Saturday, May 28, 2011

Are Absences at Plymouth High School Connected to Black Mold?

Look at the tiles in the P.H.S. gymnasium and possibly elsewhere in the building.  Can you see black mold?

As a parent, I would like to know why/how did the problem begin?  Did Superintendent Mr. Tyree  contact OSHA for an inspection and help?  Has he advised students, parents, staff, and the visiting public of a potential health risk for all?  Does the lack of attention in this matter line up with the school system's publicly messaged image of creating a wellness plan for its students?  Could those students Superintendent Tyree wants to prosecute for "truancy" be sick because of black mold?

Stachybotrys chartarum, also known as black mold, is a fungus that thrives in damp, humid areas of buildings. Black mold moves quickly into duct work, wood and wallpaper.  Black mold may be found in areas that have incurred water damage. Buildings with black mold are called "sick buildings" because of reoccurring illnesses of people who live or work in them.

Toxic Mold Exposure

Toxic mold is the term applied to several types of mold that can invade homes, commercial buildings, and schools, causing illness and triggering asthma. There are several types of mold that can cause illness, including:
  • Stachybotrys atra
  • Aspergillus
  • Chaetomium
  • Penicillium
The mold that has gained the most attention recently is stachybotrys atra, also known as black mold. Black mold has been linked to several adverse health conditions, including pain and inflammation of the mouth and throat, flu, recurring cold, fatigue, asthma, sinus infections, and brain damage.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Plymouth Insiders Say Black Mold Growing at Plymouth High School

A note from an insider....

URGENT! Plymouth Community School Maintenance Director David Schoof---

         PLEASE immediately check out the black mold still growing at Plymouth HIgh School! Our teachers students and teachers' health may be at serious risk!

"Some believe that certain molds (such as so-called "black mold") can cause a host of signs and symptoms such as fatigue, headache, nausea, fever, rashes and coughing ..."  Mayo Clinic

"...for a number of practical and logical reasons, the possibility that some portion of any group exposed to molds will suffer adverse health effects can never be ruled out when mold is found growing in occupied areas. Given that there is considerable uncertainty about the health consequences of exposure to contaminants from indoor problems, it is recommended that any mold growing inside be regarded as a sign of a potential (current or future) health hazard that should be corrected properly as soon as possible."    Environmental Structural Solutions

                                    Plymouth Citizens afraid to be identified for fear of retribution from PCS administrators

Monday, May 23, 2011

Cheating ISTEP Teachers...Do They Get Sent to the Principal?

The following was submitted by a Plymouth, Indiana citizen who asked not to be identified since there have been more allegations of death threats against those who are bold enough to speak out against corruption in their hometown.

 “Merit Pay” for public school teachers will not be successful. Based on  real-life experience, one too many judges (school administrators) of the teachers’ merits appear to be too susceptible to corruption to determine unprejudiced payments.  Sadly, this is a fact of our sinful human nature.  None of us can judge righteously except for Almighty God. All of us are inclined to being biased, influenced, and blind to sound reason.

As noted in the media, more than one Indiana teacher has committed serious ethical violations in ISTEP protocol, thus diminishing test results, cheating students, and causing THOUSANDS of public dollars to be wasted. IDOE Superintendent Tony Bennett has publicly stated these teachers COULD have their Indiana Teaching Licenses revoked---a punishment echoed by the ISTEP+ Program Manual.
 No severe punishment being administered  for these ISTEP violations negates the very future of ISTEP. If no severe consequences are enacted, few teachers would not be tempted or succumb to the pressure to positively influence their students’ ISTEP test results in order to increase their own merit pay .  For example,  if a student received a good grade by snitching a teacher’s answer sheet ahead of time, and the teacher learned of his theft and did nothing,  more students will begin to covertly help themselves to future answer sheets. Because of  enabling students' to cheat by permitting this act to pass without a severe consequence makes it hopeless  for the teacher to ever teach students  lessons about integrity—a foundation of any successful society.

According to the ISTEP+ Manual, there should be severe consequences for a teacher either knowingly or carelessly violating ISTEP protocol. The consequence should ALSO include superintendents, building administrators and even IDOE officials who “knowingly or carelessly” violated protocol by allowing teachers early access to test manuals or by publishing test questions in error on the internet that then showed up on the actual exam. If administrators either at the local or IDOE level have violated the protocol, then they should man up and take responsibility for their errors rather than blaming isolated teachers.

Necessary punishment for those responsible is not apparently happening in Plymouth, Indiana. PCS Superintendent Dan Tyree and his school board members did not even address this troubling issue at their 5/17/11 meeting. Instead, they approved the summer school contract for the teacher who reportedly “knowingly or carelessly” violated ISTEP protocol. She is reportedly back in the classroom after a paid suspension. The IDOE ISTEP+ Manual clearly declares these abuses of ISTEP protocol are most serious ethical violations. Yet, seemingly, no serious consequences were enacted. WHY???  Friendships? Political correctness?

