SODAGATE – Manager cleared of allegations that were never made, at least publicly

The McKinleyville Community Services District Board of Directors held a closed session meeting this evening, after which Board President John Corbett made an announcement. 


Being that the sound system at Azalea Hall sucks, it was unclear what he actually said. So I asked him to repeat his announcement during the break. Here’s what he said into my recorder:


“There were allegations that the general manager was personally involved in embezzling the coke, well, the soft drink funds, and  personally involved in collusion with the (suspected employee). The board found those were not valid and, therefore, we’re referring personnel to the general manager.”


That means that Manager Tom Marking will handle any personnel issues related to the alleged embezzlement. If, for instance, the suspected employee needs to be reprimanded or fired, Marking has the authority to do so and doesn’t need the board’s permission. In short: The manager can act as the manager when dealing with an employee regarding this situation.


The strange thing about the board’s announcement is that I’ve never heard any of those allegations made about Marking. Former Business Manager Jim Harding said he was forced to retire from the district after Marking thwarted his efforts to have the suspected embezzlement properly investigated and he (Harding) was accused of threatening an “unnamed” employee.  However, Harding made it clear in an interview that Marking was not a suspect in the embezzlement and Harding never accused Marking of collusion.


Perhaps someone else made those allegations?


Anyway, the big topic this evening was the new sewer discharge standards. That may sound boring, but when your sewer bill doubles or triples, perhaps you’ll find it more interesting. That assumes, of course, that the doom and gloom presented this evening are accurate.


Video report to come…





Filed under embezzlement, Marking, MCSD

24 responses to “SODAGATE – Manager cleared of allegations that were never made, at least publicly

  1. Am I on The Mirror? No, this is The McKinleyville Press blog. Some things you just can’t make up.

    Is that what Marking thought Harding said? Is that why he got so upset? Because he took it personally?

    This just gets weirder.

  2. How bizarre. Unless it’s deliberate.

  3. humred

    Because it is a personal matter we will never know for sure. Sounds like maybe some verbal stuff went on between some employee’s. In reading the minutes of the last meeting the G.M. talks about a 10,000 dollar retainer for a labor attorney. Also Jack I think you forgot to mention the Chairman’s report
    “The board meeting notice of September 19,2007 is rescinded”. Gosh could that mean there was never justification for that meeting to be to be called, that there never was a cause for any closed session to discuss dismissal or termination. Funny u missed this news worthy item. This and past directors Coffman’s accusations seem to be the root causes for many of the accusations against the G.M. I believe though the people spoke in the last election and maybe the G.M. can now get on with his job and let the rest of us get on with our lives.

  4. monocot

    No one should be surprised that Tom Marking is, once again, passing the buck and refusing to accept responsibility. His letter said something about the NCRWQCB “intentionally misleading” him or something similar. No surprise! Marking is unable to establish a working relationship with staff at the water board.

  5. humred

    Really, even though the standards where set at a Federal level, and several other districts have been hit with the same thing. Still u feel its the G.M.who is responsible for the problem. Also your boy Coffman cried to recluse Director Corbet, even though he is a member of that board and could have given some insight into whats going on at that level. Shows u how much you all care about MCSD. All u care about is shooting at G.M., who cares whats best for McKinleyville. A bunch of do nothing, know nothing worthless sacks of flesh

  6. Marking

    You guys are a hoot. You guess at everything but what is so obvious, that Harding has been feeding you a line of bull; but you are so very gullible and want so badly to believe all this drivel. Do you really expect Harding to admit that he has lied to you and done some really stupid and unprofessional things, like accuse the G.M. of embezzlement, fraud and collusion? Since you all know him so well, go ask him. When its put in writing and signed with his signature, there is not much doubt. And go ask about the ten’s of thousands we have now had to spend because of his ego and vindictiveness. We could have built a playground, and finished the soccer fields with less than what this has cost. Go ask him why he has so much self loathing that he tried so desperately to tear down what we are trying so hard to build up for the community.

    Hey Durham, go ask Harding face to face if he ever made written accusations that accuse the GM of ebmezzlement and fraud. Just because he didn’t publish it with you doesn’t mean he didn’t do it. And ask him about Section 632 of the Penal Code and if has ever done something so sneaky and dishonest as that? Go ask some tough questions and ask him what his motives are? Who he is working with and why would he put his career at risk for such a stupid thing. And go ask about his response the to long letter sent to him about the investigation and where is his evidence of all this embezzlement and fraud…or has he finally figured out he is the one delusional.

    Hey Rose, you came begging my forgiveness once before for your errant baloney…you should get your facts straight before putting your money on a lame horse that barely made it out of the gate. Why don’t you wise up and get to work and do something productive with your time than make spurious accusations that are slandarous, libelous and just plain dopey. I’ll make the same offer as the last time, if you want to know something about me have the spine to call me and ask me…what a novel thought.

    You guys need to get a life.

  7. Tom,
    Did you write that, or is someone writing under your name? – Jack

  8. Ben

    It is unfortunate the Jack does not display some level of nutrality when dealing with MCSD. I think there is a great opportunity for the McKinleyville Press to print evenhanded reporting on issues. Unfortunately, Jack’s biases fog his vision and reduce the paper’s effectivness in the community.
    All papers have an editorial slant, but the McKinleyville Press under Jack’s editorship, has now transitioned to an opinion piece.

