance continues to deny this item at this time.”

NO to the $4.15 million dollars Regional Wastewater funding contract. No such contract exists. “Finance continues to deny this item at this time.

NO to the $500,000 to CORE Senior Housing. “Finance continues to deny this item.”

NO to the $40,000 CORE Senior Housing legal costs. “Finance continues to deny this item.”

Good News? Items #5 and #7 were reclassified as administrative costs for a total of $12,500.  Merry Christmas from the DOF!

Department of Finance Letter, Dated December 18, 2012 >>>link

Margo Sturges Author>>>link

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About the author

Margo Sturges

Yucca Valley Editor

Note: Margo Sturges has written many articles for Cactus Thorns and is the founder of Citizens4Change.info. Email contact: MargoSturgesYV(at)aol.com "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."- George Orwell


  1. Mark Nuaimi Mark Nuaimi says:

    Thank you for posting the link to the actual letter from DoF. It helps greatly to actually read the letter in its entirety to get an accurate picture of what DoF concluded. There is a statement in most of these findings that states:

    “Assuming the excess bond proceeds requested for use were issued prior to January 1, 2011, upon receiving a Finding of Completion from Finance, HSC Section 34191.4 (b) may cause this item to be enforceable in future ROPS periods.”

    So what does this mean? It means that those items may receive unspent bonds assuming they are an allowable expenditure for bond proceeds (called out in the bond documents) and the bonds were issued prior to 2011.

    In the case of the Town, our bonds were issued prior to 2011. So the facts are that once the Department of Finance issues a Finding of Completion to the Successor Agency to the Yucca Valley Redevelopment Agency, the following items will be put forward as enforceable obligations to be paid out of bond proceeds:

    1) Southside Phase 1A (Essig Park) — $250,000
    2) General Plan Development — $500,000
    3) Regional Wastewater Funding — $4.15 million

    There may be additional projects funded out of bond proceeds that will be included in future ROPS as well until such time that the balance of bonds is expended.

    As to the continued rejection of the low/mod housing funding, the Town continues to disagree with their findings and further information is being provided. If you read the letter, the DoF acknowledges that the Town and NCRC executed an ENA on December 21, 2010. They acknowledge that the ENA allowed for 365 days to execute a Disposition & Development Agreement (DDA). They even acknowledge that the ENA allowed for a time extension to execute the DDA. Their letter suggests that “no information was provided that demonstrated that a ‘written agreement with the Developer’ was entered into to extend the timeframes, as required by the ENA.” We disagree! The Agency and CORE entered into an Option Agreement in May of 2011. The Agency also issued funding commitment letters between the Agency and CORE in May and December of 2011 — both within the 365 day timeframe. Both these letters provided CORE extensions for completion of the DDA.

    The Town and CORE executed the DDA in March 2012 — within the timeframe allowed by the ENA (365 days + extension time). So we believe DoF is wrong. The Town will continue to pursue this issue.

    • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

      Mark….. Unless you are able to pull a signed “construction Contract” that was bid in a legal public bid process your wishing in one hand and crapping in another.

      An interesting paragraph from the state that I brought up in my opinion piece deals with what you are saying….

      Design and build contracts are not CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTS…. Every single Contractor that reads this knows I am right. The state is going to throw your Project Management contracts back in your face…. They are not worth the paper to wipe your butt with.

  2. Mark Nuaimi Mark Nuaimi says:

    There is nothing in RDA dissolution that states that enforceable obligations are limited to “construction contracts” … Disposition & Development Agreements across the state are being upheld as enforceable obligations. The ROPS instruction document on the state DoF website includes the following:

    “Legally binding and enforceable agreements or contracts: Includes all obligations of agency not listed above, both housing and non-housing. Note: report all regardless of source of funding, such as those that will be funded with bond or other debt proceeds. Examples include obligations such as construction contracts, Disposition and Development Agreements (DDAs), Owner Participation Agreements (OPAs), pre-development loans, Community Facilities District (CFD) reimbursements, rental subsidies, and professional services contracts. Also includes agreements pledging future receipt of tax increment to other entities, such as a matching grant or promissory note.”

    • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

      Are you dyslexic? You read the first sentence and then went off on some rant… One more time read the quoted paragraph from our letter from the DoF.

      You can acronym me to death but the fact is your DDAs, OPAs and CFDs are SOL…. What you and other city managers who thought they would out smart Sacramento tried to do is make loosely worded vague agreements of indeterminate size and scope with single source groups.

