In my Letter to the Editor, published in Friday’s edition of The Apopka Chief, I asked why the Apopka taxpayer, represented by our City Commissioners, cannot approach Lobbyist/Consultant Richard Anderson without an appointment, a royal scepter, and Glen Irby sitting in. At $23,000.00 per month, I would submit that Mr. Anderson MUST be held more accessible and accountable to the Citizens of Apopka. Unfortunately, the Mayor and Commissioners Ruth and Velazquez disagreed and voted against a motion made by Commissioner Dean and seconded by Commissioner Arrowsmith to amend Mr. Anderson’s agreement. Mind you, the original agreement was presented about a year ago by Mayor Kilsheimer to the City, late into a very long evening Commission meeting, at which no discussion or public hearing was allowed due to the “lateness of the hour”. Commissioners were simply told to vote on the agreement.
This same Richard Anderson is listed as President of the John Land Apopka Community Trust fund, which was voted $200,000.00 taxpayer money to fund this Trust fund, at a very emotional City Commission meeting in April 2014. As of this date, aside from expenses for Apopka High School championship rings and jackets for players, coaches and their wives, the Citizens have heard NOTHING further about what is happening with their money. Required paperwork filed with the State of Florida reveals little beyond what is absolutely required. There appears to be ZERO accountability or transparency here.
Getting back to the September 2 Commission meeting, during the Mayor’s Report section of the Agenda, Mayor Kilsheimer reported his desire to spend approximately $80,000.00 to purchase and install a pair of bronze statues to honor former Mayor John Land. The article further stated that an additional $20,000 for pedestals and other items would come from the John Land Apopka Community Trust Fund. The minutes from this meeting reveal that Mr. Anderson would propose the Trust put forth money for this expenditure. However, that little tidbit did not stop Dave Rankin, Secretary of the Trust Fund, from blasting Mayor Kilsheimer into the next commission meeting for daring to suggest the building of statues. The Secretary of the trust fund does not know what its President is doing? It appears that the left hand and right hand of the Trust Fund are not working together. The problems with the JLACTF, detailed in earlier posts, include, but not limited to: ACCOUNTABILITY to the Apopka Taxpayer for what is happening with the seed money so generously granted the Trust Fund; the fact that guidelines for applications for this money are non-existent; Board meetings are not recorded or listed, nor are minutes available to the public for these meetings. A conversation with one of the Board members revealed this person was not even sure who else was ON the Board. WOW!!
Before anyone from the Board of Trustees of the JLACTF goes off on another wild rant, they perhaps should LOOK IN MIRROR FIRST! Don’t go crying foul now, when the Board has refused for months to answer even basic questions about the Fund. Transparency, Accountability works BOTH ways when it comes to taxpayer funded donations to a Trust Fund we know VERY LITTLE about. If you don’t want to be hounded about the legitimacy of the Trust found, then start answering questions. Otherwise, save your self-righteous indignation for another day.