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 Post subject: Theater Under Criminal Investigation -- Director Suspended
PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2004 11:42 am 
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Posts: 17498
Location: SF Bay Area
I guess they never learned the lessons from the last time. The worst thing the city and the community can do right now is to sweep this under the rug. Everything has to be exposed so that the mistakes are not repeated for the sake of the community:

Quote:
Misconduct at Lesher Center?

Claims shake up arts center


By Dogen Hannah and Theresa Harrington
CONTRA COSTA TIMES

WALNUT CREEK - City officials and the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office are awaiting results of an investigation into allegations of mismanagement at the Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts. <a href=http://www.contracostatimes.com/mld/cctimes/content_syndication/local_news/7988511.htm target=_blank>more</a>
&nbsp

See also this previous topic: Venues from Hell

<small>[ 07 May 2004, 10:57 AM: Message edited by: Azlan ]</small>


Last edited by Azlan on Tue Jul 05, 2005 10:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Theater Investigated -- Director Suspended - DA Opens Cr
PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2004 11:43 am 
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Posts: 17498
Location: SF Bay Area
I notice a number of discrepancies and familiar patterns in the public statements. Very interesting.

Sometimes the crimes and ethics violations committed by the investigating bodies can equal that of the original perpretators. I believe there was a case many years ago in which financial irregularities were investigated by an independent consultant under the oversight of first a city and then a county attorney. Given the scale of embarrassment, the attorneys considered it wise to limit the results of the investigation and coerced the independent consultant, whose fee they were paying and who had local ties to the community, to omit certain facts from the report such that a reprimand was still in order but falling short of a prison sentence for the accused. This was a misguided attempt at salvaging community pride.

Picking up on various discrepancies, a civilian watchdog group alerted state and federal authorities who launched an investigation into conspiracy and obstruction of justice by City officials and their agents.

I strongly urge the independent accountant, consulting attorney, and the city and county officials adopt a policy of complete honesty. If it were to be found, just as a wild example, that a federal fireams law was violated and that officials attempted to cover it up, there is enough legitimate reasons for the case to be referred to higher authorities by ordinary citizens in which case all those involved, especially the public officials, may face severe fines and prison sentences. Years of resentment can lead to many willing witnesses. All it takes is one citizen to file a complaint to the state and one witness to come forward.

Honesty as they say is the best policy.

<small>[ 07 May 2004, 11:30 AM: Message edited by: Azlan ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Theater Investigated -- Director Suspended - DA Opens Cr
PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2004 8:15 pm 
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Posts: 717
Location: California
More:

Quote:
The Acalanes school district has asked for an accounting of its Del Valle Theater operation by the Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts after learning about allegations of mismanagement at the center.
Acalanes School District Demands Audit


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 Post subject: Re: Theater Investigated -- Director Suspended - DA Opens Cr
PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2004 12:24 pm 
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Posts: 17498
Location: SF Bay Area
I sincerely hope that an independent consultant from outside the area, let's say from Los Angeles or San Diego, be hired to conduct the investigation or to provide oversight, to reduce the possible conflicts of interest.

In one situation a few years ago in which I was personally involved, I was happy to see two consultants brought in, one from Hawaii and one from the state of Washington to conduct a review in California.

Also, as an added measure of accountability, the investigators should report to at least three different agencies at the same time: the City, the School and the State, so that the City won't be prone to cover up and to leak information back to the city employee being investigated.

<small>[ 23 February 2004, 01:28 PM: Message edited by: Azlan ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Theater Investigated -- Director Suspended - DA Opens Cr
PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2004 9:04 pm 
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Scroll down, an interesting letter to the editor -of course they can't mention it's from Denison's brother-in-law;

Unfair to Denison

I wonder if they'll ever print one that doesn't support Denison. Hmmmm.........


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 Post subject: Re: Theater Investigated -- Director Suspended - DA Opens Cr
PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2004 1:54 pm 
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Location: SF
From the Contra Costa Times,

Quote:
Task force urges city to give up arts center

By Dogen Hannah

CONTRA COSTA TIMES

WALNUT CREEK - A task force of civic and arts leaders is recommending that the city give up day-to-day control of the Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts.
Click for more


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 Post subject: Re: Theater Investigated -- Director Suspended - DA Opens Cr
PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2004 3:21 pm 
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Location: SF Bay Area
Interesting, just as I thought I was beginning to hear the sounds of brooms sweeping dirt under the rug...


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 Post subject: Re: Theater Investigated -- Director Suspended - DA Opens Cr
PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2004 6:03 pm 
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Location: California
Edited


Last edited by DavidH on Wed Jun 21, 2006 1:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Theater Investigated -- Director Suspended - DA Opens Cr
PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2004 10:53 pm 
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Location: SF Bay Area
Maybe they used a vacuum cleaner and the bag finally got full!