      The things that you have requested to be made enforceable obligations are on their very face laughably out of touch with both the spirit of ABx26 let alone the language of ABx26.

      Those things were done to circumvent the law and you should be thankful that the State has merely denied your requests…..

      I’ve watched your attempt to win the day with the State… It hasn’t went well, has it?

      Look… you can try as you might to dazzle me with your brilliance all you want, but it is not me that you had to convince…. it was Steve Szalay and his group at the DoF… In that case you fell flat on your face. For god sakes a flipping power point presentation? That was your Ace in the hole?

      You came to a political gun fight with a nail file? A power point… really? You figured that would change the minds of folks who want your towns treasury in their purse? Was it… “I hope they like the Background.. do you think the Blue squares or the Yellow Triangles?”

      It has been a bush league campaign by both Yucca Valley and 29 Palms…. It has been a day late a dollar short from the beginning.

      • And these “unenforceable agreements” are unenforceable with no based in law or fact. There is no obligation if is no executed contract setting out the terms and conditions, dates and consideration of a contract.

        It can all be summed up on one word — “No”

  3. Mark Nuaimi Mark Nuaimi says:

    Dan, it is clear that when presented with facts, you attack and insult. You really should take some time off! Have a Merry Christmas; I know I will.

    • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

      Dearest Mark, It is clear you would not know or accept the facts if they were tattooed to your forehead. You gave it your best shot to the State and the State said…….. N O. You came away with zip. If I were you I’d get a more convincing story line started… Something on the effect of Doomsday Zombies stole your Power Point…… Merry Christmas to you too.

    • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

      I know you think I am kidding folks about a Power Point but it is real… No kidding, Mark Nuiami went to Sacramento and presented a power point…. (so 2010!) I’ll bet it was a tough choice between the green background or the blue…. I’m going to guess here that Mark felt sure that the slide transitions were set just so, and the DoF would have been so impressed that they would overlook the fact that his contracts were not actual design and build contracts and his timing of those so called contracts were tardy to say the least.

      I encourage the reader to download the PDF file of his presentation and review the information and how it applies to the law.


      You do not have to believe me you can ask for the files yourself from the California Department of Finance… send a public information request to Jeanna.Wimberly@dof.ca.gov…. A lovely lady that will freely share this information and anything else you might want to know about your town’s ROPs.

  4. LINDAG LINDAG says:

    …and in the middle of all this was RSG and Rutan and Tucker collecting their $$$$$ for a power point presentation that was prepared by a salaried secretary…Dan, keep up the good work! You are an educator to us all. Signed, Linda in La Quinta. (yup, SOL LQ with the CM Frank….I can do acronyms too.)

  5. Mark Nuaimi Mark Nuaimi says:

    Stop the presses … Mark Nuaimi used a Powerpoint presentation when meeting with DoF. What the heck was I thinking? I should have simply showed up and read from the local blogs and that would have convinced DoF.

    Better yet, maybe I should have tweeted the information to them.

    And not to sound repetitive, but:

    “Assuming the excess bond proceeds requested for use were issued prior to January 1, 2011, upon receiving a Finding of Completion from Finance, HSC Section 34191.4 (b) may cause this item to be enforceable in future ROPS periods.”

    This will apply to three of our requests totalling $4.8 million. The other $500,000 issue remains in doubt and the Town believes we have solid evidence that agreements were in place prior to January 2011 that commit these funds as an enforceable obligation. Nothing in state law requires them to be construction contracts exclusively. While some might not like hearing the truth, Disposition & Development Agreements are an enforceable obligation as defined by the state of California Department of Finance.

    So if you go back to our original letter from DoF and compare it to the letter we recently received, it would seem that the dumb Powerpoint presentation did some good. And we’re not done yet.

    • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

      Read that letter one more time Mark….. shall I quote it for you?

      You were denied…… No…. Nada… Nicht, Nine, Nyat…..

      For god sakes Mark have some self respect….. You blew it…. You bet on the Pass line and you threw snake eyes. You lost. Admit you made a bad bet…. your calculations were wrong… the dice just did not roll your way. Get over it…. Move on…. and figure out how you plan to pull your town out of the jam you put it in.

      You can play the game until the council figures it out or you can man up and take some responsibility for screwing the pooch. Boy wouldn’t it be great if you could just come clean… say you took a risk and now the town has to tighten its belt for a couple of years to make up for the lost revenue.

