Friday, August 29, 2014

Thirteen Elected Officials who openly Support Lying to the Public and Misusing Federal Funds

PSTA CEO Brad Miller
If you would like to meet 13 elected officials who openly support lying to the public and misusing Federal funds click here: PSTA Board of Directors
The actions of the PSTA Board of Directors mystifies the mind.

Ken Welch PSTA Board Chairman
The PSTA Board has a letter from a federal agency that clearly indicates there may have been civil and criminal activity by their chosen administrator. 

They give him and their Chairman a unanimous vote of confidence.

Not a "mistake" a deliberate violation of a grant in an attempt to promote the Greenlight sales tax referendum.

The total response of Miller and Welch, "we made a mistake it won't happen again". What they mean is they will more cautions so they won't get caught.

I thought you might like to get to know these people you elected so when you see them you can thank them for their service. Click here: PSTA Board of Directors

You might also want to remember these names the next time you seem them on a ballot.

There are two citizen members on the PSTA Board. The often ask good questions, seldom get any answers from their fellow board members or the administration. 

When politically hot items like this misuse of funds issue arise both have that deer in the headlights look, and it seems to me they know what they should ask, but also know if they ask their ride on the PSTA, dais will likely end. 

You can get contact information here: PSTA Board of Directors
Here are 13 really good reasons to vote NO on Greenlight. 

Just imagine what these people will do with a yes vote on Greenlight and $130 million dollars a year of your tax money to play with.

E-mail Doc at: Or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb) Friend request. Please comment below, and be sure to share on Facebook and Twitter.
Disclosures: Contributor to
No Tax for Tracks

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Misuse of Funds, Lies and Videos While The Overseers Circle the Wagons

WTSP Channel 10's Mike Deeson has his latest report on the misuse of DHS federal funds by PSTA:
There are calls for resignations for some top officials in charge of the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) after 10 Investigates stories about the misuse of federal funds.
PSTA is now getting called out for not only misusing the funds, but also lashing out at critics who called them out.
PSTA was supposed to use the federal money to help protect bus riders from terrorists instead of promoting the transit tax, Greenlight Pinellas. The agency was forced to return $354,000 and could face federal criminal and civil charges.
Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch, who is also chair of the PSTA board, decided to mock those who attended the PSTA board meeting requesting those responsible for the misuse of funds resign. According to Deeson's report, Welch responded:
"So my answer to you is consistent, not only -- no, will I not resign, but heck no I will not resign."
Today we have so many government scandals it is hard to keep count of them all. But there is one thing consistent with all of them - no one is being held accountable. We are seeing the same result here with this local scandal - no accountability. That is why there is so much distrust of government agencies and elected officials today.

The Tampa Bay Times reported 
Under fire from critics energized by a botched federal grant, the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority board of directors voiced unanimous support Wednesday for its chairman and CEO. 
The board of elected officials and two citizens also approved some safeguards that members hope will ward off more errors in the critical last two months before the Nov. 4 vote on the Greenlight Pinellas referendum. (emphasis mine)
PSTA was forced to hastily return the DHS funds, thinking that would take care of the situation and the issue would simply go away. It did not and the PSTA board circled their wagons to protect Miller as the Times reported:
"Nobody works harder for transportation and the PSTA. Nobody," said board member and St. Petersburg City Council member Wengay Newton. "This gentleman goes above and beyond the call of duty, and that's what's expected, and I think taxpayers ought to be happy that their money is being spent on an individual that does just that."
"We don't want to overemphasize a small thing that happened," board member and Pinellas County Commissioner Susan Latvala said before making a motion to support Miller and Welch and their recommendations.
Is PSTA playing by the rules? 
According to this report by Channel 10's Mike Deeson, DHS sent a 5 page scathing letter to PSTA with a cease and desist order to stop using the DHS funds. DHS also states they can pursue civil or criminal remedies even if the funds are returned. 

