Klepper: What Am I Accused Of?

Allan Klepper, a Barrington representative on the water authority board whose nomination for chairman was derailed last week by an allegation, says 'I have nothing to say until I know what it is'.

Allan Klepper would like to know exactly what he is accused of doing as a Bristol County Water Authority director from Barrington back in 1996.

“An accused usually has the right to know what he is being accused of,” said Klepper. “I really have nothing to say until I know what that is.”

“I don’t want to sound like I’m stonewalling,” he said, “but I need specific data so I can respond. At that point, I have every intention of going to the Ethics Commisssion.”

“My integrity is being questioned,” said Klepper, who has been on the BCWA board since the authority's beginning in 1984.

Klepper is alleged to have been involved in some “irregularities” with an eminent domain taking of land in Warren 16 years ago.

Marina Peterson of Bristol, a water authority watchdog and head of the East Bay Patriots organization, made that allegation in a comment to a blog post on Patch last Tuesday, May 29.

Her accusation derailed the election of new board officers for the BCWA – Klepper was to be nominated for chairman of the board – when the water authority’s legal counsel suggested the board postpone the election until Peterson’s accusation could be investigated. The board agreed. See Patch story.

Peterson said after the meeting that she does not think Klepper committed a crime or broke the law, but he did not fulfill his fiduciary responsibilities for ratepayers.

Peterson said that public documents in the Warren Town Hall show BCWA took by eminent domain a piece of land owned by a former BCWA board member, Richard Alegria of Bristol, through a former company he owned, Market Street Land Corporation. A check by Patch of those records confirms that transaction in early 1996. Klepper signed off on that transaction as secretary.

She alleges that the transaction made a sizable profit for the corporation while the water authority acquired a piece of land it may or may not have needed to protect its watershed.

She believes Klepper was aware of or should have known about the questionable circumstances of the transaction with a former board member, and he should have questioned them before signing off on the document. In short, she believes Klepper did not fulfill has fiduciary responsibilities, and for that reason he should not be a nominee for the next chairman of the board.

Klepper acknowledges that Alegria was on the board with him for several years. But he believes the well-known Bristol developer and former state Senator was off the board at least several years before the 1996 eminent domain taking.

Klepper said also that he is well aware that BCWA took some Warren land by eminent domain to protect the watershed near the Kickemuit Reservoir. And he recognizes that he would have signed off on any documents approved by the board for such as a taking because he was the board secretary at that time.

But, Klepper said, Peterson still has not formally produced information for him or for the board about this particular transaction.

He said he is waiting for her to respond to a letter that was supposed to be sent to her by Pamela Marchand, executive director of the BCWA, and Sandra Mack, legal counsel to the BCWA.

“Any land we would have taken would have been assessed by an appraiser,” Klepper said, not anyone on the board.

“Until she says it is this piece of property on this date, though, I can’t respond,” he said.

