This is a big problem with all of our government agencies. We are being hoodwinked from every angle no a days.
By Monica Alonzo
By Ray Stern
By New Times Staff
By Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Monica Alonzo
By Stephen Lemons
By Robrt L. Pela
The board of commissioners didn't seem interested in interfering anyway. When Huff was let go to make way for Lingner's son, she tried desperately to interest commissioners in her plight. No dice; even the Reverend Tillman couldn't get them to intervene.
As an employee who depended on the housing authority for her livelihood, Belfield was understandably nervous about open rebellion. But she made her distaste for Lingner's methods clear — to the point that when he got an anonymous letter criticizing his nepotism, he told other employees it must have come from Belfield.
Sure enough, Belfield soon began supplying information both to Huff and other contacts. "I was hoping that it would light a candle, and some sort of movement would happen," she says.
That did happen, eventually. But first, Lingner came after Belfield.
In January, Belfield was placed on paid leave. She was given no information about what she'd supposedly done for nearly five months.
Today, the facts are clear. Lingner trumped up a reason to investigate Belfield — and hired both an attorney and a forensic computer analyst to dig deeply into her work habits. And though Lingner's initial allegation was found to be meritless, by that point, they'd dug up enough dirt to get her on a technicality.
In January, documents show, Lingner hired attorney Kate Baker to investigate whether Belfield had steered work to favored contractors. He also used agency funds for a full forensic analysis of her hard drive.
The first investigation turned out to be a deplorable waste of money. Baker found no evidence that Belfield had done anything unethical.
Lingner, Baker wrote, "admitted he did not have the facts to prove it." Baker's investigation yielded nothing, either. "The evidence gathered to date does not establish the truth of that allegation," Baker concluded.
But the forensic analysis did turn up a few useful tidbits, including the fact that Belfield had once browsed Facebook while at work. (That's not exactly shocking, but it's still a policy violation.)
More importantly, she'd also forwarded e-mails about housing authority matters to her personal account — and, from there, to several contacts.
To me, there's a question of pettiness here. Who hasn't forwarded work-related documents to personal accounts or to friends? Equally importantly, each e-mail generated by the housing authority is, technically, a public record.
More to the point, Belfield had a higher purpose in her forwards. It wasn't just that she disliked Lingner — although that's clear from the paper trail. She was also intent on making a written record of the shenanigans she was witnessing.
On March 5, Baker confronted Belfield about her e-mail activity.
At the time, a current of fear ran high through the office. My story about Lingner had just been published, and though Lingner had been placed on paid leave, he was still the executive director.
The acting director, Karen Mofford, made that clear to employees. At a staff meeting, she explained that the commissioners had placed Lingner on leave, but he stood by Mofford's side at the meeting. Employees tell New Times that she made a point of saying he was still the director and still in charge. (Mofford denied the allegation.)
And even though the commissioners had stipulated that Lingner was to have no contact with employees, several of them called New Times that day to report that he lingered on premises for at least four hours after the meeting. He was also reported to be on-site that weekend.
It was hard not to be paranoid.
So when Baker questioned Belfield about whether she'd been in contact with former employees, and whether she'd complained about Lingner, Belfield initially said no.
When Baker pressed, Belfield said she didn't want to talk without legal representation.
Two weeks later, though, on March 16, Belfield returned for an interview. She came alone, and she admitted the truth.
She had forwarded e-mails, she said. She was, in fact, in contact with various former coworkers, she acknowledged, although she declined to identify Huff specifically.
Baker's report shows that she'd asked Belfield about the owner of an e-mail account identified as "soulsistah254." Belfield wouldn't confirm it, but Baker reports that the handle belongs to Huff.
Baker's report also notes that Belfield had forwarded e-mails to Sanford Prouty, an employee at Phoenix's HUD office.
Belfield had no contact with the housing authority, or its attorneys, for months.
In April, Lingner was allowed to resign. His former deputy, Mofford, became interim director and was given a raise for her troubles.
Then, out of the blue last month, attorneys representing the housing authority summoned Belfield and allowed her to peruse Baker's final report.
And though the report clears Belfield of the more serious allegations of steering contracts, it does delve into her initial dishonesty and Internet use. She "misused the e-mail system" by "sending and receiving personal e-mails, using the e-mail system to disparage HAMC employees and spread gossip, bring discredit to the HAMC, and breaching confidentiality regarding ongoing personnel matters," Baker wrote.
At that point, Baker added a defensive footnote: "The issue is not that she held unfavorable opinions about Lingner and others, but that she used work time, HAMC computers, the HAMC e-mail system, and HAMC information — some of it confidential — to further her personal agenda of disparaging Lingner and the entity."
This is a big problem with all of our government agencies. We are being hoodwinked from every angle no a days.
