Friday, July 28, 2006

"Almost fraud": Some questions for Billy Dalto

I'm an unabashed lefty blogger. But I've recently discovered that some of the best ideas for things to dig into come from the righty blogosphere.

Case in point: In May, Ted Piccolo over at NW Republican posted his prognostications for the GOP primary. What's interesting here isn't the post, however. Its the comments.

Waaaay down in the comment thread comes a fascinating little tidbit from former GOP Oregon State Senator Marilyn Shannon:

I predict Billy Dalto will lose. I know his opponent. He has the ability to appear honest, down to earth & home grown, but he's still a liberal Democrat.

Billy's made some pretty dumb decisions. Like hiring his mother to be his legislative assistant during the interim........while she is living in New York and doesn't know snot about helping constituents in Oregon get their problems with state agencies solved. It is nice he is sending some Oregon taxpayer money to his elderly Mother, but it is almost fraud and Brian Clem knows how to exploit that issue to the maximum.

"Almost fraud"? Now that's worth looking into.

As it turns out, Dalto in fact hired his mother to staff his office at the Capitol. The O says that she was brought from New York to Oregon to answer email and do administrative work for 3 months.

According to Employee Services down at the Legislative Fiscal Office, Billy Dalto's mother Adela Dalto was hired on 8/8/05. Her salary was $3500 per month and she was termed on 10/31/05.

I also discovered that Adela Dalto is a renowned jazz singer. She's cut several albums and is apparently quite a wonderful vocalist.

So why would a jazz singer with a fairly successful career come out to Oregon to shuffle emails and paperwork for 3 months? Or was she really out here at all, and just sent the money?

Either way, in the late summer of 2005, Adela Dalto was in serious financial trouble. On 8/29/05, she filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy with the State of New York.

But when Mrs. Dalto filed her petition she either made a serious error or didn't tell the truth. Her petition states that she was making only $1400 a month and none of the income from working for her son Billy is declared on the documents. Further there's a declarative statement at the bottom that says, "Describe any increase or decrease of more than 10% in any of the above categories anticipated to occur within the year following the filing of this document". "None" is what's described.

To recap, Adela Dalto filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy without declaring the income she was receiving from Oregon taxpayers via her son,Assistant House Majority Leader Representative Billy Dalto (R-Salem). She also declared under penalty of perjury that all of the information she was giving on the bankruptcy paperwork is "true and correct".

This poses a number of questions, obviously.

Is it appropriate for Billy Dalto to hire his mother to work for him when she's not even from Oregon and doesn't know how to serve the constituents? Is there evidence that Mrs Dalto actually worked in her son's offices? Did Representative Dalto know about the bankruptcy filing? If so, was he aware of the fact that his mother wasn't declaring the income she was getting from the Oregon taxpayers?

Or did Mrs. Dalto tell the truth on her bankruptcy papers and she never received money from working for Billy Dalto? In which case we have to ask--where's that money?

Is this "almost fraud" or is it something a little bit more?

At the very least, Representative Dalto owes Oregonians an explanation.

[Apologies if the links to Mrs. Dalto's paperwork appear small on your screen. I believe if you print them out, you can read things more clearly. Blogger appears to shrink the images and I don't know how to correct it--Carla]