The IDOE implies severe discipline is the responsibility of the local school, and the local school says it is the responsibility of the IDOE. Thus, the buck is passed back and forth, and the offender receives an unexpected paid vacation with a hand slap, while our students and entire educational community, including tax payers, suffer the consequences of these serious ISTEP violations.

This inequitable treatment  is especially troublesome when other former PCS employees (believed to be about 20 in number)-- the past few years have been pressured  to resign or been fired for minor or imagined infractions by the same Superintendent who now turns his head to this particular teacher’s serious wrong. These teachers-techies-coaches-custodians’ violations typically violated no PCS policy or any  law, Unlike the still-employed female teacher who committed this far-reaching ISTEP violation, these prior PCS employees’ alleged infractions typically involved no students and cost taxpayers nothing--not even a paid vacation! Their wrong was to dare to question or disagree with the superintendent’s wishes. Public schools are to model democracy, not dictatorships, to our students. That is not happening in Plymouth.

Why would a teacher choose to cheat on ISTEP?  Merit pay has a huge impact...Sadly, some school personnel chose to gain MERIT by believing they are bigger than the rules!  All parents want their children to do their best. Should we  not expect—even demand—the best from our children’s adult leaders? Of course!  Should these teachers be sent to the principal?  No, they should be sent home with no pay.  

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Plymouth Citizen Files Complaint Against Local Prosectuor With Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission After He Allegedly Shirks His Official Duties

Apparently, if you're not one of the elite citizens in Plymouth, Indiana, justice does not apply and justice does not appear to be blind either, at least at the prosecutor's office.  The following is a complaint that was filed against  Prosecutor David R. Holmes with the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission by concerned Plymouth citizens.

With a former school board member on house arrest, and media outlets who didn't find it newsworthy that a school board attorney resigned in disgrace last night, honest Plymouth citizens have no where to turn except to this forum where many are looking in disgust at the ugly corruption and waiting for someone to do something about it.

The following was written by Dare Hawes, a Plymouth community activist and favorite political target of a few elected and appointed leaders whose actions are being questioned by many:

The Supreme Court has stated that one of the most sacred rights citizens have is the right to petition (or appeal to) our government for the redress of (or remedy to) our grievances (or accusations).

As a citizen, we are shocked—and frightened-at how local Marshall County Prosecutor David R. Holmes, a publicly entrusted official, has willfully chosen to ignore this sacred right promised by our Constitution. The sad fact is Mr. Holmes has repeatedly, irresponsibly and unethically covered up and ignored citizens’ persistent cries of alleged criminal wrongs and obvious public corruption by our local school superintendents, as based on legitimate testimony and evidence.

As the Marshall County Prosecutor, Mr. Holmes’ willful choice to not investigate this alleged public crime of computer tampering (a class D felony), believed committed by public school administrators and covered up by both the Plymouth school board and Mr. Holmes—despite the preponderance of evidence and testimony-- is the primary cause of a recent complaint to the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission. This alleged public crime is believed committed by public school administrators Dan Tyree and John Hill and willfully covered up by both the Plymouth school board (Todd Samuelson, Larry Pinkerton, Frank Brubaker, Melissa Christiansen, Larry Holloway---and former member (attorney) Ron Gifford who is presently under house arrest)  and Mr. Holmes.

As is documented  Mr. Holmes has persistently refused to investigate-as recently as 3/14/11-- an alleged criminal wrong committed by public school officials that occurred on October 4, 2007 (and possible other dates) on a Plymouth High School Computer. Testimony and evidence, and professional analysis of an incomplete record clearly indicates computer tampering on a scale of 10 at 9.5. There is no question that probable cause exists based on the testimony and evidence, but Mr. Holmes has absolutely refused to ever once meet with citizen complainants, or to investigate the crime scene. Instead, he willfully misrepresented facts to the State Police stating in his opinion there was nothing to investigate. Do know Holmes’ office staffers—who for obvious reasons do not wish to be identified-- joke that if you ever want to commit a crime, do it in Marshall County as you will never be prosecuted. Sad, but true.

As a result of Mr. Holmes’ willful negligence this alleged criminal act remains unresolved. Despite earnest appeals to the Governor on down to the local mayor, apparently no one has the power or authority—or the politically incorrect leadership-- to investigate this local crime other than Mr. Holmes. Local school administrators have spent well over $25,000 of public monies, seemingly covering up and protecting themselves rather than our school community.

We were advised to elect a new prosecutor to solve the problem. Mr. Holmes ran un-opposed.