Why do the Times and PSTA keep calling this issue that puts PSTA in the position for potential civil or criminal liability an "error"? Why would Pinellas County Commissioner Susan Latvala think it's a "small thing". A warning by DHS to PSTA they may face criminal charges is a "small thing" compared to what? 

Apparently, what PSTA stated on their DHS application for what they planned to use the DHS funds for does not match how they actually used the money. That is called FRAUD, and it is especially specious when the taxpayer funds fraudulently being spent is to promote a tax increase referendum that will benefit PSTA. 

From a Public Records Request submitted, I received a copy of the RFP issued in 2011 for the Emergency Awareness and Response Strategy Program aka EARS. The RFP's Scope of Services includes a Transit Watch Program, a program to ENHANCE transit security and coordinate with emergency personnel and first responders:
PSTA's RFP for use of DHS funds
Remember the June 25 PSTA Board meeting?  PSTA CEO Brad Miller stated the DHS federal funds were used in two phases.  Phase 1 included developing a bilingual public awareness program, outreach and training to emergency and first responder personnel and hosting public awareness events.
PSTA DHS Funds Phase 1
At approximately 7:30 in the video, Miller states that Phase 1 produced a brochure. What happened to the rest of the task items in Phase 1?  Did they ever get completed?

At approximately 8:00 in the video, Miller states that the ads and bus wraps were funded by a Phase 2 of the DHS funds.  Miller then states he circled on a document what "Homeland Security had approved": "a mass media campaign to further promote public awareness of security issues related to public transportation". 
PSTA DHS funds Phase 2
We now know that DHS never approved the videos and bus wraps.  

The videos apparently have been taken down by PSTA and are no longer available online but some of the ads can still be found where Channel 10's Mike Deeson first reported on the issue here. These ads were nothing more than PSTA "feel good" advertisements for people to ride the bus and then encouraging them to go to their Greenlight Pinellas website "to learn more".  Greenlight Pinellas doesn't even exist. It's a proposal that's part of the sales tax referendum.  It defies logic to connect the dots between a program to promote public awareness of security issues and a plan that does not even exist.  

A company called Witt and Associates, an emergency preparedness, crisis management and disaster response consulting firm, was the only vendor to respond to the RFP and they were awarded the contract. Was the RFP specifically written for Witt? A copy of the contract was received via a Public Records Request.  

PSTA awards DHS funding contract to Witt and Associates
There's controversy surrounding that company too. James Lee Witt, founder of Witt and Associates, was a former FEMA director appointed by President Clinton. He founded his company after leaving his FEMA post. According to this NBC report in 2007 there were accusations that his company profited on Katrina. PSTA and controversy seem to go hand and hand. 

FEMA is the DHS agency that actually awards the transit security grants to transit agencies. Could there still be some coziness between Witt and FEMA? Certainly a professional emergency preparedness consulting firm such as Witt and Associates would know the allowable uses of DHS funds under the transit security grant program. Did Witt and Associates knowingly aid and abet in the misuse of these funds? 

Only in government does an agency's incompetence, dereliction of duty or willful fraudulence bring unanimous support for them by a board appointed to oversee them. Only in government is misuse of taxpayer funds considered an "error" and a "small thing". It is absurd. 

The continued arrogance of the PSTA Board, which consists of ALL elected officials and two citizens, on this issue is breathtaking. Perhaps a housecleaning of the entire PSTA board is needed and they all need to step down. 

Instead of trying to sweep potential criminal activity away, the PSTA board should be demanding a full independent audit of all grant money received and spent since Brad Miller has been CEO at PSTA. According to Miller, PSTA has received at least $2.5 million from DHS. Where did it all go? Where has all of PSTA's money gone?

