Thursday, February 5, 2009

Municipal Auditor Reports on Infamous Shed Giveaway

It was “probably not the best thing to do, ” stated Municipal Auditor, Drew Harmon reporting to Roanoke City Council on Monday. Harmon gave a synopsis of his finding and will distribute his final report this week.

The 5600 square foot shed was built as temporary equipment storage during construction of the Special Events Center in 2002. It was designed in-house by engineers to eliminate disturbance of the asphalt parking area.

Darlene Burcham, City Manager, said Sharon Gentry; the city’s purchasing manager felt significant pressure to have the shed removed following completion of the Special Events Center in 2007. “The parking spaces were sorely needed for events,” said Burcham.

Harmon estimated that to reconstruct the shed at another location would have cost $35,000 to $40,000. It was offered to Public Works and the school system. Both declined the offer due to the substantial cost involved in moving it. After unsuccessful attempts to sell the shed Gentry gave it to her father, Bobby Twine, owner of BT Paving Company who paid $2,000 for the permit to remove it. It now lies in a state of significant deterioration behind Twine’s barn.

Harmon said that 101 inquires were documented meticulously and there were no written offers for the shed. He pointed out there was no profit made and Twine’s $2,000 cost for the permit came out of his pocket.

However, Harmon said that the relationship with Gentry was not disclosed until May 11th, 2007, about a month after the shed was taken away in April. Burcham said she did not have knowledge of the circumstances in advance and administrative action had been taken. Burcham did not elaborate but said that there was no doubt that the relationship between Gentry and Twine was not disclosed.

Councilman Court Rosen found it “staggering that it [the relationship] was not disclosed” and that the city should “lead by example” when it came to such matters.
Harmon concluded that there was no intended misappropriation though it was “not a wise thing to do.”

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Finance, Roanoke City Politics



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