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Balboa Park Centennial Group OKs Deal To End Agreement With City

Above: The Botanical Building is seen between columns of a walkway at Balboa Park in San Diego in this undated photograph.

After two months of negotiations, a deal that would terminate agreements with a volunteer group that tried to stage a yearlong celebration of Balboa Park's centennial is scheduled to go before the San Diego City Council next week.

Gerry Braun, who is winding down the activities of Balboa Park Centennial Inc., told City News Service that talks between the two sides have been completed. The organization's board of directors has approved the deal to terminate a memorandum of understanding and a funding agreement, he said.

BPCI's board voted to disband about two months ago and turn over planning activities to the city. The organization was unable to attract enough private dollars to put on a major extravaganza and was caught in a dispute over whether to release financial records.

The negotiations over terminating the MOU and funding agreement were drawn-out in part because the city wanted to avoid taking on potential liabilities.

The City Council will consider whether to ratify the deal at Tuesday's meeting.

According to city documents, the termination agreement will result in the reimbursement of unspent city funds and the completion of required reports by BPCI.

The city will also reserve the right to investigate the group's use of $1.6 million in city funds and seek recovery of any misspent municipal money. BPCI could also turn over any remaining private funds, which the city would then use for their intended purpose of staging a celebration.

The termination also maintains that the city and BPCI are separate entities, and the city will not accept any of the group's liabilities.

City officials are in the process of planning a scaled-down celebration at the 1,200-acre park. The centennial will mark 100 years since the 1915 Panama-California Exposition brought international attention to the city.

Comments

Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | May 7, 2014 at 5:27 p.m. ― 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Not even the slightest apology from the BPCI Board. I have no words to express my disgust.

View the board with scorn:

http://www.balboapark.org/2015/aboutus

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 8, 2014 at 7:31 a.m. ― 2 months, 2 weeks ago

"The negotiations over terminating the MOU and funding agreement were drawn-out in part because the city wanted to avoid taking on potential liabilities".

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I don't understand this.

I'm not an attorney, but drawing up an agreement AFTER damage has already been done does not release someone of liabilities they may be responsible for.

While this group wasted tax-payer money and deserves blame for that, the city also deserves blame for FAILURE OF OVERSIGHT.

The vultures in city hall were so laser-focused on the Filner scandal that they let millions of dollars of tax payer money be wasted right under their noses.

They can't simply say "we are severing ties after the fact" and then wash their hands of all liability.

This is completely shameful.

Chapter 295.4 in the chronicles of America's Largest CowTown.

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Avatar for user 'Syntropic'

Syntropic | May 8, 2014 at 8:13 a.m. ― 2 months, 2 weeks ago

The City's Politicians want this swept under the rug as quickly as possible without completing and publishing either an internal City Auditor or external Attorney General report.
City Attorney Goldsmith blessed awarding of the MOU without competition. City Mayor Sanders pushed it through, supported by Council Member Faulconer and Gloria, as well as Tony Young and other Council Members.
While BPCI Board Members continue to access Politicians, the Public sits back and wonders. As I asked over 3 years ago, "Who is watching the hen house (where is the Oversight)?"
Sadly the 3 minutes or less of non-Agenda Public Comment allowed to 1 person on a Tuesday at City Council meetings continues to fall on deaf ears.

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Avatar for user 'DonWood'

DonWood | May 8, 2014 at 6:41 p.m. ― 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Why is the city council looking at any deals BEFORE the audit is completed? That makes zero sense. What is the city trying to cover up?

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