The board first learned of the debt when Muck & Muck issued an
invoice Dec. 23 for their services. While the tourism board does not
doubt that Muck & Muck performed services, they do question whether
or not the tourism bureau is responsible for paying the bill.
the January meeting of the tourism board, board president and Logan
County Board member Andy Anderson said he had learned of Muck's
involvement when he was made aware of a letter written to the county
board chairman, Bob Farmer. Soon after that, legal representation by
Muck was discontinued. Anderson also reported in January that he had
asked Leslie Hoefle, who was then the bureau's interim director,
about the letter, and she was not forthcoming with information.
This week Anderson provided tourism board members with a copy of
the letter addressed to Farmer.
The letter states that because the city is exercising its
prerogative to take the hotel-motel tax, there will be very little
money available to promote tourism in Logan County. It goes on to
say that the city has not been cooperative in working with the
It also states that the tourism board, Route 66 Association and
Mr. (Larry) Van Bibber are working together to assume responsibility
for the world's largest covered wagon because the city has no
interest in the wagon or its preservation.
In regard to the appointment of board members, the letter stated
that the city is assuming they have the right to appoint board
members, an assumption Muck believes is incorrect.
And finally, the letter asks for a response from the county, or
alternatively invites the county to contact Charlie Ott or the
tourism executive director to set up a meeting where these topics
can be discussed.
This week Anderson said he had learned that Logan County Board
member David Hepler was also involved in the situation. He said
Hepler had written a brief synopsis of the discussions with tourism
board members. Anderson said he didn't believe that Helpler knew
what he was getting involved with at that time.
It was immediately questioned as to why it was Hepler who was
approached. Hepler is a county board member but is not connected to
tourism. This brought on the question whether it was Hepler who
might have gotten Muck involved or recommended Muck be hired. Again
this is something the tourism board doesn't know.
[to top of second column]
Another question that arose is whether Muck is the official
attorney of record for the tourism bureau. It was determined that he
Anderson said he wondered if the bureau should go ahead and pay
the bill and then take steps to make sure this doesn't happen again.
Tom O'Donohue and Andi Hake agreed that there was no need to change
anything in the bylaws. Both said the problem had been that members
of the tourism board broke the bylaws by hiring an attorney without
full board consent.
The group talked about what would happen if the tourism bureau
did refuse to pay the bill. Hake commented on this, saying it really
wasn't Muck's fault that this was handled inappropriately. She said
she believed Muck was acting under what he thought was the authority
of the tourism board.
Hake commented: "Do we just want to be done with this and agree
that it wasn't tourism that hired him, but we want it to go away, or
do we want to make an issue of it?"
Soon afterward, Anderson made a motion to approve the payment to
Muck & Muck. He looked to Hake for a second but did not get it. With
no second, the motion died on the floor.
O'Donohue said he agreed with Hake that Muck thought he was hired
by the bureau, but the fact was, he was not.
As the discussion came to a close, the size of the bill was also
questioned, as it seemed there wasn't a great deal done in
relationship to the dollars charged.
Finally, Keith Snyder suggested that Doug Muck be invited to a
future meeting so that he could perhaps shed more light on how this
whole thing came about. The board agreed that would be the next step
in resolving the matter.
[By NILA SMITH]
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