Evidence presented to the Commission of Inquiry has indicated that outgoing Mayor Patricia Chase-Green and Town Clerk Royston King had not been working collectively to meet the needs of the city.This was shared by the Chairman of the CoI, Justice Cecil Kennard, who told the Local Government Commission (LGC) and media operatives that neglect has been one of the key traits shared by senior officials at City Hall.“I’m convinced that the Town Clerk and the Mayor are not working in the best interest of the city…To sum it all, most of the woes of the City Council have been due to neglect and mismanagement by the top officers of the Council”, he said.He divulged that the Commission’s judgment of the staff’s performance and accountability was accurate, since it was not politically driven. This is evident in the fact that the LGC is an independent agency tasked with spearheading local organs.“These are (members of) the main management team, and if they are incompetent or neglectful, are we going to keep them in those positions? I must make it abundantly clear…that this was not a Commission set up by the Government, so no politics was involved. It was set up by the Local Government Commission, a constitutional body; and they are independent of any Ministry or Government.”Forensic auditThe report recommends that a forensic audit be conducted as part of an extension to the investigation, and “criminal charges” must be laid against all staff who are found accountable.The matter of the lease was raised once again, and the Chairman was under the impression that King’s actions of leasing property not owned by the city “may very well” lead to criminal charges.“I’m recommending that there be further investigation in the form of a forensic audit to be conducted by the Audit Office of Guyana… By granting a lease of property when the land is not owned by City Hall, a misrepresentation (has been committed), and may very well amount to a criminal offence”, the Chairman has said.It was mentioned in the report that the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited lawfully own the property via a vesting order. Quick Shipping Incorporated, the company that currently operates from the piece of land at Lot 1 Mudflat, Lombard Street, has been asked to make contact with NICIL at the earliest.Legal representativeAnother recommendation made is that the Council should establish a functioning legal division, with an attorney-at-law who can assist in any legal matters that arise. Given the fact that legal matters are dealt with every day, Justice Kennard made it clear that one individual should be entirely responsible for all legal issues.“[I recommend] that the council employ, as soon as possible, a qualified legal personnel to hold the legal office. At the moment, from my understanding, there is no legal office. Why this position must be filled is because legal issues arise on a day-to-day basis, and there must be a lawyer on the spot to deal with that. You cannot have lawyers working ad hoc on one case and then do another case. You must have somebody there to deal with all legal issues.”This recommendation comes after a no-confidence motion was brought against the Town Clerk by former Councillor Sherod Duncan, and the mayor allowed King to seek advice from his lawyer, Maxwell Edwards, which was later presented to the Council. The CoI is maintaining that independent legal advice should have been obtained, which can be made available if the Council appoints a legal representative.
LAS VEGAS – It looked like love at first sight for Bruton Smith. Not so much for California Speedway president Gillian Zucker. Smith, the eccentric 80-year-old billionaire whose company owns Las Vegas Motor Speedway, was holding court with the media on Friday and bad-mouthing Zucker’s track in the process. Smith began what he termed as “negotiations” with Zucker in front of about 20 media members. With his arm around the 37-year-old Zucker, he whispered softly in her ear, stroked her left cheek with his knuckles and brushed her hair back, occasionally rubbing her shoulder. “Are you in a negotiating mood?” Smith asked gently. A reporter had suggested to Smith moments earlier that perhaps International Speedway Corp., which employs Zucker, would sell one of its two NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race dates to Smith’s Speedway Motorsports Inc. Currently, SMI’s Las Vegas track only has one Cup race per year. Smith has made it known he wants two. Zucker happened to walk into the room around that time and was told of Smith’s remarks. Having never met the owner of the Fontana track’s biggest competitor, she waded into the horde of media and introduced herself to Smith. The next 10 minutes were bizarrely funny and a little uncomfortable, but certainly memorable. “He said something about your interest in selling,” said Smith, with his arm around Zucker. “Absolutely not,” answered Zucker, her arm around Smith’s waist. “Why would we be selling something that’s growing?” Las Vegas has already sold more tickets for today’s second-tier Busch Series race at the track than California Speedway sold for its Nextel Cup race last month. An estimated 70,000 fans attended the Auto Club 500 at Fontana; the Vegas track has announced a sellout crowd of 160,000 for Sunday. Those numbers have caused many in the national motorsports press to question if California Speedway is deserving of two race dates. Zucker was a good sport, laughing with Smith and trying to navigate her way through the promoter’s quick wit and jabs. Before Zucker entered the room – and the fray – Smith was asked about California Speedway’s lackluster attendance. “I need to know more about this track. Where is it located?” Smith said seriously. Told that it was in Fontana, he claimed to not know where that was, either. “Fontana? I know where L.A. is. I’ve never been (to Fontana), I don’t know anything about it.” Later, Smith said sarcastically that since his track had already sold out, he’d be willing to “send one or two fans over” to California Speedway. The tracks theoretically compete for fans since the events are just two weeks apart, and back-to-back on the racing schedule. “Maybe you want to sell it,” Smith said, taking a strand of Zucker’s hair and pushing it back behind her ear. “Would you talk to the owners, would you consider it?” “No, we’re very pleased,” Zucker said. “What if you wake up tomorrow morning and you’re not pleased?” Smith pried. Later, he told Zucker he’d triple her current pay to step away from the speedway, then offered to throw in a $50,000 shopping spree at Neiman-Marcus. “I’ve got the most awesome job and the most awesome opportunity,” she replied. “You couldn’t buy me out of it.” Eventually, the show began to fizzle and Smith said he’d plan on hearing from Zucker on Tuesday. “I won’t be calling,” she said. “& I think that you’re wonderful for the sport. You’re interesting and fun.” Moments later, Zucker said it was a strange encounter. “I walked into it,” she said. “I could have stayed back. I’m not afraid of a challenge. “He’s a showman. He’s the ultimate promoter and obviously could use an opportunity like that to have some fun.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!