The last report was from the finance department, Matt always gave that one himself and he was the one to give Marcy troubles.
He began with his report on the overall county being the largest employer using the combined numbers of all county departments and had the largest fleet of vehicles. Then revenues collected to date and projections for the rest of the year.
Matt instructed the agencies to begin putting their budget requests for next year together. The agencies needed to prioritize their spending requests. The finance division was expecting funding to be tight again.
Then he broke into a tirade about the revenue losses that would have improved the county’s financial position. They did not have those revenues because of court decisions related to the Morton crop dusting airfield, the Island airfield and JBG against the county. Like the taxes from one company was going to correct all the evils in the county budget.
With Morton Field so large now the lost revenue had to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, possibly millions of dollars a year. Matt was advocating the county attorneys should reopen and appeal both cases.
Matt also said the finance division was looking at all counties with airports to see what kind of fees and taxes they had applied and if those fees and taxes could be implemented against JBG and Morton Field operations.
Matt continued on with a wish list to generate new funds. He wanted to double the fees for all business licenses. He wanted all rental properties in the county to be registered with an annual fee of not less than five percent of the rental revenue. This was the same rental tax scheme that LA, Chicago, New York and other cities were implementing. He wanted all businesses to pay an annual environmental waste fee and a parking lot runoff fee.
He seemed to ignore the fact that all businesses were unable to carry their waste to counties collection stations. They had to pay commercial waste contractors to pick up trash or the roll off dumpsters to state approved landfills and pay by the ton or the size of the container. I knew because our trash disposal costs were huge.
Duke and Clarence looked at me and tried to bore holes into the table with their eyes. They knew a response was coming; the other county commissioners didn’t know where to look but looked stunned.
The rest of the business owners and operators looked perplexed; this was a side of Matt they had not seen.
I guess Matt thought he had a captive audience and that I would sit there and not respond.
“Let me set the record straight for you, the lawsuit forty years ago corrected illegal actions by the county. The county ran the appeals process as far as they could. The actions by the county at Island Airport were handled in federal court; the amicable decision reached settled criminal proceedings and prevented various county officials and employees from serving time in federal prison.”
“The decision also ended JBG and the DHS suits against the county. If you want to open that rats nest back up go ahead; jail time is still an option. We are better equipped to deal with that more than ever; back then we only had one attorney, now we have dozens.”
“Next on the list is your statement about the county being the biggest employer and fleet owner; neither is true. JBG has over fourteen thousand employees in one hundred and eighty foreign countries and two hundred and sixty five locations in forty states.”
“Our embassy security division – that encompasses the one hundred and eighty US embassies in foreign countries – has seventy five hundred employees. Our college security division – that supplies college security for twenty five colleges – has twenty five hundred employees. Our auto leasing division MAAR has over one thousand five hundred employees; one of the few divisions that utilizes some part time employees.”
“Morton Field has over 750 employees – five hundred who are pilots; three hundred and sixty of those support the embassy security and the other pilots supply flight services. The rest of the employees at Morton are logistics and aviation mechanics.”
“The remainder of the employees are support, administration, trainers for the gym, maintenance, staff for the Morton and Horsey motels and trainers for the Fort Smith training complex and the gun club, the special operations team and more.”
“JBG aviation owns five hundred and fifty aircraft of which four hundred are helicopters; three hundred and seventy are leased to the State Department for embassy security and transportation of diplomats abroad and other government agencies. The rest are used for various training and security functions. We have one hundred and thirty fixed wing and drones.”
“We have planes from as small as Cessna 152 trainers, G5 executive jets, Cessna business and Lear private jets, two fifty passenger CRJ 200s a 737-200, six C130s operating under contracts and will soon have the 5th and 6th C5M heavy lift cargo planes that are back leased to the DOD and also available for commercial freight flights.”
“JBG offers passenger and freight flights out of Morton to anywhere in the world on short notice.”
“We have already made multiple commercial freight flights to Uganda, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Egypt, South America, Australia, Korea, Japan and dozens of other places too classified to discuss.”
