May 3, 2012
Yesterday it was reported that Cedar Hills’ Mayor Eric Richardson was named in a federal complaint filed in U.S. District Court. This has led some to speculate that the recent resignations of Konrad Hildebrandt, Kim Holindrake, and Bradley Kearl may in some way be related. The City Council wants to make it known that the timing of these items was coincidental and the resignations of these three individuals are in no way related to the complaint filed against Mayor Richardson or to each other.
The Council also wishes to emphasize that these resignations had nothing to do with recent allegations and subsequent calls for resignation made against Mayor Richardson and Mr. Hildebrandt by a few residents. As was previously announced, the County Attorney stated that, even if true, the allegations made did not support a criminal investigation and therefore refused to proceed. The City Council requested that an item be added to the May 1 agenda to reconsider the appointments of city manager, city recorder, and city building and zoning official. Each of these positions is a political appointment and serve at the will of the City Council. Before the meeting Mr. Hildebrandt, Ms. Holindrake, and Mr. Kearl were given the opportunity to resign and chose that option. A severance package was provided to all three individuals. Mr. Hildebrandt was entitled to receive severance under the conditions of his contract signed in 2002 and the Council offered severance to Ms. Holindrake and Mr. Kearl as a gesture of appreciation for their length of service and contributions to the City.
At this point the City Council is unaware of the details surrounding the federal complaint but will continue to operate under the assumption that Mayor Richardson is innocent until proven guilty. However, to assure both the Council and the residents of Cedar Hills that nothing inappropriate or fraudulent has occurred, the City Council has requested an internal and external forensic audit on the City’s financials to cover January 2010 to present. At this time there is no suspicion of any mishandling of the City’s financials and Mayor Richardson is not and has never been a signor on any City accounts. “The City has internal controls in place to prevent fraud,” said Rebecca Tehero, the City’s finance director. “In addition, an independent firm reviews these controls every year and has not identified any deficiencies; therefore, I do not have any reason to suspect that any wrongdoing has occurred.” The forensic audit may take several weeks to perform but the City Council will release the findings after the audit is complete. In the meantime the City will work on preparing updates as appropriate and will proactively communicate with residents while working to address concerns.
Additional questions may be directed to Councilmember Gary Gygi at firstname.lastname@example.org.