All that typing you are doing...please always insert cc: the governor, our U.S. President, our U.S. Congress, our U.S. House of Representatives, our local Mayor...etc....every branch of government needs a copy of this because they need to be informed...as for the whistle blower...He/She did the right thing. We cannot be afraid of criminals in this country...turn them in and hit their pocket $$$$$$ They are a menace to our USA.
Kate Baker is a hired whore by Maricopa County. She has screwed several County employees by exploiting and embellishing on technical violations. She will lie and submit whatever the County politicians want her to, in order to save her hefty private county contract. Next her case will go to an Administrative hearing in front of another judge who wont hear a word she or her attorney has to say. usually another ALJ Judge who is in bed with them
Have you seen that ALJ Judge in bed with them, with your own eyes???? Be honest, because if you have proof, you will be heard....Please be very careful with gossip...We will believe your accusations if you can present the evidence....hmmmm, something to think about....
your right about submitting what there client needs. Understand it no longer is about what is right but what you can get away with legally. Even if you prove your side a Bad Judge will tend side with the bad stuff. If your lucky someone from the other side may help you. Now that opens your eyes to seeing it's what you can get away with legally is more important then what is right, wow! And imagine if you can't afford a lawyer or one will not help you because it's not worth there time and expense. Your forced to place your head back in the said and oh well it was meant to be. Thank you for seeing and opening your eyes.
Right on Chicano Surfer, because the only one who sees everything, even behind closed doors, is God....just thinking that someone did something because it is in our minds can bring cancer into your body...the body that you love so much...hatred, gossip, lies, cheating....the list goes on and on...all goes through your brain and travels throughout your body, and eventually, bringing a cancerous tumor because you allowed it into your body....
Nothing new here. And the corruption is not limited to Arizona. Government is corrupt from top to bottom and has been for a painfully long time. The only thing new here is that a whistleblower is getting some news coverage and possibly some restitution as a result. Government employees face criminal choices every day. It is the rule not the exception. So for those that read this and say - not I - thank your lucky stars - your situation is rare.
If you are accusing that the Arizona Government is corrupt, where is your PROOF???? Please be prepared with your proof when present in a court of law. You will be listened to, and if you can prove your heavy accusations, there will be some action. Otherwise, your words are only going up in the air....
Be careful when you are pointing fingers; you know very well that illegals are committing crimes on a daily basis, ring a bell????stealing other citizens' , law abiding citizens who purchase their yearly license plate stickers, only to have some illegal alien steal it so that when a police officer is driving behind them, will think that they are law abiding citizens because they have a current and up to date sticker on their stolen possibly vehicle....Please be very careful as to what you are saying because YOU will be asked in a court of law for proof; also, your record better be clean...They will listen to you then, and only then....C'mon grow up....we are facing illegals coming into our country and destroying the values of this country, and we do have PROOF....
Perhaps a study of the number of Hispanic police officers, undercover agents, etc are gunned down/murdered by the illegals, and make it news, would get more of the law abiding hispanic citizens to protest for what is right!
When one finger is pointed against another, there are 3 that are pointed at yourself. Sounds like someone DOES have proof of allegations and the courts are not the only place where it will come forward. That is the nice thing about freedom of speech.
Maybe some one should look into all the people on the houseing program also. Some of those people should not be in low rent houseing in the first place.
Yes, many are lying to housing, and know how to manipulate the system, why???? because they are corrupt, want everything FREE, only time will tell everything, because remember we do have those computers; they will forget along the line and the computer can pick up ssi#s, addresses, names, telephone #s..etc.... The proper thing to do is to always tell the truth; then, you will never be in any types of problems...catch the drift????
I am happy to have had the opportunity to work and meet Janet. She is honest and have a big heart. I feel sorry for people that did it to her. Janet, thand for you friendship.
Lingner, with assistance from his deputies, diverted public funds to benefit himself, his family, his friends, and a few colleagues. Now that he is gone, these same collegues are still in charge and entrusted to lead the Agency. Janet Belfied is to be commended for standing up against these people but the resulting factor is retaliation at its worst form.
hmmmm? Shouldn't all this money that is being spent on what appears to be more corruption, be spent on what it is truely designed for........helping a family in need with housing? We have children living in the streets and these kind of people (the corrupt employees who are making these greedy acts.) are in charge. This is the exact thing that is destroying our country, those who have the power and authority are using it for their own financial gain and/or wasting tax dollars that should be helping america as though it's not their money.......oh, that's right, its not their money, its the tax payers. Why would we (americans) expect them to do the best they can do to help and distribute these funds for what they are designed for when they can take their authority and fatten their own pockets and abuse their powers to control things for their best interest and desires? It's those 'in charge' abusing their position like this, that continually destroy our country little by little until their is no more. What a shame.I can't help but wander if there is not something more going on behind the scenes with Karen Mofford, the HR department and/or others supporting Lingner. Could more money and corruption be involved? Maybe an audit should be preformed. Are these funds that are designed to help those in need being abused in others forms? I would be willing to bet they are. Why are these people in charge?
