By Emerson Drake
On October 24, 2011, Dave Lopez was being interviewed on Athens Abell’s “On Watch” television show when he made some promises to his constituents. One of them was in response to Ms. Abell’s question regarding the misuse of SCAP and NSP2 funds. “If the audit comes back and it says there has been a misappropriation of funds and it’s this persons department will you personally call for their resignation?”
Dave Lopez’s response was “Absolutely, absolutely, that is what you should count on your local officials for. You find the bad piece and you cut it away.” Yet the findings are in and Joe Muratore has been potentially threatened with debarment because of his misdeeds. Which means he could be prevented from ever having anything to do with government funded financing and the question we’ve asked Susana Wood, City Attorney, is will Modesto be barred from future participation in federal funds if Mr. Muratore remains on the City Council. To this point we haven’t received an answer.
Quite honestly we don’t expect to receive one since she’s the council’s attorney and not the attorney for the citizens ofModesto.
Muratore’s fellow City Council members have remained completely silent including Dave Lopez. This is an extremely sad state of affairs forModesto. We have enough black eyes in the nation’s perception without having a councilman spreading his particular form of greed throughout the city’s business.
We can’t forget the $48,000 dollars still in question between Mr. Muratore and his business partner Ryan Swehla and Swehla’s business partner Scott Monday.
It appears these men have conspired to keep as much of the NSP2 money for themselves as possible by controlling the disbursement of funds from the city (remember the contractor couldn’t apply for more money because of the $1.2Million saved for Muratore’s Benchmark Realty’s use on the apartment on which Benchmark made the $62,500 commission).
Will Dave Lopez follow through on the ideal his campaign promise was based on, or is it business as usual in the family owned and operated Modesto?
It’s time for Modesto’s citizens to clean house and get respect back for their City Council. If any one on the city council remains either quiet or in support of Mr. Muratore they are part of the problem and not the solution.
To listen to Dave Lopez’s words go to