Recently on March 14, 2011 at approximately 1:30 PM I met Mr. Holmes for the first time in the court house. I called his name to get his attention, graciously offered my hand and introduced myself. Witnesses were present. Mr. Holmes, a public servant elected by the People, was arrogantly rude. Without provocation of any kind, Mr. Holmes haughtily refused to shake my offered hand, and in violation of professional ethics lied to me about me. This is contemptible behavior for an attorney entrusted by the People to serve the People.

I was at the court house advocating for a minor who Mr. Holmes had brought charges against based on probable cause. This fact, coupled with his repeated, willful refusal to ever even investigate an unsolved criminal act allegedly committed by public school officials as based on probable cause, and his odious behavior upon first meeting me caused me to write yet another letter
to him in regards to the yet-to-be resolved computer tampering crime committed on public school property.

Given Mr. Holmes history of consistently ignoring citizens and willfully refusing to meet or speak with citizens regarding this serious public corruption, I again sent this letter directly to him—but this time I sent it  certified and restricted delivery, as legally advised to do.

 We never received one single response from our local prosecutor to our numerous good faith appeals regarding this suspected crime, as based on significant evidence and testimony. Not one response. This is reprehensible!

Mr. Holmes four times willfully refused this restricted-certified letter regarding an alleged crime.  Four times. His office is two blocks from the USPO. What if this letter had been reporting a murder? Our local prosecutor willfully just shuts his eyes to criminal wrong doing---at least those alleged committed by his politically-correct “friends”--fueling further corrupt and criminal acts in our community.

It is our hope that the Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission will severely discipline Mr. Holmes for the welfare of the citizenry, as well as himself. The alleged public crime he has refused to investigate is like a cancer, fueling numerous other unjust actions by arrogant public school officials.

Dare Hawes et al

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Plymouth School Attorney To Resign; Citizens Demand Answers and Action

Dan Tyree

To: Plymouth Community School Board Members c/o Melissa Christian
CC: IAG Greg Zoeller c/o Staci Schneider; IDOE Superintendent Tony Bennett c/o Long, Bowman,
Re: Inconsistency of Board’s Biased Actions to the detriment of PCS personnel/ community
Date: May 17, 2011
From: Dare Hawes et al

Ed Ruiz’s resignation is on the board agenda for this evening’s meeting. Assumedly, this resignation is the result of Mr. Ruiz’s fully documented unprofessional, unethical conduct as documented in his email exchanges with a Plymouth school patron. Though regretful, such a resignation is only appropriate as based on the facts.

Most regretfully, based on the information made available to myself, you as the PCS board have accepted numerous other resignations of approximately twenty other former PCS staff members in the past four years, wherein these particular resignations were reportedly based on faulty  even “trumped up” reasons by central administrators. Unlike Mr. Ruiz’s basis for dismissal, these reasons for pressured resignations or out right firings were reportedly unjust, biased and made by a few, too powerful central administrators (Dan Tyree and John Hill)  for self-serving not student-serving reasons.  According to the grievous testimony of these personally injured, hard –working, respected individuals—they have been forced out as part of an intentional effort to serve and protect only the self-interests of certain administrators---interests that reflect possible corruption in the administrative practices of this public school community.

The responsibility of these injurious injustices to former respected teachers, coaches, computer techies, and custodians lays squarely in your hands. You are ultimately responsible for the welfare of our school community, and the wrongs committed against these fellow citizens was possible only by your PCS board decisions . . . ..Twenty individuals. Twenty lives. Twenty homes that you have willfully devastated.

You are even more responsible for the willfully unresolved but blatant issue of Dan Tyree’s unprofessional, unethical, corrupt behaviors in—at the least-- his falsified, fully documented letter that he wrote on May 6, 2008. You as a board and as individuals have repeatedly and willfully chosen to ignore these persistent., significantly  substantiated allegations of--at the very least-- professional misconduct  that were consistently and properly brought to you privately; and then because of your repeated refusal to respond responsibly—these citizens’ valid complaints were forced to be brought to you publicly. You willfully chose to let citizens’ validated public requests for an investigation of  Mr. Tyree’s despicable conduct  regarding pornography die for lack of a motion, while you then immediately thereafter with adulation rolled over his contract. This indeed was bizarre, irrational  conduct by yourselves.

PCS Superintendent Dan Tyree’s contemptible fully documented actions of accessing, selecting, and then printing approximately 304 pages of 8 x 10” color pornography on OUR public school computers, using public school paper, on public school time, with the assistance of a public school female secretary is most despicable behavior of a most public role model for our children and community—especially when these conniving actions were perpetuated in an effort to further falsely accuse another individual. John Oliver wrote  Dan Tyree “You are the highest public profile figure in Marshall County. The rules are different for you.” Mr. Oliver is right. The rules should be higher and stricter for publicly entrusted leaders . . . ..especially to those to whom we entrust our children.

