6. Termination: Either party may terminate this Agreement for any reason by giving 30 days advance written notice of its or his intention to do so to the other party at the address set forth in the caption of this Agreement. If, however, the Authority terminates this Agreement prior to the Expiration Date [12/31/08] or any extension or renewal thereof, as the case may be, without Just Cause, it shall pay Ford an amount equal to one year's salary based on the annual salary paid to Ford on the effective date of termination (the "Severance Payment").
The URA's September meeting will be held tomorrow, Thursday the 11th, at 2:00 PM on the 13th floor of 200 Ross St. There are no items currently marked on the agenda related to the employment status of its Executive Director, but all agendas are subject to change at the last moment.
On April 9th, Ford was placed on temporary paid leave of absence after having confessed to accepting small gifts from a Lamar Advertising executive and alleging a smear campaign against him by political rivals to the Tribune-Review. Since that time, Mr. Ford has collected approximately $48,000 in salary.
On August 6th, Ford's attorney announced that his client was "cleared" of wrongdoing by the State Ethics Commission based on his understanding of procedure, and requested that Ford be reinstated by the URA. When proof of Ford's vindication was not forthcoming, he went on to accuse the SEC of foot-dragging and playing politics.
On August 23rd, news broke that Ford's wife Alecia Sirk had been soliciting friends including some city vendors and developers for contributions to her husband's legal defense fund. This was problematic, given the nature of the original allegations about Ford.
On August 26th, the Post-Gazzette met with Ford's attorney and discussed some irregular parking lot contracts; news of these broke earlier this week.
On August 27th, Pat Ford attempted to resign from the Authority effective 12/31/08, charging a "culture of deception and corruption." This resignation was tendered with 125 days advance written notice -- much longer than called for in his contract, during which he would earn another $35,000 in salary.
The URA does not need to take a hard line toward Ford's antics and accusations; it might decide it would be prudent to pay him through the remainder of his contract. Or, it could take a more demanding interpretation towards Ford's duties as Director and a more exacting interpretation of Just Cause by terminating his contract immediately.
UPDATE: Or, it could give both Ford & Sirk much more money than they are entitled to just to go away quietly (Burgh Report).
While we're on the subject of those parking lot contracts...
The lots -- Downtown and in the Strip District -- are now run by William Penn Parking, a Green Tree firm owned by Robert Gigliotti. He's known in government circles as the valet provider and some-time political liaison at LeMont restaurant, scene of high-dollar fund-raisers, including Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's.
Known by whom?
What is this LeMont, where valet drivers are kingmakers, where political liaisons forge political alliances among political players, and where they don't take American Express? Is it like Studio 54? Is it more likely to be frequented by labor leaders, captains of industry, university moguls, whom?
Has it been so for a very long time? Are its best days behind it in this respect, or is it in full bloom?