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Monday, March 26, 2012


Mayor Foxx and the City Council admitted that they voted at the end of last year (new members were not in place yet) to give City Manager Curt Walton complete, singular control over all spending decisions for the $55 Million in “Security Grant” spending given to Charlotte because of the DNC 2012 September convention.
There would be no public debate, discussion or disclosure—according to Walton.
The former issue is a complete abdication of responsibility by our Mayor and Council and a violation of the public’s rights to give their input and have debate about spending our money.
The disclosure issue is a violation of Public Records Law G.S. 132 which requires those expenditures to be disclosed.  The bids, contracts, and other processes must also be handed over when requested.  If there is not a matter of national security involved, or some other statutory justification given, the information must be given. 
Citynewswatch has received documents demonstrating the City of Charlotte has refused to give DNC 2012 contracting information.  Months have gone by… The only information coughed up by public records attorney Mujeeb Shah-Khan is awards to Porta-Jon and Party Reflections, Inc.  After much public outcry, a couple of rough numbers were doled out of money already spent on a couple police items, but they are still refusing to say exactly how the money was spent or what the selection process was.
Shah-Khan refused give even the bid information or contract copies for potties and parties.
Is the claim a national security threat? 

Or should we conclude the possibility that there were no competitive bids… that costs have not been nailed down… that the other contracts requested are being denied without legal cause… which has become the standard mode of operations in Charlotte?
Read the emails obtained below and decide for yourself.  But also consider that if we can’t even get the full truth about a Porta-Jon and a party tent, imagine what CMPD is doing with the mention of private security teams, surveillance cameras, secret weapons, huge sums spent on buildings and equipment downtown, and more. 
Tampa officials have had no problem discussing their spending from the same grant for the Republican National Convention.  The Pentagon frequently discloses their spending itemization for National Security.  Charlotte should not have a higher level of secrecy.  
President Obama and DNC 2012 organizers continue the refrain that this will be the “most transparent and accessible convention in history.” 
Why won’t they follow basic open records laws already in place before, and tell us how they are spending our money?  Why won’t they say how much fundraising has been achieved, as Republicans have done for the Tampa convention? 
Just as in local Charlotte politics, words don’t meet actions.
Courtesy Matt Weurker, Politico  Universal Uclick

-----Original Message-----

To: mshah-khan <>
Cc: cljennings <>; madams <>
Sent: Wed, Jan 25, 2012 8:03 pm
Subject: Re: DNC contracting

Dear Mr. Shah-Khan, Ms. Jennings, and Captain Adams,

I have read what Mr. Shah-Khan sent below which in summary seems to say that the only spending the City of Charlotte will make in conjunction with the DNC 2012 Convention coming to Charlotte will be charged against the $50 Million Security Grant which has now been approved.

He has also stated that that two non-security bids have been awarded: one for Porta-jon who had no competition for bids and one to Party Reflections which beat out one competitor. However, there are no amounts assigned to the contracts other than "as needed." May I please have a copy of all three (both accepted and the rejected) contracts? May I also have a copy of whatever advertisement what done for these services and a statement of how it was advertised, including the time period, if that is not obvious?

How were the security-related contracts advertised? May I have a copy of the advertisement and time period for the security-related contracts, as well as the bids?

One item I do know was in the news as charged against the $50 Million Grant prior to its approval, but in anticipation of its approval, is the $600,000 renovation of police headquarters. Is this one of the two items you refer to, or is this a separate third item?

There is no reason not to disclose the contracts and I am asking for them again as they are public information. Thank you.