      I am going to make an observation here…. eventually it is going to become clear as a bell to your Council that you’ve dug them a pretty deep hole to climb out of.

      Suggestion when you find yourself in a deep hole….. Stop Digging.

  6. Mark Nuaimi is paid $20,000.00 per month to NOT make mistakes. MNIP$20,000.00PMTNMM. He writes,”And we’re not done yet.”HWAWANDY….OMG!

  7. Mark Nuaimi Mark Nuaimi says:

    “Assuming the excess bond proceeds requested for use were issued prior to January 1, 2011, upon receiving a Finding of Completion from Finance, HSC Section 34191.4 (b) may cause this item to be enforceable in future ROPS periods.”

    This will apply to three of our requests totalling $4.8 million.

    1) Southside Phase 1A (Essig Park) — $250,000
    2) General Plan Development — $500,000
    3) Regional Wastewater Funding — $4.15 million

    There may be additional projects funded out of bond proceeds that will be included in future ROPS as well until such time that the balance of bonds is expended.

    Worry about your business and I’ll worry about doing my job. Merry Christmas Dan.

  8. Mark Nuaimi Mark Nuaimi says:

    This is an interesting read from a year ago. Since this time last year what has changed?? The Town’s Senior Housing Project has secured tax credits and County HOME funding. The Town hasn’t issued additional bonds or debt. There has been no “hole-digging” or “risk taking” that we have to dig out of.


    The Town has made progress with DoF acknowledging that some of the items on our ROPS may be added as future enforceable obligations to be paid out of bond proceeds. This is a result of the AB-1484 clean up legislation passed this year.

    The Town DOES face some fiscal challenges in the General Fund with the failure of Measure U. RDA Dissolution is contributing to that with the requirement to absorb administration costs that RDA used to cover. Infrastructure maintenance needs are still unmet. And costs of public safety contact continue to escalate. But to somehow attribute all these challenges to DoF, ROPS, and RDA Dissolution is not accurate.

    • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

      Shoulda, coulda, woulda…. wasn’t

    • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

      Hi Mark,

      I agree with how the Town of Yucca has proceeded. That could put me at risk with somebody else on this blog but….

      I also like how you admit that there are present items that could become approved in the future and others that will not. I applaud you.

      On the other hand my interests are in 29 Palms and as you have pointed out “They knew when to hold’em and when to fold’em”.

      Again, thank you being out in the field of engagement with the public it is the sign of a leader.

      • Mark Nuaimi Mark Nuaimi says:


        Thank you for the honest read. The state of dialog in government (at all levels) does a disservice to the people we are tasked with serving. Leading an organization through a recession (double-dip??) is difficult enough without the misinformation brigade standing on the sidelines hoping beyond hope that local government fails.

        As we wrap up 2012, a lot has been accomplished in Yucca Valley. The General Plan is half-way done. 62/247 intersection improvement is complete. Essig Park is opened. Animal shelter is designed and ready to break ground. We secured over $1.7 million from regional/state sources this year (matching other federal sources) to start over $5 million in road safety improvements that will break ground in Spring. Our senior housing project secured County HOME funds and state tax credits, and is slated to break ground by April of this coming year. Super Walmart broke ground and we continue to enjoy retail interest. We secured almost $500,000 from a Safe-Routes-To-Schools competitive grant to bring safety improvements around YVHS. We fully implemented pension reform, with ALL our employees contributing 8% of their salary to pension costs for the past 18 months.

        But you wouldn’t guess it from the constant din of criticism coming from the blog-o-sphere. As a Town Manager, I have 40 employees, four bosses, 20,000 citizens — all relying upon the decisions we make on a daily basis to maintain and, hopefully, enhance their quality of life. We come to work each and every day looking to make a difference — to leave the place better than how we found it. I stand behind every recommendation that we make and I have been man enough to admit when we made an error or dropped the ball. It’s easy to Monday morning quarterback — I’m constantly doing that myself — and it’s wise to do so to avoid future mistakes.

        I pray this doesn’t come across to some as bickering. It isn’t offered in that spirit. It is simply looking at the glass from a different perspective and telling you what I see. I live this daily, I love what I do, and I’m blessed to be surrounded by men and women who feel the same. May you all have a wonderful holiday season, Merry Christmas to those of us who celebrate Christ’s birth, and may 2013 be better than 2012.

        • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

          Happy Holidays to you and your family also Mark.

        • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

          Can you do us a power point on that….

