We are going to file this one under “No good deed goes unpunished”.
We uncovered some questionable financial transactions dealing with the Lake County Visitors Bureau’s new website. Rather than going immediately to the State agencies, we decided to give Ms. Amy Sabath, President of the Visitors’ Bureau, a “heads up” and let her get to the bottom of the issue.
Here is her response to the “heads up”.
“The website was created by Diana. At the time she started the site she was a contract and not an employee. She was later hired as an employee. Any reference to her business or cross promotion has been removed.
We did not realize it at the time but she had that up at the time it was her business doing the work. There is nothing illegal about her owning a business with Kent. (LFC Comment: Kent is the son of the VB’s Executive Director Scott Dockus]
There is nothing illegal about her working for the LCVB – unless they are married it is not nepotism. She is not married to Kent. Honestly, these issues are not illegal and there is nothing wrong.
However, we have addressed the issues of the website as they were not authorized by the Board. (emphasis added by LFC)
The LCVB is funded by a bed tax from people who stay at hotels in Lake County. That is not the same as taxpayer money. We will have further information on this from the Attorney General and our attorney at a later time.
We decided to ask Ms. Sabath for this records request:
“Please consider this as a formal records request to the Visitors Bureau.
1. Was there an actual purchase order placed by the VB to the Website Designer? If yes, may we have a copy.
2. If there was not purchase order, what was the contractual amount and how much has paid by the Visitors Bureau for their new website?
3. Which entity received the actual payment(s) for the website?
4. Is there an ongoing monthly fee for hosting, maintenance, or updates to the website? If yes, what is the amount, and to whom is it paid?”
Here is the reply from Ms. Sabath:
“We are in receipt of your Public Records Request. Please be advised that the Lake County Visitors Bureau is a non-profit corporation and is not a Public Office required to respond to such requests.
If there is something else we can help you, please do not hesitate to contact us.
We would like to say this to Ms. Sabath—–
Time, the State of Ohio,and the courts will tell us who is right…..and by the way, the court of public opinion is a pretty powerful source of justice….you chose to stonewall, and it will be very obvious to the taxpayers….when will you bureaucrats understand that people want honesty and transparency from their government, and agencies funded with the people’s money?
Just as soon as the Commissioners give the VB total control of the bed tax money without oversight, the Board of Directors shun the taxpayers, and tell them to “take a hike”……we warn you, the optics are not looking good for you, your Board, and the Executive Director!