In addition, the PSTA board should demand a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) audit be done for 2011-2012. Was PSTA's financial position misrepresented when PSTA was pursuing the 30% property tax increase in 2011? PSTA had threatened a huge deficit and cuts to bus service if they didn't get a property tax increase. When PSTA got the 30% property tax increase October 2011, did PSTA's deficit of over $5 million suddenly swing $13 million to become a $7 million surplus within months of receiving the increased tax revenue? 

Some questions need answers. How did that swing happen? Did PSTA use the 30% property tax increase to wrangle a million dollars from taxpayers to pay for their Greenlight Pinellas lobbying, marketing and advocacy campaign? What else is PSTA hiding?

Quick recap:  

  • Brad Miller was hired as CEO of PSTA in July 2011
  • EARS RFP issued in August 2011 
  • PSTA votes for property tax increase in September 2011 (beginning October 2011) 
  • PSTA receives DHS grant awarded by FEMA at end of 2011
  • Witt and Associates, founded by a former FEMA Director, is the only vendor who responds to RFP and PSTA awards contract for use of the DHS/FEMA transit security grant funds to Witt and Associates in January 2012
  • PSTA begins receiving the 30% property tax increase for 2012 and they quickly swing from a deficit to a surplus
  • PSTA uses $400K of taxpayer dollars in 2013 to hire PR firm Tucker Hall and launch their Greenlight Pinellas campaign
  • PSTA wraps their buses with Greenlight Pinellas ads and runs their "feel good" videos created by Witt and Associates using DHS federal grant funds 
  • PSTA states in 2014 they will use at least another $400K of taxpayer dollars to continue their Greenlight Pinellas marketing campaign
  • PSTA is caught misusing the DHS transit security grant funds, at first denies the misuse and then several weeks ago hastily refunds $350K back to DHS/FEMA
  • DHS/FEMA sends PSTA a scathing cease and desist letter August 14 stating criminal and civil action can be pursued even when funds are returned
  • Concerned citizens call for the resignation of Brad Miller

The only reason PSTA (mis)used the DHS/FEMA transit security grant funds for Greenlight advertising is because they thought they could get away with it. But they got caught.

PSTA has no ethics and apparently the PSTA board doesn't either.  

Audit PSTA NOW, clean house and get rid of the perpetrators.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

PSTA Board Meeting - Public Comment a Waste of Time

It became abundantly clear at the PSTA Board meeting that spending time and energy riling at the PSTA Board of Directors hoping for an epiphany is a waste of time.

You can hurl all the innuendos you want all they do is respond in kind through their chairman and everyone comes off looking petty.

All of these so called public servants jumped on the Greenlight train to support their CEO's outside the law actions and their Chairman's undying support for whatever Brad Miller may do.

Interestingly some of them don't know the difference between voting for something and raising their hands in approval.

Why all the unanimous votes? Simple. If you break ranks you will lose that nice plush seat on the PSTA Dias, that little bit of PSTA pampering that makes you feel soooo good, and a day away from your real work.  Don't think so? Ask Norm Roche former Pinellas County Commissioner.

Welch got little hot at the meeting need a fan to cool down.  Probably all that needs to be said.

Rather than go through this debacle again, which really accomplishes nothing, it is time to stay off the PSTA meeting agenda and focus on the street. All of the folks on the dais are voting yes to whatever Miller and Welch want and nothing will change their mind.

I am tired of seeing people attacked for what kind of car they drive, the opinions they have and the positions they take by people whose salaries they pay.

They love Brad Miller and Ken Welch.

The PSTA CEO can do pretty much whatever he wants

The lying will likely continue, the cheating will likely continue, using public funds to convince voters to vote yes will continue and there is not one person in a position of authority that will say or do anything about it.

So from now to November 4th let's just call it what it is.

Greenlight is a $2.2 Billion dollar boondoggle designed to take $130 Million a year and more out of the Pinellas County economy and give it to a public organization run by people you elect who don't respect you or your hard earned money.

If you're OK with that vote yes.