How come, dear PCS board members, have you as individuals consistently and willfully chosen to ignore these glaring unethical behaviors of our school superintendent, while you  choose blindly and consistently  to endorse continued wrongs on (now-former) PCS employees who have faithfully served our school community honorably-- by forcing their resignations solely at the command of one who has not proven to be trustworthy? Tonight, please do the right thing for our community. Address this corruption or resign.

And please note, state offiicals have been no more responsible than you thus far in addressing these disturbing issues in our public schools--to the harm of all our public welfare. You all should be ashamed of yourselves.

FYI this appeal is being sent to concerned citizens via Mrs. Vice’s blog  due to your historical chosen silence to citizens’ justified pleas, and since our local small-town paper and radio appear by their actions to be blindly biased.

With all due respect,

Dare Hawes et al

Friday, May 13, 2011

Guest Column: John Oliver's Threats to A Private Citizen

In response to my May 8th blog outing John Oliver in the Plymouth corruption mess, more "bullying" has come to light. He is particularly interested in silencing citizen Dare Hawes, and continues to slander her in the process. It seems Mr. Oliver is threatened by Mrs. Hawes' quiet but persistent effort to hold school administrators accountable to follow the law for the welfare of her community. I have read some of Mr. Oliver's previous letters to Mrs. Hawes over the years--each of the same degree of mental capacity. Their most recent exchange reveals both Mr. Oliver's and Mrs. Hawes' true character.

In a certified letter sent by John Oliver to Dare Hawes dated May 3, 2011 he said:

"Dare, despite my demand that you cease using me in your conspiracy theories you continue to do so.

This is my last demand before I take more assertive action. Be assured if you include me in ANY furture rumor, theory or other concoction to advance your hatred and hypocrisy I will do all in my power to stop your vicious attempts to smear my name and character.

Stop. Now."

John J. Oliver

Mrs. Hawes has shared that she recalls no demands made by Mr. Oliver and that his concern about any so-called "conspiracy theory" is bizarre. Does Mr. Oliver care to explain himself? Professionally, and as a gentleman?

Hawes' immediate, gracious response to his letter follows:

Dear John:

Thank you for your threatening letter received today--it provided some welcome information.  However, would you please provide evidence of my using you in "conspiracy theories" ---as I have no clue to what you are emotionally referring. I deal in facts and documentation, John. Other than repeating what numerous other citizens have often stated, and what is a common belief in the community, that you "own the paper and the radio station" --and exercise great power and influence over folks who give you that power, what have I in fact said that is "hateful and full of hypocrisy" or part of a conspiracy theory?  I would sincerely like to know  from documented evidence. If I am proven guility of such actions/ words---I will sincerely publicly apologize to you. If instead you are simply ruffled because I have said things that you do not like to hear or that you disagree with, or frighten you---or that you don't wish other folks to know--that is your problem not mine.

FYI--as to the local paper and radio being influenced, I just learned to day--as is fully documented-- that most if not all emails I have ever sent to Kathy Bottoroff (WTCA radio) or the Pilot News via Carol Anders, have been sent straight to  Dan (Tyree--PCS Superintendent), and I thus assume made available to you. Your emails to Dan have been most revealing, I might add. Disturbing might be a better word.

Seeking only to do the hard right rather than the easy wrong for our community in these two specific educational issues--alleged computer tampering and roofing scams---an endeavor which I wish you would join me on rather than oppose...... 

Most sincerely,


Sunday, May 8, 2011

U. S. Granules CEO Threatens Private Citizens With "Silver Bullet" While Insulting Others in Emails to Superintendent Dan Tyree

John J. Oliver, Sr.
Small towns sometimes breed the biggest bullies, and some Plymouth residents say those bullies are spoiling their quaint, little hometown.

I've been told that one such bully is John J. Oliver, Sr., President of U.S. Granules, located in Plymouth, Indiana.  Oliver is also a good friend of another purported town bully, Plymouth School Superintendent Dan Tyree.  I've also been told that the town bullies love to wield their perceived power around town and that Oliver is very generous with his money when it comes to doling it out to friends and political allies.

I had no reason to doubt these reports since they came from several individuals over the past few weeks, but the real proof for me came in the form of emails that I finally received this week after making a public records request well over a month ago.

On March 12, 2011, an email exchange was initiated by WTCA radio personnel to John Oliver, which was forwarded to Dan Tyree with this note by Oliver. 

"Anything you want me to talk about before you appear on the show on the 31st?, asked Oliver.  "By the way, John Stone is a certified asshole!"

[Stone is a private citizen in Plymouth who had the audacity to raise questions about the roofing controversy.  Don't folks in Plymouth know they should fork over their tax dollars and never ask questions as to how those dollars are spent?!  Maybe John Stone should talk to a good lawyer.]

"Yes, I will get you some information," replied Tyree.

