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City Council needs to investigate selling of concession stand rights

  • Published in Letters

To The Daily Sun,
I am writing as a member of the Laconia Kiwanis Club as well as a taxpayer in the city.
I am outraged by the events that have taken place regarding the concession stand at the high school's new athletic field. It appears that a behind the scenes deal was made with Laconia Youth Football by the school department represented by Bob Champlin and Matt Lahey in an effort to obtain a "donation". This so-called donation gave the right to preferential treatment to Laconia Youth Football with regard to use of the concession stand during high school football games. The Laconia High School Key Club had been using the concession stand for over 60 years and was ousted arbitrarily by the athletic director without notice to them or the School Board.
The Key Club had been notified, as Mr. Roy states, that their use was not likely earlier this year. (It is interesting that Mr. Roy knew this and the School Board did not.) That is when the Laconia Kiwanis Club began a dialogue with Mr. Champlin and later Mr. Cormier, School Board chairman. We were assured that "no decision has been made" and that there was to be a process and that we would be part of that process. No such process took place and no one apparently had the decency to let anyone know. Shorty before the first football game, the Key Club was given alternative dates and how this was decided is still a mystery. The events they were given will not be anywhere as lucrative as the football games. This is not a process!
Let's be clear, the Key Club is a school organization that raises funds for charitable purposes. Operating the concession stand provided them with 80 percent of their funds. Laconia Youth Football is a private non-profit that benefits children in several communities, not just Laconia. And furthermore, Laconia Youth Football uses the concession stand at their own football games. Isn't that enough?
A donation does not carry strings or demands. In my opinion, a donation with strings is improper. The previous concession stand belonged to the city, how is it donated by Laconia Youth Football as an equipment shed?
I call upon the mayor, City Council and the city manager to investigate this immediately. Furthermore, I request that a procedure be established regarding contributions made to city property that addresses the ethics of future preferential treatment by the city to the donated party.

Joseph Adrignola