Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Part Two....C/O Straight Up, With Sugar Coating or No C/O

In Part One, I began talking about some very controversial Certificate of Occupancy issues in a couple of downtown businesses.  For reasons that are still not completely understood, my husband lost his job because of the preference of these businesses for “noncompliance” and their deceitful lies and those of City Officials.  They also were the cause of the close of my shop located in the same building as these businesses.  City Officials served as the “Judge, the Henchman, and the Hangman” that I wrote about previously.  I am breaking this up into “parts” as it is very long and detailed reading.  As I write of these events, I want to reiterate again and again, I want redemption for those that have gone through this battle before us because they too have been wrongly accused of things not done.  And I very much want to keep this from happening to those in the future.  These people are bold, powerful, and threatening yet our God is definitely in control and the truth will set us free as others begin to understand the truth of this corruption.

In the spring of 2012, some of my artists and crafters first began helping me by working at the shop.  I had gotten sick with a serious bacterial infection that had me sidelined for six weeks.  After I resumed working, some of the crafters continued working an afternoon a week so I could have some extra hours off weekly.  During those times, Dwight would often go and close out the register, get the day’s receipts and lock up the shop.   Most of the time, it was after we had dinner and after most businesses had closed for the night.  With the time change in the fall and lights on inside the Wylie Art Gallery, he began noticing night gatherings other than art classes.     

In November of 2012, the building where Ballard Street School of Music resided was placed on the market.  There was a huge Keller Williams FOR SALE sign with “Lynn Grimes, Realtor of the Kathy Spillyards Real Estate Team” blazoned across the sign.  It could be seen from outside the front door of The Crafter’s Co-op and the sign size made it impossible to miss.  Early in December during one of the late night trips to close out the register, it dawned on Dwight that he was frequently seeing Kathy Spillyards at the gallery and he surmised that the Keller Williams business was sharing office space with the Wylie Art Gallery.  Dwight sent a text to his Code Administrative Secretary to have her check the records for that business address.  He indicated to call the gallery IF there was no new or updated Certificate for the Keller Williams business and to inquire IF the Keller Williams business was operating and sharing the office at that address.  He indicated to add it to the list of businesses to contact and that it would not be classified as an urgent call since there were no safety concerns such as hazardous materials compromising Police or Fire responders should there be an emergency call in the meantime.     

Sometime around the end of January or early February, the CAS made the call to the gallery. Lynn wanted to know WHO had reported her. ** Standard response to such inquiries for Code Enforcement calls is “anonymous”.  And most calls of this nature are in fact specified as “anonymous” by the callers.  This is standard protocol for all municipalities to protect callers, neighbors or whoever calls about enforcement issues.  It is to prevent retaliatory issues.  Lynn then called the City Manager to find out WHO reported her and Mindy called Dwight to ask him for the who, what, why details of the call to Lynn.  He told her he would check and call her back.  Since Dwight’s text to the Code Administrative Secretary had been weeks before, he wanted to check the details of the call with the CAS.  After verifying the details of the call to Lynn, he called and told Mindy that the call had been prompted by his text for inquiry regarding the Keller William business weeks before.  Mindy wanted to know HOW Dwight knew the Keller Williams business was being conducted in the gallery and he told her about the late night gatherings and Kathy’s frequent presence.  Mindy informed Dwight that she would handle the call to Lynn and she promptly sent the Assistant City Manager to Dwight’s office to question if he had directed the CAS to tell Lynn “anonymous” and Dwight told him “NO” and explained the standard protocol response and the reason being possible “retaliatory actions” against a neighbor, etc.  I would like to note that this is probably the exact same protocol used by the Wylie Police for complaint calls and Jeff would be very familiar with this protocol as Wylie’s former Chief of Police.  Dwight explained to Jeff that the protocol had been standard response long before he came to the City of Wylie, and that it had been the same for the City where he had worked for almost 30 years.  Regardless, Jeff strongly advised him to rescind the Keller Williams Certificate of Occupancy requirement and with an apology.  As instructed, Dwight promptly “exempted” the Certificate of Occupancy requirement for the Keller Williams business, sent an email of apology and notification of the Certificate of Occupancy cancellation to Kathy Spillards (Team Leader and Wylie Mayor Pro-Tem at that time) and Lynn Grimes.   In response, Lynn sent a long and apparently abusive email addressed to the City Manager and Dwight.  Mindy called Dwight and instructed him NOT to read or respond to Lynn’s email as she intended to handle it herself.

Just days after this, Lynn vaulted her agenda to the next level.  We were told that Tuesday after the February 12th City Council meeting adjourned, a Special Called Meeting was held for the purpose of information gathering for Dwight’s “at will” dismissal.  It was not until 4pm Thursday, February 14th that I had a clue of something amiss.  My landlord’s son came into The Crafter’s Co-op angrily demanding Dwight’s direct phone number at the City.  Dwight did not answer his desk nor cell phone, so I gave him the CAS’s number.  I then heard him ask “does the new salon on Ballard Street have a Certificate of Occupancy”?   At this point, I still knew nothing of what had happened regarding Lynn’s Certificate of Occupancy tirade.   That night during our Valentine dinner, I found out that while Bobby was in my shop demanding to talk to Dwight, the Assistant City Manager was in Dwight’s office placing him on “Administrative Leave” pending HIS investigation into code of conduct violation charges made by Lynn.  Unfortunately, Dwight was never included in “the City’s investigation”—he was just told “the story that everyone would be told”, the one that they collectively made up.  And why wouldn’t they?  We have been told by others that this is just a repeat of what has been done to many employees before Dwight.  They too have been ushered out the door without the chance to counter charges and their leaves are often with POLICE ESCORTS as in Dwight’s departure.  