Bristol County Anonymous June 04, 2012 at 02:23 PM
“The common law fiduciary duty of “due care” requires directors to exercise reasonable diligence and due care in making decisions and seeking always to avoid the misuse or waste of assets.” In addition, there is also, a common law duty of loyalty, and avoiding conflicts of interest, and the RI Ethics statute is limited to a subset of this duty. RI politicians often try to deceive us into thinking that their only fiduciary duties involve the RI Ethics statute, but we know better. Mr. Klepper has not met his fiduciary duties in a number of ways over the years, and does not deserve to be Chairman. $475 per hour for years to Ms Mack for starters. Just look at the sad state of affairs at BCWA, both operationally and financially for the proof that the "old guard" directors have failed to perform thier fiduciary duties. And the moneys should not have been paid over in the eminent domain proceeding in question without a rigorous due diligence process, that obviously was lacking.
Manifold Witness June 04, 2012 at 02:37 PM
Klepper: "… I have every intention of going to the Ethics Commisssion.” The Ethics Commission gives advisory opinions to public officials before-the-fact. The Ethics Commission accepts complaints after-the-fact. Since 2012 is after-the-fact of the past dealings, does Mr. Klepper "have every intention" of filing a complaint against himself? The Ethics Commission only addresses very narrow questions about conduct relating to "ethics". They don’t address breaches of duties and other matters. We’ll have to wait and see what Mr. Klepper does once he remembers what he signed and how the documents got to him for signature. How are the union negotiations going over there at the BCWA? What are the net assets valued at now that the Shad is broken, the Water Treatment Plant is not treating water & much of the distribution system needs to be replaced?
Gary Morse June 04, 2012 at 03:33 PM
Directors (fiduciaries) are not measured by "what did I do wrong", but instead by "what was I supposed to have done" standard (often referred to as the prudent man standard of care). Here is what you, as part of the BCWA Board, should have taken action on: BCWA was involved in land takings over the past two decades, but never acted upon the worst offender to the three towns drinking water supply. Approximately 700 ft upstream from the BCWA raw water intake pipe, there sits a farm with manure runoff going directly into the Kickemuit. That horrific condition remains a problem, yet BCWA was proud to claim they were taking 1/3 of their raw water from this polluted area. BCWA wasted resources on an eminent domain taking on Feb 28, 1996 where a development had been rushed through the Town of Warren earlier on Jan 31, 1996. This land was not on the Kickemuit, but turned into a taking anyway from a company owned by a prior BCWA board member. You signed as Secretary. BCWA took action on land that posed little danger, and left a contamination problem in place for two decades approximately 700 ft upstream from the intake pipe. In April, 1993, an intestinal parasite called Cryptosporidium (often attributed to manure runoff) was responsible for an outbreak of illness in the Milwaukee drinking water supply. More than 400,000 people became ill, and some died. The three communities would like some explanation on how this met a prudent man standard of care.
Manifold Witness June 04, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Mr. Klepper admits that he was BCWA Board Secretary when he signed the documents related to the eminent domain taking of land. BCWA attorney Sandra Mack admitted that: “as secretary, Klepper would have routinely signed off numerous documents, including minutes of meetings he might not even have attended.” http://barrington.patch.com/articles/allegation-derails-bcwa-election Ok, now that we know Mr. Klepper and his attorney are on the same page, may we please know, specifically, how the Board Secretary believes that he came by his alleged authority to: 1. routinely sign off numerous documents, 2. sign off on minutes of meetings he might not even have attended, 3. sign documents to effectuate the specific land taking deal in question. We're just trying to understand the procedure because there are documents that the Board Secretary does not sign off on so how does it work, exactly? Thank you.
Gary Morse June 04, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Director Klepper, You reference that there would be a record on file of an appraisal of the land in question. Might that appraisal, along with the other records that would constitute a full audit, be posted on the BCWA website? It is required under the Act that all records must be readily available until 3 years after the last payment and thus these records should be available today. Could these be posted along with the supporting documents of alleged development costs. Also, could an explanation be provided as to why there is no record of DEM approvals of any septic systems in this alleged development. It is in everyone's interest to get this behind us. Thank you
Bristol County Anonymous June 04, 2012 at 08:44 PM
This stinks and is quite disgusting. Including what reeks as a contrived pretense reaction. BCWA badly needs a fresh start; with one of the new directors as Chairman. We need honesty and integrity in the leadership at BCWA – both missing for many years.
brian m June 04, 2012 at 09:39 PM
Gary, town sewer is available in this area in question
Bristol County Anonymous June 04, 2012 at 10:15 PM
This really stinks and is disgusting. If town sewers were available, given that the acquired land does not border the Kickemuit, why did BCWA pursue eminent domain proceedings to acquire that land from the former director at a big profit for him? What pollution danger existed that would justify a big outlay of taxpayer funds? Especially considering… To reiterate Gary’s commentary, especially considering that BCWA has done nothing, for all these years, about all those culverts that have been flowing raw pollution directly from the huge piles of cow crap right across the street from the Kickemuit! And even worse… BCWA ignored specific recommendations in the 2006 DEM TMDL report to fix this and other pollution problems.
