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Keeping ratepayers in the dark

A 10-year contract extension for Santa Rosa’s trash hauler seems to be, ahem, in the bag.

North Bay Corp. keeps the franchise without bidding. For recycling its long-time system of renewing trash contracts without bids, the city gets an extra $1.8 million a year. And the ratepayers? Well, they get to pay a little more each month to help cover the city’s share of the deal. What a bargain.

Maybe before they vote on Tuesday, the City Council can do us all one small favor: Insist that North Bay Corp. answer some basic questions about who owns the company. In 2002, when North Bay secured the garbage contract (with the best bid, by the way), investor Clem Carinalli was identified as the chief financial officer, and his presence was cited by some council members as one reason they felt comfortable changing trash haulers.

Carinalli, of course, is now involved in a high-profile bankruptcy case, and his ties to North Bay are as muddled as a barrel of recyclables.

In a January 2008 financial statement obtained by my colleague Nathan Halverson, he said he had an $8.3 million stake in Santa Rosa Recycling, the North Bay subsidiary the collects trash in Santa Rosa. Court records say that he relinquished his interest, selling a one-third share in Unicycler, a holding company that owns trucks used by Santa Rosa Recycling, to the company’s founder for $2 million just seven months later. (You can read his story here.)

When Halverson asked North Bay about Carinalli a couple weeks ago, company spokeswoman Pam Davis said he never owned a stake in North Bay or any of its subsidiaries. She also said he stepped down as a company officer two years ago, which conflicts with state records. She referred any further questions to other North Bay officials, and they didn’t respond. Perhaps they were emptying blue barrels.

So, as long as I’m paying the city a little more each month, funneled through my trash bill, I’d be grateful if the council would try to find out just who does and doesn’t own those barrels that I drag out to the curb each week.

– Jim Sweeney





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