Did a Morro Bay councilman game the system?

February 6, 2014

George LeageMorro Bay City Councilman George Leage voted to provide money to an event that he was then paid to cater has caused some to question if he is financially benefiting from his elected position. [NewTimes]

On Jan. 11, Leage along with other members of his family catered the Morro Bay 50th birthday celebration kickoff dinner. About 200 attendees paid $50 to attend the dinner catered by Leage’s Great American Fish Company.

Leage is a member of the 50th Anniversary Celebration Committee which organized the event. Along with fellow City Council liaison Nancy Johnson, he battled to get the city council to donate $50,000 for events related to the city’s birthday.

“We gotta realize this is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, and I think this event, it’s a community thing,” Leage said at that meeting. “But you are still going to attract a lot of people from out of town, and it is going to put a little money in the coffers. It’s going to take at least $50,000 to get this going, there’s not doubt about it. I’ll just leave it at that. We gotta do this. I mean, come one, once in a lifetime.”

In the end, League voted for the city to award $15,000 to the 50th Anniversary Celebration Committee for events though he failed to mention his restaurant would be catering the event.

Still unanswered are question of how the funding is being dispersed and how much of the $50 a person charge for the dinner went to Leage. Leage says he was provided $15 a plate and claims that he lost money catering the event.

 


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BullyHater

Any doubts that George Leage believes himself above the law? Simply check out “You may also want to read:” just above the comments.


mbactivist1

I don’t think anyone wants Leage unfairly accused of wrongdoing, which is why everyone involved needs to just provide the requested information on what was spent and what it was spent for.


That said, are the 50th anniversary festivities intended to be a pleasant and unifying celebration for all residents, or are they intended to be a way of bringing in more tourists to spend money on the Embarcadero?


I ask only because it appears that the whole thing is being run by the Chamber of Commerce, whose purpose is to stimulate business. That is certainly not a bad objective in general, but does it need to creep into everything?


A nice picnic for the whole town would seem like a more appropriate way to kick off the celebration than an expensive dinner that few could afford to attend.


slophocles

Shouldn’t George have thought about all of this BEFORE he ran for public office? He has to step down from votes almost every meeting. Maybe he should stick to what he’s good at which is making lots of money for himself. I hope he never does something like this again, too – it will give the other 26 restaurants ranked above his on internet reviews to have a crack at the positive publicity it will earn them, which is, when properly earned, one of the benefits of donating to local causes. Oh, and all the curbs and driveways where George likes to park have been recently painted bright red, green, and blue so he will no longer have to be confused over what’s a driveway and what’s a curb.


diamond

George knew exactly what he was doing when he ran for office. One main goal, to help himself. That is who George is and what he has always done.


LAH

What is the big story here? So what if he catered the event? George put out a lot to make this happen. Keep up the crud talk/reporting about him, just reaching for anything out of nothing and MB will lose a dedicated positive generous Morro Bay Activist!! Shameful really.


BullyHater

Hahahahahaha…. Dedicated, Positive, Generous, Activist.


slophocles

Even George would resent you calling him an activist.


diamond

You mean reporting hard facts? Yes, shame on the media for exposing king George for the bigot he is. I just had a flashback to the book Animal farm.

‘All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.’


TaxMeAgain

What about the 51st anniversary? That is also ONCE in a lifetime!


jrstone

I wonder if George went out and painted some curbs red so the locals would have plenty of parking spaces in this event. Maybe that’s why he lost money, damn spray paint can be expensive you know?


Just Sayin’…


DennySLO

Numbers are everything in my opinion and vague accounting for those numbers usually equals skimming and pocketing for one’s own gain.


Ok, so the council gave $15,000 to the event, the participants of the event paid $50 x 200= $10,000 for a total of $25,000. Leage says he received $15 for each plate of which totals $3,000……where’s the remaining $22,000?


I didn’t attend the event so I question where the remaining $35 of the participants $50 went to?


I don’t see how $15 would cover the cost of a reasonable seafood plate. This seems fishy to me, pun intended. $15 bucks is more in line with half a chicken or tri-tip with the condiments of beans, pre-made salad and bread, NOT seafood.


Just my opinion


jrstone

Factor in food cost and maybe, just maybe, that $22,000.00 shrinks a bit. He is a restaurant owner though, so his price for that food would be a whole lot less than what we would pay for it.


Maybe, just maybe, his $15.00 a plate charge wasn’t meant to garner any profits, and maybe even a loss, so he could justify his restaurant providing the service. I don’t know. Without looking at his books no one can really say.


Just Sayin’…


BullyHater

The exposure he got (invitations, announcements, emails, etc.) was more than worth the possible loss in food costs. He was advertised along with the event in every way.


jrstone

If he used his restaurant to buy, store and prepare the food, and then used his staff to prepare the food, get the dining facility ready, serve the food and then clean up afterwords there is a whole lot more than “food cost” at stake.


