Finding # 5: Evidence shows that attempts have been made to alter the minutes outside of board meetings with facts not presented in open session.
You may be asking yourself, “What did I just read?” Yes, you read it correctly, The Kern County Grand Jury weighed evidence that showed that an effort was made to CHANGE the OFFICIAL RECORD of OFFICIAL BUSINESS of a governing body elected by the people of Rosamond! Specifically an attempt was made to include facts NOT presented in OPEN SESSION.
Here’s the background information you need to set the stage for this finding. It all began with the words that were exchanged when the Rosamond Community Service District tried to adopt the minutes for the meetings for November 12, 25, and December 3, 2014.
“Big city” politics applied to the Rosamond General Elections of 2014:
Mr. Landsgaard (as an incoming Board member) attended the three previously mentioned meetings and (basically) what he was trying to do was to get language put into the minutes which would document alleged “Brown Act” violations (he attempted something similar prior to November 2014, in an apparent attempt to continue a theme that Landsgaard championed during the previous political season…an attempt to tarnish the reputation of the incumbent board members to gain an advantage in the upcoming elections). In this “brilliant” attempt at political gamesmanship, Mr. MacKay and Mr. Shingledecker were holding the reins and following Mr. Landsgaard “lead” down the path of unproven political charges and allegations.
Now the stage is set, let’s look at each set on minutes for each of the three dates in question.
November 25, 2014: During a closed session of the RCSD, Mr. Landsgaard commented that “he had heard a rumor that the [board] would be talking about the attorney’s contract”. Also present at the closed session was Board member, Al Wallis. It is no secret in Rosamond that Mr. Landsgaard and Mr. Wallis have been aligned politically for quite some time (some of the locals jokingly say that Landsgaard and Wallis are founding members of the Diamond Street Social Club). It was Al Wallis who championed the previous failed recall effort (of 2014) and he was a key stakeholder in that recall and would continually make comments regarding the three candidates running for the 2014 election (MacKay, Landsgaard, and Shingledecker). The detail of those comments indicated the he was much closer to the candidates than his fellow board members we were led to believe. Accordingly, Mr. Wallis fell suspect to allegations of fellow board members that he was actually “leaking” information from the closed session to MacKay, Landsgaard, and Shingledecker. There is simply no other way to explain Mr. Landsgaard seeking confirmation of a “rumor” he “heard”.
Mr. Wallis’ mentorship skills with the newly elected members are evident, in that the students possess the same lack of organization and preparedness to discuss official Rosamond business. He was never really up on what was happening during meetings. According to some peers, “never once [did he] open his agenda and [judging from the] comments [he made] during meetings even have a clue to what was going on. Truly the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree.
Ultimately, the board did, in fact discuss the attorney’s contract in closed session. Underpinning this back story, is the fact that Mr. Landsgaard only got part of the information from his source according to an article written by Mr. Landsgaard in “The Rosamond News” on December 1, 2014.
You need to really pay attention here, this could get confusing. Don’t worry… you may actually relate to Ed, Olaf, and Dennis in your confusion… now read on…
The detailed contract discussions addressed the fact that Mr. John Gibson had two contracts for the RCSD.
1) A contract for litigation to represent Mr. Perez, who, in his libel lawsuit against Mr. Landsgaard, per his employment contract which was signed several months before the RCSD hired him as District counsel. Mr. Landsgaard, Mr. MacKay and Mr. Shingledecker were unaware of this contract. Additionally, Board member, Al Wallis did not know about this contract either (even though he voted to retain Mr. Gibson for the litigation).
2) A contract for $7,400 a month to represent the RCSD in legal matters. (Mr. Landsgaard, Mr. MacKay and Mr. Shingledecker were fully aware of this contract)
What makes the meeting of November 12, 2014 significant is that RCSD went into a closed session under Government Code Section 54956.8 “Contract Negotiations” (which is the same justification they used for the November 25, 2014 meeting). So basically Mr. Landsgaard was informed after the meeting on November 12, 2014 that the RCSD was going to be discussing extending John Gibson’s contract. This is the very reason that Mr. Landsgaard was in attendance on November 25, 2014 (he never came to meetings before that) so when the board fired Mr. Gibson on December 8, 2014, they had no idea that there were two contracts. Imagine the confusion, I am even amazed that I can even tell this story.
As a point of order, I want to clarify the record. On November 25, 2014, when the Board came out of closed session Mr. Landsgaard challenged them on the Government Code number 54956.8 which was for real estate contract negotiations the attorney said he did not catch the wrong code number but the description was right, the board was in closed session for contract negotiations but for legal reasons the attorney advised them not to take action until they could go into closed session under the right code number which was 54957(b).
December 3, 2014: Contrary to what Mr. Landsgaard claimed, this meeting had already been scheduled before the November 25, 2014 meeting to vote on the ground water adjudication lawsuit settlement and because the meeting was already planned the board simply took the closed session item that was under the wrong code number from the November 25, 2014 meeting and pushed it to the December 3, 2014 meeting.
One agenda item for the meeting was to allow Board members to purchase the IPads that had been furnished to them by the RCSD to minimize the opportunity for identity theft, and due to the amount of time it would take for each outgoing board member to transition data out of the devices (besides, the re-purchase was included in the original motion at the time of the purchase by RCSD).
Two articles appeared in “The Rosamond News” (a local newspaper, ironically published by a non-local, Mr. John Joyce who maintains his residency in Acton, California) between December 1 and 8, 2014) (you can find the copyright protected article from the December 1, 2014 and December 8, 2014 editions of “The Rosamond News” at these URLs: http://www.joycemediainc.net/ros20141201/Cover.html and http://www.joycemediainc.net/ros20141208/Cover.html respectively.) in these two articles, Mr. Landsgaard said he tried to get the board to place into the official minutes over 2,100 words. Words that, in fact, were his words alone and were not even spoken at the meeting as he claimed, he even tried to add words that were spoken during closed session since he maintained he could hear the Board members talking through the “soundproof” door.
Landsgaard also even filed a freedom of information act request on December 4, 2014 for the IPads. In the article appearing in “The Rosamond News”, on December 1, 2014, he wanted “all emails, all communications, all notes, and information, including but not limited to emails, messages, pictures, documents, notes on the IPads purchased by the RCSD, including those of Rick Webb, Kathleen Spoor, Greg Wood, Byron Glennan, Steve Perez and John Gibson”. Ironically, in the form of a smoking gun he left his longtime friend Al Wallis off the list but made sure to included sitting board member Byron Glennan.
So let me bring this all home, Mr. Landsgaard tried so desperately to add 2,192 words to the minutes of November 11, 25, and December 3, 2014 because (in my opinion):
1) Placing these additional words in the minutes would lend credibility to the statements by making them official. This would also bolster his case in the ongoing lawsuit in which Olaf Landsgaard and John Joyce were defendants.
2) By adding these minutes Olaf apparently felt it would void the contract for attorney John Gibson; thus hurting and damaging John Gibson and again ultimately bolster Olaf’s legal position and that of his co-defendant, John Joyce, in the libel lawsuit.
3) Adding these minutes would give them backing as he moved to fire Mr. Perez.
4) Adding these minutes would make it appear that the previous board had been violating the Brown Act. (This is something they continually claimed but had no proof of so they would simply fabricate the proof and vote to make it an official government document.)
5) Also, adding these minutes they could void the sale of the iPads; and get their hands on them (after all Dennis Shingledecker owns a computer business) to see if they could find any information that would help them fulfill their agenda such as firing Mr. Perez, not having to pay Mr. Gibson his fees, and obtain any information to help in the lawsuit.
I realize this seems like a laundry list of speculation (it is my opinion, after all), but Mr. Landsgaard desperately wanted to get his hands on the iPads as demonstrated by his Freedom of Information Act request.
In choosing to ignore the obvious, their response to the Grand Jury report was to deny any of this ever happened.
Let’s go back to the finding. Evidence shows that attempts have been made to alter the minutes outside of board meetings with facts not presented in open session. In short, the actions of Mr. Landsgaard attempted to disenfranchise the voters in Rosamond by disrespecting the role of the official meeting minutes. As a lawyer, Olaf should realize that under Penal Code section 132, “it is a felony to offer in evidence as genuine or true any book, paper, document, record or other written instrument knowing it to have been forged, fabricated, fraudulently altered or ante-dated. It is also a felony under Penal Code section 134 to prepare and produce any false documentary evidence during a trial, proceeding or inquiry authorized by law.” Based upon the manner he conducts official business, it is my opinion that perhaps even compliance with the law is an optional item for him.
====================== Here are two links to YouTube videos of Public comments for December 1 and 8, 2014 RCSD Meetings:
December 1, 2014 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nc9pWJ1RXiY December 8, 2014 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dk_WMBVgSxM And a final link discussing the consequence of modifying meeting minutes: http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/la-fi-associations-20150419-story.html
====================== Finding #5 states: “Evidence shows that attempts have been made to alter the minutes outside of board meetings with facts not presented in open session.”
“The RCSD’s official response to Finding # 5: “The Board is without sufficient information by which to ascertain the evidence to which the Report refers and, on that basis, disagrees with this finding. The Board notes that the Report is unclear as to the date, time and participants relating to the alleged attempts to alter minutes outside Board meetings.”
To read the next section click here: The Midnight Writings: Finding 6, 7 and 8 – “A Matter of Trust, Delay, and Delay Regardless of Costs”