A couple days later, on March 14, 2011, Tyree wrote to WTCA radio personnel about the roofing controversy:

"I talked with Jennifer Houin last night and gave her the bids for the materials in question.  We took the best bid and she knows that now.  The Blog is comparing a lesser quality product.  I will have this all ready to lay out for folks on the show after break.  I just wanted to keep you in the loop.  Is there anyone else I should touch base with.  I'm not calling John Stone.  He doesn't listen to logic.  His wife is a different story.  She's pretty smart."

Perhaps what Tyree is really saying is that John doesn't listen to lies since a comparison of roofing materials that were purchased by Tyree would reveal that all are equally comparable products, and in some cases, exact products manufactured at the same plant!  Sounds like John Stone is a pretty smart guy to question the foolish actions of Tyree and the boys.

I can't say the same about the media personnel in Plymouth since they served more as cheerleaders for Tyree rather than independent, unbiased journalists.  In fact, the radio and newspaper personnel involved in this story should be embarrassed and ashamed by their lack of professionalism.

Here's a reply from to Tyree:

"Sounds great.  I was shocked when I saw it, believe it or not, three people sent this to me.  I was surprised by those who are believing this."

Looks like the news gal already had her mind made up and it is obvious she wasn't going to be bothered with any facts.  I think the people of Plymouth deserve better than this.

Oh, and by the way, I doubt the folks at Johns Manville, a Fortune 500 Company owned by Berkshire Hathaway, are taking too kindly to Tyree calling their products "lesser quality."  Had Tyree purchased roofing materials from Manville, Carlisle, or Firestone, taxpayers could have saved approximately $300,000!  This was discovered after making an apples to apples comparison.  No amount of spinning the truth will change those facts.

Tyree consulted with John J. Oliver, Sr. again on April 5, 2011.  During the email exchange, Tyree wrote, "I made the decision this weekend that I will no longer write a reaction to anything on my Blog or hers.  What are your thoughts about ending comments on my Blog this Friday since the comments have strayed to other subjects?"

Oliver responds with vulgarities and a very chilling offer:

"I tend to agree with Sarah, DH and DV are trolls and need to be fed.  Cut off their nourishment and they're left to hump each other.  The very thought nauseates," wrote Oliver.

Oliver continues, "I applaud your ability to think beyond your instincts.  Stick with Sargent Friday's dictum...Just the facts, Ma'am...and let the rest have at it.  You're the highest public profile figure in Marshall County.  The rules are different for you.  There are times when Sammy [presumably Todd Samuelson] frustrates me but he is a good study for how to avoid public skirmishes.  My fear for him is that he decides to say F*ck It"."

"If you have any silver bullet you want fired, let me know if/how I can help."

Since DH and DV obviously refer to Dare Hawes and myself, I take this chilling statement seriously.  I consider it a threat, and it has been reported to the proper authorities.

Oliver has since sent Dare Hawes a certified letter that includes veiled threats against her if she does not cease and desist speaking out against what she believes is corrupt activity in her town.  The way she has been treated by town officials is reprehensible.

Dare Hawes, and anyone else for that matter, has a right to petition the government for a redress of grievances without fear of being harassed, bullied, or threatened.

The fact that the Marhsall County prosecutor and school officials have blocked her ability to do so is a blatant violation of her sacred Constitutional rights.  Returning letters of grievances without reading them and blocking email access for one individual should not be tolerated.

If anyone has grounds to sue it would be Dare Hawes for the despicable way she has been slandered, harassed, and intimidated by a few town bullies!  I've given her the name of a good attorney, and I hope that she considers suing for justice.

Both Oliver and Tyree should be investigated for intimidation and harassment. 

Mr. Oliver,  you remind me of Mr. Potter's nasty character in the movie, "It's a Wonderful Life."   You can take your silver bullet and your bloated British ego and shove it, because I will not tolerate your attempts at intimidation, which have been construed by those on the receiving end as criminal actions.  You and your buddy Dan may want to brush up on Indiana's laws concerning harassment and intimidation.  I'll make it easy for you.  Click this.

And furthermore, I wonder how your customers at U.S. Granules would react to your nasty, crass, and threatening emails?

This is not England, Mr. Oliver.  You live in America, and we threw King George and his tyrannical attitude out over 200 years ago.

You might think you're a big fish in a little pond, Mr. Oliver, but there are much bigger fish in much bigger ponds who read this blog.  Everyday.  

There's one thing your money cannot buy, Mr. Oliver, and that is respect.  I am one of many who have no respect whatsoever for you or what you stand for.

And to the good people of Plymouth, Indiana:  Don't you think it's about time you stood up to the bullies and take your town back from those who have tarnished its image?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Barnes & Thornburg Attorney, Jeff Qualkinbush, Finds Himself Embroiled in Tremco Roofing Controversy....Again!

Jeff Qualkinbush
I guess Barnes & Thornburg Attorney, Jeff Qualkinbush, didn't learn his lesson after he gave faulty legal advice to the Wilson Education Center in the Tremco-AEPA no-bid debacle that resulted in his being fired by the ESC as well as the ultimate demise of the no-bid scheme after the Attorney General issued his official opinion that it is illegal to circumvent state bidding laws.

