Traffic and Transportation director Douglas Hausladen still has not released the revenue records for traffic meters in New Haven, along with any other revenue that was collected by his department in 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010.
Tastie Fish has made it clear through email, and print, that we cannot totally authenticate the veracity of the figures located in the city budget, and would need the actual books kept by Traffic and Transportation to correctly inform our readers of the exact amounts collected by Traffic and Transportation over a 6 year period.
The ensuing situation has caught everyone by surprise, and there is a growing movement in and outside of our newsroom to sort out what exactly is going on here.
After giving this magazine the run around, and instructing us to submit a FOIA request to an agency within the government that is not the actual keeper of the records, Mr. Hausladen has refused to respond to several emails indicating that we would like to see the records released.
Not only has Mr. Hausladen refused two separate FOIA requests, and not cited any type of exemption.
Mr. Hausladen has not even taken the time to respond our communications at all.
Even after city lawyers released the master contract between Duncan Solutions and the city of New Haven to Tastie Fish, director Douglas Hausladen still refused to release the records.
The agreement is actually between a division of Duncan Solutions called Professional Accounts Management, which appears to handle all contracts, and agreements for the company.
The Master Agreement contains points that we feel have relevance to this investigation, and further enforce the need for the revenue records to be made public without any further delay.
Those points are as follows.
- James Travers told the New Haven Register in 2011 that the agreement was a 5 year contract with one year renewal options at the discretion of the city. According to the agreement however, this was a 3 year contract with a 1 year renewable options. There is vague language about renewals, a 5 year term is not within the contract. Why Mr. Tarvers would misrepresent the actual length of the contract is currently unknown to this magazine
2. The city agreed to pay Duncan Solutions no more than $400,000 at the onset of the agreement to perform the services mandated by the contract, which we gather is development, and the management of the meters. The exact number that was paid to Duncan Solutions is currently unknown to this magazine, or how much additional public money was paid out to the contractor in subsequent years aside from the agreed upon revenue split.
We don’t have these answers because the books have not been released to us.
3. Section 503 gives Duncan Solutions the right to demand compensation for services no more than once a month, and in order to determine what their percentage of the revenue is, language within the agreement indicates that an internal audit would have to be performed. We believe Duncan Solutions requested compensation over the life of the agreement, so there should be audits describing those transactions, as well as bank statements.
4. Section 13 states that no city officials can have any direct, or indirect interest in any part of this agreement. “No member of the city who exercises any functions or responsibilities in connection with the completion of this project shall have any personal interest direct or indirect in this agreement.”
5. Section 16 of the agreement looms large considering Doug Hausladen’s refusal to turn over the revenue records. “The city reserves the right to audit the contractors books at in relation to this agreement any time during the period of this agreement, or at any time during the 12 month period following the closing or termination of this agreement. In the event that the city makes an audit, the contractor shall immediality make available to the city all records pertaining to this agreement, including, but not limited to payroll records, bank statements, and canceled checks”.
Doug Hausladen is not only in possession of revenue records, the agreement indicates he has a complete financial record of the business done between Professional Accounts Management, and the city of New Haven.
He is supposed to have information that cannot be found in the city budget.
We are talking about extensive documentation.
6. The compensation tables are as previously reported on this website. Per the original agreement, if the city of New Haven made less than $5,082,643, Duncan Solutions receives 6% of the total revenue, if the city of New Haven makes more than $5,082,643, Duncan Solutions walks away with a 10% cut of every dollar collected.
An interesting component to Duncan Solutions general cut is the backlogged citations, any ticket that is over 90 days old is subject to collections by Duncan Solutions, of which they walk away with a 17.5% cut.
James Travers neglected to mention that to the Register in 2011.
For “Delinquent tickets”, Duncan Solutions was to receive a $1.14 fee per a ticket and a 15% contingency fee.
James Travers did mention that.
Duncan Solutions cleans up on unpaid citations, the agreement is structured so that they can amplify their revenue if enough people are cited without paying the tickets on time.
Which opens up the possibility for underhanded behavior, Duncan Solutions stood to benefit every single time a ticket was paid late, or not at all, and they employ a collections agency within the company.
We found the BAFO page to be very interesting, we have opted to post an image of the page as oppose to a long winded explanation.
The agreement allowed Duncan Solutions to attempt to recoup operational costs in the final year of the contract if there was an increase, which further sweetened the pot for Duncan Solutions.
The contract states that would take place in year three.
Attorney Kathleen Foster informed Tastie Fish Tuesday morning that the agreement with Duncan Solutions was no longer in place, and that a new vendor was now in play.
Attorney Foster informed Tastie Fish she would forward the second agreement once she had located it.
As of Thursday evening, Tastie Fish is not in possession of the second agreement, so there is a great deal of mystery surrounding the actual length of the contract between Duncan Solutions, and the City of New Haven.
Which leads us back to Traffic and Transportaiton director Douglas Hausladen.
After the close of business Tuesday night, Mr Hausladen engaged in an extended tweet storm directed at this magazine, and our reporters.
