By Per Peterson
A scaled-down EDA board last Wednesday officially accepted the resignation of co-chair Mark Seager and heard from Rosemary Martin, who requested that EDA member Tony Peterson rescind his request for EDA Chair Dennis Fultz’s resignation.
Peterson had asked for Fultz’s resignation at the July 24 EDA meeting and filed a complaint against him, citing, among other things, a conflict of interest over the potential purchase of the 3rd St. property (Asian Market building). Peterson claimed, among other things, that the purchase would have allowed enough cash to place a down payment on his son, Jay’s property, and that the purchase would also have benefitted his son’s 3rd St. property by maintaining a common wall.
Peterson said last Wednesday afternoon that he will stand by his request to have Fultz removed from the board, believing he should be held to the same standards as was Jeff Salmon, who was recently removed from the EDA board for similar transgressions as Peterson is charging Fultz with.
“Simply put, the way Jeff was treated needs to be the way Dennis is going to be treated,” Peterson said. “If it’s good for the goose, it’s good for the gander. If you’ve got rules, the rules need to apply for everybody, not just whoever you want to get off the board. Those rules should also apply to Ms. Martin, who as a director of numerous boards and commissions has no business, by the code of conduct, to enter into this fray at all.”
Peterson, who himself is being investigated for nearly the same charges that got Salmon kicked off the EDA board, said the investigation into Fultz’ action isn’t what he wants, but what he says should take place, because a precedence has already been set with the Salmon case.
At Wednesday’s EDA meeting, Fultz acknowledged that his son owns the building next to the Asian Market, but that he, himself, has no financial interest in it. In regards to Park Place, which is in the process of being sold to the same person who was in line to buy the Asian Market building, Fultz said that when the deal was originally set up about 15 years ago, he was a one-third partner in it, along with his son and another party.
“As the years went on, Jay and another party did all the management there,” Dennis Fultz said. “I was basically a very silent partner (with Park Place). The last 2 1/2 years, I’ve definitely been a silent partner, to the point that I told them that if the building was ever sold I would not take any distribution from the sale. At the time we were discussing all this other stuff, I didn’t realize that possibly my involvement with Park Place would be involved.”
To that, Peterson said: “Based on what Dennis admitted, he should resign.”
Martin then spoke on behalf of Fultz, saying his previous actions were the result of a request of the City Attorney in the matter involving Salmon, who was removed from the board at the July 24 public hearing of the city council.
“I’m specifically asking you, councilman Peterson, to choose Tracy and rescind this obviously vengeful act to remove Chairman Fultz,” Martin said during the public comment portion of last week’s EDA meeting.
There was no further action on the matter. Fultz’s actions are currently under investigation, and the matter will be taken up by the city council.
Other claims by Peterson against Fultz include:
• Fultz’s alleged failure to make decisions based on what is best for the City buy pushing “through a contract and purchase agreement on the sale of EDA property without allowing the winter board input prior to negotiating with a private party;
• Fultz taking advantage of his position in forwarding a complaint to the City without board approval;
• Fultz conducting serial meetings with other EDA members in order to secure their support for the sale of EDA property; and
• Fultz providing hearsay testimony to the city administrator to falsely accuse another EDA member of wrong doings.
Seager resigned his position on the EDA board after listening to his name be brought up repeatedly during the public hearing to remove Salmon. Seager had rescinded an earlier resignation and continued to serve on the board, but after hearing what transpired at the public hearing, decided to once and for all step away.
The EDA also discussed filling the two EDA vacancies. EDA member Dave Tiegs said the city council has to advertise for openings. That couldn’t be done until the EDA accepted Seager’s letter of resignation. Carpenter invited EDA members to offer up any names of people they would think would make strong EDA members. He also told the board he intends to throw his hat into the ring for the city administrator vacancy.