Seek­ing re­view

Hen­der­son calls for in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Shulz

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - DAR­RYL WELCH dwelch@cov­news.com

The New­ton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers meet­ing ended abruptly Tues­day night af­ter a com­mis­sioner re­peat­edly ac­cused an­other com­mis­sioner of wrong­do­ing and called for an in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

District 4 Com­mis­sioner J.C. Hen­der­son re­quested that busi­ness deal­ings be­tween District 3 Com­mis­sioner Nancy Schulz’s busi­ness, The Oaks Golf Course and the New­ton County Re­cre­ation Au­thor­ity be in­ves­ti­gated.

“For 10 years, on golf tour­na­ments, re­cre­ation dur­ing the sum­mer tour­na­ments, would give checks in en­velopes to Mrs. Schultz, the Oaks golf course with no dis­clo­sures. Now I’m not say­ing that there is any­thing wrong but I think to­tal trans­parency,” Hen­der­son said.

This was not the first time Hen­der­son had ac­cused a fel­low com­mis­sioner of wrong­do­ing. In Novem­ber of 2016, he ac­cused for­mer com­mis­sioner Le­vie Mad­dox and Schulz of cor­rup­tion. At that time, he called for the New­ton County Sher­iff’s Of­fice (NCSO) to con­duct an in­ves­ti­ga­tion. (The Cov­ing­ton News, Nov. 20)

When asked by BOC Chair­man Mar­cello Banes if he had any proof of his ac­cu­sa­tions, Hen­der­son said an open records re­quest had been sub­mit­ted to the rec de­part­ment.

Chair­man Banes then told the board, “This is not go­ing to be a dog and pony show. We’re go­ing to run this like a busi­ness. If I have to call peo­ple out of or­der I will. If I have to dis­miss the meet­ing, I will.”

Schulz re­sponded to Hen­der­son’s com­ments by say­ing all of her deal­ings with the county re­cre­ation board have been com­pletely trans­par­ent.

“I’ve been very forth­com­ing, I’ve pro­vided all the doc­u­men­ta­tion. I went through all of my records and sub­mit­ted to the county all of the en­tries that were to the New­ton County Rec. De­part­ment,” Schulz said. “We’ve been in busi­ness for 26 years. We have done busi­ness with the New­ton County Rec. De­part­ment.

“We have sum­mer camps at the golf course. The sum­mer camps were ad­ver­tised at the New­ton County Rec. De­part­ment, but we col­lected the money, the in­di­vid­u­als paid for tak­ing their lessons at the golf course. They pay for what in­struc­tion they get at the golf course.”

She added, “You can come and in­spect my books. Ev­ery amount of money that goes into my golf course goes through my reg­is­ter and it goes into an ac­count with that in­di­vid­u­als name on it. I have lots of years of records.”

Hen­der­son re­sponded, “I think this board, all of us, no one of us is above the law and I mean not one of us. And I think our job as a com­mis­sioner to bring this in­for­ma­tion back to the board. The only thing I asked then and still am is an in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

Ad­dress­ing Schulz, Hen­der­son said,” The rec. de­part­ment, for 10 years, has just took checks and just handed it to you.”

As Schulz de­nied the charge and Chair­man Banes so­licited a mo­tion to ad­journ the meet­ing.

Com­mis­sioner Schulz told The Cov­ing­ton News that the Oaks Golf Course has never had a con­tract with the New­ton County Re­cre­ation De­part­ment and that she has the records of ev­ery child that ever par­tic­i­pated in the camp. She also said that there have been no county sub­si­dies for chil­dren to par­tic­i­pate in the camp and that ev­ery child who has at­tended paid their own way.

Schulz said that fliers ad­ver­tis­ing sum­mer golf clin­ics for chil­dren were left at the rec. de­part­ment for the con­ve­nience of par­ents who could sign their chil­dren up for the clin­ics with­out hav­ing to go to two dif­fer­ent places. She also said that fliers ad­ver­tis­ing the sum­mer clin­ics were left at var­i­ous lo­ca­tions around the county.

Schulz said that 90 per­cent of the fees paid for the clin­ics were paid at the golf course and that if a par­ent left a reg­is­tra­tion form and check at the rec de­part­ment, an Oaks em­ployee would pick it up. Schulz also said that there was never any com­mis­sion paid to the re­cre­ation de­part­ment and re­it­er­ated that leav­ing the fliers at the rec de­part­ment was done as a con­ve­nience for the par­ents.

Hen­der­son pro­vided The News with copies of the re­sults of his March 1 open records re­quest. In his re­quest, the com­mis­sioner asked for the fol­low­ing in­for­ma­tion, 1) “The num­ber of years this camp has been held” 2)”The amount of funds re­ceived for the camp each year” and 3) “I un­der­stand from the at­tached flier there is a $90.00 per child reg­is­tra­tion fee with a 10 per­cent dis­count for sec­ond child. Who re­ceives these funds? Re­cre-ation Com­mis­sion or the Oaks Golf Course?"

In an email dated March 4 from New­ton County Re­cre­ation Direc­tor An­thony Avery to New­ton County Clerk Jackie Smith, Avery writes, “The golf camps with the Oaks Golf Course started in the early 2000’s and ended in 2013. NCRC was a sight (sic) to col­lect reg­is­tra­tion checks and forms but ev­ery­thing was turned over to the Oaks Golf Course. NCRC did not re­ceive fees. This is the only info that I re­mem­ber but NCRC does not have any records/doc­u­ments to show for this re­quest.”

Hen­der­son also gave The News a copy of a flier ad­ver­tis­ing a 2013 Ju­nior Golf camp held at the Oaks. Ac­cord­ing to the flier, sign-ups were avail­able at ei­ther the Oaks or the New­ton County Re­cre­ation De­part­ment.

Hen­der­son said he called for the in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­cause he knows that the rec. de­part­ment was so­lic­it­ing money for the golf course and then turn­ing the money over to them. Hen­der­son said he was told this be­cause of his po­si­tion on the re­cre­ation board.

This was sim­i­lar to the ac­cu­sa­tion he made and that was de­nied by Schulz at the meet­ing.

The News made an open records re­quest to the New­ton County Re­cre­ation De­part­ment for “Any records of busi­ness be­tween the New­ton County Re­cre­ation De­part­ment and the Oaks Golf Course from 2006 to present.”

As a re­sult of our re­quest, we re­ceived the flier ad­ver­tis­ing a 2013 Ju­nior Golf Camp at the Oaks. The News also re­ceived three ju­nior golf camp sign-up sheets and two Group Out­ing and Tour­na­ment Agree­ment forms for the 2015 and 2016 BC Crow­ell Tour­na­ment. Those forms ap­pear to of­fer di­rec­tion and in­struc­tion for golfers sign­ing up to par­tic­i­pate in the event.

Schulz

Hen­der­son

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