The following commentary is provided by R.L. “Rube” Render, Clovis, NM.
Now that the BHSI report has been published, it is interesting to watch the former political allies moving to distance themselves from each other. It was not always so. On November 16, 2011 the Clovis Chamber of Commerce issued a press release headlined, “Mayor Gayla Brumfield and the Clovis Industrial Development Corp. Announces 350 New Jobs Coming to Clovis”.
On the same day in 2011, Robin Fornoff’s article in the CNJ noted, “Director Chase Gentry said while CIDC is promising as much as $3 million as an incentive to bring BHSI here, Sperber is also contributing a sizeable amount of his own cash to the project. Gentry and Mayor Gayla Brumfield said the millions in forgivable loans are a necessary incentive to compete against communities in other states that vie for new business and industry.” The decision to provide BHSI with funding was already made. All that remained was to do the paperwork. Since CIDC didn’t actually have $3 million to give BHSI, Chase and the Mayor had to get it from the city.
The completed BHSI report notes that Mayor Brumfield was a member of CIDC as well as the Economic Development Tax Advisory Board. As to the question of which organization had the responsibility of performing due diligence, if the Mayor believed that the task fell to CIDC, she could have raised that issue with Mr. Gentry while they were working closely together to land this business opportunity. If the EDTAB was responsible, she could have raised the issue at the EDTAB meeting held on November 16th, the same day the Chamber issued its press release. And certainly, the City Commission, prior to authorizing a forgivable loan of $3 million could have had the foresight to ask, at the very least, if a credit check on Sperber had been initiated. Their failure to inquire on this point could have prompted Mayor Brumfield to bring it up herself. In point of fact the “Date requested” on Mr. Sperber’s Merged Credit Report is 12/06/2011, the day after the Clovis City Commission voted to approve the $3 million forgivable loan. Given the preceding, it appears that after they had authorized the loan, it dawned on somebody that they really should have a credit report in the file, “just in case”.
At the City Commission meeting held 21 November every City Commissioner who had voted to extend the forgivable loan to BHSI apologized to the citizens of Clovis for “not doing their job”. Although she was not in office during this time, Commissioner Taylor-Sawyer pointed out that this debacle had some very real consequences. Mr. Mike Ulibarri, the roofing contractor not only lost money on the work he performed for BHSI, he lost his business. In a sort of wrap up, the Mayor Pro-Tem assured the public that although the Commission had failed to do the job they were elected for, they didn’t do their jobs with the very best interest of the citizens at heart. It left me with the thought that he should dust off a resume and apply for a new job to become Press Secretary at the White House.
Previous blog on BHSI by Rube Render published April 20, 2013 https://conservativefrontiers.com/2013/04/20/bank-robbers-and-bhsi/