Key West Citizen
It's time commissioners
face wastewater facts
In an editorial in the
Key West Citizen dated April 2 under the heading, It's
time commissioners face wastewater facts County
Commissioners were described as negligent and
"It's time for
Spehar, McCoy and Nelson to wipe the sludge from their
eyes and acknowledge the fact that their efforts on
Stock Island were not, as jurors noted, in the
public's best interest. They should leave wastewater
project to the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority, where
engineers and utility experts &emdash; not politicians
&emdash;make the decisions."
Some of the editorial
quotes from the grand Jury report are provided
"The grand jury
did find the County Commission and [county]
officials negligent and incompetent in many aspects of
the planning, approval and execution of the ...
project," the report states. "... The grand jury has
concluded that the County Commission does not have the
best interest of the public in mind when turning over
public sewerage infrastructure to KW Resort Utility, a
privately owned company."
The report further
states commissioners and staff "were negligent in
their control of public funds. ... Simply put, someone
did not do their job, whether it be intentional or in
has dismissed the grand jury report as incomplete and
misleading &emdash; a situation she says the
commission will clear up with a report of its own.
McCoy, a frequent cheerleader for KW Resort utilities,
also cites unspecified inaccuracies, and points a
finger of blame at Commissioner George Neugent
&emdash; who, ironically, brought Stock Island
problems to the attention of the Monroe County State
Grand jury report draws
Commissioner Neugent and
Stock Island resident Kim Wiginton applaud the work of
the grand Jury
resident Kim Wigington, who has spent more than two
years trying to bring attention to discrepancies and
problems with the sewer project, said Friday, "It's a
"I'm extremely pleased
and appreciative of the grand jury for addressing
almost every concern I've expressed over the last two
years," said Wigington, who is out of town. "I just
appreciate the grand jury so much. It was such a
difficult task. That the process works is wonderful."
Neugent, too, was
pleased that the problems he'd complained about for
two years were out in the open and had been
acknowledged by the grand jury.
Mayor Spehar dismisses
finding as 'not quite accurate'
McCoy, long a
proponent of the Stock Island project, laid blame on
Neugent and former Commissioner Nora Williams,
Report: Sewer project
plans were switched
Monroe County grand jury report regarding a Stock
Island sewer project lends credence to allegations of
a bait-and-switch of project plans. "
"In the report, the
grand jury wrote, "The project plans and contract were
presented to the commission for approval by the county
administrator, Jim Roberts. Mr. Roberts noted to the
commissioners that the plans they were approving were
the same as those previously submitted (date stamped
May 21, 2002), however the date had been changed to
May 30, 2002. This presentation by the county
administrator was false."
"A majority of the
County Commission, including Commissioners Charles
"Sonny" McCoy and Murray Nelson, has steadfastly
denied that any switch took place. "
" . . . two county
employees whose signatures McCoy sought refused to
sign the document. "
Portions of the
Grand Jury Report
&emdash; "...Contrary to the requirement of county
ordinances and [the] contract, Mr. John L.
London, former Monroe County Commissioner, received
checks from the main contractor KW Resort Utilities
totaling $147,500. The State Attorney's investigation
found that Mr. London received monthly checks in the
amount of $2,500 from the period of November 1998
until October 2003. The State Attorney's investigative
report concluded in part ... there was complicity in
the breach of the contract and ordinances on the part
of individual county commissioners in that they
allowed themselves to be influenced by John L. London
in the implementation of this contract.
Finding 3 &emdash;
"...The Grand Jury has found that the County
Commission and other government officials were
negligent in their failure to evaluate and assess
potential financial burden being placed on some
property owners being served by the new vacuum system.
The Grand Jury concluded that the county did not do
its homework in this regard prior to rushing into an
agreement with the utility ... "
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