The Palmer Post


Want to Start a Fire? Find & Follow the Missing Money from Palmer’s Volunteer Fire Dept. by Joey G. Dauben
January 5, 2011, 1:55 am
Filed under: Emergency Services District No. 9, Palmer Volunteer Fire Dept.

This is the longest, most in-depth, thorough open records/public information request I have ever written. I know there is embezzlement going on within the Palmer Volunteer Fire Dept., with Chief Ricky McElhaney‘s wife “doing the books.” There’s a lot of missing money, according to sources on the inside of PVFD. We’re not talking just little bits and pieces here and there, but upwards of $20,000 is missing, and that’s what I’m going to find out…where it went, who it went to, what checks and balances exist to maintain this never happens again, etc.

Regardless of what “good” they’ve done in the community or town, stealing is still wrong. Embezzlement is theft, and it is a felony. And those who know what is going on but don’t say anything, are just as guilty of embezzlement as they are. To the brave souls inside PVFD and ESD No. 9 and the City of Palmer who are leaking this information to me, thank you! Your identities will never be made known. People can subpoena me, take me to court, threaten me with jail or set my newspapers on fire…my sources won’t be revealed.

 

To those who continue to accuse me of purposely stirring up trouble, I find it ironic that you are the very family that is accused of embezzlement, thievery, misappropriation of funds and all sorts of other indictable offenses. I find it absolutely hilarious and hysterical that I’m being accused of writing things “on purpose” for people to hate my guts, but yet those who attack me are the ones covering up for this embezzlement! Now if that isn’t just the clearest form of hypocrisy. We will find out where the public’s money has gone…

There are many legal issues coming up with how PVFD and/or ESD No. 9 gave away, traded, sold, auctioned a four-door fire official car to the assistant chief. First, the car had to be submitted in a legal notice for sale in an official, legal newspaper of record. Second, a massive, gaping hole of a conflict of interest exists because assistant chief Loyd Higdon ended up with the car, which is white and has a light bar on the top (it used to have Palmer Volunteer Fire Department written across it before city officials told the fire department to have them stripped off.)

I’m submitting this open records request officially via the postal mail, but giving readers an opportunity to show them what I’m seeking:

Date: Jan. 4, 2011

Texas Public Information Act Request

Dear Public Information Officer/Coordinator:

I would like to request the following documents, but due to the nature and detailed specifics, I would also like an opportunity to examine any or all documents in person should the need arise; Further, please accept this request under the above mentioned public records laws for the following copies of the listed items (electronic methods and documents are preferred):

  • A “dollar fund” spreadsheet, or a spreadsheet or other identifying information that shows the amount in voluntary donations, monetary gifts, fundraising proceeds given on a volunteer basis, or other monies given by any taxing entity outside of Palmer Volunteer Fire Department and/or Emergency Services District No. 9; this includes, but is not limited to: the City of Palmer; the Palmer ISD; Precinct 1 County Commissioner Dennis Robinson’s office, etc. The specified “spreadsheet” or other identifying information should and will show the monies donated, given or transferred to the PVFD every month for the past two fiscal years; example: City of Palmer: $400/Sept 2009, etc.
  • Tearsheet, copies, a clipping, a receipt of purchase or of publication showing ESD No. 9/PVFD’s donating, selling, auctioning or putting out for bid any vehicle given to ESD No. 9/PVFD by the City of Palmer or other taxing entity including, but not limited to: Palmer ISD; Precinct 1 Commissioner Dennis Robinson’s office or any other taxing entity within Ellis County; the time period for any ESD No. 9/PVFD vehicle given up for auction, for sale, donating to, giving away, or selling should incorporate the past five fiscal years; said clipping, copy, receipt of purchase and publication proof should include when the legal notice in newspaper was published; what newspaper it was that published it; and the description of vehicle(s) put up for auction, for sale, etc.
  • List of all bidders, lowest, highest, in the middle, for vehicle(s) listed for publication, auction, sent out for bid, etc. (as requested in above item.) If available, please include cost of bidders if provided by seal or other method;
  • Documents showing approximate date of donation – and from whom the donation came – for new PVFD/ESD No. 9 fire station; please include, but not limit this section of the request to: how much total was donated for the fire station; documents showing a check, check register, wire transfer proof, money order, cashier’s check, credit card transaction, briefcases delivered full of cash, or any other documented proof of how much was donated for the PVFD/ESD No. 9 fire station;
  • Itemized list, detailed, showing how much every dime of above-requested donation was spent, and what it was spent on; for example: $20,000 for steel; $50,000 for concrete; etc. Said itemized list needs to – and is requested to show – every dime, dollar, coin, credit, pledge or other value donated for new station – and when it was spent, what it was spent for, what materials were bought with it, what vehicles or equipment were bought; what bids were awarded and paid for by donation; how much money went into which bank accounts;
  • A list of all bank accounts owned, controlled, registered to, accessed by any ESD No. 9/PVFD official — official defined as: fireman; fire chief; assistant chief; bookkeeper; security staff; janitor; etc — for the expressed purpose of official, unofficial, direct, or indirect ESD No. 9/PVFD duties, responsibilities, etc.
  • The last bank statement for above requested item on any accounts for ESD No. 9/PVFD showing how much is in each account as of this request date; (please consult only the past two fiscal years)
  • List of all donations given to ESD No. 9/PVFD of more than $50 for the past two fiscal years; list of all expenditures and/or documented proof of what those donations and monies were used for;
  • List or document showing of all vehicles/motorized devices for driving currently owned, maintained, controlled, shared, financed, leased, by ESD No. 9/PVFD including, but not limited to: SUVs; sedans; four-wheelers; golf carts; ladder trucks; ambulance vehicles; pick-up trucks; helicopters; airplanes; boats; any vehicle that is in “service” or out of “service;”
  • Document showing (Example: time card, clock-in sheet, etc.) a list of all ESD No. 9/PVFD firefighters, administrative staff; please include first and last names;
  • A copy of the PVFD budget showing general operating budget, reserves or “savings account,” investments of any type; bank accounts that generate interest; a certified annual financial report;
  • A copy or document showing a list of all grant monies – state, local, federal or international – received by ESD No. 9/PVFD for the past two fiscal years;
  • A document that shows, details, references or lists all PVFD board members, or board of directors, or other governing structure that is separate from the ESD No. 9 board of directors, if any;
  • Document that shows whose signature appears, is authorized to be on, any ESD No. 9/PVFD bank account;
  • Any salary information — part-time, full-time, contractual basis — for chief/assistant chief/ bookkeeper/secretary; or any other PVFD official, if any; such expenses can include reimbursements, stipends, bonuses or any monies expended by PVFD or ESD No. 9 for said purposes;
  • Written/documented policy or procedural manual detailing/allowing/mentioning personal take-home privileges for any PVFD/ESD No. 9 vehicle or automobile that is currently owned by PVFD/ESD No. 9;
  • Documents or other identifying information that shows the last annual or fiscal year audit of all PVFD books, accounts, budgets, monies, etc.

Joey G. Dauben
Publisher
The Palmer Post
P.O. Box 221
Palmer, TX 75152
972-891-2135
publisher@thepalmerpost.com

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