To continue with the cross examination of Ben Myers--which, at times, seemed more like an intrusive and involuntary rectal exam--Defense Attorney David Schooler kept asking Myers about Bob Miller and NRP, how Miller had serious objections and reservations about the $60k salary of Executive Director Jerry Moore--but Ben Myers had agreed to "indemnify" NRP if the IRS objected to aspects of Moore's employment.
And you have to ask yourself, in a moment like that...
How would a neighborhood association--which relies heavily on NRP money just to keep its basic functions going--indemnify the NRP? It's kind of like an unemployed teenager saying, "Don't worry, Mom, if I wreck the car, I'll pay for it." Oh, wait, make that an unemployed CROSS EYED teenager trying hard to hold down a job at Burger King, but can they trust him around unguarded buns? No, they really can't.
There came a point in the questioning where Myers said he had a hearing in Anoka County, that Myers wanted the judge's office to contact Anoka County and say "I won't make it." Porter asked Schooler how much longer he needed to question Myers.
"Twenty minutes," Schooler said.
"Looks like you'll make it (to Anoka County)," Porter told Myers. Oh, gee, no playing off one hearing against the other, playing for more time, more delays.
Schooler pressed Myers about NRP, asking whether NRP provides approximately 70 percent of the funds for JACC. Myers was willing to admit they're ONE FUNDER.
"They provide the MAJORITY of the JACC funds," Schooler pressed. Myers was willing to concede NRP was a large funder. The largest, he added, which got Schooler to at least 51 percent, and that was good enough.
"Were you here when Mr. (Bob) Miller testified?" Schooler asked. Has anybody indicated the Myers board spent NRP funds THREE YEARS INTO THE FUTURE?"
This issue has actually emerged repeatedly in the hearing, but since the topic of "front loading administrative expenses" is unavoidably dry and technical, this blog may have underemphasized it. But during the questioning of Ben Myers, the issue became stark, crystal clear, arguably sexy.
NRP only has a certain amount of funding to devote to administrative versus programming expenses over the course of years, SEVERAL years. Well, the Myers board basically wanted its admin expenses before all the other stuff, "front loading" these expenses in the JACC budget. This would be rather like a freshman at Texas Tech saying, "Well, in the next three years I'd probably buy a lot of beer...so how about if I buy all that beer in a three month period, for myself and my frat brothers? I'll be technically within my financial aid budget, and the future will magically take care of itself!"
Schooler next pressed about the failure of the Myers board to deal with requests for financial information, and approached Myers with Exhibit 185, a letter from Mr. Charles Lutz responding to the grievances of the Wagners. At one point, CPED was saying "future failures to provide info to members could cause termination of funds." Myers response seemed to indicate he considered this warning something along the lines of boilerplate language, not really a threat.
Pressed by David Schooler, Myers was forced to admit JACC was told it was "not appropriate to fail to respond to Wagner's grievance."
"Why wouldn't you provide Wagner financial records?" Schooler asked.
"We did!" Myers asserted. "But he kept wanting MORE."
Outside court, other sources said the records provided to Wagner were, at best, summaries. Wagner was looking for the underlying documentation. That would be, apparently, the documentation which showed administrative expenses running at 91 percent, front loaded into a $60k salary for a guy who didn't even have a college degree.
"Each time CPED asked, you provided JACC's story to CPED, isn't that right?" Schooler asked, and Myers was forced to answer in the affirmative.
"Some bills were not paid in a timely way?" Schooler asked, and Myers said, "Yes and no."
My fraternal twin brother, Public Figure Ben Myers, isn't exactly the master of the "yes and no" answer, but he sure does use it often. I can't help but flash back to our rough childhood in the trailer court, Ben's grimy little tear-stained face, being interrogated by our mother as to--among many other things--Ben's frequent "self gratification."
So often, Big Mama Sweetums (as she demanded to be called) would quote from the Bible and beat our brotherly asses to the rhythm of the sacred words from King James.
"Let your yes be yes," Mama would shriek. "And your no be no, all else is from the Evil One!"
And we would answer, in unison, "Muh-Muh-Matthew 5:37 Muh-Muh-Mama Sweetums!"
But what can I say?
As between twin brothers, Ben is indeed "The Evil One."
TO BE CONTINUED, with the after lunch testimony of Kip Browne...