-----Original Message-----
From: Shah-Khan, Mujeeb <>
Cc: Jennings, Carol <>; Adams, Michael <>
Sent: Fri, Jan 13, 2012 4:36 pm
Subject: RE: DNC contracting
Here are the answers to your questions in red below. I will point out that your questions are not a public records request, but rather a request for information that the City is responding to:

Sent: Monday, November 14, 2011 5:23 PM
To: Shah-Khan, Mujeeb
Subject: DNC contracting

Mr. Shah-Khan,

Ms. Jennings sent an e-mail that you are the person to handle the questions I sent her below. I believe she sent it to you, but in case she did not, here are the questions I have:
  1. Do you know at this time the estimated dollar amount of contracts to be awarded for work for the DNC 2012 Convention? No Aside from the $50 or $55 million in security contracts from the DOJ which is expected, how much other money is expected to be used for contract expenses and what are the sources? None
  2. Can you describe the bid process for those contracts and how the decision to award the contracts is made? We follow the City’s procurement guidelines in accordance with state and federal law. For goods, equipment, and construction, this requires advertising and awarding to the lowest responsible bidder. For technology and services, it requires advertising and awarding based on qualification and best overall value.
  3. Which contracts have been awarded already, for what dollar amounts, and what vendors lost those contracts? I am assuming you are retaining copies of all bids, both awarded and not, is that correct? For clarification sake, I’d like to note that in some cases we have bids, in others, proposals, depending on the what type of contract is involved. The City has awarded four contracts. Two of the contracts are for portable toilets (to Porta-Jon) and tents, tables and chairs (to Party Reflections and Classic Party Rentals) as needed by the City. No dollar amount has been assigned to those two contracts. The other two contracts are security related, and we will not disclose the contract amount at this time. Of course, the City is retaining copies of proposals or bids. For the portable toilets contract, there was only one bid or proposal. For the tents, tables and chairs, there were only two bids or proposals. With respect to the security related contracts, the contracts had only one bid or proposal each.
  4. How were the already-awarded contracts and how are the contracts to be awarded being advertised or put out for bid (or whatever terminology you use)? See the answer to question 2.
  5. How many more contracts (roughly in dollars and in any other description you are able to give) are left to be awarded? We have awarded very few contracts to date, and I have no idea how many more will be awarded from the federal security grant. Whatever remaining contracts are awarded will be covered by the federal security grant.
  6. Are security contracts being handled separately than non-security contracts? All of our contracts fall under the security grant and therefore are security related. Are they being reviewed by DOJ/Homeland Security personnel? No, but we are communicating with the Department of Justice on a regular basis.

    Thank you so much.

S. Mujeeb Shah-Khan

FAX: 704.632.8326

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sunshine Week

Courtesy Don Landgren, Jr. of Worcester Telegram & Gazette
Check out this site
Click here to go to site
for many resources about rights and responsibilities of the press and government in giving public information about what our government is doing. 

On July 10, 2010, the General Assembly enacted 2010 N.C. Sess. Laws c. 169 (HB 961)(the Act).  Governor Purdue supported this Act and it is commonly referred to as the “Sunshine Law” in keeping with the long history of trying to open the actions of government officials to the government those officials represent.  This session law also references General Statute 132 (previously in place) which specifically deals with Public Records.  Both can be viewed at the NC Legislature’s web site:
GS 132 includes provisions to force payment to attorneys for public records improperly denied.  There are penalties that may be assessed personally to each person to denied the records, for each day they denied them.
Unfortunately, many critical issues in Charlotte remain dark and cloudy as City Council knowingly permits the use of City resources, such as city attorneys and other employees, to block release of important and basic information about Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department operations, from financial transactions to crime statistics about what’s really happening in our city.
The CMPD should not be hiding—or permitted to hide—information about crime, spending, personnel problems, shifting funds approved only by one man, missing police cars/equipment, and more.
It will be interesting to see if any of the major network or newspapers step up during this “Sunshine Week” and expose even the most basic operations of government in Charlotte at this critical time.  The information is available for finding.
A little more sunshine in Charlotte is needed.  And the stories are coming, with or without the help of the usual media sources.

See this re-cap of some major issues that need answers.
Please keep in touch.  Please remain patient.  Thanks to everyone.