Mammoth Town Council: closed sessions on Town Manager and property negotiations

mltc8_6_13As citizens wonder aloud what the Mammoth Town Council is doing behind closed doors, five more closed sessions are scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. The subjects range from Town Manager to property negotiations.

Mayor Rick Wood said that the Council is interviewing four experienced Town Manager candidates who “are all immediately available to serve as interim Town Manager.” Wood said that there are public lists of people who are available to serve as interims. He said the Council has resumes from that list. Mayor Wood added that Town Attorney Andy Morris has checked out all of them or has personal experience with some of them through his law firm.

The second closed session includes a negotiation between the Town and the Sam Walker family for possible purchase of Sam’s Wood Site. Councilman Michael Raimondo wants to see acquisition of that site for events. The third closed session involves common area belonging to the Viewpoint Condos homeowners association.

Closed session number four is what Wood called the recurring discussion regarding the recycling facility land purchase in the Industrial Park. Wood said he has a conflict on this issue and has no other information. The fifth closed session deals with the ongoing litigation by former Police Sergeant Eric Hugelman. He was originally terminated, appealed and won. Issues may involve back pay.

The closed sessions were scheduled to start at 2pm. The regular meeting starts at 6pm. The only two policy items on the agenda are Code Compliance Efforts and Funding and the Mammoth Lakes Tourism Year-End Review. One of the Council members will participate in the meeting via teleconferencing from Rhode Island, according to the agenda.



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22 Responses to Mammoth Town Council: closed sessions on Town Manager and property negotiations

  1. Watching the Bureaucrats September 18, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

    It seems to me there was/is a sign on the Sam’s Wood Site property with Matt Lehman’s name on it.
    Where does Lehman stand on this? Just what DOES conflict of interest mean?

    • MK September 18, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

      There is a Sign on that property with Leman’s name on it. Is that some rumor or fact.

      • Sam's Wood Site/Matthew Lehman September 18, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

        Anybody who has attended an event this year at Sam’s Wood Site would have noticed a For Sale sign on the property with none other than Lehman’s name on it (as a realtor or something).
        I’m sure Lehman will explain this.

  2. TBone September 18, 2013 at 3:12 pm #

    Lehman owns a property appraisal service in town. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

    • Benett Kessler September 18, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

      Why don’t we get the facts first.
      Benett Kessler

    • SkiJohn September 18, 2013 at 4:01 pm #

      He is also a real estate broker who does the majority of commercial real estate in town. He’s had that listing for a year. I suppose he will have to recuse himself. Although who the heck knows with that council…

  3. Agreed September 18, 2013 at 6:43 pm #

    He’d have to do more than recuse himself. In fact, if I read it correctly, the council cannot consider it at all. This sounds like a violation of Government Code Section 1090. Here is a primer on 1090 from BBK – the Town’s own law firm:

    “Section 1090 violations can lead to serious civil and criminal consequences. All that is required for a violation is that the public official acting in his or her official capacity knowingly made or caused to be made a contract in which he or she had a financial interest. Even if the contract is fair and in the best interest of the public agency it is void. Willful violation of Section 1090 may be punished as a felony. For an official to act “willfully” under 1090, his or her actions under the contract must be purposeful and with knowledge that he or she might have a financial interest in the contract. Disgorgement of profits or anything received is a consequence of both civil and criminal liability. Payments made to the contracting parties must be returned to the public agency and no claim for future payments under such contract may be made. The public agency is entitled to retain any benefits which it receives under the contract.

    In addition, criminal liability could involve a state prison sentence and a lifetime bar from holding office in California. When the official enters into a contract that is later found to be in violation of Section 1090, the official has committed a crime. This is true even when the official did not intend to secure any personal benefit, and even if the official did not intend to violate Section 1090. Because of the strict liability nature of this statute, public officials need to be ever vigilant when entering into public contracts in their official capacity.”

    “A Conflict for One is a Conflict for All

    The basic rule under Section 1090 states that the making of a governmental contract in which the official has a financial interest is illegal. When the public official with the proscribed financial interest is a member of a public body or board, the prohibition of Section 1090 extends to the entire body or board. This means that even if the board member discloses his or her financial interest and disqualifies from participating or voting on the matter, the remaining board is still prohibited from entering into the contract in question. Thus, contracts approved under such circumstances are void and unenforceable even if the financially interested member refrains from participating in making the contract.”

