Friday, January 25, 2008

EDITORIAL: A public letter to Tom LeCrone

Mr. LeCrone:

Of course we are all sorry that personal circumstances have caused you to leave the Convention Center Authority Board, but you accomplished some monumental things during your few months tenure.

1) By insisting that a future Executive Director be chosen through a deliberative process, you safeguarded against a rush to mediocrity and ended the omnipotence of the position of board chair.

2) Your successful advocacy of an agreement that the LCCCA will always pay debt service before expenses will prevent any attempt to conceal a future fiscal crisis. A future authority board will have to ask the County Commissioners to waive that provision, and that will publicly vindicate the warnings provided by two brave former commissioners and many of us that the project is fiscally unsound.

(This was the first real debate and substantive vote with the results contrary to the position of the chair in years, and possibly since the Authority's inception.)

3) You were supportive of an investigation of the propriety of the $20 million dollars in past expenditures.

4) You sought an explanation of any business rationale and why past board members were apparently not briefed by counsel concerning "gifting" of millions of dollars in naming rights and future state grants from the Authority to Penn Square Partners.

5) And lastly, you recognized the unfairness of there being only three persons on a nominating committee where a nomination and a seconding was required for each office, making more than one nominee per office unlikely. And you would not stand still for Ted Darcus misleading you and the nominating committee by erroneously insisting that the chair was not permitted to nominate or second a nomination.

By invalidating the tainted committee meeting and requesting that Chair Art Morris convene a new nominating committee consisting of all seven board members, you proposed a fair and appropriate method for providing two or more candidates for each position.


It seems likely that next week's LCCCA Board meeting will be your last one. We hope you will demonstrate the same vigor in advocating a fair election and selecting the best possible chair, be it Morris or another, as has been characteristic of your entire brave, wise and productive tenure as a board member.

Thank you for your invaluable service on behalf of the LCCCA and the public.