Imagine my surprise when I read the following email dated February 10, 2011 written by Qualkinbush to Plymouth's Assistant Superintendent Rodger Smith:

As Doug Copley stated, I have reviewed the relevant law and facts at the request of Tremco and believe the purchase of the roofing materials for the three school facilities are permitted to be purchased from Tremco under the prices offered in its contract with the General Services Administration in accordance with the provisions of Indiana code Title 5, Article 22, Chapter 10, Section 14, as amended.  Accordingly, please find attached to this e-mail in pdf the full packet of materials I believe support the use of this special purchase exception along with the recommended written document that Mr. Schoof, as the purchasing agent for the School Corporation would date, sign and keep on file.  I have also attached this same written document in Word to this e-mail in case you wish to print a cleaner copy for his signature.  I would be happy to discuss this matter with you tomorrow or early next week if you have any questions or concerns regarding this matter.  However, I am unable to do so today as I will be in several meetings beginning in just a few minutes for the remainder of the day.  Thank you for your cooperation and have a great day.

Jeffrey J. Qualkinbush, Esquire
Barnes & Thornburg LLP
11 South Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN  36204

Where do I begin?  First of all, this is a Tremco attorney, so there is an apparent conflict-of-interest for school officials to be receiving advice from him on this highly controversial matter.

Secondly, Qualkinbush is flat wrong....AGAIN...just like he was wrong when he told his multiple clients that it was legal to circumvent bidding laws via Educational Service Centers.  The State Board of Accounts has issued multiple citations against school corporations for following Qualkinbush's advice, and the Attorney General issued an official opinion in 2008 stating that it was illegal for schools to do the types of things that Qualkinbush gave his clients the green light to do.  In the end, Qualkinbush was fired by the Wilson Education Center after the entire no-bid scheme went down in flames.

The law Qualkinbush cites is not a license for school districts to circumvent the state's strict bidding laws.  It reads that "A purchasing agent may make a purchase from a person when the purchasing agent determines in writing that (1) supplies can be purchased from the person or the person's authorized representative at prices equal to or less than the prices stipulated in current federal supply service schedules established by the federal General Services Administration; and (2) it is advantageous to the governmental body's interest in efficiency and economy."

This in no way allows schools to circumvent bidding laws, and more importantly, the Plymouth School District has not received any product for equal or less price.  In fact, the school district spent approximately $400,000 for equal materials that could have been purchased for $100,000.

Plymouth taxpayers have been scammed by some of the same schemers who were involved in the first go around, only this time their excuses are even flimsier.

I'd invite Mr. Qualkinbush to refresh his memory by reading this lengthy audit report that resulted after he gave out faulty legal advice in the AEPA/Tremco no-bid scheme.   I'd invite Plymouth taxpayers to read through the report as well since it provides an overview of Indiana's bidding laws that were ignored by Plymouth school officials.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Federal Stimulus Money Used for Plymouth Roofing Projects...An Opening for a Federal Investigation?

Taxpayers have been told over the years that it would take a federal link for the FBI to get involved in investigating the no-bid roofing controversies in Indiana.  It appears that an opening exists for such an investigation as federal stimulus monies were used to secure roofing projects at the Plymouth school district that have recently come under fire by taxpayers.

Here's an email dated August 3, 2010 written by Rodger Smith to Tremco's Doug Copley.  Now, why would Smith feel the need to announce the fact that Plymouth received $4.175 million dollars for roofing projects to a Tremco rep?  This tells me the process was not fair from the beginning.  These emails are priceless and will no doubt be used as evidence if taxpayers decide to sue the school district.

To:  Rodger Smith, Plymouth
From Doug Copley, Tremco
Date:  August 3, 2010
Re:  Funding

Hi Rodger -
I can't believe how fast summer is going-although it will be good to get rid of our boys and send them back to college...
I'm sitting down in Kokomo, at Western Schools, and heard that they received the $2.0 mil this morning.  I was just curious as to when you expect to find out?
Talk to you soon.

To:  Doug Copley, Tremco
From:  Rodger Smith, Plymouth
Date:  August 3, 2010

I just looked it up on the website, we got $4.175m, the amount we requested.

To:  Rodger Smith, Plymouth
From:  Doug Copley, Tremco
Date:  August 3, 2010

Awesome news!

To:  Rodger Smith, Plymouth

From Doug Copley, Tremco
Date:  August 3, 2010
Re:  Funding

To:  Doug Copley
From:  Rodger Smith, Plymouth
Date:  August 4, 2010
re:  Funding

I don't know if I had ever shown you the attached, this is the summary of projects that I requested for the QSCB.  Roofing is about $2.5m or 60% of the $4.2m.  We have already completed some of this work with this summers projects, so, we'll want to start talking about what is next in line for roofing or where I can shift some of the money that was designated to roofing for some other use (I knew you wouldn't want to hear that!).

