WHY PAYSON NEEDS A FORENSIC AUDIT
By Greg Friestad
Many Payson residents, businesses, and even the Town of Payson have purchased commercial advertising on KRIM Radio. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests submitted to the Town of Payson show that the town has spent thousands of dollars advertising on KRIM since early in 2019, even though FCC rules prohibit KRIM from selling advertising to anyone.
If you or your business have purchased advertising on KRIM please read the following FCC information carefully. You may want to make some changes.
From the Federal Communications Commission Website (FCC.Gov) “The Low Power FM (LPFM) radio service was created by the Commission in January 2000. LPFM stations are authorized for noncommercial educational broadcasting only (no commercial operation) and operate with an effective radiated power (ERP) of 100 watts (0.1 kilowatts) or less, with maximum facilities of 100 watts ERP at 30 meters (100 feet) antenna height above average terrain (HAAT). The approximate service range of a 100 watt LPFM station is 5.6 kilometers (3.5 miles radius). LPFM stations are available to noncommercial educational entities and public safety and transportation organizations, but are not available to individuals or for commercial operations… We reiterate that acknowledgements should be made for identification purposes only and should not promote the contributor’s products, services, or company. For example, logos or logo-grams used by corporations or businesses are permitted so long as they do not contain comparative or qualitative descriptions of the donor’s products or services.”
In conclusion, federal law prohibits the sale or purchase of commercial advertising on KRIM because it operates under the “The Low Power FM FCC rules.” Individuals can donate money, but you cannot purchase commercial advertising. The Payson town manager, Troy Smith, was told that advertising commercially on KRIM is illegal. He now calls it “underwriting” and continues to purchase advertising on KRIM.
When you hear commercials on KRIM you are listening to KRIM break the law. If you hear commercials on KRIM, please file a complaint with the FCC. Laws are for all to follow. Why are Higgins and Smith getting away with this?
There’s proof backing up the validity of this story. Although the Town of Payson was invoiced over nine times for “Advertising” from a non-profit called Payson Council For the Musical Arts, the Town of Payson wrote the checks to the FOR PROFIT KRIM Media, LLC. (check numbers 60393, 61008, 61512, 65752, 66812, 67752, 68150, 68309, 68390, totaling over $3600)
KRIM Media, LLC is owned by Vice-Mayor Chris Higgins and former town councilman Steve Smith and is a FOR PROFIT domestic LLC.
Higgins is also president of Payson Council for the Musical Arts (DBA KRIM Radio) a domestic NONPROFIT corporation. Steve Smith is the treasurer. It is very interesting to see who else is involved with these two entities. Please review the following ACC details: [click here]
From the Arizona Corporation Commission Filed: 3/23/22
Entity Name: Payson Council For The Musical Arts, Inc
Entity Type: Domestic Nonprofit Corporation
Character of Business: Educational
Known Place of Business: 215 West Frontier, Payson, AZ
Directors: Christina Mcallister Smith, Linda Young, Maria Higgins
President: Chris Higgins
Treasurer: Steve Smith
Vice President: Blaine Kimball
From the Arizona Corporation Commission Filed 10/29/2019
Entity Name: KRIM Media, LLC
Entity Type: Domestic LLC
Character of Business: Any Legal Purpose
Management Structure: Member Managed
Principals: Christopher M. Higgins & Steven L. Smith.
See the 2022 Annual Report [here]
HERE ARE SOME QUESTIONS THAT NEED TO BE ASKED:
Why would the Town pay a “FOR-PROFIT“ LLC for services provided by a NONPROFIT LLC?
Who directed the Town finance department to issue checks to the “FOR-PROFIT “ KRIM Media LLC and not to the “NON-PROFIT” billing entity?
LPFM stations are authorized for noncommercial educational broadcasting only.
What educational functions does KRIM provide?
LPFM License holders are not allowed to operate additional media outlets like magazines. Does Chris Higgins or Steve Smith operate any other media entities?
Is it lawful for KRIM to “sell” commercial advertising even though they clearly are not authorized to do so?
Why is the Town of Payson an “underwriter” of Payson Council For The Musical Arts, Inc. (KRIM LPFM)? Does the Town underwrite other non-profits entities ?
Town Council candidate Tina Mcallister Smith, was appointed to the board of Payson Council For The Musical Arts, Inc. on 1/1/20, yet she denied she had anything to do with KRIM when asked about it during a radio interview on KMOG. She later clarified that statement with KMOG saying she did not know she was a board member. WHY DIDN’T SHE KNOW SHE WAS ON THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS? Maybe she’s got short term memory loss? Something to remember when at the ballot box perhaps?
Has the question of conflict of interest with KRIM payments ever been reviewed by the Town Council? I’m for this since the Town was and still is purchasing services from present and former council members. Steve Smith was on the Town Council with Higgins during much of the time reviewed.
Has Councilman Higgins ever recused himself in reference to any routine checkbook expenditure approvals, which included payments to his business? Has Higgins ever had an Open Meeting Law Complaint filed against him for his violations? If so, why have complaints about these apparent conflicts been ignored by the Town, Gila County, and State of Arizona authorities?
How is it possible that Councilman Higgins & family were allowed to live in a travel trailer, on Steve and Tina McAllister-Smith’s property for nearly a year, in violation of town code [f], without repercussions? Why did the town allow this zoning violation (acknowledged by the Town per FOIA) [f] to continue after numerous complaints from the neighbors?
Are these KRIM and zoning issues an example of “rules for thee but not for me?”
Do Chris Higgins and Tom Morrissey favor a forensic audit? When I was part of his election team he was certainly for a forensic audit. What happened to all the promises Tom Morrissey made 3+ years ago regarding forensic audits? Now he’s changed and opposes audits and Troy Smith is the best thing since sliced bread?
Many people involved with the Town of Payson have been very critical about the need for a detailed forensic audit of the Town’s finances. There is a term for ongoing business transactions that don’t match up like buying a service from a company that doesn’t provide that service (Advertising), and then “underwriting” or writing checks to someone other than the company listed on the invoice- it is called municipal fraud. The KRIM story was the low hanging fruit of the MANY other situations that need to be investigated. Have you changed your mind yet about needing a forensic audit in Payson? Not Yet?
Another example; the details of an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) complaint, filed with the Department of Justice (DOJ) by Mark Davies, has been made unavailable even with FOIA requests. This complaint was filed after a phone call directly to Tom Morrissey asking him to replace the handy capped parking spaces when the parking lot was resurfaced at Green Valley Park. Davies waited months for his request to be done and finally resorted to filing a complaint directly with the ADA. The ADA took immediate action and drove to Payson to inspect the complaint. After looking around the ADA found violations everywhere and the Town was written up for many violations amounting to some say 11 million dollars. It remains a mystery, but someone at Town Hall authorized a binding mediation that cost the Town possibly millions of dollars. At the time of this printing the Town continues to ignore FOIA requests on the subject so there is no way to know the actual figures, but apparently this mediation was done without Town Council’s approval. The Town will not even provide a signed mitigation agreement or an accounting of the unfunded liabilities incurred by the Town regarding this agreement. The FOIA request was almost totally stonewalled. WHY? NOW IS IT TIME FOR A DETAILED FORENSIC ACCOUNTING AUDIT IN PAYSON? You be the judge. We might find, as the City of Cottonwood did, that we need to change some practices and people at Town Hall.