Milt Holland (March 7, 2016)

Six years ago, Milt Holland was a member of the Village PBID. The PBID is a California non-profit mutual benefit corporation organized under Corporations Code Section 7110 et seq. and is governed by Property Business Improvement District Law of 1994, Streets and Highways Code Section 36600 et seq. [Exhibit 148]. It is organized by the town council of Apple Valley. The PBID doesn’t exist if the town doesn’t renew it by council vote every five years.

Mr. Holland accused the PBID Board or using their positions to enrich themselves at the expense of the other property owners within the PBID. Mr. Holland called two of the PBID Board members, Chairman Richard Cambridge and Board member Chris Hitt, crooks. The PBID Board at the time also included Apple Valley Councilman Fred Scott Nassif, Apple Valley future Mayor Pro-Tem Larry Cusack, and former Apple Valley Councilman Jack Collingsworth. All of these men own businesses and property within the PBID.

What prompted Mr. Holland to call the aforementioned crooks was the exorbitant assessment fees leveled against properties owned by Mr. Holland but in particular how the PBID Board handled the replacement of the Village entrance sign that had been destroyed by a drunk driver. Documents I’ve obtained from Mr. Holland’s defense attorneys against a defamation lawsuit filed by then PBID Chairman Richard Cambridge provide the following factual background as to how the sign was replaced and how board members Cambridge and Hitt were involved.

The PBID Board met and voted to unanimously to to allow Chris Hitt to replace the sign. No competing bids were submitted during the meeting. At a later meeting, Hitt who did not vote to approve his own work, did vote with the board to approve a change order to the replacement cost of the sign. The replacement price was originally established by Conco Construction, which as a result of discovery, was found to be co-owned at the time by Mr. Cambridge and his son-in-law. The Conco price was $8,500. Mr. Hitt subsequently submitted a change order that totaled $15,500. When the PBID Board initially voted to award the replacement of the sign to Mr. Hitt, none of the Board asked about his licensing to perform the work. It was determined through discovery that Mr. Hitt wasn’t licensed as a general contractor. Mr. Holland later discovered that the PBID had accepted an insurance check for the sign in the amount of $25,000. When Mr. Holland exercised his right to examine the documents supporting costs of construction and where the proceeds of the insurance check were accounted for, he was rebuffed by the board.

Mr. Holland attended numerous council meeting complaining to the oversight authority about this breach and finally the town attorney recommended that the council investigate Mr. Holland’s accusations. The council unanimously voted to allow the town attorney to hire someone to investigate and after expending $23,000, hired VLS Fraud Solutions in January of 2010. Six months later at the June 22, 2010, council meeting the town attorney presented the findings after dramatically waiving his attorney-client privileges. The town attorney heavily filtered the still confidential report but said that VLS had cleared the PBID of most of the charges. That wording caught my attention to pursue the report through CPRA.

The VLS report wasn’t made public for two years — not until June 12, 2012, and it was entitled, The Approved Confidential Report of Investigation. During this council meeting, two PBID Board members, Larry Cusack and Richard Cambridge spoke during public comments on this report told those in the audience that the PBID had been cleared of all wrongdoing. Councilwoman Coleman admonished Mr. Holland during the meeting for calling them crooks and impugning their fine reputations. Later the council voted unanimously to renew the PBID for another five years. Cambridge decides to sue Holland, not realizing that by doing so, he was about to step in his own shit. Holland had also previously demanded six months earlier that the District Attorney investigate his allegations and that the council wasn’t waiting to hear the results of his PIU investigation. Not one of the council members (Nassif, Roelle, Emick, Stanton, or Coleman) votes to hold off on renewing the PBID or waiting until the PIU investigation was complete.

Cambridge filing his lawsuit allowed Holland through discovery to obtain documents that opened up the confidential report. Contrary to what the town attorney said, VLS indicated that it had found numerous red flags within the PBID Board bidding and contract award. Obvious conflict on interest problems arose by having members of the board performing the work [Exhibit 116]. The report questioned why the change order and other documents related to the sign lacked details such as scope of work and materials needed to complete the work and substantiate the cost of the work. The report highlights that Hitt wasn’t licensed for that type of work and that it it didn’t appear that any of the work was ever inspected by any of the town agencies responsible. Ironically, these were the same issues Holland had complained about. Cambridge wrote a letter to VLS in June of 2010 demanding that they change their report. On July 21, 2010, Linda Saddlemire of VLS wrote a letter to town attorney John Brown stating that VLS stood by their findings and that they would not change their report for anyone [Exhibit 122].

Cambridge dropped his lawsuit after the courts determined that as a public figure, he was not exempt from public criticism and in fact Mr. Cambridge was admonished for attempting to silence Mr. Holland’s free speech rights! Civil Code Section 47(b). Unfortunately Mr. Holland was involved in a motorcycle accident and suffered severe head trauma and was in a coma shortly after all of this took place. I’ve heard that he and his wife lost the corner property along Central and SR 18, which is on the far East end of the PBID. The E-220 corridor will eventually be built and terminate near this property. I have no idea if Mr. Holland is even alive today, but what happened here is nothing short of criminal behavior within the PBID, and the council knew the contents of this report when they voted to renew … if they even bothered to actually read it. This is why I won’t vote for any of them — including Roelle. What was the disposition of the DA PIU investigation? What do you think it was? The PBID renewal was either just done or is coming up again for the council to vote. Roelle and Stanton both voted no the second time it renewed, then after a short recess behind closed doors, they changed their minds!

You can’t make this crap up!