City Lashes Out in Angry Taxpayer-Funded Assault on San Angelo LIVE!
SAN ANGELO, TX — After days of hearing just crickets, the City of San Angelo launched a full-scale broadside against San Angelo LIVE! for its reporting on its trash contract with Republic Services.
City Public Information Officer Anthony Wilson, who at last Tuesday’s city council meeting was too tongue-tied to answer basic questions about a City of San Angelo audit of Republic Services, lashed out against us in a slick video produced by the City.
Watch the City of San Angelo’s attack video against us:
Producing an audit that was paid for by Republic, Wilson declared the issue over, and that San Angelo LIVE!’s journalist and founder Joe Hyde was engaged in “click bait” reporting.
“In fact, an audit was complete,” Wilson claimed. He produced a 2016 document that was buried in a court case that doesn’t involve the City of San Angelo. Previously, at the end of November, we asked if the City itself has a copy of the audit it conducted on Republic. We have asked several times since, to include the last city council meeting.
However, the Republic audit of itself was not what we were asking about.
Councilwoman Charlotte Farmer told us in June 2014 she had seen an audit before the vote to hire Republic; Mayor Dwain Morrison, the City Public Information Officer Anthony Wilson, nor the City attorney could produce one. The Mayor and Wilson refused to even answer basic questions about it last Tuesday week.
Thursday afternoon, Wilson barnstormed Facebook with an official City attack video claiming they have found the audit and that we were in error for believing what City Attorney Brandon Dyson wrote an email reply to Wayne Dolcefino, who was making sure the City had no signed audit, on Nov. 29, 2016:
“As I told you in a prior email, what we produced is all of the information that we identified responsive to your request. If we produced a draft/incomplete document then you can be assured we did our best to locate the final version or original of that document.
“I’m not trying to be difficult to work with, but the Public Information Act doesn’t require a government entity to respond to general fact questions (see Open Records Decisions 555 and 563 as cited in the Attorney General’s Public Information Handbook 2016, pgs. 19-20). We are only obligated to produce the records, which we have done. If you think there are other records that didn’t fall within the scope of your original request that might answer your questions, you are free to make a new request,” Dyson wrote in an email.
The audit Wilson produced may be the one Republic Services claimed to have hired the “international accounting firm” to conduct. That accounting firm until now has been unnamed, and likely unknown to City officials, too. However, in 2014, the City assured us, and the City assured the San Angelo Standard-Times too, that an audit conducted by the City of San Angelo was being produced and would be briefed in executive session.
We have addressed Wilson’s newly discovered paperwork before. In the first Dolcefino video, he states, “You would have thought Republic would have been fired for cheating all those folks. You would think the City would have wanted to have an audit completed before they did another deal with Republic, if they did another one (deal) at all. But in San Angelo, the politicians are pretty forgiving because they gave Republic a deal that could span 30 years…
“You’ve got to laugh at what the City did next. They actually asked the company that had ripped them off to find out how much they had cheated them. That’s really neighborly,” Dolcefino stated.
But the city cannot produce an audit it promised and supposedly conducted before the contract was signed in June 2014. The date of the filing of the Republic Services’ self-audit that Wilson unearthed in the attack video is October 21, 2016.
So, whatever the purpose of the Republic audit Wilson touts in his video, it was presented nearly two-and-a-half years after the City signed the 10-year contract with Republic.
And you know what is still missing? The garbage guys won’t tell the city to whom, and what amounts the refunds were made. We can expect those documents in the next taxpayer-funded attack video on us. We’re seeking accountability.
What is more, Wilson makes news. He states that Republic cannot find all of the businesses deserving refunds. About 96 percent of the $6.5 million is refunded, he states, leaving four percent, or about $260,000 unaccounted for.
Did the City offer to help find those business owners? Who are they? Why is this the first time any of us are hearing about this 2.5 years after the refunds were promised?
We have an incredible reach in our audience. We’ll help find those people free of charge.
If you are a business owner or manager and you didn’t receive your trash refund for being overcharged, we’d like to help you get your money back. Click here to tell us if you received or didn’t receive your refund.
As for the rest of Wilson’s attacks on us? This taxpayers' video is too juicy even for our style of reporting!
We’ll publish a response video to the taxpayer-funded attack Monday, Feb. 20, at high noon.
In the meantime, rest assured your tax dollars are hard at work attacking a small business and its founder who dared to ask tough questions.
Our recent reporting on the trash controversy that Wilson is responding to:
Hyde: Internal Documents Reveal City’s Lax Oversight of Republic Services (1/18/2017)
Wayne Dolcefino: Something Stinks in San Angelo
Hyde: A Big, Wet Kiss: The City’s $342,569.90 Remittance to Republic Services (1/23/2017)
Hyde: Republic Services Clams Up After City Demands Answers (1/25/2017)
Hyde: Councilwoman Farmer: LIVE! is Twisting Facts with Trashy Hype (1/27/2017)
Hyde: City Comes Clean on Republic Services Payments, Somewhat (1/27/2017)
Dolcefino: Republic Services Clamming Up
Dolcefino: The Forbidden Words in San Angelo
Dolcefino: Welcome to San Angelo
Dolcefino: Crickets Invade San Angelo, Texas