Almond Releases Las Vegas Trip Records

Documents are part of a public information act request filed by a group that opposes the redevelopment of the Solo Cup plant.

Councilwoman Vicki Almond asked for her name to be removed from a list of owners and development employees listed as attending a shopping center convention in Las Vegas in May, according to records released Friday by the councilwoman's office.

Almond's office provided copies of three pages of documents including a letter Almond wrote on May 15 to the International Council of Shopping Centers.

"I have been made aware that my name is on your database of attendees for the RECon Las Vegas Conference," Almond wrote. "I am listed as attending the event as an owner/developer in the firm Greenberg Gibbons.

"I am in no way affiliated wth, or employed by, Greenberg Gibbons Commercial. Please remove my name immediately from any online materials including the searchable 'Who's Coming' database."

The three pages of documents are in response to a by Shirley Supik and the Say No To Solo Coalition.

Almond's office released the emails and letters to Patch first. In an interview last month, Almond promised to release them quickly to the press but said Supik and her group would likely have to wait the full 30 days allowed by state law.

Almond was not immediately available for comment and was not present when the documents were provided to Patch by her aide, Jonathan Schwartz.

Supik, in August, said Almond and her aid Jonathan Schwartz were guilty of ethics violations because they posed as employees of Greenberg Gibbons to attend a Las Vegas conference for shopping center developers and retailers at a discounted rate. She declined to back up the accusations and said the response to her request would back up the group's allegations.

Schwatz said the councilwoman was listed as staff as a result of an action taken by Greenberg Gibbons who had intended to provide passes valued at about $600. The passes allow attendees access to the exhibition hall of the convention center.

A second letter in the packet, dated May 17, contains an apology to Almond from Thomas Fitzpatrick, president and chief executive officer of Greenberg Gibbons.

"I apologize for the miscommunication regarding the registration for the ICSC convention in Las Vegas," Fitzpatrick writes in the two sentence letter. "The error has been rectified."

Schwartz, who also attended the conference with Almond, said neither he nor the councilwoman visited the convention center. He said that airfare and hotel costs were paid for by each of them individually and that they did not use campaign funds or county money.

Schwartz allowed inspection of his personal credit card records showing that the tickets were indeed purchased by himself. The electronic tickets were emailed to his personal email account, according to documents Schwartz showed Patch.

Copies of the email records and credit card statements were not provided to Patch and Schwartz said they would not be part of the release of records that will be provided to the coalition.

The document release Friday also includes a two-sentence email sent to staff of County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. The statement was used in an October 2011 press release regarding the redevelopment of the Solo Cup plant.

Supik and her group requested the documents in August, days before the council was scheduled to vote on the rezoning of the Solo Cup property as part of the quadrennial Comprehensive Zoning Map Process.

The request asked for personal, government, and campaign records including emails, press releases and office and cell phone records.

In an email, Supik and her group of an inappropriate relationship with developer Greenberg Gibbons.

"Councilwoman Almond and her staff attended the International Council of Shopping Centers Conference in Las Vegas as Greenberg Gibbons employees, in order to get a discounted membership," according to the email sent out by Say No to Solo. "

"This type of relationship with a developer—especially one with zoning approval pending—is unethical at best," the statement continues. "But Vicki doesn’t agree. She called questions about her relationship with Greenberg Gibbons 'ridiculous' This begs the question: is it even appropriate for Almond to be making a vote on this zoning issue?"

Supik, in an interview, declined to comment or provide evidence to back up her claims.

"Well, I guess we have to wait and see how it pans out," said Supik, explaining that her group was waiting for Almond and the council to respond to the public information act request.

At the same time that Supik was requesting records and accusing Almond of a lack of transparency, the leader of the Say No To Solo Coalition was declining to discuss and it's alleged ties to Kimco— a development rival to the Solo Cup project—and Kearney O'Doherty Public Affairs, Kimco's politically connected firm.

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Buzz Beeler September 18, 2012 at 03:07 AM
You got that right. the horses mouth. You hear everything from the horse of course.
Steve September 18, 2012 at 03:13 AM
Beeker hears everything from the Horse's Ass
Buzz Beeler September 18, 2012 at 03:32 AM
You're still a foul mouthed street kid. Get you wife or mother to proof read your comment before you post. A horse's butt in not a proper noun. Was that the same horse that told you about the background checks?
Buzz Beeler September 18, 2012 at 03:41 AM
Lets see now, you have to pass a test, a physical, a psychological exam an agility test, firearms test just to name a few. What planet are you from? There were some years when the county only took a small group out of thousands. I thought you were a mining engineer not a cop. But then the great Steve knows all.
Buzz Beeler September 18, 2012 at 03:44 AM
FIFiA did you ever think that for blacks being a cop was selling out like being an Uncle Tom . For you to say something like that is ludicrous. At that time blacks wanted nothing to do with the police. You couldn't get blacks to join no matter what you did. Like politics it's the issues that count not the race or the D or R. You think the Black Panthers is a club of alter boys? Look at the issues not layers of color's that leads to to sea of grey.


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