My first comment was for the purpose levity, not to imply anything. It was a joke, folks!


The whole picture does need to be looked at. If George made this gesture with the certain knowledge he or his business would not make a profit, maybe even taking a loss, he should be commended. If the by product of this was getting some attention to his restaurant I would think that would only be fair and nothing illegal or immoral.


Just Sayin’…


taxpayer

The council gave $15,000 for the entire year’s worth of events. George, as usual, was generous and donated time and food to another worthwhile event. He spent money to make this evening memorable. Thanks, George! No good deed goes unpunished in Morro Bay.


taxpayer

The profit from this event went to the Community Foundation which provides youth scholarships for recreational activities within the City of Morro Bay.


BullyHater

First we’ve heard where the money went. So it’s definitely the Joan Solu show (she’s head of both the CF and MB50). How is it that you know this… but it hasn’t been promoted anywhere else?


taxpayer

Some of the money is also going to support the sculpture that is being placed at Morro Rock to commemorate fishermen/women which is being built by the Central Coast Women for Fisheries. This vast conspiracy that George donated to was to raise money for the youth and to commemorate fishermen/women. You people need to get a life!


BullyHater

You are properly following the 4 rules of dodgeball… Dodge, Dip, Dive & Dodge.


taxpayer

You are following the two rules of a bully: No nothing and speak loudly. If we can just get a few more people like you in town everyone will quit donating their time and money to anything. It’s easy to criticize. It’s hard to put out some effort and put on an event. The real question is where were the other three members of the council? Answer: Nowhere to be seen until the event took place. They didn’t donate time or money to this event. They didn’t set up tables, fold chairs, or provide food. Nothing. Nada. I guess if you don’t do anything, you can’t do anything wrong. What a bunch of useless talkers.


BullyHater

A real bully would point out that you should have written “Know nothing”… not “No nothing”. But I’m not a bully. I’m a Bully HATER!!!


As for volunteering, hahahaha… you’re a funny man/woman/troglodyte . “They didn’t donate time or money to this event”… well, they went.. I think that is exactly the definition of donating money. Also, it was a MB Chamber of Commerce event… do they traditionally ask for volunteers? How do you know they didn’t volunteer any time/money, are you an event organizer?


I love how you are trying to imply that “the other three members of the council” (I’m guessing you mean Noah, Jamie & Christine) don’t volunteer anything in the community. Because that would make you a complete moron if that is what you were saying. However, you could also include George & Nancy in that comment… what did they do for this event? George was PAID for being involved!!! What did Nancy do? (not saying she did nothing… just curious) I know she voted for tax money to go towards the event (one of the few times she actually voted recently).


(Passing the baton back to you for retort)


mbhomeless

I once watched Mr. & Mrs. nancy Johnson stand outside a store ringing a bell for Christmas, only all Nancy did was sit and talk on her phone the whole time while Gary rang the bell and talked to people walking by.


jrstone

Most “BullyHater(s)” not only hate the bully but despise their tactics… I would suggest that you don’t exemplify a “BullyHater” but rather a well spoken “Bully”…


“troglodyte” and “complete moron” are the words of a “Bully”, a well spoken one, but still a “Bully”…


Just Sayin’…


jrstone

To expound on my point “BullyHaterBully”:


The definitions of two types of verbal bullying:


“The verbal bully uses words as weapons against you. The direct verbal bully says insulting things to your face. The indirect verbal bully says insulting things about you within your hearing or behind your back.”


I’d say you fit either… But I would be remiss if I didn’t suggest an alternative and maybe better way of getting your point across without alienating yourself or those you target… attack the message and not so much the messenger.


Just Sayin’…


diamond

Ambitious Joan Solu has her mitts in everything. Beware, her and her husband Johns political ambitions. She is bulking up her political résumé by adding every spotlighted seat she can sit on. She’s like whack a mole, keeps popping up everywhere.


taxpayer

Thanks to Joan Solu for all the hard work you’re doing. Maybe if some of these critics would step forward to help you wouldn’t be the one who has to do everything. But, they’d rather hide in the shadows and disparage all the good people who put forth an effort to make Morro Bay a better place. What a sad group of unhappy people they must be. Don’t take anything they say seriously. They aren’t smart enough to know a good thing when they see it.


diamond

You are right, so why don’t you be the first to tell the public who you are and come out of the shadow of “Taxpayer” Hypocrite.


BullyHater

Tee-Hee. I thought Taxpayer was funny, but I didn’t realize he/she had a full-blown stand-up routine.


Give me one example of single thing she’s doing in the community… which doesn’t fuel an agenda or personally benefit her financially.


Oyster Fest – She owns stake in the MB Oyster Co.

TBID – Money spent on her events and promoting her property. Hire friends.

Chamber – who can she put in control? Friends?

