Questions continue about CRC files


By Karen Kennedy

Questions continue to come to light regarding the record keeping and file management of the Community Redevelopment Commission under the direction of Les Olds.

In the Aug. 5 Carmel City Council meeting, the council refused to approve a continued contract for Olds, effectively terminating his position as director of the CRC. In that council meeting, finance chair Luci Snyder read aloud from e-mails she sent to Olds, complaining about files turned over to the Clerk Treasurer’s Office which contained contracts which were missing original signatures and dates, as well as basic documents such as deeds to properties purchased by the CRC.

Per the resolution passed last year regarding the Carmel City Council taking control of the CRC’s operations, the CRC was to have transferred files to the Clerk Treasurer’s Office by January 2013. Clerk Treasurer Diana Cordray has stated that the files did not begin to arrive until she visited the CRC offices sometime in January and requested that the transfer begin. In a meeting with Michael Lee, who was then a CRC employee, it was agreed that the first set of approximately 25 boxes would be transferred to her office.

Cordray has stated that those boxes were delivered to her office following the meeting with Lee in January, but that those boxes were then removed from her locked office during a city council meeting later in January without explanation or consent before she had a chance to review them. At the time, she notified both council president Rick Sharp and Snyder. She also stated that she e-mailed both Olds and Matt Worthley, a CRC employee, to inquire as to the whereabouts of the files and neither of them responded.

Mayor Jim Brainard categorically denies that the files were removed from Cordray’s office.

“She is way off on her time line,” Brainard stated in an e-mail. “Several boxes were transferred to the storage area in city hall from the secure storage in another city building in anticipation of the refinance ordinance passing in late fall. They were never in Diana’s office. When it was learned that the redevelopment staff had not made back-up copies of the documents, they retrieved the files and started copying – we are talking over a dozen years’ worth of records. Files have been lost by the Clerk Treasurer’s office in the past. The documents were sent to her over time as each file was copied. Nothing was removed from her office or during a council meeting.

“And why would this come to light now?” Brainard continued. “If Ms. Cordray truly believed her office had been entered by unauthorized personnel, she should have notified the police, or me, or both.”

When this question was posed to Cordray, she stated that she had reported it to Snyder, since she is finance chair, and Sharp, since he is council president, and she felt that was appropriate. She also stated that she now locks important files in her desk and takes the key home with her.

Both Sharp and Snyder confirm that they received notification from Cordray in January that files had been removed from her office, and Snyder has also stated that she saw the boxes there prior to their alleged removal. As of this time, Cordray has been assured that she now is in possession of all the CRC files, and everything has been scanned into Laserfiche, the city’s searchable document archive, with notations about files that were incomplete when she received them.