Letters to the Editor

Public needs full answers on Manatee County school sales tax bonds

At a luncheon in Lakewood Ranch last week, Bob Gause, school board chairman, was asked about the misspent monies that were discovered during the audit of one of the sales tax bonds.

Mr. Gause, a practiced politician, skillfully skirted around that bothersome question.

The bond in question was in the amount of $45 million and the audit revealed that $8 million was spent without proper authorization.

Mr. Gause put a spin on this sticky problem by saying that when projects authorized for bonding come in below cost, that it is common practice to then use the extra funds for other projects.

This is correct, but what he cleverly omitted is that on this particular bond, the unauthorized monies were removed from the bond within the first three months of issuance, NOT using leftover funds but instead covering a previous project which had presumably run short of funds.

And let's not forget that the FBI discovered some issues in district documents that may point to civil or unethical issues, specifically bid tampering.

And let's not forget that Bob Gause was on the committee responsible for prioritizing the bids.

It's time to clean up our county politics.

Linda Schaich