We are going to be setting up a meeting of the principal players in our project; architect, engineer, financial advisor, bond counsel.  With Tremco being such a big part of the project we may need to have you in on that meeting.  As you know these $ come with federal strings attached.

See you tomorrow.


Reply from Copley on August 4, 2010:

Perfect.  I don't know Dan very well and would appreciate the time with the three of you guys.


Reply from Rodger dated August 4, 2010:

Sounds good.  I'll line up Dan Tyree and Dave Schoof to go along if that's OK?

Reply from Doug dated August 4, 2010:

That sounds good.  How about if I pick you up at 11:30?

Questionable Emails Cast Shadow on Plymouth Roofing Projects

Here are more email exchanges between Tremco's Doug Copley and Plymouth School officials from last summer.  The emails speak for themselves.  The conflict-of-interests are blaring, and the fact that the plans had been in the works for two years is unbelievable!  So much for a fair process!  The fact that a Tremco rep is offering help with the financial planning for roof projects should raise big red flags for taxpayers!

August 4, 2010
From:  Doug Copley (Tremco)
To:  Rodger Smith, Plymouth Schools

Hi Rodger-

Thanks for a copy of the paperwork.  I appreciate your cc'ng me in as it is both interesting and helpful.

I'd love to be involved with the planning team.  You are exactly right with the point that roofing is a big part of the project and thus should have representation.  Also, since we've been planning for this for nearly two years, I can easily help you move the portion of the funds that were used on roofing, this summer, over to another project.

With this, I appreciate all of your support and look forward to seeing you guys tomorrow!

Doug Copley

Here's an interesting one that warrants further investigation.  Indiana law requires school districts to employ independent architects to design a project.  The fact that the roofing company is involved in securing an architect should raise giant red flags!!  Taxpayers should demand a full accounting of this smelly process.  It really stinks to high heaven!

August 23, 2010
To:  Rodger Smith
From:  Doug Copley, Tremco

Hi Rodger-

I hope you had a good weekend!

I wanted to let you know that two of the local AIA's who previously signed up for the reduced (roof) fee structure are CSA Architects and Design Collaborative.  CSA has done a significant amount of AEPA work and are extremely qualified in roofing.  In turn, Design Collaborative is also very good.  In my opinion, either firm would do a good job.  I'm sure there are other AIA's who will accept the reduced fee structure, but it will take me a little while to double check.

I spoke to CSA on Saturday and they confirmed that the fee for the Plymouth roof project would be $11,000.  Based on the size and scope of the project, I'm very pleased with the amount.

Please let me know if Jane or Kurt have any questions and I appreciate you letting me sit in on the conference call!


Well, Jane and Kurt may not have had any questions, but I sure do.  If Tremco helped write the specs as indicated in earlier emails, what services did the architect provide for $11,000?  Did he stamp a project that he did not write specs for?  I think those are valid questions.  Would you mind answering them, Doug?  We're all ears.  Oh, and by the way, for those new to this issue, the AEPA that was mentioned stands for Association of Educational Purchasing Agencies.  It was the mechanism used to rip off taxpayers by Educational Service Centers until the Attorney General put a stop to the illegal practice.

To:  Doug Copley, Tremco
From:  Rodger Smith, Plymouth
Date:  August 17, 2010

Your ears must have been burning, I was going to call you today.  The telephone conference will be at 1PM on Thursday.  Do you want to join us here or I can send you the conference call info to call in?

Hi Rodger-
I hope school is off to a good start!
I wanted to check in with you to see if you've decided on a date for the (construction) project committee?
Thanks Rodger and I'll talk to you soon.
Doug Copley

To:  D Schoof, Plymouth
From: Doug Copley
Date:  September 2, 2010

Hi Dave-
I just wanted to let you know that a few guys (and me) will need to be on the High School, Middle School and Jefferson roofs tomorrow.  I'll check in at each place, but I wanted to give you a heads up.

Let me know if you have time to grab some lunch.  I'd like you to meet one of the guys (Rick Gibson) if at all possible.  Rodger knows him and he's a good guy.

Thanks Dave!


To:  Rodger Smith
From:  Doug Copley, Tremco
Date:  September 8, 2010

Hi Rodger-
I wanted to see if you'd have a few minutes to grab a sandwich?  We performed the infrared (thermography) last night at Lincoln and PHS and I wanted to update you on the good news.


More emails to come as time permits...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Plymouth School Officials Engaged in Behind-the-Scenes Activity With Tremco Rep. Was an open bid process compromised?

Dan Tyree
Taxpayers are wondering if the bid process for school roof jobs at Plymouth Schools was really open and honest since eyebrow raising emails were disclosed after this blogger made a public access request for the public records.

