Dalworthington Gardens isn’t the working title of the next daytime soap opera, but it very well could be.
In Episode 1, Kimberly Fitzpatrick beat now former mayor Michael Tedder in a landslide on election night last week, to the elation of a group of Dalworthington Gardens residents. Determined to ouster the incumbent of a decade, they have accused him of various misdeeds, including an undisclosed conflict of interest.
During a May 2006 city council meeting, the same night Tedder was sworn in as mayor, the council approved an agreement with KD1 Solutions to provide computer support for the city. The base monthly fee was $1,250. At the meeting, Kristopher Stawarz represented KD1 as an employee and signed the contract along with Tedder and other city officials.
During a council meeting one year later, a second agreement was reached with KD1, this one to provide new phones and related telecommunications equipment for an additional monthly fee of $625. Tedder excused himself from the meeting, even though he wasn’t entitled to vote on the agreement. Mayor Pro Tem Guy Snodgrass presided over the vote, unsure why Tedder had walked out.
“He never acknowledged publicly a relationship with KD1 to my knowledge at this point,” said Snodgrass, an alderman on the council for more than 30 years.
The Fort Worth Weekly attempted to contact other city councilmembers to confirm Snodgrass’ recollection but did not hear back by press time.
Fast forward to 2011, when Tedder put it in writing that he might have a conflict of interest –– though not with KD1 directly. In an affidavit that the Weekly obtained from Dalworthington Gardens records, he said he owned more than 10 percent of Red Gap Communications, a company that had purchased KD1, according to the affidavit. On one of several reports filed with the Texas Secretary of State, Tedder is identified as CFO of Red Gap. On another, he has worked for Red Gap since 2003. KD1 cannot be found in any SOS records.
From 2011 until today, Tedder has been signing checks from Dalworthington Gardens payable to Red Gap. However, Snodgrass and some concerned citizens fear that Tedder has had a conflict of interest ever since KD1 first got involved, in 2006, without addressing it formally.
Snodgrass also said the city council was never presented with the affidavit and that Tedder’s conflict of interest was never put on an open-meeting agenda.
Tedder said the affidavit was submitted properly and that he has complied with Chapter 176 of the Texas Local Government Code and section 2252.908 regarding disclosure statements.
“The fact is the affidavit was signed appropriately, the disclosures under Texas law were done appropriately, and the council, whether they say they were informed or not, were informed,” Tedder said. “There is not an employee or a council person that does not know that the company I own part of does the phone services for the city.”
In an April 18 debate with Fitzpatrick at the Pantego Lions Club, Tedder said the city knew all along that Red Gap was providing telecommunications services for the city. Tedder cited an agenda item from the May 2007 meeting, Resolution 07-53, in which KD1 submitted the additional contract proposal.
“A company I was associated with [KD1] during a meeting I abstained from submitted a bid for less than competing bids, so we were giving a benefit to the citizens,” Tedder said. “It was a resource I had available. I owned part of the company, I abstained, turned the stuff over, and it was signed off on.”
Several documents obtained by the Weekly, including the resolution, both the 2006 and 2007 contracts, KD1 pricing sheets, and others suggest Tedder and Red Gap connections to KD1 that were never fully disclosed.
Resolution 07-53 was for the contract with KD1 but includes no mention of Tedder. Involvement by Tedder and Red Gap is not documented until the 2011 affidavit, the one that Snodgrass said was never formally presented to the council but merely slipped into city records.
On the initial contract, the one from 2006, the address for KD1’s office is listed as 420 Throckmorton St., Ste 133, Fort Worth, Texas –– the same address for Red Gap that same year, according to the Texas Franchise Tax Public Information Report, a document submitted by business owners to disclose revenue for the year.
Snodgrass also believes that paperwork filed with the city by KD1 is incomplete.
“The vendor application from the city has no tax ID number on it, and there is no evidence that the company existed,” Snodgrass said.
The KD1 employee who presented to the council and signed the contracts, Stawarz, was at the time and is still employed by Red Gap, Tedder said. At the time of the signing, Stawarz said he was an employee of KD1 only.
The Weekly attempted to contact Stawarz but did not hear back by press time.
Evidence of Red Gap’s earlier involvement is found in a KD1 pricing sheet obtained by the Weekly. It shows a $300 charge for connection between the city’s LAN and Red Gap’s T-1. The pricing sheet is dated May 18, 2007, four years before Tedder submitted the affidavit admitting he may have a conflict of interest.
The drama continues in Dalworthington Gardens. Once quiet city council meetings have become standing room-only affairs, with lots of fingers pointing at Tedder. The mayor is sticking to his story and said he was simply trying to help.
“People are taking pot shots and claiming I’m corrupt, and it’s simply not true,” Tedder said. “I was saving the city money with a service I can provide.”