IF you listened to former building Commissioner Robert Camacho on WCAP he stated
that the Manager broke no laws, did NOT force him to do anything and that the LHA renovations was something he could not handle because of the sheer volume of it.
However he also left me with more questions than he did answers and I would have asked a few more things.
Like why a plumbing/gas Inspector who he was supposed to be supervising was found not to have conducted many inspections and had in fact signed for inspections not done or How many total inspections he performed while serving as the building commissioner.
One thing that did catch my attention was a question asked and answered. Mr. Camacho was asked if any cease and desist orders were issued to stop work at the LHA project?
He stated that he in fact issued some verbal and then two written Cease and Desist Orders to LHA during the disputed renovations project.
He also stated it was up to the Administration and Manager to pursue this in court if LHA wasn’t cooperating and he would only serve as the expert witness.
However he wasn’t asked the natural follow up (at least one I would have asked) Did you at any time request the City Administration / Manager to pursue an injunction?
Those statements bothered me for a number of reasons. One is I asked that question to the Manager point blank December 21st about a Cease and Desist Order and was told NONE was issued.
Why wasn’t a cease and desist order ever issued by Mr. Camacho?
It is unclear why a cease and desist was not issued. My letter of January 2009 to the LHA warned of this possibility and Mr. Camacho at various points indicated that he would head down this road but it never came to pass. It certainly isn’t a desired outcome and we prefer to find other options. I assume Mr. Camacho, on his own or through discussion with others, determined that there were other options to gain compliance. Unfortunately, it is also apparent that such options were not exercised.
Secondly why is he stating he issued cease and desist orders now and why did he not ask the Manager to seek a court injunction then? Also if he was so concerned about safety why did he not notify the State or the Sun or a Councilor back in 2008?
He also seemed to say one thing on a subject but then say another.
At the beginning of the interview when Teddy ask about a specific date he states he doesn’t have papers in front of him. Later he says he has no copies of papers / reports dealing with the LHA Issues and then later says he does have some emails he sent to the LHA and Manager that he also sent to his home email.
Teddy never asked him why he sent them there or did he send these to Councilor Elliot and were these the emails the Councilor was waving around at a council meeting a few weeks ago.
If you read the 19 page report the Manager issued to the council, you could assume that Mr. Camacho or Mr. St. Hilaire may have been responsible for taking documents or, misfiling documents. Because on several occasions the report contains statements like:
The City’s documentation was limited as the former Building Commissioner held files regarding LHA separately in his office. A search for the stored files has not resulted in location of the documentation. Further a search of the former Acting Building Commissioner David St. Hilaire’s files has also not produced additional documentation. And
Camacho’s last day of work with the City was mid- January. At the time Camacho left employment with the City. Inspectional Services was the subject of state and federal investigations which revealed in part that certain City inspectors were routinely not performing inspections. No record ha s been found indicating communication to the LHA regarding some permits being issue ‘and some being voided.
So I sent Dr. Gary Wallace a question regarding the existence of these Cease and Desist Orders and was told the following
The LHA did receive 2 orders. They were both immediately forwarded to our General Counsel Atty. Nyman.
I sent the City Manager an email to ask about theses orders and his first response was:
Our files haven’t shown a Cease and Desist…so I just contacted the LHA and got copies. Reviewing now….will get back to you
Thanks for contacting me (and tracking down the Criminal Violation Notices from the LHA) regarding the issue of Cease and Desist orders at the LHA. As you noted, we have indicated that there weren’t any Cease and Desist orders issued by the City at the LHA properties. This statement had been based upon a review of the Inspectional Service files.
However, today on the radio former Building Commissioner Camacho did state that there were two Orders issued. We again reviewed our files and again found nothing. However, you took a different approach and went to the property owner and found that they had copies of the violation notices.
As you can imagine we generally limit our searches to our own documents as opposed to seeking materials from owners that we are enforcing against.
In any event, there was a Stop Work Notice for 642 Salem Street, Unit 289 issued on (date unknown) which was seemingly followed by Violation Notice letter dated June 3, 2009 from Mr. Camacho to the LHA for Parcel 10, Building 642 Market Street, Unit 289. These documents were never forwarded to me or the City Solicitor for any handling through the courts.
The other Stop Work Notice occurred on September 8, 2009 for 316 Adams Street followed by Criminal Violation Notice letter of the same date for 316 Adams St. unit 187 and 380 Adams St. unit 158 top floor. We have no records of this order at all and no records of communications with the Solicitor or me regarding the issuance of this order. Though I do note that my office was listed as CC’d.
Mr. Camacho represented on the radio today that he needed the solicitor’s office to go to court and enforce his order. First, no such request was ever made for enforcement action through the solicitor’s office or mine for that matter.
Second, as has been the case in the past, Mr. Camacho could have filed criminal complaints in court. I don’t believe that it had been the past practice to utilize the law department for such complaints, but rather individual inspectors would seek the issuance of a criminal complaint on their own. That was never done in this case.
Lastly, what is important to not lose sight of is that the only thing holding up the issuance of the building permits was that, for the first time, the City was charging LHA for the permits and making the LHA get permits and have inspections. That was a decision that I made and enforced.
Ironically, had I simply taken the position that the LHA advocated (that they didn’t need building permits for in-house work and they didn’t pay fees) a position that had been previously been followed by the City, this would not be the issue it is today.
In other words, had I followed the past practice regarding LHA work, no money would have been collected by the City to help defray the costs of work we perform, and the residents of the LHA would not have had the benefit of a control construction project.
While this project was far from being properly handled by the ISD, the LHA work was, nevertheless, performed with a greater level of oversight that had ever been previously attempted.
I did note some discussion this morning regarding asbestos and lead paint, and I note that you have already learned from the LHA that these matters were resolved in the 80’s and 90’s.
Bernard F. Lynch | City Manager
I guess I don’t understand why WCAP and the SUN are taking the words of a disgruntled former employee who it has been shown did not properly supervise at least one Inspector, did not have control of files and copies of documents and one who admits he could not deal with a project this size?
When the Sun dumped MK – Mr.C indiacted is was a personal matter and he wasn’t going to say anything else. When Clark Smidth invaded WCAP a few weeks ago with a couple of
“associates” I don’t recall Teddy putting him on air or having him call in to discuss his issues.
Yet both the Sun and WCAP want to drag out a person who was less than stellar at their job and have us beleive that we should take his statements of being concerned about safety seriusly almost 2 years after the fact?