If you're not, get a No Tracks for Tax Yard sign, plant it in your yard and then tell them how you feel on November 4th at the ballot box.

Vote  NO.

That's one comment they can't hurl back in your face.

E-mail Doc at: Or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb) Friend request. Please comment below, and be sure to share on Facebook and Twitter.
Disclosures: Contributor to
No Tax for Tracks.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Welch and Miller doing the Duck and Weave

There is a lot of press and media comment today about the Brad Millers' misuse of federal funds to promote the Green Light sales tax initiative.

Best summary: Christopher O'Donnell in the St. Pete Tribune: Board to rein in Pinellas transit boss.

The problem is they are focusing on the Grant and the misuse of federal funds, which is serious enough to warrant a civil or criminal investigation, but no comment on what authority Miller had to issue a  check  spending $ 354,090.67 of your tax dollars to cover his potentially illegal activity.

PSTA Board Chairman Welch said, “There are questions; I think they’ve been addressed.” “Like any CEO, it’s all about performance. I’m seeing the kind of adjustment I need to see and the board needs to see.”


Just what "adjustments" might Miller and his top staff be making?

If it was improper to use the federal funds to promote Greenlight and it is illegal to use taxpayer dollars to encourage voters to vote yes on Greenlight; then how will Miller, Welch and the Board square the original approval of the ads or the unauthorized issuance of the check to FEMA?

Here are the real questions for the PSTA Board
1. Did Brad Miller violate PSTA Policies and Procedures?
2. Do the misuse of Federal Funds and the unauthorized issuance of the refund cheek amount to a violation of the PSTA Ethics Policy?
3. If so, should Mr. Miller be terminated with cause?

Welch is going to try to "remain calm" and sweep this one under the Greenlight rug.

Let's hope there are enough PSTA Board members tired of Welch's tap dancing and Miller's political maneuvering with local and federal money to make some needed changes.

E-mail Doc at: Or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb) Friend request. Please comment below, and be sure to share on Facebook and Twitter.
Disclosures: Contributor to
No Tax for Tracks.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Taxes, Transit, Trains and Transportation Reality

A recent Tampa Bay Times editorial accuses the PLG of being in "transit denial"
The group — composed of the seven county commissioners, Hillsborough's three mayors and the chairman of HART, the county mass transit agency — got its first look at a multibillion dollar list of unfunded road and transit projects. But rather than transform the wish list into a thoughtful targeted proposal, the group sent the entire wish list out for a months long listening tour. Members also agreed to — what else? — hire a consultant to build public support for a plan that is not really a plan that they insisted they are not trying to sell (emphasis mine).
Sounds a bit similar, though for perhaps different reasons, to what we previously posted here. The Hillsborough County Transportation Policy Leadership Group punted on presenting transit options and presenting their draft PLAN at their long awaited meeting on Tuesday, August 12th.

The Tampa Tribune yesterday weighed in with their editorial:  Time for leadership on transportation:
It would be funded by a 1-cent sales tax increase that would raise an estimated $6 billion over 30 years. (emphasis mine)
Watch the video or read the transcript from the August 12 Policy Leadership Group meeting.  County Administrator Mike Merrill states numerous times they have NO transportation plan. They have a list of projects they want to take to the public in some type of "public outreach" effort.  Therefore, we don't know what the "it" is but the Times and Tribune assume a referendum for a 14% sales tax increase for at least 30 years is the only way to pay for "it".

Based on the information on the Transportation and Economic Development website under the section Managers and Meeting Briefing, July 29, we already started looking at all these projects. A 30 year sales tax increase would generate about $6.1 BILLION but this list of proposed projects costs between $12-$15 BILLION (operating and capital costs over 30 years). The non-transit list contains projects of approximately $4.2 billion of the $12-$15 Billion transportation ideas. The non-transit list includes $680 million for sidewalks and bike paths that do nothing to relieve congestion and it also includes expensive complete streets and streetscaping that do nothing to relieve congestion. 

