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Changing hats

Dear Editor:

Fact, or Fiction?

I have owned property in Aspen Springs since 2002 and lived here full time since 2011. We have always had the Metro District to maintain the roads and bridges. At one time we also had the Community Pride, a non-profit organization. Though not legally a Home Owner’s Association, but more like a social club, they represent(ed) (Yes, present tense since that name is still coming up representing Aspen Springs.) themselves as such to outside associations. They allegedly dissolved in the summer of 2012, but they had money in their coffers, to the tune of about $17,000. Where did it come from? Donations? Left over Grant money? It’s not an easy money trail to follow because there are those who have heard rumors and their information is dubious, and then there are those who know, but can’t be trusted to tell the truth, or just aren’t telling at all. Why is this, and where did the money come from, and why was it left over.

I write fiction novels and this is how I see it. I wrote in a past letter that, truth is often stranger than fiction, but hear me out and see if it rings true.

We have two organizations. Each has a board of Directors managing their activities. Each board has a majority of its members that are on both. One of the boards decides to dissolve, while having a large amount of funds. The majority of that board votes to donate that amount to the other organization for, let’s say, Parks and Recreation, since the other board is actively maintaining public land and could use these funds to forward their goals. Those same Directors change hats and, during a meeting, votes to accept these donated funds. However, these same Directors have a special interest project, not necessarily for Parks and Recreation, though it could be loosely associated to it. They need a source of discretionary, but untracked funds. They vote to ask the now dissolved association if it will be all right to use this money for it. They then change hats again, and vote to approve that usage of their donation. Again, a hat change as they begin the process of using these funds for what they wanted to do. As a donation, it appears that it doesn’t need to be in the budget, and thereby not tracked publicly. It is possible that they thought they would get a return on their “investment” in the end.

This process, though seemingly legal, doesn’t smell right. Which returns to the question of where the funds actually came from?

Fact, or Fiction.

Doug Roberts

This story was posted on March 6, 2014.