Newberry Springs' Legal Fees Mount
Over Fire Truck • Little Recovery Expected

New home of Newberry Springs fire truck - Deer Trail Rural Fire Protection District in Colorado.

Newberry CSD caught sleeping in massive scam.
CSD board scrambles trying to pay soaring legal fees.

Posted: January 13, 2014

      The Newberry Springs Volunteer Fire Department's 2011 International 4,000 gallon water tender has a new home now in Deer Trail, Colorado.

      This small town of 546 people, 54-miles east of Denver, turned some heads last summer in proposing the revenue generating idea of issuing town licenses to hunt airborne drones; those pesty, unmanned surveillance aircraft that could, at any time, intrude upon the sovereign airspace, tranquility and privacy of Deer Trail.  Although the proposed ordinance was indefinitely postponed to an upcoming public vote, Deer Trail did bag the Newberry Springs' fire truck.

      The logic and strategy behind the Newberry CSD's original purchase of the 2011 model truck, and investing tens of thousands of dollars into modifying the water tender, to only shortly thereafter place the truck for sale, isn't known; but for a CSD that only receives a couple hundred thousand dollars a year from the county for its operations, nearly half of one year's operating funds may have been lost over the sale's fiasco.

      Details on the fire truck's sale have been sketchy.  The truck had been consigned by the Newberry CSD to Fire Trucks Plus of Ontario, California.  According to a Deer Trail news publication, the Tri-County Tribune, the June 27, 2013 edition shows a photo of the truck in Deer Trail noting that it had been delivered from California by two of the town's fire fighters.

      It wasn't until some months later that the Newberry fire department, thinking that the truck was sitting idle in Ontario, decided to place the truck back into local service to justify the bank payments that the Newberry CSD was making.  It wasn't until Newberry fire tried to retrieve the truck that the earlier sale and the alleged fraud was discovered.  Upon the discovery, CSD president Robert Royalty immediately placed control of the matter under the CSD's pricey legal counsel.

      Presumably, if the fire truck was properly insured, any loss of the vehicle could have been initially handled by the insurance carrier's attorneys; however, it appears that Royalty has had a cozy and more comfortable relationship with the CSD's legal counsel; for the CSD's counsel has seemingly acted as a hired gun protecting some of the actions of the 2013 board's leadership.

      Robert Royalty has also appeared quick to run matters through counsel so that sensitive details can be allegedly covered-up from the public under the veil of attorney/client privilege.  With new directors now seated as of last December, and a new president, hopefully the CSD board will become more transparent to the community.

      Between the fire truck's original acquisition costs, modification costs, and bank payment costs, it has been estimated that the CSD has nearly $200,000.00 invested in the vehicle.  Just under $100,000.00 was still owed on a bank note that was held by Kansas State Bank.  In order to acquire clear title, Deer Trail has paid that off, leaving Newberry Springs' equity investment of about $100,000.00 missing !

      A minor portion of Newberry's $100,000.00 must be marked down as the CSD had the asking sales price on the truck reduced as an incentive to sell the truck in an unfavorable market.

      Just what the truck actually sold for isn't known as the involved parties aren't talking.  What is known is the CSD's legal counsel's accomplishments don't appear that significant nor brilliant to justify the mounting legal fees as displayed below.  The 12-thousand-plus dollars in legal fees on the fire truck in December alone are continuing to grow in January.

Newberry CSD Special Board Meeting Agenda for January 14, 2014
(Business Item 4B description sheet omitted.)
      After choking over the legal fees, note the multiple non-rush agenda items, such as "Assistant Fire Chief - Fire Chief" performance evaluations, that do not qualify for a Special Board Meeting and are a violation of California's Ralph Brown Act.

      The Newberry CSD has been sensitive about negative statements regarding its selection of Fire Trucks Plus, claiming that many other fire departments used the dealer and were also taken-in by the alleged fraud.  However, when government employees handle public assets, they hold a fiduciary duty of basic due diligence to use an escrow account, check backgrounds (Dunn & Bradstreet), and seek sufficient bonding.

      It is rumored that over two million dollars in fire truck sales may be missing from the dealership.  The chance of Newberry CSD recovering its money does not appear promising at this time.

      This past summer a children's summer program, free to the community and free to the children, was highly scrutinized and overly micromanaged by the CSD board before the promoters were allowed to simply rent the community service center building; yet, a valuable fire asset was turned over to a business that was never pre-checked.  In fact, there is a question of whether the original consignment with Fire Trucks Plus, to sell the fire truck, ever had proper board approval.

      The Newberry CSD's prevailing reckless attitude to big details while micromanaging the meaningless minor ones illustrates a major misfocus of proper management.

Recommend insight to Deer Trail, Colorado.

The Colbert Report

Report on drone hunting licenses in Deer Trail.
Click above image for video.

Earlier related links:
CSD cannot document where $29,000 went.
•       •       •       •       •
Wanted: New GM • Return of fire truck.
CSD meetings still conducted in a clueless fashion.
Mystery surrounds missing Newberry fire truck.

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