Town Lawsuits and Fake News Reporting
By Jim Ferris
I could not stop laughing as I read the Payson Roundup article titled ‘Payson politics still flaming’. As you read my article, keep in mind what the Biden administration says and does, and how the ‘Mainstream Media’ (MSM) covers them. The article intimated that since grown-ups now make up our Council, we would have civility – MSM.
Transparent Payson is described as a “revved up citizens group” as opposed to an organization of concerned citizens – MSM. There are some revved up wackos out there but it’s not Transparent Payson.
The Roundup goes on to claim that “The propositions have already embroiled the town in a lawsuit with Varxity that sought to partner with the town to build an ice rink, community center, and playing fields in Rumsey Park several years ago.” – MSM
The creation of the Rumsey Park Master Plan was a manifestation of the Triparty Agreement between the Town of Payson (TOP), Varxity Development Corporation (VDC) and the Community Center Partners (CCP) that was approved by your TOP Council on September 21, 2017, by TOP Resolution 3065. Note: Jim Ferris, Tom Morrissey, nor Suzy Tubbs-Avakian were on the council at that time.
The propositions had nothing to do with the town’s inability to raise $500K to fund what was called the ‘validation phase’ of the project. Before I was on the Council, I addressed the Council regarding the $500K needed to complete a validation phase. No one on the Council or in the town administration could say that they knew of the impending validation phase and the half million-dollar that was required to move the Rumsey project forward. If the ‘validation phase’ was a known and anticipated expense of the Rumsey Park Master Plan, absolutely no one knew about it. Why not? Why was it not a part of the plan or study? Why wasn’t there a push back against CCP when they requested the additional $500K. Was there a secret deal that our town didn’t want us to know about? If they produced the entire Rumsey Park Plan for $250K, what exactly was CCP providing for an additional $500K?
I would like to point out that two current council members were on the council at that time AND both admitted to me that they did not read the Triparty Agreement before approving the agreement. One told me that is why we have a town attorney. In other words, the town attorney will read the agreement and then advise them whether to approve it or not. The only approval our town attorney is responsible for is their approval of the contract as to its form. It is up to the council members to approve contacts as a matter of policy.
The Varxity lawsuit was filed July 13, 2021. When did the council members find out about the suit?
Also note: It was on November 29, 2018, that the council voted to approve Resolution 3132 to resolve all claims and disputes between the parties – TOP, CCP, VDC. Oh, look that was done before Jim Ferris, Tom Morrissey, and Suzy Tubbs-Avakian were seated on the Council. But it is our fault that the TOP is in this lawsuit with Varxity. Is this an attempt to slander our reputations? After all the notice of claims (threats) filed against me by Kenny Evans, you’d think the Roundup would be more careful about what they print. Or you would think that so-called professional journalists would put in the same time and effort in their research that an ordinary citizen would. They should do a better job of researching the facts before printing an article – MSM. Perception and deception over the truth.
In the article the Roundup continually referred to only one hockey rink being constructed. Wrong, they planned to build two hockey rinks. That’s a big difference. The project was to cost $43 million. Recently when we inquired as to how much it would cost to renovate the Rumsey pool, we were told it would cost nearly $20 million. Let’s see. A community center, an aquatic center, two hockey rinks, and new playing fields were only going to cost $43 million, but to renovate an existing outdoor pool it would cost nearly $20 million. When the Town Council voted to give our Town manager direction to see what a covered pool would cost in Rumsey Park, he did not follow through on those directions from the council because it upset Kenny Evans. Who runs the Town?
The roundup also described Varxity as “a Canadian group of investors….” – MSM. I found this on the internet:
Varxity Development closed its last funding round on Aug 21, 2014, from an Equity Crowdfunding round.
Varxity Development has 1 current employee profile, Chief, Executive Officer Lane Moore
Lane Moore (M.Ed., B.Ed. and B.P.E.) has been an administrator/teacher for seventeen years.
Whoa! This seems like a person (singular) that I would have full confidence in building and managing a profitable 600 student elite preparatory school in Payson, Arizona. The annual tuition is only $50K per year. Sure, we should mortgage our park and subordinate the town’s taxing authority to build this all for Lane Moore. Do you see any downside to this proposed project? I did. And I have the research and spread sheets to justify my opinion – unlike others that I know.
Maybe you want to search Lane Moore and see if this was his only attempt to partner with a community to develop a prep school. Maybe you wish to research the financial viability of just one hockey rink in any major metropolitanarea let alone Payson, or the size and location of elite hockey preparatory schools in the U.S. and Canada.
It is such fake news to say that the Varxity lawsuit is the result of 401 & 402 – MSM.
The Roundup article also said, “After Morressy, Jannell Sterner, Tubbs-Avakian, and Ferris fired LaRon Garrett…. a group of residents started a recall petition against the four council members.” The reference to ‘a group of citizens’ sure sounds better than referring to them as the ‘Cabal’ that went after the council members. The four council members have been so vilified for their actions, yet I have frequently heard that our new town manager has done this and changed that which has allowed the town to improve so many administrative and service functions; improvements that have saved the town so much money. Yet, the four of us have never received one ‘thank you’ from the hysterical critics for terminating Garrett’s contract.
I wonder if the Roundup had ever considered that proposition 401 and 402 would not have been necessary if Mayor Craig Swartwood and the town council had not been blindly pushing the town into financial disaster. The effort to implement proposition 401 and 402 came just after Swartwood and his town council had just raised our sales tax by .88% without consideration of a vote of the citizens. The .88% sales tax increase was to pay down Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS) which was in arrears by approximately 16.5 million. Now 5 years later we are 21 million in arrears. We were told the tax increase was to not only pay down the PSPRS but would pay for all kinds of capital improvements.
It was a blessing that proposition 401 and 402 were passed. Especially if they helped bring awareness to what the good-old-boys were doing and helped prevented the town from financial ruin. In retrospect I cannot believe these same council members are still arrogantly offended about citizen taking the initiative to protect the financial viability and recreational assets of their community. Roundup is not only fake news by what they print, but more importantly by what they do not print. As long as the Cabal is the ruling stealth member of the Roundup editorial board, we can expect continued bias and leftwing reporting. MSM. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★