Not to fear. The truth will become self-evident when the Phoenix HUD Office delivers their report mentioned in an earlier blog. The light that will shine as a result will be striking.
I cant believe this is happening to her. No one at HAMC will stand up for what she did for fear of retaliation and fear of loosing their job. Im sure many people are relieved Doug is gone but still fear Laura & Karen. Janet, stay strong. You did the right thing.
yes you will be missed. I used to work for the city of glendale. And the HR department helped my former department for standing up to them. Because they applied so much pressure I physically had to resign. I loved my job then. But a employee was demoted by my supervisor for a new less time temp position and told to accept it or have no job because now how dare she be pregnant. She is a legal latin american immigrant. And with our climate of no real toleration for this group he used it. Then she was bullied by a female assistant director to remove herself from me. Even though you can have anyone help represent you. They used an email to fabricate something because how dare I help do the right thing. The stress from all this become so unbearable I literally thought I was dying. My doctors' where also very concerned and suggested me to leave.So yes! You are right to be a whistleblower in Phoenix,AZ means a death sentence for your job. It is easy when you can get the backing of HR to find something. Even though in government they are to be there for everyone. I loved my friends and job. Would I do it again? Knowing the outcome? Yes! I was raised when someone ask for your help you stand up and help. My mom, dad, and so many others in my family have. It's what you do. Thank You so much for being here for people like Miss Belfield. Take Care and God Bless YOU;-)
Karen Mofford and whoever is giving the Housing Authority legal and HR advice should be immediately fired - such incredible incompetence just blows my mind. Janet, hang in there. You did the right thing.
Now, someone out there, please step up and offer Janet a new career so she doesn't have to go back to that dysfunctional environment.
The Dept. of Fire, Building & Life Safety (DFBLS) a State of Arizona agency has very similar fraudulent practices that have resulted in the Deputy Director (unlicensed attorney) of Office of Manufactured Housing, fired for misappropriating $1.3 million dollars of the consumers money, and the Director demoted for incompetence. He recently was appointed the CEO of a newly created non-profit business called the Arizona Center for Public Service Excellence, a cooperative venture by the Arizona Fire Services Institute (AFSI) and the Arizona State Fire Training Committee, and still employed by the State of Arizona which violates Conflict of Interest Laws. Other Conflict of Interest Laws were violated when family members were hired at this agency and received excessive raises of 35% and more. Temporary workers 3-4 at a time were employed and paid exorbitant salaries ($12,000 per month) while lay-offs were used to cover up the crimes.
Funny,,,the same thing happened at the DFBLS but NOBODY has done anything about it...they were spending money that belonged to the consumer and even gave themselves raises out of that fund. The 2 people that turned them in got RIF'd one of them got fired and the one in charge of the agency got demoted! Hmmmmm....how come some people get away with it and others get punished!
Honesty can be such a bitch at times. But in the end, normally, those who are honest will win the war. My most heartfelt congratulations to Sarah. I was hoping to one day be able to shake her hand and say I got to meet her. St. Louis is getting a star.
The best writer at the New Times is leaving. Our loss, Sarah's gain. As a newcomer here in the last 2 1/2 years, you've helped me gain perspective on what a wacky region of the world I'm now living in... thank you!
Sara- really am going to miss your focus on AZ. I hope that Texas is good to you. I would extend and invitation to stay but as much as I (we) hate losing you, we all wish you the best. Looking forward to hearing about your adventures in the land where the stars at night-are big and bright !
LOL Lots OF Love
Sarah-Hopefully she will sue and ask for records of computer activity by all the others in the office...
On your leaving, I was not a frequent reader of NT until the Arpiao - Thomas comdey act started. Great job exposing these idiots.
NT editors - bring in the reported from OC who exposed that sheriff - who has been convicted and sentenced...he did a great job exposing the corruption in the OC Sheriffs office...
Seems like Doug Lingner is still running the show at the Agency. If dishonesty got Belfield fired, then why are his deputies (Mofford and the HR person) still making decisions for the Agency? Their actions by scheming with Lingner enabled him to almost destroy the Agency constitute a more serious offense than the trumped up charge that Belfield received. Janet, you are a hero for speaking out and we're proud of you. Sarah, another excellent piece of journalism. Good luck!
Janet, I'd like to congratulation good both for your integrity and for the cash windfall that will be coming your way! It must be great to know that the Housing Authority will soon be making you quite wealthy. Come on back to the County - we love you!
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