KIEM says: "It’s a story we first broke last week… the District Attorney’s office is being investigated for allegedly not filing some paperwork concerining hundreds of thousands dollars in grant monies.KIEM REPORT (transcribed from the link)
We've heard both sides of the story… but they’re not matching up. District Attorney Paul Gallegos claims these grants are not on hold, but the state says they are. its complicated so instead of trying to explain it ourselves… here’s the arguments straight from the sources." Submitted by Betsy Lambert on Thu, 07/07/2011 - 17:44
KIEM/Kelly Mays says: "It’s a story we first broke last week… the District Attorney’s office is being investigated for allegedly not filing some paperwork concerining hundreds of thousands dollars in grant monies.
We've heard both sides of the story… but they’re not matching up. District Attorney Paul Gallegos claims these grants are not on hold, but the state says they are. Its complicated so instead of trying to explain it ourselves… here’s the arguments straight from the sources:
Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos (on camera): We're not in danger of losing any grants. No grants have been stopped."
Brad Alexander, Cal EMA (Emergency Management Agency) Office of Public Information: (told) multiple times that they are.
Ch. 3: (reporter asks Alexander) "The three grants that are in question?"
CalEMA: (responds) "There's actually like six or seven, and you should have individual names and titles for each of those."
Ch. 3: Those grants in question totaling over $847,000, some of that has already been settled between the two parties but it's the difference, some $334,000 that's been put on hold by the state.
Ch. 3: "Are the grants on hold? Are they stayed? Or are they fine?"
CalEMA: Currently everything is on pause except for the funds that have already been distributed."
Ch. 3: This grant money is dedicated to programs like victims of crime, violence against women, anti-drug abuse, victim witnesses, and unserviced populations for local Native American tribes.
The CalEMA says the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office asked about the grants in November, saying they weren't aware of some of the funds. This sparked the investigation into the District Attorney Office.
Paul Gallegos: "There's a per-sonn-el issue that we asked for an investigation to be done... ummmmm... part of that investigation, that investigator contacted CalEMA to ask for specific questions related to the personnel matter..."
Ch. 3: (asks) "If it's just a personnel issue, what happens?"
CalEMA: (answers) "Then they simply replace the person that we were handling with."
Ch.3: Gallegos says he took the initiative when he first learned about this situation.
Paul Gallegos: "It's an investigation into a PERSONNEL matter by our office or at the request of our office to bring in a 3rd party investigation."
CalEMA: "My understanding is that the office of risk management at the County level hired a private investigator."
Ch.3: The fact of the matter is, right now, according to CalEMA, over $334,000 is NOT available to Humboldt County, and at this point, we don't know if it will ever be.
CalEMA: "So, there was not a regular line of communication that typically exists between CalEMA and the grantee. They weren't returning phone calls and they weren't returning emails, that's why staff had to go up there in November/December last year to get one on one face to face with the staff at the District Attorney's office."
Paul Gallegos: "Truth is our grants are fine. If you talk to CalEMA, you'll find out they're fine..."
Back to reporters, Kelly Mays: Ch. 3: So, it's obviously a big complicated mess at this point and we are in contact with both offices. But we continue to hear different things, we'll keep looking for the truth.
Betsy Lambert: Yes, this is something that all of our newsroom has been looking into - just trying to get the truth, down to the bottom of this matter.
◼ Update: Submitted by Kelly May on Fri, 07/08/2011 - 12:02 in News Stories - KIEM
Cal EMA has admitted to a miscommunication within their organization that lead to reporting misinformation to both News Channel 3 and the Humboldt County District Attorney's office regarding hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant monies. Brad Alexander, spokesperson for Cal EMA, admits that a miscommunication did exist between the grants branch at Cal EMA and the Office of Public Information, causing inaccurate information to be released regarding the investigation into Humboldt County District Attorney's office. District Attorney Paul Gallegos told News Channel 3 in a meeting this morning that local funders had put a hold on grant funds available to the D.A.'s office. At the request of the District Attorney's office and to reassure local funders that the grant funds are available, Cal EMA says they will issue and official statement aknowledging the miscommunication and misinformation that was reported.
So - there's more to the story yet.