The elephant in the room is our neglected roads. Our road budget, at one time, has been $50 million to almost $100 million a year. The Community Investment Tax was sold to voters as a source of road funding for 30 years. That money is now gone and our road budget has been reduced to about $10 million for the last few years.  For FY2015, the road budget is a measly $6.5 million. The budget for Animal services is over $8 million in FY2015.

Our county commissioners have known there's a critical road funding gap.  This is not new news. In addition, it appears some road improvements were held hostage back in 2010 when some commissioners anticipated the rail referendum passing. The referendum failed.  It's four years later and nothing has been done since, including re-prioritization of monies from general funds, to fund our roads, even as the size of our county budget has grown back to it's pre-recession size. Where exactly is all the money being spent?
Neglected roads in Hillsborough
According to this email blast from pro rail/transit lobbying group Connect Tampa Bay:
The days of blindly spending money on roads must end. Its time to embrace a balanced approach that treats all ideas equally and gives everyone in Tampa Bay options.
Are they out of touch with reality?

The reality is we've been blindly neglecting our roads. The F-rated roads shown above confirm our roads have been neglected for years. Some county commissioners have embarrassingly said the same thing. A road budget of $6.5 million for a county of 1.3 million residents is NOT "blindly spending on roads".  

Here's a list collected during the 2013 budget cycle of unfunded Transportation Opportunities:
2013 Transportation Opportunities - $89 million
The state and FDOT is doing their part as we see construction on so many of our state and interstate highways, I-275, I-75, Veterans. Governor Scott's "Let's keep Florida moving" plan is investing in expanding our road network to reduce congestion.  He's accelerated some road projects in the Tampa Bay area to do just that.
Governor Scott's Let's Keep Florida Moving
County taxpayers pay $70-80 million a year to fund transit services at HART. Compared to the $6.5 million budgeted for roads, today we are spending 10-15 times on transit that less than 2% use in Hillsborough County than we do on our roads that we all use. Even the buses use roads.

Transit supporters, who have come out in support of a 14% sales tax increase, made public comments at the June 18 BOCC meeting right before the then scheduled June 26 Policy Leadership Group meeting. Their public comments can be found starting at page 16 of the June 18 meeting transcript here. They advocated that for any new transportation revenues, 75% must go to transit. 

On June 18, the June 26 meeting was still scheduled as County Administrator Mike Merrill said this:
One of the transit supporters at the June 18 BOCC even stated:
Greenlight Pinellas, as a well-thought out plan, is new news to us.  Some politicians from both parties may support it, but the Pinellas County Republican Party unanimously voted AGAINST the Greenlight tax increase and the Pinellas County Democrat Party refuses to take an official stance and endorse Greenlight. Those are Pinellas County voters, so much for a well-thought out plan.

How equitable is spending 75% of some new revenue source for transportation on transit to the 98% of us who use roads everyday? Is that a "balance of transit"? If a sales tax increase was pursued as has been mentioned, that would be almost $4.6 Billion of the $6.1 Billion over 30 years. The only reason for making such a statement is to build high cost light rail corridors that costs billions. 

It doesn't take billions to improve our bus service. Hillsborough County's bus service could DOUBLE under the current HART TDP Vision Plan, which is not currently funded, at a cost of approximately $464 million. This expansion and improvement of bus service could probably be funded locally without relying on uncertain federal funds that have all kinds of strings attached and increases the cost. 

The Transportation Policy Leadership Group is about to embark on a public outreach effort on all these transportation ideas. They must NOT hold our roads hostage in pursuit of some massive, expensive transit plan that requires a costly redesign of our county.  It would be a risk to taxpayers to pursue some huge, bold transit plan that banks on receiving federal dollars but that may NEVER qualify for federal funding.  As the AECOM transit assessment concluded:
Hillsborough County should approach making transit investments cautiously and prudently.
We can improve and expand our bus service, most likely with local funding, and do it within 10 years not decades into the future. We can reduce the burdensome PTC regulations to enable ride-sharing services like Uber, Lyft and others. 