“We have completed final negotiations for five 747 jumbo jets to be converted into fire fighting aerial tankers with contracts for the US Forestry Service. Western forest fires seem to get worse every year. Aerial tankers are few and far between; many are seriously old. We have the pilots and the logistics.”
“Our Pig Iron Point marine terminal is in full operation with its pipeline to the Morton fuel farm. When the truck stop is operational diesel fuel will be brought in there as well.”
“Our Mid Atlantic Auto Rental division – better known as MAAR – owns twenty five thousand vehicles from riding lawnmowers to 400 ton mining trucks, and two hundred and fifty ton cranes with everything in between. We are the vehicle leaser for five major utilities that consume twenty thousand of those vehicles.”
“We are a leaser of armored SUVs to state, federal and foreign government agencies with several hundred more to other customers. MAAR uses four thousand vehicles at its two hundred and forty sites, and there are several other commercial leases – the rest for our own use. When the dealership building is operational, individual leasing for trucks will be available in this area.”
“We own or lease 300 houses in resort areas – Florida, Georgia, Texas, Maine and Colorado – and own an island in the Bahamas for our vacation rental division. Our vacation rental operation is in heavy demand and growing. Several Colorado ski lodges and two in the north-east have signed contracts to be part of our recreational package offerings.”
“Foreign clients increased to thirty percent of our customer base for the vacation offerings. Just in the last week we have partnered with two international airlines to improve the international package offerings.”
“Matt; Marcy, Jenny, Vicky, Lorrie, Ching Lee, Jason and I know all about budgets, banking, financing, taxes, logistics and HR employee benefits in a scale and scope you will only ever get to dream of. Try to come up with two million dollars every week to pay just the taxes. Yes – they have to be paid every week; payroll, sales, property, tags, international fees and such come to more than two million every week. And then there is payroll.”
“There is no need for you lambast our business and other businesses in the county and expect those businesses to pick up the tab because of your inability to properly manage your budget.”
“To cut road repairs when you have budgeted money for them and also received state and federal grants, and then give millions of extra money to the school board is unconscionable and may be an illegal diversion of federal funds.”
“Could it be that since you are still are a card carrying member of the Teachers Union and hold an executive board position in the education union, they have an influence on your decision making process related to the county budget?” I asked.
I knew I was not going to get an answer. Matt was too busy trying to find a hole to crawl into.
“I think the commissioners have an issue to deal with this afternoon,” I said as I stood to leave.
“If they don’t, a conflict of interest lawsuit will be the front page story of the Gazette,” I said.
The commissioners met me at the door, “Matt signed a letter of agreement that he would resign from the executive board and union when he was offered the job as county manager,” Commissioner Ames said.
“As of last Friday he was still getting weekly paychecks from the union and he was still using the union email system as well as the county email system to conduct union business,” I replied.
“You can document that?” Ames asked.
“Absolutely – you don’t think I would be that reckless and foolhardy, do you?” I replied.
I opened my portable office on the table and took out the report Robert had completed on Matt Monroe.
The cover had the JBG logo with the second line Electronics Investigative Team in large lettering. Then there was a classified line in Robert’s big red stamp.
On the inside was all the normal stuff Robert’s team collected – which was everything. There was an identifying photo then history, property and financial, including bank accounts, loans statements and other debts.
Then there were family trees on him and his wife and former wives. There was the past employment list, current employment list and all the social media posts.
The final section included all the email accounts he had ever had or used, including the county printouts and the union printouts.
I opened the bank deposit sheet to the deposits page Robert had identified for me. Matt’s county deposits were highlighted in yellow and the union deposits in red; also copies of the deposit slips. Then the latest emails from the two accounts. I only showed them three or four pages of each.
“I don’t guess there is any chance of getting copies of that?” Duke asked.
I closed the report and pointed to the red classified line.
“Your county prosecutor can get the same information easier than I did,” I replied.
“I have to do it the hard way. Everything – and I mean everything – on everybody is in the cloud. I have to find the right keys to open the cloud to get the information to fall out like rain,” I said.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.