Corruption in Cass County, Fargo and the FMDA (Fargo Moorhead Dam and FM Diversion Authority) is as prevalent as manure at a pig farm and all the hogs are lined up at the trough.
On Monday May 15, 2017 the CCJWRD (Cass County Joint Water Resource) began running a 58+ page public notice in the Fargo Forum and the Wahpeton Daily News on what is easily recognized as the most corruptly gerrymandered vote conducted by Imperial Fargo – Cass to date.
The vote, which occurred in the March-April 2015, was floated as a property tax assessment, wherein property owners were duped into “co-signing” a $725 million loan for FMDA (Fargo Dam and FM Diversion) related activities “just in case” the sales taxes, that were recently extended to 2085, don’t cover the Fargo’s development plan disguised as flood control.
So why publish the list now? Generally speaking, it is part of the process in certifying an assessment where final costs are generally known – not some future “what if” scenario and absolutely NO FINAL costs. Despite claims by officials that the assessments are only theoretical at this point, history has proven time and time again that anything downplayed by an official becomes a near certainty.
According to CCJWRD (minutes) from October 27, 2016 – Eric Dodds (AE2S) stated staff and consultants met on September 29, 2016, to discuss the publishing requirements for the assessment list regarding FM Flood Risk Management District No. 1.
View or Download: 2016-10-27 CCJWRD Minutes
Nearly 4.5 months passed and Eric Dodds (AE2S) and Sean Fredericks (Ohnstad Twichell) updated the Board on the publishing requirements for the assessment list regarding FM Flood Risk Management District No. 1. Chairman Brodshaug (CCJWRD) requested Mr. Fredricks (Ohnstad Twichell) send the publishing requirements to the Board for review.
View or Download: 2017-03-09 CCJWRD Minutes
The name alone speaks prophetic volumes: “FM FLOOD RISK MANAGEMENT DISTRICT NO. 1”
Enumerating the very first vote as “NO.1” suggests that the groundwork for NO.2, NO.3…etc have already been considered.
The thing that is most corrupt is the voters DID NOT support the assessment vote but Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney had the temerity to lie and claim they had. Of course, this is the same Tim Mahoney that used Fargo letterhead to intimidate business owners into supporting the assessment by suggesting “the media will be interested in how organizations voted.” Mahoney went so far as to suggest that ballots already turned in could/should be changed to YES by contacting the CCJWRD. Is it even legal to change a vote once it has been cast?
View and Download: 2015-04-08 Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney letter to Business Owners
What leaves a person scratching their head is WHY did Mahoney bother with the narcissistic veiled threat when the entire assessment vote has been rigged in favor of the project with only 2 ballots.
I’m not using the word “RIGGED” lightly. You read it right…, of the 50,132 ballots allegedly mailed by the CCJWRD, it all boiled down to only 2 ballots.
|Cass County Commission:||241,666,667 property value votes|
|Fargo City Commission:||185,285,581 property value votes|
|Total:||426,942,248 property value votes|
This all started with DPAC (Diversion Project Assessment Committee) meetings that met in relative anonymity for nearly 2 years.
DPAC Members that Voted Unanimously for Assessment District
Mark Brodshaug, Cass County Joint Water Resource District
Dan Jacobson, Cass County Joint Water Resource District
Rodger Olson, Cass County Joint Water Resource District
Michael R. Buringrud, Cass County Joint Water Resource District
Raymond Wolfer, Cass County Joint Water Resource District
Mark Bittner, Fargo Director of Engineering
Pat Zavoral, Fargo City Administrator
Kent Costin, City of Fargo Director of Finance
Mary Scherling, Cass County Commissioner
Michael Montplaisir, Cass County Auditor
Jim Brownlee, West Fargo City Administrator
There was little to no media coverage of DPAC meetings, which left property owners oblivious to the commiseration and decisions affecting them and potential tax liabilities being orchestrated against their properties.
On January 23, 2014 – Rocky Schneider of AE2S recommended to DPAC that indirect benefits be assigned. Mary Scherling moved that DPAC usurp two-thirds of property owners vote representation and transfer it to local governing entities.
Don’t forget, Rocky Scheider and Mary Scherling are carrying the water for the $16,500 in PAC money they received, during the 2012 County Commission Race, from the Realtors PAC of ND and the North Dakota Association of Builders.
Here is where it gets interesting.
To date, over $1.1 million has been spent contriving and publishing “FM FLOOD RISK MANAGEMENT DISTRICT NO. 1” and over $6.2 million on finding ways to fund the boondoggle and over $2.3 million in interest and bank fees for loans taken without voter approval. $9,734,051.83 as of April 30, 2017.
Of course the CCJWRD put on the big show with 4 public meetings in March 2015, but it was all for show because AE2S and Ohnstad Twichell had found a way for DPAC to illegitimately subvert and pervert property rights and force funding for the FMDA agenda.
At the “highly attended” (sarcasm intended) March 10, 2015 public meeting attendees were blessed with another pro-project pep rally before getting to the nuts and bolts of the proposed assessment district.
Call it ironic, but the very first question asked was a question that I turned in.
Question: “If 100 percent of residential votes oppose the assessment would it still pass?”
