DARDENNE PRAIRIE, Mo (KMOX) – There could be some sparks tonight at city hall, where an incoming alderman plans to call on the mayor to resign.
Alderman-elect Kerry Tebbe says he’ll take the oath of office, then call for Mayor Pam Fogarty to quit. Tebbe says the mayor had ties to a company that got a no-bid contract to install solar panels on the city hall roof.
“It’s a conflict of interest,” Tebbe said, “It lends the appearance that she’s serving her company as opposed to serving her citizens’ best interests.”
Tebbe alleges Fogarty was working for a broadband company linked to Tim Huff, who sold Dardenne Prairie an array of solar panels on the city hall roof that cost taxpayers $160,000. The project never worked and had to be scrapped.
“She had a paycheck from them. She was employed by them. And I guess she thought that they were a solid company, when in fact they weren’t,” Tebby said.
Huff is currently serving a 50 month sentence in federal prison after pleading guilty in Florida to charges of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and to defraud the government. The former CEO of GlobeTel, Huff conspired with his CFO to create fake revenue using phony invoices, then reporting false business activity on company books and in SEC filings.
Fogarty says Tebbe has his facts wrong, that she had stopped working for Buzz Broadband “several months” before the solar panel deal came up — and she claims — Tim Huff was not involved with Buzz Broadband when she worked there. Fogarty says Buzz Broadband was a new company started by others who bought out Huff’s earlier broadband firm, Network One.
“I never worked for them when the solar thing was going on and they didn’t own it when I was working there,” Fogarty said, “So, therefore it’s not a conflict of interest.”
Tebbe believes Huff was still tied to Buzzbroadband, and argues that the CEO on the Missouri Secretary of State’s website was “a figurehead.” Tebbe also disputes Fogarty’s claim she was no longer working for Buzz Broadband when she made the deal for solar panels.
“She was working long after the solar system went up, when she went before the Frances Howell school district and tried to convince them to use their facilities for towers in exchange for free broadband,” Tebbe said.
Fogarty does confirm that Huff’s company Solaire Power Technologies received a no-bid contract for the solar panels atop her city hall. When asked if the deal was above the appearance of wrongdoing, she responded:
“You’re talking about something different,” she said, “You’re saying the appearance, verses actual wrongdoing. I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Fogarty says the proposal was discussed in public and approved by the Dardenne Prairie board of aldermen, and that she had earlier cleared her working for Buzzbroadband with the Dardenne Prairie city attorney.
“The point of the matter is, I didn’t do anything wrong,” Fogarty said, “So, he says he’s going to call for my resignation, but I’m not resigning.”
Facing his first term in elected office, Tebbe who is a firefighter by profession, says he will also call for an end to the practice of Dardenne Prairie officials enjoying a catered meal paid for by the taxpayers before their meetings.
“I think it’s wrong that we’re providing catered meals prior to council meetings on the citizens’ dime,” Tebbe said.
Fogarty defends the taxpayer-funded free meals.
“We do go and get a dinner from a restaurant in Dardenne Prairie,” Fogarty said, “So, we support the businesses. And we do have a bite to eat, because nobody has time for dinner before it starts.”
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