          It reminds me of the old saying about ada boys….. 1000 ada boys are quickly negated by a single ah shit……

          Have a Merry Christmas….

          • Mark Nuaimi Mark Nuaimi says:

            Hey Dan, if you get the DVD for the Town Council meeting for December 5th, you can watch the State of the Town address that included — shock — a Powerpoint presentation of the highlights AND the challenges. The theme was “Two Steps Forward … One Step Back.”

            Until they perfect the Jedi mind-trick, we’re stuck with Powerpoint. :-)

            • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

              My problem with power point is…. Never has so little been said with so much Panache…

              Great side issue and we can have fun with discussing the benefits of power point forever…. But that is not the main topic here is it?

              You have been handed a crap sandwich…. told that you can not go forward with RDA contacts as either the Town or the Successor agency…. in essence the contracts are unenforceable and can not be executed……

              You hang on the phrase, “not at this time.” In this case “not at this time” means unless HSC Section 34191.4 (b) has a complete revamp of its meaning, you are dead in the water.

              How do you propose to A) execute these contracts and B) pay for these contracts? They are neither the town’s nor the Successor agency’s responsibility at this point…. Who’s money are you going to throw at the problem?

              You got some real problems here that need to be addressed.

            • Mark Nuaimi Mark Nuaimi says:

              Dan, unless Department of Finance and the state are lying to local governments, we have been told that AB1484 provided for local Successor Agencies to spend remaining bond proceeds (if the bonds were issued prior to 2011). The bonds themselves are considered an enforceable obligation/contract with the owners of those bonds.

              The hook to spending those bonds was that DoF would issue a Finding of Completion once all the tax increment and unobligated low/mod funds are swept to the County for distribution to the taxing authorities. This is where we find ourselves in the Dissolution process. We are in disagreement with DoF on whether prior commitment of funds (made through agreements initiated prior to January 1, 2011) are enforceable obligations.

              Once this “audit” is completed, any residual tax increment will be swept to the County for distribution. Unspent bond proceeds CANNOT and WILL NOT be swept. That is why they can be used to pay for these other items under the clause cited in the letter.

              Also, as you are aware from some of our prior exchanges, Successor Agencies can enter into contracts as well in the future (with Oversight Board concurrence) and that is how those unexpended bond proceeds make it to delivering the projects on our list.

              As to the side issue of Powerpoint, sorry buddy but you brought it up as some sort of character flaw or indication of incompetence. You are definitely old enough to remember flip charts, view foils, cork boards, and other ancient techniques at displaying information for many to view at the same time. Welcome to Powerpoint.

              It seems you are less bothered by the technique as you are with the content. Clearly you have never seen MY Powerpoints :-)

            • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

              All of that to say “I don’t know how we are going to pay for it?”

            • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

              Seriously, Mark… Tell Us….

              1. In one simple sentence…. What is the function of the Successor Agency?

              2. In one sentence, what is the function of the Oversight Board?

            • Mark Nuaimi Mark Nuaimi says:

              How are we going to pay for it? Unspent bonds and/or current tax increment balances. DoF has agreed that bonds proceeds are enforceable obligations of the former RDA.

              Successor agency ensures that enforceable obligations are
              satisfied. Oversight board ensures that assets of the former RDA are managed and disposed of to the benefit of the taxing entities.

              A simpler way to view this… Successor agency is the executor of the will. Oversight board is the family members.

            • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

              Thanks…. you are correct… but it took you in like three paragraphs…. lol. Clint Eastwood you are not…

              Yeah I noticed that your Bonds were approved enforceable obligations… that was because they were floated way before Jan 2011…. I never questioned the bonds.

              What I always questioned were the contracts that were signed that were never timely as per the new H&S Code and that the contracts were vague and were what I believe were never put out to bid in a manner prescribed by the California Public Contracts Code. It would appear that the DoF found some of the same problems with your denied contracts.

              The RDA can not transfer the contract to the town as there is no RDA… the Successor Agency does not have the authority to transfer ownership of the contract to another public agency as per the law…. As far as I can see those contracts have been made null and void at no fault of the town, the RDA or the successor agency…. if the defaulted contractor has a tort its with the State not with the Town….