Come on Rocky Schneider, “…haven’t personally looked at what the breakout is…”, this was the proposal you presented to the DPAC committee.
Wait…, it gets better…
PLEASE!!! Roger Olsen, are you serious? …”there’s no guarantees on how any one of the indirect benefited (local government) areas will vote”… The DPAC board you served on contrived a way to ensure only 2 ballots would ensure the FM FLOOD RISK MANAGEMENT DISTRICT NO.1 would pass.
At the very least, we have to thank Roger Olsen for publicly confirming that the Cass County Commission completely disregarded their constituents and conspired against property owners to impose a tax assessment without their consent. Would that be malfeasance or misfeasance? Elected officials certainly owe a duty of care to property owners.
Just when you don’t think it can get any “deeper”…
Rocky Scheider, who are you trying fool…? “…your local government is pretty good at paying their bills…”
Guess what Rocky…, “WE THE PEOPLE” pay the bills…, not the local government.
The entire FMDA project is SPEND, SPEND, SPEND. It is a development scheme and land grab that only serves to increase the cost of living in Fargo and Cass county. Fargo and Cass county are positioning future generations to experience the financial woes of Stockton, CA.
Think about it…, the entire FM FLOOD RISK MANAGEMENT DISTRICT NO. 1 is a “just in case measure”, based on a $1.78 billion price tag, being used to leverage against sales taxes that were extended to the year 2085, to get a better rate on borrowing money, which creates more debt, on a project price tag that has ZERO chance of remaining at the $2.126 billion (as of Feb 2016).
The truly despicable aspect of the entire DPAC – FM FLOOD RISK MANAGEMENT DISTRICT NO. 1 scam is it a prime example of taxation without representation.
Here is how:
Cass County is comprised of around 1,131,520 acres.
According to the CCJWRD the FM FLOOD RISK MANAGEMENT DISTRICT NO. 1 is comprised of 86,862.64 acres.
The remaining 1,044,657.36 acres in Cass County did not get a ballot to cast their vote with their value, but are expected to shoulder the costs and balance of the assessment district not assigned to the 86,862.64 acres that were given the opportunity to vote.
The ballot deadline was April 30, 2015 – but the Cass County Commissioners defied their constituents and not only voted on March 16, 2015, casting $241,666,667 votes (33.3 percent) in favor of the assessment, they voted before many property owners received their ballots.
View and Download: 03-16-2015 Cass County Commission (voted without consent of property owners)
Cass County Commission Members that Defied Constituent re: Assessment District
Arland H Rasmussen
Usurping or Compromising a property owners vote is tantamount to economic terrorism because it uses coercion and intimidation, especially against property owners, in the pursuit of Fargo and Cass County political agenda relating to the FMDA project.
If the local governments had apportioned the ballot in a correct manner, meaning they should have waited to see what constituents wanted and then assigned the correct percentage of YES and NO vote accordingly, the assessment would have failed.
According to the Fargo Forum there was 623 million returned votes for all voting classes.
Here is how the vote would have looked, has local officials voted according to their constituents:
|Should the Cass County Joint Water Resource District proceed with the creation of the FM Flood Risk Management District No. 1 Assessment District as described herein?|
|Total Returned Votes||623,000,000 votes|
Corrupt, dishonest, unscrupulous, dishonorable, unprincipled, unethical, amoral, untrustworthy, venal, underhanded, double-dealing, fraudulent, bribable, criminal, illegal, unlawful, nefarious; crooked, shady, dirty, sleazy…, what is the best term to describe what happened?
Even the devil would sleep with one eye open around these guys…
The is a window of opportunity for property owner included in the FM Flood Risk Management District No. 1 Assessment District.
North Dakota laws only allow the State of North Dakota, and the North Dakota State Engineer to do any act that would dam a navigable stream. Simply put, it would be illegal for Cass County Joint Water Resource District to dam the Red River of the North. See specifically, N.D.C.C. § 32-15-02(11). See also, N.D.C.C. § 61-16.1-38 which mandates the existence of an application for the construction of any dike, dam, or other device, along with complete plans and specifications, “must be presented first to the state engineer.” See also, N.D.A.C. Article 89-08.
The Cass County Joint Water Resource District will conduct the:
Assessment Hearing regarding FM Flood Risk Management District No. 1
Tuesday, June 6, 2017, at 5:30 p.m.
1800 North University Drive
Fargo, North Dakota
Within 10 days of the assessment hearing on June 6, 2017 affected landowners and/or any political subdivision subject to assessment, having not less than twenty-five percent of the possible votes, as determined by section 61-16.1-20, who believe that the assessment had not been fairly or equitably made, or that the project is not properly located or designed, may appeal to the state engineer by petition, within ten days after the hearing on assessments, to make a review of the assessments and to examine the location and design of the proposed project.
This means the City of West Fargo, which cast 45 million NO votes, could file an appeal to remove the potential assessment liability for their constituents. Could the same be said for the 10.9 million votes for Briarwood, Frontier, Harwood, Horace, North River, Prairie Rose, Reiles Acres and the townships of Barnes, Berlin, Harwood, Mapleton, Pleasant, Raymond, Reed, Stanley, Warren and Wiser?
Here are files relating to an appeal: