Bond Underwriter of Choice for CUSD, Coronado City and Coronado Redevelopment Agency is the Subject of a Statewide Ethics Investigation
You can judge a man’s character by the company he keeps.
So, too, you can judge local government agencies by the company they keep . . . or whom they choose to hire . . . especially those no-bid contractors for various services . . . including bond underwriters.
Along with Coronado City and the now-defunct Coronado Redevelopment Agency, CUSD has been using Stone & Youngberg bond underwriters without the benefit of open, competitive bidding. Open, competitive bidding is the established, accepted way to ensure that public tax dollars aren’t wasted and to ensure that there’s no funny business. A pay-to-play culture of local government is always at risk of developing.
No-bid contracts are the opposite of competitive, open bidding. No-bid contracts are giant red flags that signal that public officials and outside contractors are “chummy.”
Stifel Nicolaus purhased Stone & Youngberg. Stone & Youngberg is now a “division” of Stifel Nicolaus.
Stone & Youngberg is the underwriter of the infamous Poway School Bonds. For $100 million face value of school bonds, Poway property taxpayers will pay $1 Billion! You can read our prior article that discusses the infamous Poway School Bond scam by clicking here.
CUSD’s Bond Underwriter Stone & Youngberg is the Subject of a Statewide Ethics Investigation
CUSD’s bond underwriter made headlines recently for being the subject of a statewide ethics investigation — Stone & Youngberg.
Read the Union-Tribune article by clicking here.
State ethics regulators have opened an investigation into hundreds of dinners purchased for school officials by Stone & Youngberg, an underwriter that has issued billions of dollars of bonds across California — many approved by recipients of those meals.
The company has picked up the tab for dinners during conferences for school officials, and the state is checking to see how many meals and other gifts went unreported on mandated conflict-of-interest disclosures.
U-T Watchdog in 2012 reported on school officials in Poway, who retroactively disclosed accepting $2,200 in Stone & Youngberg meals over five years. The officials were responding to a corruption probe in South County, where officials were being prosecuted for similar failures to disclose meals from vendors and contractors.
In response to the Watchdog’s Poway story, the California Fair Political Practices Commission has launched a statewide probe of Stone & Youngberg’s hospitality, to determine whether other school districts made the same omission as Poway.
“We opened an investigation based on the article you wrote, so we are looking at unreported gifts by Stone & Youngberg to officials,” said Gary Winuk, chief of the commission’s enforcement division. “The whole purpose of the law is so the public knows which public officials are receiving gifts, so they can decide for themselves how it affects doing their jobs on behalf of the public.”
Stone & Youngberg’s managing director and head of public finance, Stephen Heaney, did not respond to calls and emails seeking an interview for this story. . .
The 2011 Poway bond issue was known as a “capital-appreciation bond,” and Stone & Youngberg issued many like it. According to data from the state Treasurer’s Office, the firm made more than $46 million selling more than $4.9 billion in bonds from 2000 to September 2012.
The company made more than $9 million of that in San Diego County, including issuances for Poway Unified, Grossmont Union High School District, San Marcos Unified, Santee School District and San Ysidro School District.
Stone & Youngberg’s parent company, St. Louis-based Stifel Nicolaus, earlier this year acquired De la Rosa & Co., so the two firms are now sibling companies.
Stone & Youngberg Profited from Coronado Public Bond Debts
In Coronado, Stone & Youngberg has profited untold millions of dollars — OUR tax dollars — by underwriting hundreds of millions of dollars of public bond debt for . . . Coronado City . . . and the now-defunct Coronado Redevelopment Agency . . . and CUSD . . . over the years.
And it seems that public officials, including school officials in California, haven’t been reporting their “perks” from Stone & Youngberg. “Perks” are the usual “free” dinners, “free” lunches, “free” tickets, and other “free” stuff, that public officials feel so very, very entitled to take while holding public office.
There is no such thing as a free lunch.
According to the requirements of the law such gifts, or perks, must be reported regularly on school board officials’ Form 700.
The law requires reporting of gifts in order to let the public know exactly who is exercising influence over public officials. Also the law seeks to deter pay-to-play government agencies by disclosing various influences on public officials.
Under the law, public officials are required to remain unbiased, impartial, and make thoughtful decisions in the best interests of their communities after thorough deliberation and public debate. In other words, the law says that public officials must not rubber-stamp decisions in favor of outside contractors who give them perks.
CUSD Hired Stone & Youngberg Just 2 Years Ago in 2012 to Re-Finance CUSD’s 1998 Prop KK School Bond Debts
Read our prior article called $200+ Million is CUSD’s Total Debt, Vote NO on Prop E by clicking here. In our article is a chart that shows CUSD’s debt according to our research.
In the chart and in the paragraph below the chart of our prior article, you’ll also read where we found some of the latest activity of Stone & Youngberg for CUSD in the 2012 Refund General Obligation Bonds (GOBs) for $12 million face value that was the way CUSD re-financed, or rolled over, the 1998 Prop KK $17 million face value GOBs.
As we said in prior articles, if Coronado voters give CUSD the property tax hike CUSD seeks with Prop E, then in the future CUSD will likely roll over . . . or re-fund . . . or re-finance . . . Prop E school bonds in the same way CUSD rolled over the 1998 Prop KK school bonds in 2012 with Stone & Youngberg.
Continually re-financing old debt is a sign of financial mismanagement. It’s bad for taxpayers. It’s good for the bond underwriters and others who make money off of the re-financing schemes.
It’s CUSD’s Responsibility to Inform Voters of CUSD’s Debts
And it’s CUSD’s responsibility to disclose and explain all of this complex financial information to Coronado voters from whom CUSD demands the Prop E property tax hike.
Why do we have to do the research? Because CUSD and Prop E supporters aren’t open and aren’t honest about CUSD’s debts and other financial information. As a result, CUSD’s lack of transparency makes it extremely difficult for voters to make an informed decision.
Why do CUSD representative refuse to be open and honest about their debts and other financial information? Because voters who know the facts will vote NO on Prop E on June 3.
It’s CUSD’s Responsibility to Inform Voters of Ethics Investigation of CUSD’s Bond Underwriter
You didn’t hear about the Stone & Youngberg ethics investigation from CUSD. You heard it from the Union-Tribune, here at www.KissTheSchoolBondGoodbye.com in this article and on Coronado.Patch.com here.
But we’ll likely never know because CUSD isn’t open and honest about CUSD’s finances including debts. It’s possible that CUSD won’t ever tell us how they came to choose Piper Jaffray as their no-bid Prop E bond underwriter.
Stone & Youngberg Might Become Involved in Prop E in the Future if it Passes
Will Piper Jaffray choose Stone & Youngberg to assist in carrying out the Prop E school bond scheme if it passes? Possibly.
Prop E is too risky for many reasons.
To read our story about the despicable culture of school bonds, click here.
The risk of Stone & Youngberg coming in through the back door through Piper Jaffray is yet another reason to vote NO on Prop E on June 3.
In Coronado, voters apparently don’t get a say on the type of company CUSD keeps. Voters would be surprised at the number of “chummy” relationships between CUSD and outside contractors, local businesses, and others that are kept hidden from the public.
CUSD’s bond campaign consists of emotional pleas and trying to guilt and/or bully parents into voting for the Prop E property tax hike. Prop E supporters speak in vague generalities using emotional buzzwords — not substantive, quantifiable facts with cited sources to verify facts. If and when we hear of a verifiable fact in favor of Prop E, we’ll let you know.
The Prop E property tax hike campaign is all smoke and mirrors. Don’t expect CUSD to come clean on Stone & Youngberg, Piper Jaffray, or any of the decisions to try to force the Prop E property tax hike on us.
Vote NO on Prop E on June 3
Vote NO because CUSD refused to tell voters the truth about CUSD’s debts.
Vote NO because CUSD refused to tell voters the truth about CUSD’s bond underwriters and the existence of a statewide ethics probe of Stone & Youngberg.
Vote NO because CUSD’s financial choices are highly suspect.
Vote NO because CUSD has failed to openly and honestly be transparent in its financial dealings with public tax dollars . . . OUR property tax dollars . . . yet at the same time CUSD demands yet another property tax hike through Prop E.
Enough is enough!
Vote NO on Prop E on June 3.