We can bring back the golf cart short hop transportation services in South Tampa and downtown Tampa that the PTC forced out of business in 2009. They use golf cart services in Delray Beach, why not here? We can become an innovative leader of autonomous vehicles and be flexible enough to be able to utilize the next new transportation technology.
Golf Cart Short Hop Transportation Services on Atlantic Ave.
 in Delray Beach, FL
But first and foremost, the Transportation Policy Leadership Group must resolve our critical road funding gap. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Did Brad Miller PSTA CEO Violate the PSTA Code of Ethics?

By: E. Eugene Webb PhD

Pinellas County, Florida - Brad Miller, PSTA CEOs' recent hasty return of Federal Grant funds misused to promote the GreenLight sales tax referendum has raised some serious questions.

In response to a series of  Public Records Requests, the Suncoast Public Transit Authority supplied the following information:

First Public Records Request:
1. Please provide an electronic copy of the PSTA Administration document requesting funds to reimburse Homeland Security CARES program- Community Awareness Results in Everyone's Security $354,000.

2. Please provide an electronic copy (PDF) of the check or wire transfer document or receipt returning $354,000 to reimburse Homeland Security CARES program- Community Awareness Results in Everyone's Security.

3. Please provide an electronic copy of the PSTA Administration document or e-mail formally approving funds to reimburse Homeland Security CARES program- Community Awareness Results in Everyone's Security $354,000.

PSTA Response:
Rachael Garofalo
To Me
Aug 15 at 10:38 AM
I emailed the files yesterday.  I’ve attached them again.  Note: these are the only two files responsive to your requests. 
Rachael Garofalo, Executive Assistant
Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority
3201 Scherer Drive
St. Petersburg, FL 33716
Tel: 727-540-1806
Fax: 727-556-6506

What the Documents indicate:
On July 30, 2014 Marnie L. Maxwell prepared a Check Request Form (For Travel Advances, Miscellaneous Expenses by Employees and Payments to Vendors), for $345,090.67.
The Request was approved by PSTA CEO Brad Miller on the same day.

Note in the CHECK REQUESTED BY Section the entry is "IMMEDIATELY".

The PURPOSE FOR CHECK is stated as "Pay Back Grant Funds for Grant # 2011-RA-TO-0090".
Pay Back Grant Funds is not a category listed on the Form. 

 See the PDF from PSTA files.
DHS Check Request-073014.pdf

On July 30, 2014, PSTA Check Number 014004444 was issued to Department of Homeland Security for $354,090.67.

See PDF from PSTA files.
  DHS Check-073014.pdf

There is no Response to the third Public Records Request:
Document or Board of Directors Action approving the Request or the Check to pay back Grant # 2011-RA-TO-0090".

Apparently there was no formal authorization for issuance of the $354,090.67 check.

A fourth Public Records Request was sent to PSTA:
Please provide a copy of, or link to, the PSTA Charter Section, or PSTA Board approved Policy or Procedure that supports the issuance of the unbudgeted $354,090.67 check from PSTA funds to Homeland Security without approval by the PSTA Board.

PSTA Response:
Rachael Garofalo
To Me
Aug 19 at 8:56 AM
In response to your request for the PSTA Charter Section, or PSTA Board approved Policy or Procedure that supports the issuance of the unbudgeted $345,000 check from PSTA funds to Homeland Security without approval by the PSTA Board, please see response below from our General Counsel.  Also below is a link to the Board’s Rules & Regulations. 