The first email was written on August 23, 2010.  Doug Copley, a Tremco sales rep wrote to Dave Schoof and Rodger Smith of Plymouth Schools:

Hi Dave-

I hope you had a nice weekend!  I guess they're all good!

Per our conversation, attached you will find the federal Davis Bacon wage scale for Marshall County.  I'd be happy to sit down with you in order to help develop the same style specifications that we'll be using on the roofing end.  We use a "master spec" format which is very easy for contractors to use and a tool that will help you receive, qualified, apples to apples bids.

Please let me know if you'd like to work together on this.

Thanks Dave!

Doug Copley
Tremco, Incorporated

Don't you think it's inappropriate for a Tremco rep to "help" develop specifications?  Is it legal?  Is it any wonder Tremco got the work?  Is it any wonder that Indiana roofing manufacturers are complaining about being shut out of the competition?  Oh, but there's more....lots more....

Doug Copley (Tremco) to Rodger Smith (Plymouth Schools) on October 27, 2010:

Hi Rodger-

I hope you're doing well!  It sure is starting to feel like fall, doesn't it?  Fall's not bad, it's just that nasty season that follows really stinks!

I wanted to see if you wanted to have a roof update meeting?  I have some pretty solid data regarding how much we'll be able to save and wondered if you wanted to talk about it prior to the 11-18 meeting?  I could do lunch Tuesday if you'd have a few minutes?

Thanks Rodger!

Doug Copley, Tremco

Doug Copley Tremco to Dave Schoof on November 28, 2010:

Hi Dave-

Hope you had a great turkey day!  It was nice to see ND get a road win over USC.

I wanted to see if you'd have time to meet to go over the spec?  I'd like to help with your portion.


Doug Copley, Tremco

Now, I just bet that Doug would like to help with the spec that he wants to bid on, but how ethical would that be?  School officials apparently aren't letting a little thing like ethics get in the way of their tax and spend spree.

Here's an interesting email exchange between Rodger Smith and Tremco's Doug Copley dated January 20, 2011.  I'm assuming the Mr. Palmer that is referenced is a sales rep for Tremco competitor, Johns Manville.  Copley also lists a phone number for a Lawmaster rep.  Lawmaster is Tremco's subcontractor who was recently awarded the roof work for Plymouth Schools.  Looks like tangled webs were being spun back in January.

"Hi Rodger-

Glad to hear the IT issues are squared away!  I'm not exactly "Mr Techy" thus I'm happy to hear it was an issue with your server (as opposed to a virus or problem with my computer).  Needless to say, computers are great when they work!

Per our conversation, attached you will find the revised "Mr. Palmer Feedback".  Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

Lee Anglin's (Lawmasters) number is 574-320-5653.

Thanks Rodger!

Doug Copley

Here's another email from Copley wherein he discusses running over budget on the High School project.  That's interesting since it hadn't even been put out for public bid yet.

Good Morning Rodger

It sure feels like fall this morning, eh...My windshield was completely frosted over...lovely.

While preparing for Thursday night's meeting, a question arose.  I'm wondering if we run a little over on the HS project, but under on Lincoln and Jefferson, will we be ok?  I wasn't exactly sure if we need to stick to the numbers, originally designated for each building, or if we simply need to be under the total number?  Lastly, what time would you like me to arrive on Thursday?

Thanks Rodger!

Doug Copley, Tremco

Reply from Smith to Copley:

A little over or under won't be a problem.  We will need to stick to the over all total, but we will have the contingency funds that were budgeted for much higher design costs.
The meeting starts at 7:00 PM, the hearing will be later in the agenda so just plan to be here shortly before 7. Remember we want the info to be short and sweet.  You and Dave will handle the project.  Technically the hearing is only about PHS but answering questions about any roof is OK.

This is part I in a series.  The emails to come are even more revealing!  Just wait until you hear who the Indy attorney was that said this was legal.  Hint:  He was the same attorney who advised Tremco and the Wilson Education Center that the AEPA/ESC no-bid scheme was legal, and the same one who was paid handsomely by Tremco.  How do you spell conflict-of-interest?

Find out which prominent Plymouth citizen has been advising Tyree behind the scenes and what has he been saying about others that he might not want them to hear?  Who did he threaten with a "silver bullet?"

Find out who helped Plymouth School officials apply for federal stimulus money to be used for the overpriced roofs.

Which former Plymouth School Superintendent was sent by Dan Tyree on a mission to dig up dirt on this blogger and what did he report back? 

It's news you won't get anywhere else, especially since the emails also reveal that Plymouth media personnel are also in league with school officials behind the scenes.  There's scandal after scandal just waiting to be reported.  It's too bad Plymouth citizens can't count on their local media to print the truth.

Citizens of Plymouth may want to Google search the term, "Qui Tam."  I hear there's talk of filing one against your school district soon.