marina peterson June 05, 2012 at 02:32 AM
It is now almost June 5th. I have yet to hear from BCWA yet everywhere I look it says I have been contacted. I left a statement at the Barrington meeting to be included with the BCWA meeting account. The account states that I was formerly contacted and I thought I should set the record straight.
Jack Baillargeron June 05, 2012 at 02:48 AM
Let us look at this; that is an opinion of her own, what did she say was an irregularity? A case in time which is freely available at the town hall to all the public, and you would think, be in the records of the BCWA board kept by the, wait for it now………”Secretary”. Though there is a reason the work secret is in the word Secretary, when it comes to the BCWA. (Sorry could not help it lol). Just an opinion ;-}. Not doing due diligence, obviously, since he admits that he did not always read what he signed. For the uninformed; (Due Diligence in the performance of his duties as Secretary). Ignorance of duties is not excuse as they say. The secretary is required by the By-Laws and “Robert’s Rules” to review everything they handle period. They are the keeper of the integrity of any organization. Just ask anyone who has done it.
Jack Baillargeron June 05, 2012 at 02:52 AM
Part 1 I love how the first thing that comes up is, “An accused usually has the right to know what he is being accused of,” said Klepper. “I really have nothing to say until I know what that is.” Obviously he has not read the blog comment right? Though he did State he signs things he never reads also, so I could be wrong I guess. Boy do I have some things for him to sign. Then there is the old, BCWA blame game caper, with as usual the lawyer, or as I like to say, time for the Mack/attack. How amusing to see this play out yet again, with the messenger being targeted and yet all records must be at the BCWA, since it was after all a BCWA transaction!!!! I have an idea for Marina. How about you go and get copies of the records, and charge the time it takes you to review and get them in order. I figure at least 10 days. Then; rent an office space in Providence. Then Fedex a letter to Klepper, stating that he and no other alone must come to the office and pick the records up, after checking in with security and being scanned for anything that may make you mad Payment is due upon his receipt of the records, be sure to bring cash, as you do not accept checks or credit and the bill will be, lets see, BCWA type of accounting 101, carry the scam, subtract the lies, add the BS, divide by “We can not locate them at this time” and surprise, $4,003.17 dollars. Not bad huh? Not like he will read it, before he signs it right?
Jack Baillargeron June 05, 2012 at 02:53 AM
Part 2 “Oh my god, Marina is saying I did something illegal”. Read the blog many times, can’t see where she said anything was illegal, unethical maybe, but nothing illegal. As for ethics, that is in the mind of an ethics board. In this State that means virtually nothing. If you want an opinion that you are squeaky clean, that is where you go. Wonder how much it will cost for the BCWA lawyer to go with you? Going to be one hell of a rate increase this year I suspect. What with legal fee’s all the rain, this spring, Yep looks like another perfect Storm, or is that perfect excuse, I forget. Oh I know maybe National Security issues; yea the public always believes that one. Marina said; “The possible nomination of Allan Klepper as Chairman of BCWA should not move forward due to the appearance of prior irregularities during his prior term as BCWA Secretary. The record of this event, and the possible investigation that could occur under the Act, appears to question the viability of Mr Klepper's candidacy as Chairman of the BCWA Board. A reasonable opinion and assumption. The chairman should be beyond reproach or perception of impropriety. Especially in past actions or decisions made well on the board. (Disclaimer; not to be interpreted in any way to suggest, mental health issues, liable slander, sleeping with cats and dogs, humans evolved from apes,(how the hell does a missing link hide for eons anyway) etc. Just an observational opinion.)
Jack Baillargeron June 05, 2012 at 03:04 AM
On the other hand, Klepper is also a representative for Barrington on the EBEC, meeting tonight. Perhaps that is better suited to his taste, since the EBEC has decided to become another BCWA, only with much more damaging affects State wide.
Gary Morse June 05, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Brian, If that is the case that the location has sewers, why then was this a taking by eminent domain? What was the danger to the Kickemuit? And why was the manure generating land upstream from the intake pipe left untouched? (that is a rhetorical question as we know who owns that).
marina peterson July 31, 2012 at 05:01 PM
The current BCWA monthly report issued by Mr. Klepper, I believe mischaracterizes the recent issues concerning the investigation into the 1996 BCWA eminent domain land taking which I also wrote about in the local press. This matter had little to do with the legality of the land transaction itself which is how the monthly report characterizes this matter and I believe this slant is disingenuous. It was clearly stated that there was no accusation that anything illegal was done. It was questioning the choice of land to take to protect the ratepayers. Why this piece (owned by a former BCWA board member) and not the piece just 700 feet from the BCWA water intake pipe, which was allowed to continue pouring manure run-off directly into the reservoir through culverts installed along Serpentine Road in Warren? That pollution issue remains unresolved even today. Spending $400,000 in 1996 on a wasted land taking, while ignoring the statutory mandate to prepare a plan to protect the reservoir, placed residents in serious potential harm. Probably more harm than from plastic bags. Only last month did BCWA finally decide to shut down the polluted Kickemuit Reservoir as a water source. The BCWA Board's failure for almost 20 years to prepare a mandated plan to protect residents was what this matter was about, not the legality of the land taking itself.


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