The reference to the $100,000 spending limit, which is contained in Section 5.01 A of PSTA’s Rules and Regulations, is a limitation on the CEO’s “procurement of commodities and/or services”.  The decision to pay back the grant funds was not a procurement of commodities and/or services.  The PSTA Board previously had approved the procurement of the services that developed the ads in question.   This decision to return the grant funds was made pursuant to the CEO’s authority to administer PSTA’s departments, offices and agencies under Section 3.02 of the Rules and Regulations, which is included in the Rules and Regulations as well. 

Note here that the PSTA General Counsel does not dispute the claim that there was no formal authorization for the refund check.


Section 3.02 Powers and Duties of CEO is reproduced below. To see the full Policy and Procedure Document please click the link above.

Section 3.02 Powers and Duties of CEO/ED –The powers and duties of the CEO/ED shall include the following:

A. The CEO/ED may employ such employees as may be necessary for the proper administration of the duties and functions of PSTA, and may determine the qualifications of such persons; however, the Board must approve the number of such positions and fix the budget for the compensation for employees. When he/she deems it necessary for the good of PSTA, he/she may demote, suspend or remove any PSTA employee or appointed administrative officer under the CEO/ED ʹ s jurisdiction, except as otherwise provided by law. Such action shall be in compliance with all applicable rules and regulations of PSTA.

B. Direct and supervise the administration of all departments, offices and agencies of PSTA except as otherwise provided for herein.

C. Attend Board meetings and shall have the right to take part in discussion but may not vote. See that all laws, rules and -12- regulations and acts of the Board which are subject to enforcement by the CEO/ED are faithfully executed.

D. Prepare and submit the annual operating budget and capital improvement budget to the Board of Directors.

E. Prepare and submit an annual capital program and all applications for federal and state grants.

F. Recommend changes to the fare structure and recommend changes to PSTA ʹ s service.
G. Sign contracts, deeds and other documents on behalf of PSTA pursuant to the provisions of these Rules and Regulations or as authorized by the Board of Directors.

 H. Develop and keep current a policy manual which shall set forth the policies adopted by the Board of Directors.

I. Provide such administrative assistance to the Board in connection with their official duties, and perform such other duties as are specified in these Rules and Regulations or may be required by the Board.

J. The CEO/ED shall designate a department director or other managerial employee who shall exercise the powers and perform the duties of the CEO/ED during the CEO/ED ʹ s temporary absence or disability. The CEO/ED shall notify the Board, electronically, who he/she has designate 

There is no provision in this Section of the PSTA Policy and Procedures for the CEO on his/her own without Board of Directors authorization to cause any expenditure of  unbudgeted funds.

Even in its broadest interpretation there are no grounds for CEO Brad Miller to "Immediately" issue a check without PSTA Board approval to Homeland Security to cover his inappropriate and potentially illegal use of Federal Homeland Security funds. 

The refund request should have been brought to the PSTA Board for a full discussion and action. 

A fifth Public Records Request was sent to PSTA on August 20, 2014:
1. Request for Copy of Transmittal Letter that accompanied the PSTA Check (# 01440444) to Pay Back Grant Funds for Grant # 2011-RA-TO-0090.
2. Any and all correspondence either regular mail, FAX or e-mail from or to Home Land Security regarding the payback of Grant # 2011-RA-TO-0090. 
3. Copies of any agreements, releases, contract cancellations or other considerations that are or were part of the Grant # 2011-RA-TO-0090 payback negotiation or agreement.
4. Contact Information including person or person(s) name, physical address, e-mail address and direct telephone number for the Homeland Security person or persons that negotiated or agreed to the Funds Pay Back for Grant # 2011-RA-TO-0090.