              It seems that you can just express your sincere apologies to the poor contractors in question and offer them your willingness to be a witness at any future suit filed against the State….. Lets be honest here Mark… those contractors knew they were playing on the pass line. They knew there was a chance this would blow up in their faces….. We all knew it…. we wrote scores of blogs on what the risks were…. The Court decision was worst case scenario and not even this blogger thought it would go that badly. What is done is done…

              In the end the closing of business of the RDAs is time sensitive…. It is not an open ended forever kind of project…. Once the assets are divided the RDA is all but a memory.

  9. Anotherpowergrab Anotherpowergrab says:

    As citizens read the bickering going on here, it only leads to a lack of confidence. First off, the fact the the Town is in such a state, with all of these projects, inter twined with the now debunk RDA, plus the continual objections from people, shows there not only a lack of confidence in the Town Manager, but a continuation of the mickey mouse handling of Town affairs by this Council and Manager and previous ones. Add to this, the murky relationship with the Hi Desert Water District on that mis managed process of the wastewater project and one can only wonder how in the world things got to be so bad….

  10. LINDAG LINDAG says:

    Well, here I sit in the City of La Quinta where we are not allowed to communicate with our Council (they call it harassment); we are not given the courtesy of a response when we appear before the Council – where our Mayor berates us for “wasting his time” for asking questions; our Council meetings are held in the afternoon when most residents are working or cannot attend for other reasons; where we are the only City in the Coachella Valley which does not broadcast our Council meetings in any format and the Council refuses to do so in spite of public outcry; and nobody in our City of La Quinta would ever participate in a public discussion like this, like your Town Manager is doing. I am outraged at the abuses in RDA but I have to give it up for Mark for this discourse. I wish we had this opportunity in our City…unfortunately our City Council and City Manager, Frank, don’t want their actions documented in any way. Again, we win….our Council is dumber than yours.
    Linda in La Quinta

    • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

      While I question his reasoning and often his conclusions…. Mark Nuiami is one of the more open access government types we have ever had on the local level….. For that you have to give him a thumbs up.

  11. Dean M Gray Dean M Gray says:

    $20,000 pay a month should buy a perfect city manager. Since it doesn’t then that amount of pay is excessive. It also seems to me that there is someone in America who would do that job of city manager very very well and not complain about earning something like, say, $10,000 a month for doing the job. It also seems like some people think that to trim government fat means laying off all the workers and citizens are supposed to be happy that management didn’t get a raise this year or last. I may be in a minority in thinking there would be less criticism of city managers and top government management if they were paid reasonable amounts more in line with the private sector and stopped acting entitled to royal wages. City managers are not “entitled” and should be humbled. Take a hike and get someone new for the job. Its a relatively easy job being a city manager. There are lots more difficult and dangerous jobs. We have gone over the fiscal cliff paying these kinds of wages. Just think where that money could be best spent by cutting city management pay in half or a quarter. As long as our city and town council members cannot make the tough decisions of cutting management fat then we are doomed to civic poverty. The average “lifetime” for a city manager is to spend 5 years on the job. That means some spend more than 5 years, some less. Our elected leaders need to show the courage to change what is broken and find the fix to make our cities and towns work right instead of helping out their friends, the city managers who shuffle from one city to the next playing musical chairs, sucking taxpayers dry. Happy holidays everyone!

    • Obscene salaries and overblown perks are insulting and offensive. With the fall of the RDA, city manager empire building skills aren’t in huge demand. Elected officials ought to offer a reasonable pay with less of those golden perks.

  12. LINDAG LINDAG says:

    Here are a couple of things I remember: working for the government used to be low paying civil servant work, and Wal Mart branded themselves as selling products “MADE IN THE USA” with signs posted throughout their store saying that. We have such short memories and we as citizens lack follow through. Let’s change that. It will take awhile because these guys in government are not used to having citizen involvement. Let’s change that….keep up the good work you citizen activists!

  13. LINDAG LINDAG says:

    Well, somebody put this cutey picture next to my comments. I guess that is my Xmas present from them…I never looked like that on my best days, but we can dream can’t we? Thnks, LindaG

    • LINDAG LINDAG says:

      Oh, a friend just said that is a picture of Linda Ronstadt…unfortunately, neither one of us looks like that today, we actually look more alike now.

  14. [...] Nuaimi is now in a “Wishful Thinking” meltdown with continued denials by the State Department of Finance of submitted ROPs, Recognized Payment Obligations, with the dissolution of the Redevelopment Agency. Pulling the wool over the inexperienced Town Council, Nuaimi continues his Razzle-Dazzle with “creative financing” and internal loans with the ease of  a 3-Card Monte. >>>link [...]

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