He did not feel the need to communicate with us through professional channels, he instead opted personally attack our editor on social media, citing grammar, and the general credibility of our platform.
All the while, he still has refused to release the records, which could answer all of these questions, and distance his office from any potential impropriety simultaneously.
Mr. Hausladen refuses to do that, he would rather raise incredible suspicion about his machinations than be transparent with the public he is mandated to serve.
Readers have been contacting Tastie Fish in droves since we ran our story Tuesday night, people are confused and upset by Mr. Hasladen’s behavior, and not just people in New Haven.
“Why has he not apologized?” is a common question among others we don’t wish to publish.
Mr. Hausladen has gone silent after his tweet storm.
Doug Hausladen cited his agency’s need to do official research, but the master contract indicates that the city of New Haven had the contractual right to perform an audit of Duncan Solutions books at any time over the life of the agreement, and collect several forms of financial documentation.
All of which should be in Doug Hasuladen’s possession unless he lost, mishandled, or destroyed the records.
The city is becoming more and more curious everyday why Doug Hausladen feels the need to hold onto these records, while citing numbers on social media that he refuses to corroborate with actual data.
City Hall communications director Laurence Grotheer was made aware of Doug Hausladen’ behavior Thursday afternoon via email, we asked him if he could provide this magazine with a statement in regards to how City Hall feels about a public official attacking a media outlet on Twitter while refusing to be transparent about public money that his department is charged with managing.
Tastie Fish will be at a news conference on Friday afternoon with City officials, and will follow up on our request for comment.
While the city of New Haven waits on Doug Hausladen, Tastie Fish worked the other end of the story Thursday morning.
Tastie Fish spent most of the day attempting to contact Duncan Solutions directly, but found that the company has 3 different phone numbers, a phony address in California that is identical to their address in Wisconsin, and a website that has not been updated in a year.
The company appears to be less than functional, there is no indication they are a thriving business at this point in time.
The chief investor in Duncan Solutions, Marlin Equity Management, who acquired the company in 2015, agreed to provide a statement, but failed to do so before this story was published.
We expect Marlin Equity management to submit a statement sometime on Friday, which would be good, because Tastie Fish cannot ascertain whether or not Duncan Solutions is a fully functioning business.
Reception, sales, citation management, none of this departments have been accessible by phone at Duncan Solutions going on 7 days now, Tastie Fish found it interesting that a company whose revenue model revolves around sales does not have a reachable sales team in place.
Professional Accounts Management hung up on Tastie Fish twice before a very helpful representative picked up the phone, and directed us to the press officer for the company while also providing substantive information of which we will publish at a later date.
The press officer for Duncan Solutions is James Kennedy, and he has not filed a press release in a year.
His phone goes straight to voicemail.
Tastie Fish, did finally reach someone with knowledge of how automated parking systems work.
He is a New Haven resident.
Our source spoke on the condition of anonymity after consuming Doug Hausladen’s twitter rant, and our research.
“In my experience, and based on what I have seen, auditing the total revenue from parking meters that are automated is an instant process. You push a button, and the computer tells you the deal. How long does it take to audit a debit card balance? It’s pretty ridiculous to cite the need to do appropriate research when all of the legwork is done by a contractor, and Doug has access to those numbers whenever he feels like it. He should have every last audit that has ever been performed”
The number of audits performed by the city over the life of the agreement is currently unknown, but Doug Hausladen claiming he needs to do appropriate research appears to be a cheap excuse to not release financial figures that concern the New Haven public.
Public money is public information, everyone reading this report has a right to those records, and Tastie Fish will not rest until they are shared with the public.
There is a concern in the Tastie Fish newsroom that when the numbers are released, they won’t be entirely accurate based on the behavior of the Traffic and Transportation director, and the fact that Duncan Solutions has been accused of nefarious business practices as recently as 2 years ago.
If the results of audits are automated, the Traffic and Transportation director is already in possession of them, the fact that it has taken him over a week to release them is raising suspicion that didn’t exist prior to this investigation.
Not only is Doug Hausladen refusing to release the results of the audits, but he attacked the credibility of our reporters in extremely unprofessional fashion.
Because of this, we plan to have a forensic accountant examine the records when they are released to ensure the books are cogent.
Duncan Solutions was a defendant in a civil action in Atlanta Georgia that charged the company with writing phony citations, and charging citizens more money than was due.
That’s terrifying, because Duncan Solutions collected New Haven money first, then paid New Haven second, the possibilities between those two destinations seems to be limitless based on public record.
Over the course of that process, how can anyone be sure New Haven was paid exactly what they were owed, that the money flowing into the general fund was the correct amount?
How can we be sure about anything without the audits conducted by the city of New Haven over the life of the contract?
And what of the new agreement?
We don’t even know where are money is going right now, who the vendor is, what the revenue split is, nothing.
We just put money in the meter, and keep on moving.
Tastie Fish will continue to follow the money.
Stay tuned to Tastie Fish as this story continues to develop.