Don’t Let The Doors Hit You: Oneida-Kodiak’s Disservice To Elders At AJRCCC & The Oneida Business Committee’s Decision To Locate The Tribal Cemetery In A Wetland

After much apprehension, Tribal Development Division Director Wilbert ‘Butch’ Rentmeester (who’s also the Chairperson of the Board of Oneida Total Integrated Enterprises) finally admitted at the September 25, 2013 BC Regular Meeting exactly which subcontractor had improperly installed so many doors in the Anna John Resident Centered Care Community that:

  1. AJRCCC isn’t able to admit new patients;
  2. AJRCCC isn’t able to provide rehabilitative care services;
  3. AJRCCC isn’t able to serve congregate meals to residents & elders.

Care to guess which subcontractor it was whose sloppy work resulted in over 300 doors having to be reinspected and many of them repaired?

Did you say Oneida-Kodiak Construction, LLC? Ding, ding, ding!

When asked by Sec. Patty Hoeft why he was “afraid” to name Oneida-Kodiak as the subcontractor at fault, Butch Rentmeester said it was because he’s “pro-Indian preference.”

But the question is, why does he choose to give preference to incompetent (at best) corporations (Indian-owned or not) over the Oneida elders who are desperately waiting to be admitted to the facility their money was used to build so they can receive services they need?

Treas. Tina Danforth tried to suggest that general contractor Kraus-Anderson was also accountable, but to his credit Butch said that it’s not the job of the general contractor to watch over the subcontractor every second and that installing doors is something basic that you would expect a licensed and insured contractor – Indian-owned or otherwise – to be able to perform competently. Oops.

Butch then said that the easiest thing to do would be to rip the doorframes out and replace them but because that would be very expensive they were seeking an “innovative” solution instead. In other words, jerry-rigging safety and fire doors?

Butch Rentmeester said that this problem was just one of several instances of repairs needed, but didn’t name any other contractors. He wouldn’t want to hurt anybody’s fee-fees (no matter how many actual fees it costs everyone else).

Chairperson Ed Delgado said that a cost analysis needed to be done to determine how much Oneida-Kodiak’s incompetence would cost the Tribe, but acknowledged that such an analysis is merely financial and doesn’t account for the personal costs to elders and their families.

But the $450,000 question that nobody seemed to want to ask was: How much money might Oneida-Kodiak and/or Kevin Cornelius owe business partners at Alliance Construction & Design for business and/or personal projects & services and is that related to the current investigation by Tribal Interim Internal Audit Director Donna Christensen into possible illegal commingling of funds?

Beyond that, how much – if anything – would the Business Committee be willing to ‘loan’ to pay debts in order to avoid having matters go to court, and where would they get the money from?

Does Oneida-Kodiak Construction, LLC, even truly exist anymore, or only to the extent that the corporation and its principals can be subject to lawsuits and/or liens?

Does that explain why Kevin Cornelius hightailed it to North Carolina?

Good riddance, but it remains to be seen if a subpoena may have to summon him back.

Another problem that Butch Rentmeester discussed with the Business Committee is one that could have been avoided a long time ago.

Namely, the fact that the Oneida Tribal cemetery was built in a floodplain and is now having, as Sec. Hoeft puts it, “problems with water,” and as she admits, “the cemetery should probably not have been built at that place.”

Whose bright idea was it to build a cemetery in an area that can be predictably expected to flood every so often?

There was a movie once about what can happen when governments and developers try to cut costs by taking shortcuts:

Poltergeist

Cemetery + Floodplain = Bad Mix

Cemetery + Deep Water Wetlands = Bad Mix

 

See also:

 

UPDATE:

 


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