PSTA Response:
1. Request for Copy of Transmittal Letter that accompanied the PSTA Check (# 01440444) to Pay Back Grant Funds for Grant # 2011-RA-TO-0090.
See PDF From PSTA Files:
 2 CFO Deborah Leous Transmittal letter.pdf

2. Any and all correspondence either regular mail, FAX or e-mail from or to Home Land Security regarding the payback of Grant # 2011-RA-TO-0090. 
See PDF from PSTA files:
1 PSTA Letter Unallowable Costs OCC edits and TSGP responses_arm_08 08 2014 _2_

The Letter in the PDF above sets up the case for misuse of the FEMA funds. FEMA stated, "Through a review of the advertisements purchased and publicly disseminated, FEMA has determined that the advertisements purchased were not used in the manner in which PSTA expressly described in its application." Further, Based on the information summarized above, PSTA has violated the requirements of the 9/11 Act and the FY 11 Guidance that govern its grant agreement."

Miller approved the Grant along with the advertisement procurement and should have known the ads were not proper. 

Miller deliberately mislead the PSTA Board when brought the Homeland Security ad package to the Board for their approval.

His argument has been FEMA did not respond to requests for a review of the material, but the Grant clearly spells out FEMA's intention and Miller should have followed the Grant Guidelines.

However the most chilling statement may be in the last paragraph: 

"Please also note that even if the debt is paid in full, the United States does not waive its right to pursue any applicable civil or criminal remedies. In addition, the State will be held liable for penalties under the False Claims Act (Title 31 U.S. Code, Sections 3729 through 3733) or other applicable statutes and/or criminal penalties under Title 18 U.S. Code, Sections 286, 287, 1001, and 1002, or other applicable statutes for any knowingly false or frivolous statements, representations, or evidence made or provided. Unless prohibited by law or contract, the State will be refunded any amount paid or deducted from any Federal payments for the debt, if the debt is later waived or terminated."

These statements along with a desire to get this whole issue off the table  are likely key drivers in the decision to move "Immediately" to complete the grant pay back.

3. Copies of any agreements, releases, contract cancellations or other considerations that are or were part of the Grant # 2011-RA-TO-0090 payback negotiation or agreement.

PSTA responded there are no Documents Available.

4. Contact Information including person or person(s) name, physical address, e-mail address and direct telephone number for the Homeland Security person or persons that negotiated or agreed to the Funds Pay Back for Grant # 2011-RA-TO-0090:

PSTA Response:
Tamia Minor, Grant Program Analyst,Grant Programs Directorate,Preparedness Grants Division. T: 202-786-9581, F: 202-786-9920,

Apparently in their haste to sweep all of this under the rug as quickly as possible, PSTA sent the $354,090.67 Check to the wrong address. The e-mail exchange below was included the PSTA response:

See PDF PSTA Files
3 email following up on Check


It remains unclear why Brad Miller is so intent on using his office and the organization he is charged with overseeing as a political tool to get the sales tax referendum approved. It becomes even more difficult to understand when you consider the massive amount of private money assembled to support the GreenLight Plan.

Why take these unnecessary risks?

Miller's continuing efforts to skirt the rules regarding PSTA political participation in the sales tax referendum have seriously eroded the credibility of PSTA.

There are a host of questions that need to be answered.
1. Why the need to move so quickly on the refund?
2. Did Brad Miller violate the PSTA Code of Ethics by issuing the Grant refund Check without approval?
3 If he violated the Code of ethics should he be terminated?
4. What role, if any did Board Chairman Ken Welch play in this matter?
5. What role if any did Greenlight Yes have in the decision to quickly repay the FEMA Grant?
6. Can an after the fact approval by the Board of Directors legally fix the problem?
7. Can PSTA funds legally be used to indirectly  pay for these Greenlight ads?
8. Can Brad Miller be trusted to run PSTA in a legal and ethical manner?
9. Should the Department of Transportation take another look at how PSTA is spending its funds?
10. Should the State Attorney General open a criminal investigation into Mr. Miller and his conduct with state and federal funds?

The PSTA Board of Directors must stop rubber stamping everything Miller and Welch bring to the table, get some back bone and take some responsibility.

It is time for a full blown independent investigation and audit of PSTA's, leadership and financial dealings. 

There need to be some changes at PSTA and they need to be made quickly. 

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