(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – Another response is being issued to Lawrenceburg City Councilman Doug Taylor’s scathing letter accusing various city officials of breaking the law.
Taylor’s letter submitted last week to Dearborn County Prosecutor Aaron Negangard accused Mayor Dennis Carr and a host of other city leaders of breaking dozens of laws regarding the spending of city funds.
In the 11-page letter also submitted to Eagle 99.3 , Taylor called into question Lawrenceburg’s contract with Tri-State Parking, the company which has been contracted to operate and maintain the city’s three-story riverfront parking garage.
Jeff Feldhaus, president of Tri-State Parking, is now demanding an apology from Taylor for what are called “baseless allegations.”
Taylor wrote that the city is paying Tri-State Parking approximately $220,000 a year. He called the contract “incredibly lucrative.” Taylor also questioned why Lawrenceburg Utilities Director Mel Davis was advising the Lawrenceburg City Council on the contract after former city manager Tom Steidel retired in 2010.
“First, Mel Davis if the utility director; this contract is not a utility issue. Second, Mel Davis is an old primary school chum of and regularly socializes with the former city manager Thomas Steidel. This is interesting because Steidel was widely rumored to be selling influence. Tri-State Parking, Inc. is from northern Kentucky, Steidel’s home at the time. It would be interesting to explore this potential relationship,” Taylor told the prosecutor.
Feldhaus is now addressing the inaccuracies spread by Taylor. Tri-State Parking employees at the parking garage took phone calls and concerns from the public through the weekend, he said.
“For these allegations to be made public to all the people Doug Taylor copied on his letter is devastating to us,” he said.
Feldhaus said the $220,000 amount Taylor is publicizing is only a budget amount set by the City of Lawrenceburg. He insists that TSP has never been paid $220,000 in a calendar year, noting the information is public record.
“TSP is paid $1,200.00 per month to manage the facility for a total of $14,400.00 per year. Out of this $1,200.00 per month management fee, TSP pays its payroll tax, license, insurance, uniforms, payroll processing, accounting services, reports, attends meetings, and overhead. Prior to the December, 2012 contract, TSP was paid $800.00 per month management fee totaling $9,600.00 per year, well below the alleged ‘lucrative’ deal expressed in Doug Taylor's letter,” Feldhaus states.
The company president outlines a number of other inaccuracies, which “shocked” Feldhaus because Taylor and the rest of city council was provided with detailed financial information about the operations of the parking garage in April 2012.
The TSP president said the company was awarded the City of Lawrenceburg parking garage management contract since it opened in 2005. The negotiations began with Steidel.
“Our original point of contact was the city manager, Tom Steidel. Upon the retirement of Tom Steidel, Mel Davis became our point of contact for The City of Lawrenceburg. I was completely unaware Tom Steidel and Mel Davis were ‘old primary school chums’ until reading the allegations, and note I did not attend school with either of them,” Feldhaus said.
Prior to the November 2011 election in which the Lawrenceburg City Council majority shifted to Taylor, Mike Lawrence, and Jane Pope, TSP had signed a five year contract to manage the garage. Following the election, the council began ordering funds to be appropriated yearly.
“The following year it was brought to our attention that the City of Lawrenceburg could not enter into a long term agreement because the funds need to be appropriated every calendar year. Upon notification of the appropriation technicality which was brought to our attention by the Lawrenceburg City Council, TSP entered into a new agreement beginning December, 2012 and expiring December, 2013,” Felhaus said.
Also, Feldhaus said TSP is a Cincinnati, Ohio corporation founded in 1995, not based in northern Kentucky as Taylor stated.