I honestly believe that the upper management handling of the “situation” created an escalating, uncontrollable scenario.  They added “fuel to Lynn’s fire” setting precedence for all future dealings with her and her boss.  As they threw the fuel on her fire, they dealt Dwight a bitter “slap in the face” for doing his job and managed to treat him like an insubordinate employee claiming “breach of conduct” and “violation of the code of conduct”.  And this has sent a message to all employees that upper management’s loyalty is certainly NOT to their employees even when they are excelling in their job.  Do they not care that their actions have managed to handicap every single employee in their job?  Do they not care that they are compromising the quality of the City employees job performances and adversely affecting their morale?   

Since Dwight was never given an opportunity to tell HIS side in defense of the charges against him, I will tell it here as we know it.

The Mayor said Lynn accused Dwight of retaliatory bullying after I “sicced him on her” when discovering her conducting a real estate closing at the gallery.   
  • I rarely went into the gallery unless asked to come over at her request.  I knew the exact date she was referring to as Dr. J Davis had come into the shop to ‘say hello’ on the way to his closing.  He and his little family had previously come into the shop on several other occasions when going to the gallery during their search for a new home.  This particular day (Thursday, January 17, 2013) when he came in, I was actually gathering up donations that had been solicited (by Guild Member, Pat B) and were to be delivered THAT day to the gallery for the Charitable Silent Auction Fundraiser for Richardson’s St. Joseph Catholic Church.  The date on closing documents and my dated donation sheet would both be January 17th.
The Mayor said Lynn claimed that I stormed into the gallery that day disrupting her closing.
  • I truly believe everyone that knows me, knows that I do not “storm”, “rant” or in anyway would be disrespectful as to disrupt any business.  The camera feed in the gallery would show that I walked in and  held up the bag stating that I was dropping off the donations and cheerfully wished them both a ‘good evening’ and promptly left. 
The Mayor said that Dwight’s email inclusion of Kathy Spillyards “turned it all into a political issue”. 
  • I still do not understand the Mayor’s “political issue” statement.  Kathy’s presence at the gallery gatherings (no evidence of paint classes) at night PLUS her name as TEAM LEADER on Lynn’s Keller Williams signs, made it appear that the gatherings were Keller Williams meetings, so how is this POLITICAL?  If it was political, does that mean that there were in fact gatherings being held at the gallery that by definition would be subject to the OPEN MEETINGS ACT and therefore POLITICAL meetings?  Is this why the Mayor made a point of explaining what he referred to as "his frequent visits to the Gallery" for the purpose of "special projects he was working on with Bob Heath"?  Were they really off site meetings that WERE subject to the OPEN MEETINGS ACT?  How was the Keller Williams Team Leader’s inclusion “political” if it was merely Keller Williams’s gatherings?  Did they blow this so out of perspective and if so WHY?  Was it merely to avoid a Certificate of Occupancy and again, WHY?  Was it because not only Lynn and possibly Kathy had their reasons, but the Mayor himself had his own reasons since he himself was joining the Kathy Spillyard’s Team once his own real estate classes were completed?  What reason would he/they have for objecting to a Certificate of Occupancy? 
The Mayor said Lynn did not conduct real estate business in the gallery.  She had only conducted business that one day because the client had requested the location for his convenience.
  • For many reasons, this is still such a mystery as to why everyone went to such lengths to disclaim the Keller Williams business at the Wylie Art Gallery address.    If Lynn was NOT conducting Keller Williams’s business at the gallery as they all claim, then why did she advertise the Keller Williams business at the SAME address as the gallery in the “Wylie Chamber of Commerce Community & Business Guide” for the years 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013?  I bet at some point since 2010 she has run ads in the Wylie News with the Wylie Art Gallery address as well.  So why did she, the Mayor and the City Officials accuse Dwight and me both of being on a “witch-hunt” and deny there was such business?   Am I the only person Lynn has called to the gallery to show computer searches of the landlord’s downtown properties available for lease when she knew I was looking to move into a larger location?  Am I the only tenant graced with her presence at the signing of their lease as she did mine?  I thought nothing of it as I knew from the very beginning that she helped the landlord as his realtor, in helping manage his properties, etc.  Lynn made sure that I knew she was NOT just a tenant and that she had favor with everyone, including the City’s elected AND appointed Officials.  But NOW I do wonder WHY all the denials and all the lies and cover-ups by all the same people in City Hall she claimed were “watching out” for her?  What’s to be gained and what’s to be lost?  And who all is involved in the tangled web of deceit?  From the very beginning, I repeatedly have said “We do not know WHAT is going on, but after all they have done to us, IT HAS TO BE VERY WIDE AND VERY DEEP”.  That has proven to be a prophetic statement and nearly nine months later, it gets ‘wider and deeper’ with each passing day.  

**Note:  We were told by the Mayor that the protocol of anonymity was not acceptable according to the City Manager.  Recently we have been told that the protocol of record that has been enforced for a number of years, is in fact still the standard protocol.  Complaints or calls of this nature come from a number of sources such as internal inquiries (which was the case with Dwight’s inquiry) outside agencies and the general public to include citizens and businesses.  Information obtained is considered confidential and can only be revealed through a court subpoena in most cities.      

Part Three of    C/O Straight Up, With Sugar Coating or No C/O   to be continued…..

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