  9. Whoa! Tom. Yeah. I said I might owe you an apology, if it turned out that Local Solutions was trying to commandeer the MCSD Board. Heraldo’s interest in the goings on raised that possibility. I don’t know if I’d call that begging for forgiveness.

    Perhaps you are unaware that I have also defended you, and advocated for the Board asking you to come back when it appeared that you had resigned.

    But I have taken you to task for your – really combative! – communications, which included a letter to my neighbor who had done nothing but make a simple and routine request.

    As for what appears to be you saying something about my support for my friend Ron Coffman – I supported him, I would support him again for anything he wanted to run for. He’s a good man, as I think you know. McKinleyville would have been well served by someone with his enthusiasm, dedication and thoughtful insight, AND his lack of obligation to ANY pressure group

    I also happen to like John Corbett, Javan Reid, Jeff Dunk and Bill Wennerholm, who currently serve. Each of them gets slammed from various factions on a pretty regular basis, but they are all good people. I’ve never met the new lady, but I hear good things and we are really pretty lucky with the caliber of the people who serve. They don’t all have to march in lockstep. Differences of opinion are part of the deal.

    For God’s sake, this overreaction to Jack printing a story – which he would have been highly remiss if he had ignored or buried – is, as I said above, just getting stranger and stranger.

    Like it or not, the press asks questions. Managers of departments all over this nation have to answer them.

  10. jackdurham

    Perhaps you could release the document in which Harding accuses you of embezzlement, fraud and collusion. Since you’ve mentioned the document here, it would seem that perhaps it’s not something that needs to be kept secret.

    I interviewed Harding, and he denies making those accusations. If you were to provide that document, that would help clear things up, wouldn’t it?

    – Jack

  11. HumRed

    Perhaps Jack you should ask Jim to show you the document. It should tell exactly what was said by whom and when it was said. As you well know the document you ask Tom about can only be released by Jim. If he refuses to release it, it would stand to reason that it did not support his statements.
    Rose, perhaps you can ask your friend Coffman why he had Corbet reclused, thus robbing the people of the input of one of the members of the regional water board. Your forgot to include petty, ventictive, and childish among his strong points.
    In rereading the press of that week it seems both Ben and Toms comments are directed not at the story that Jim told the press but the over the top editorial that Jack wrote as if Jims story was the pure truth. With out even a hint that there might be another angle to what was happening. Looks like from what I have read that there is a whole other bunch of facts that were left out.

  12. jackdurham

    I appreciate you distinguishing between my column and my reporting.

    I stand by my reporting. I think it’s been fair and accurate. One can’t ignore a situation where the chief financial officer and treasurer of an agency quits his job and makes allegations of financial irregularities and a cover-up.

    As for my opinion column, that’s just my opinion. It could turn out that I was wrong, in which case I’ll have to write a mea culpa.

    But the opinion column and the news reporting are separate.


  13. I said I might owe you an apology, if it turned out that Local Solutions was trying to commandeer the MCSD Board. Heraldo’s interest in the goings on raised that possibility.

    Ha! Fooled by your own delusions again!

  14. That’s a reference to the allegations that are circulating in McKinleyville, heraldo, which I have said I do not believe to be true. Might even have said it on your blog.

  15. There are rumors going around McKinleyville that I am somehow involved in a takeover of MCSD by Local Solutions? Maybe it’s something in the water.

  16. Maybe. 🙂 Don’t worry, heraldo, I have maintained your innocence, in a funny sort of way.

  17. Anonymous

    Local solutions is alive and well in the county and deeply involved in MCSD. The facts are always not out in the open. What is out in the open is the poor job the directors have been doing since LS has slipped its venom into their mists. Their has to often been a mean spirit with some directors and it came to a head with Mr. Coffman. Perhaps a nice man but not suited for a public trust position. The blogs, gossip, and the McK Press heading of MCSD embezzlement all implied the fault was likely the GM. I think you all him an apology. The board should get off the pot and run the district.

  18. Anonymous

    Not out in the open? Like our little girl heraldo’s mission and name.

  19. Anonymous

    Local solutions and our girl her aldo are one mission in the same.

  20. monocot

    Local Solutions? don’t know much about that there group — I do know that when folks are threatened and cuss’n and fussin, the object of their discomfort is most likely doing some good for the WHOLE of the community. Make up your mind, anony. If it LS fault, or the board? Are you saying that the majority of board (corbett, dr.bill & edwards) are not doing their civic duty?

  21. riverbluffrez

    The board had not been doing it’s civic duty. It took quite some time for corbet,dr.bill&edwards to get the ship back on course. With some major deceptions from a former employee aided by a minority public hysteria the waters were very muddy. The board has seen the light, is now doing their civic duty,the waters have cleared and you will owe the GM more than one apology.

  22. Dear Riverbluffrez,
    I allow anonymous comments for the time being, but it would sure be nice if you could pick one name and stick with it instead if using multiple identities. Thank you. – Jack

  23. Not to pile it on but that’s not an apology. Just FYI I’m at work now so that’s why the IP is not the same. As far as the variety of IP posts at home,there is a community router that as many as 6 tenents use. I’m sure many also have friends with lap tops. Making gross judgements with very little to no information seems a bit over the top. If you want to delete the posts that is your right. So is an apology.

  24. Anonymous

    nonocot,looks like corbet just might be doing the Arkansas two step. Playing both sides and doing nothing. Ask and see what he’s up to this week. You need to run the district John,not run for supervisor.

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