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 Post subject: Re: Theater Investigated -- Director Suspended - DA Opens Cr
PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 6:46 am 
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Location: SF
From the Contra Costa Times,

Quote:
Lesher manager placed on leave

By Dogen Hannah

CONTRA COSTA TIMES

City officials have suspended Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts General Manager Scott Denison for four weeks after discovering indications of fraud, abuse and waste at the downtown facility.
Click for more


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 Post subject: Re: Theater Investigated -- Director Suspended - DA Opens Cr
PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 3:41 pm 
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Location: SF Bay Area
Hmm... sounds like a slap on the wrist to me in that the Director of the theatre is suspended immediately, without pay, for only one week, with the rest of the four-week suspension itself suspended until further notice. But it sounds like one other person got caught trying to protect him by backdating receipts, which is a shame.

I quote myself from an earlier post above, based on past experiences dealing with local governments:

Quote:
Sometimes the crimes and ethics violations committed by the investigating bodies can equal that of the original perpretators. I believe there was a case many years ago in which financial irregularities were investigated by an independent consultant under the oversight of first a city and then a county attorney. Given the scale of embarrassment, the attorneys considered it wise to limit the results of the investigation and coerced the independent consultant, whose fee they were paying and who had local ties to the community, to omit certain facts from the report such that a reprimand was still in order but falling short of a prison sentence for the accused. This was a misguided attempt at salvaging community pride.


<small>[ 07 May 2004, 11:31 AM: Message edited by: Azlan ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Theater Investigated -- Director Suspended - DA Opens Cr
PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2004 11:08 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 589
Location: SF
From the San Francisco Chronicle,

Quote:
Manager of arts center temporarily suspended
He is punished for lax accounting of fees linked to family

Erin Hallissy, Chronicle Staff Writer
Saturday, April 24, 2004

The longtime manager of the Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek will begin serving a four-week suspension Monday for some accounting improprieties and "poor judgment'' that were uncovered during a four-month review of the center's operations
Click for more


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 Post subject: Re: Theater Investigated -- Director Suspended - DA Opens Cr
PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2004 11:19 am 
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Posts: 39
On the front page of Thursday's Contra Costa Times:

Lesher Center Manager Put on Leave after Audit

Quote:
City officials have suspended Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts General Manager Scott Denison for four weeks after discovering indications of fraud, abuse and waste at the downtown facility.
Regarding his four week suspension, he's off next week then:

Quote:
At the city's request, he will serve the rest sometime later, said Gary Pokorny, the city's director of arts, recreation and community services.
I'm amazed and shocked that the City of Walnut Creek is so cavalier in regard to his punishment. A week off here, a week off there. Perhaps the court system in this country should adopt the same attitude. My goodness...........

&nbsp

<font size=-2>[Edited by Azlan to correct date]</font>

<small>[ 24 April 2004, 01:22 PM: Message edited by: Azlan ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Theater Investigated -- Director Suspended - DA Opens Cr
PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2004 2:13 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 17498
Location: SF Bay Area
From the San Francisco Chronicle article:

Quote:
Mayor Charlie Abrams also praised Denison on Friday, saying that he may have been "careless'' but that the report did not turn up anything serious.
They must have slipped him a white-washed executive summary instead of the full report...

The one thing I don't get is if the perpretator was guilty enough to be suspended for four weeks without pay (trust me: no one gets suspended unless they really did something wrong and wasn't just "careless"), why is the City treating it as if it's vacation: "We'll schedule only one week now because we're busy and we need him. The remaining weeks will be decided later when it's convenient for him and us." It seems to me that to regain a community's confidence, you apply the punishment swiftly and fairly.

I guess if I ever owe a parking fine in the city of Walnut Creek, I can pay 25% now and the rest later when I'm not so cash-strapped.

<small>[ 25 April 2004, 04:16 PM: Message edited by: Azlan ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Theater Investigated -- Director Suspended - DA Opens Cr
PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2004 10:33 am 
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Posts: 39
A letter to the editor of the Contra Costa Times (please note the author is the accountant of Scott Denison) :

Passion of Denison

If you've seen Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ," you'll recognize these players in "The Passion of Scott Denison."

His betrayer is a former friend and disgruntled employee who left town. His accusers are the betrayer's husband and a handful of theater employees. Choosing to take no responsibility out of fear for their political well-being are arts director Gary Pokorny and City Manager Mike Parness, who share the role of condemner. They have publicly washed their hands of the matter. The torturers are Times staff writer Dogen Hannah and the city's disciplinary actions.

The distraught family who mops up the blood includes Scott's wife, daughters and parents. The compassionate associate is Diablo Regional Arts Association Director Peggy White. The outraged citizenry are those who have spoken in Denison's defense. The official observer of this travesty is Mayor Charlie Abrams, whose statements to the press amount to: "Surely this is an innocent man."

The passion of Denison's life has been to nurture our Arts Center. His unselfish commitment, creative genius and tireless dedication are well known. I hope Denison's reputation will be restored by outpourings of thanks from everyone in our community who knows the truth. He deserves our support.

David B. Baker

Walnut Creek

Apparently Mr. Baker hasn't read the paper in quite a while. If he had he'd know what wrong doings the "accused" was found guilty of. The 31 page audit is available to the general public through the City of Walnut Creek.


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