SLT City Council asked to discuss investigation
December 12, 2007
South Lake Tahoe City Councilman Bill Crawford on Tuesday asked his council colleagues to set a time to discuss a police investigation into the Clean Tahoe Program – a probe that covered the time when Councilman Ted Long was president of the program.
“All of the monies that were discussed are actually city money,” Crawford said toward the end of Tuesday’s council meeting, during the time designated for comments from council members.
The police investigation looked at the financial practices of Clean Tahoe’s former program director, Tim Stockton, detailing 11 incidents in 2005 and 2006 that raised concerns among Clean Tahoe board members.
Long permitted Stockton on several occasions to sign Long’s name to Clean Tahoe checks, according to the investigation and Long’s statements to the Tahoe Daily Tribune. Long’s actions have drawn criticism from Crawford, who contends Long was a poor overseer of public funds.
The police department’s report was sent to the district attorney’s office, which declined to file any charges related to it.
On Tuesday, Crawford suggested the council discuss the report in a closed session.
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“I’m fine with it,” Mayor Mike Weber said in response to Crawford’s request, although he said he was not familiar with the police investigation.
But Councilman Jerry Birdwell was more cautious. “It would do us well if we would sit back and wait for the grand jury to make a report,” he said.
Some believe El Dorado County’s civil grand jury, which looks at the operation of local government, is reviewing the Clean Tahoe Program.
Long did not voice any objection to a council discussion of the report. He repeated his previous assertion that Clean Tahoe attorneys, the police department and the district attorney all have reviewed the incidents in question and found no wrongdoing.
Long said good topics for the grand jury to investigate would be whether Clean Tahoe is getting its fair share of funding from the county, and whether the program’s board members had violated open-meeting laws.
“I welcome the outcome of the grand jury (investigation),” Long said.
Council members did not vote on Crawford’s request, and it was not immediately clear if the item would appear on a future council agenda. City Clerk Susan Alessi was in closed sessions with council members Tuesday afternoon and could not be reached for comment.