Below is an excerpt from the Harrisburg Authority (THA) Board meeting audio files, June 21, 2001.
At this meeting, THA financial advisor Milt Lopus announced to Board members Trent Hargrove, Chair; Fred Clark; Leonard House; and John Keller that he was working on a resolution to enact a financial transaction to refund a 1992 Harrisburg School District bond issued by THA, estimated not to exceed $7 million. Lopus explains to the Board the refund will only proceed with the joint approval of THA Board, the School Board of Control, and the School Board of Directors. Lopus declares the savings to the Board would be $180,000.
However, to the Board Chair's aggravation, the Resolution the Board is being asked to vote on is not on the agenda, nor has it been given to the Executive Director or Board members for review prior to the vote.
When Board members asked general counselor Rhodes and Sinon attorney J. Bruce Walter for specific information about fees, costs of issuance, and the inclusion of John Norton of Paradyme Corporate Advisors as financial advisor, Walter explains he's unable to give them that information because he didn't have those details for the Board since the deal had been put forth less than 24 hours before by Mayor Stephen Reed.
At the urge to proceed to vote, THA Chair Trent Hargrove expressed concern about not only the lack of Board review, but also the ethical issues associated with the fact that at the time, both he and Fred Clark served not only on THA Board, but also on the School Board of Control. Hargrove says, "I think those are legitimate issues."
To placate the tension, Executive Director suggests the Board bring forth a resolution to permit the Chair to act on the resolution to approve the school debt issue based on review by THA solicitor at a later date.
Upon Clark's suggestion, Hargrove abstains from the vote, and the resolution is passed with the agreement of all other THA Board members.
Part 2-- "This just walked in the door"
Part 3-- "Issues are arising on this deal"
by Tara Leo Auchey
photos by Natalie Cake