    • Benett Kessler September 18, 2013 at 7:13 pm #

      I will have a story on this with Councilman Lehman’s comments.
      Benett Kessler

      • Agreed September 18, 2013 at 8:19 pm #

        Thanks, Benett. I think it’s important to note that if this is, in fact, a violation of the 1090 code, the seller of the woodsite might sell the property to the town and then have to return the money – and not get his property back. That would be a shame.

        • Benett Kessler September 18, 2013 at 8:50 pm #

          Matthew Lehman consulted the Town Attorney when the issue first came up. I will have a statement from him
          in a news story posted Thursday.

          • Down the creek September 18, 2013 at 10:45 pm #

            Somehow I get very little comfort from that revelation Ms.Kessler, I look forward to the news report on Thursday.

        • Pedro September 18, 2013 at 11:24 pm #

          TOML are not smart enough crooks to get the property free like that.

  4. MK September 18, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

    WOW Even if there really is a sign on the property and Lehmans firm represents them.
    So how can any business in a small town occur without conflict?

    • Shine September 18, 2013 at 11:05 pm #

      Honesty and integrity, or bribes and fraud. Not much grey area in small towns.
      P.S. What the hell is TOML doing buying property?! Their last real estate deal has the town losing $30,000,000 plus.

    • Ken Warner September 19, 2013 at 7:25 am #

      Now everybody is concerned that their town council is almost all vested business owners??? Shouldn’t that have been a concern during the elections that put them in office???

      A day late and a dollar short. You’re stuck on the train tracks and the train is 15 minutes late already.

      The people of Mammoth are getting exactly what they wanted. No point in complaining about it now….

      • Henry Degroot September 19, 2013 at 11:03 am #

        “The people of Mammoth are getting exactly what they wanted.”

        The voters of TOML are following the foot steps of Detroit.

        The problem isn’t the elected officials as much as it is the people who are electing them.

      • Tourbillon September 19, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

        Shall we ban business owners from running for Council because they might be self-interested? What about public employees – they could easily steer votes out of self-interest. How about a lifty or other Mountain employee – think they could vote on anything without being accused of self-interest? Who is left that conforms to some kind of mythical absence of any self-interest whatsoever? You, Ken? But I don’t recall seeing your name on the ballot. The last two elected members ran unopposed.

        My name wasn’t on the ballot either, but I’m not throwing rocks at the few people brave enough or foolish enough to take a thankless job and have stink bombs lobbed at them from the peanut gallery who refuse to bear any responsibility or accountability.

        • Ken Warner September 19, 2013 at 3:27 pm #

          Tourbillion: Why blame me and what exactly are you blaming me for? It’s up to the people to decide what they want and they want the current council.

          I personally think that there should be much less influence of the business community on how our town is run and a much greater emphasis on enhancing the quality of life for people who live here and don’t have businesses. Is that throwing rocks?

          I’m surprised you read so much into my post. Usually you are more perceptive. But a fine example of the lack of thought and the confused thinking that the people of Mammoth have given to the choice of people elect.

          And you really don’t want me on the T.C. Be careful what you wish for.

          • Voter Apathy September 19, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

            You are forgetting the apathy that is running rampant in this community. Two of the town power-brokers didn’t even have to run for the power positions they are now in.

            Nobody really gives a _____ and the power-brokers know it.

  5. Down the creek September 18, 2013 at 10:38 pm #

    Another white elephant that would need to be tax subsidized just like the poorly executed airport business plan.. A real noah’s ark this time from these boat floaters, I’ll let the skipper know we have the village idiots covered for this voyage to nowhere.

  6. Bending the law September 19, 2013 at 6:39 am #

    The success of the annual Bluesapalooza festival (that is a huge draw and moneymaker) and other events at Sam’s Woodsite is well-known.
    However … if the Town Council is/was aware of Lehman’s part in this (profiting from the sale of the property) all councilmen are in violation of the law.
    Whether the sale of the property is discussed behind closed doors or not.
    Lawyer Wood would know this better than anyone.

    • Benett Kessler September 19, 2013 at 8:05 am #

      Again, I will post a story that spells out Councilman Lehman’s steps to obey the law in regard to Sam’s Wood Site.
      Benett Kessler


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