All of the above – POLITICAL POSITIONING SO SHE CAN RUN AGAIN


Challenge accepted???


slophocles

Taxpayer, you act as if she COULD stop. Believe me, it’s a disease: “Look how hard I work, now why don’t you all work as hard on me” but as has been pointed out, these things she works so hard on all come around to benefit her and her husband directly. Diamond nailed it when he called her a “whack-a-mole” that keeps popping up. If she and her TBID buddies really love Morro Bay why don’t they try paying their employees a living wage? Funny you hear of our hoteliers doing all these “wonderful things” for the community but their employees are living in cracker boxes. Want to impress us? Today, hike all your housekeepers and front desk clerks up to $15 an hour. Then you’d really have something to pat yourself on the back for. Those people will have money in the town they work in (not in your hotel, sorry, but in shops, stores, restaurants, etc). Then you would have something to pat yourself on the back for and I would be there patting right along with you. Until then, you’re just as self-serving, if not more so, than the rest of us.


diamond

You really don’t have to thank Joan. She is president of that club also. Picked up this weeks Bay news to see a letter to the editor from Joan about Joan and the selfless works of Joan. She never passes up a chance to promote the Joan of arc show.


MBvoter

No secret. Not the Joan Solu show….. It was announced at the event and thru the Chamber e-blast that the CCWF (Central Coast Women for Fisheries) were the public art benefit and money is being donated to help with completion of the statues by the rock “Those who Wait”


BullyHater

Ok… thanks Joan.


mbactivist1

Great. Now all that needs to be done is to provide the documentation that shows that.


MBvoter

go to the chamber they have the financial info. unless your going to blame them and include them in your conspiracy theory.


LameCommenter

O.K., at first blush this situation might suggest impropriety so step by step examination is warranted because some of this could be completely innocent in the ordinary course of business, i.e. a celebration was warranted, and subsequently a caterer was needed.


There is nothing wrong with the dean of a historic family serving on the council, militating for a modest (fifty grand is modest in a municipal anniversary event) city payment. If his firm eventually was selected through some bidding process, or lack of other bidders, some fair process, and he did a dinner for just fifteen bucks then, yes, there was no impropriety and he probably gave an unreported GIFT to the little town of Morro Bay by providing food and beverage below cost. This tiny sale means nothing to a prosperous on-going business so there might be “nothing bad to see here”.


Still, the matter deserves detailed inquiry, not swept under the rug like Adam Hill’s vote of a comparative FORTUNE to the agency of his lady friend. CCN should follow up and should demonstrate impartiality by using a handsome photo of this councilman as CCN does of Supervisor Gibson. Quit with the grizzled-fisherman-deer-in-headlights photos, and expose the factual caterer selection process details, please.


BullyHater

With George’s history (especially of late) I’m hesitant to give him the benefit of the doubt. Historic lineage or not… there is a process and proper handling when the city gifts funds to a group, and Leage… with Nancy’s help, crossed the line. Again. Detailed inquiry is necessary indeed!!! BTW – Did George ever move, or is he still living above his family’s restaurant?


As for the pic… I think I remember it from his campaign website. Yeah, George chose that one.


LAH

BH, you are commenting without details of reality.


BullyHater

Ok LAH… you’re right. I’m not positive it’s the picture from his campaign webpage, that is purely based on my memory.


mbactivist1

I remember that photo from a campaign


mbhomeless

Hell no. he’s up there every night. You don’t understand – this is George’s town and if you don’t believe that’s so, just ask him.


mbactivist1

That’s interesting. I could swear he said he was moving.


taxpayer

Anyone who attended this dinner knows that George Leage donated much more to the event than he was ever paid. The food he provided was first class. I hope he never donates another thing to the City of Morro Bay again. No good deed goes unpunished in Morro Bay. The city council majority sees to that!


BullyHater

How is this on the City Council??? I love how people against the new council automatically blame them for everything!!! I bet you’re still upset at Mayor Irons for causing the drought… and the power plant closing… and the unseasonably warm winter.


#1, George should have recused himself from the vote… #2, since the city money was used to “seed” the 50th Anniversary events, the catering should have at least gone out to bid instead of George just getting it. If he “lost money” why won’t he just speak up and tell us exactly how good of a citizen he has been?


Leage has proven himself to run “above the law” already this year… this is just another nail in the coffin of his political career.


BullyHater

PS… “the food he provided was first class”… you’re talking about the 50th Anniversary Kick-off dinner right? Am I mistaking the event??? I’m talking about the one where all of the Recall supporters awarded themselves according the amount of recall exposure they provided (with Reddell’s Fogcutter earning him Master of the City), Joan Solu took as much credit as possible and was catered by some cafeteria service. Is that the event you’re talking about?!?!


slophocles

That’s what happens when you get one too many jerks sitting in the same circle.


BullyHater

Surprised there wasn’t any Beef Jerky.


mbhomeless

did he do all the cooking, serving and cleaning himself? or was it done by his poverty-wage minions?


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