Monday, December 11, 2023

Consider Kapoor case

| October 4, 2023 2:00 AM

I read a recent column Chris Peterson wrote on Rishi Kapoor, a Florida developer that tried to dupe our Columbia Falls community.

Fortunately (most of) the City Council and County Commissioners got his number and stopped his devious plans. I feel it’s important to point out something concerning our upcoming Columbia Falls City Council Election, a particular council position is coming up.

As the paper said, the Florida businessman, Rishi Kapoor is being investigated by the Florida FBI and SEC and has had to close his multi-million-dollar enterprise because he got caught bribing elected politicians in Florida. Well, he tried the same thing here in Columbia Falls with a local politician and current council member.

Kapoor had made a generous contribution to a nonprofit organization that said council person is a board member of. Kapoor even did a video at his place of business. He (council person) publicly stated he didn’t feel accepting donations from a developer coming before a city council vote disqualified him from voting on Kapoor’s proposed subdivision. But, Statute 2-104, RULES OF CONDUCT FOR PUBLIC OFFICERS, LEGISLATOR, OR PUBLIC EMPLOYEE MAY NOT: (b) accept a gift of substantial value or a substantial economic benefit tantamount to a gift: (i) that would tend improperly to influence a reasonable person in the persons position to depart from the faithful and impartial discharge of the person’s public duties; or (ii) that the person knows or that a reasonable person in that position should know under the circumstances is primarily for the purpose of rewarding the person for official action taken.

That said and quoted from statute, when it came time to vote this council member and another self-proclaimed “grumpy old man” both voted for this developer’s subdivision. Even after hundreds of community members, biologists and other qualified community members spoke against it.

The planning board also recommended denial. This council person, in a letter to the members of the City Council, called us protestors of these developments, NIMBY’s (not in my backyard), but facts are facts and the rest of the council voted against. Kapoor donated to his nonprofit, and he should have recused himself.

It’s time for accountability at City Hall. It has become very clear our city manager; city attorneys and certain council members hate those of us that speak out against them. That needs to change, community members that protest developments are simply community members that care deeply about our lifestyle and community character and should not be dismissed. Our whole valley actually needs a building moratorium, can you just imagine several hundred more people in Columbia Falls, stores, schools, roads.

I ask the residents of the City of Columbia Falls to help make a positive change to our City Council by voting in our upcoming election. Two of the three candidates running this fall are lifelong residents of Columbia Falls, with one new candidate entering the race.

One current council person needs to be replaced, he has proven that the rules don’t apply to him, however as a council member he can vote on rules that apply and affect you, your family, your property, and your way of life. Vote in our upcoming City Council Election, Nov. 7, 2023. Register now to vote at:

Gary Hall

Columbia Falls

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