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Lawyers only ones who got income from city pushing W-9

To The Daily Sun,

The Laconia Daily Sun reported in an article by Michael Kitch titled, "City spent more than $3,500 on challenge to 2013 election in Ward 5." The article starts by saying, "At a separate hearing in Belknap County Superior Court, at which the city was not represented, Justice Larry Smukler awarded Gammon's costs, amounting to $280.76." The hearing on costs was in Merrimack County Superior Court on Nov. 19, 2013 and the court ruled, "The defendant failed to appear after due notice. Based on the failure to appear, the plaintiff's request for an award of costs is granted."

The city filed a motion for reconsideration claiming the City Attorney Laura Spector-Morgan did not receive notice of the November 19 hearing. The court keeps records of who "prepares, date sent, receiving party and receiving address." In a note, a Belknap clerk writes, "Judge Smukler, This is just an FYI to show that a notice of hearing was sent to Mitchell Municipal Group." It is listed twice as being sent to the Mitchell Group, it was not returned to the court as not delivered.

The reporter makes the following statement, "The city requires a W-9 form of all individuals to whom it makes payments of any amount as part of its record keeping and internal control processes. The form has no bearing on whether or not a payment represents taxable income." This is the reporter's opinion in support of the City of Laconia's losing position. The Supreme Court ruled on Oct. 10, 2014, "Regardless of whether the city's internal control; policy requires that payees of court-ordered costs provide W-9 forms, nothing in Rule 45 purports to obligate a prevailing party to comply with a defendant's internal accounting policies in order to be entitled to an award of costs." "Because Rule 45 generally entitles a prevailing party to certain costs as a matter of right, we conclude that the trial court erred by conditioning its award of costs to the petitioner upon his providing a W-9 form."

The IRS W-9 Form which state under, "purpose of form, Is for reporting income paid to you." Court costs are not income. Nothing in Laconia's Internal Control Policy has to do with court costs.

Reporter Kitch makes this statement, "Altogether Gammon was awarded $816.49 in legal costs, the original $280.76 plus added costs incurred during the appeal to the Supreme Court, while the city spent $2,727.38 in attorney's fees, a significant share of which was incurred contesting his claim that he should not be required to submit a W-9 Form."

The N.H. Supreme Court Ruled that I'm not required to submit a W-9 Form. The city's attorney fees were $1,747.95 for Superior Court and $979.43 for Supreme Court, plus the cost of a "Partial Objection To Petitioner's Request For Reimbursement", the cost of which has not been reported.

In that objection the city correctly quotes, "Supreme Court Rule 23 provides the following costs accrued at the Supreme Court shall be awarded to the prevailing party: the entry fee, the actual cost of reproducing and binding the notice of appeal and any appendix, the actual cost of reproducing and binding the brief and any appendix, and cost of transcript." After quoting Rule 23 the city objected to, the actual cost of reproducing and binding the brief and the reply brief for $233.48. The Supreme Court Clerk of Court on Nov. 19, 2014, issued the an order granting the $233.48 for binding the brief and reply brief, the entry fee of $250 and the transcript for $52.25, for a total of $535.73.

Laura Spector-Morgan and the Mitchell Group are the only ones who have any income from this court case. They are required by the City of Laconia's Internal Control Policy to complete a W-9 Form.

David Gammon

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 December 2014 10:09

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When good guys become the bad guys, no democracy survives

To The Daily Sun,

The brief Senate summary of the complete report released Tuesday shows an out-of-control U.S. intelligence community operating with blatant disrespect for law and American values. No wonder the International Red Cross said the U.S. was engaging in war crimes.

Upwards of 100 individuals are known to have died during U.S.-applied torture. Nor did our nation's unrestrained torture lead to substantial benefits (not that such inhumanity could be justified even if there were benefits). As John Glaser writes: "Torture produced wildly distorted intelligence that was then used as evidence to justify an unnecessary war that killed half a million Iraqis and almost 5,000 Americans and has cost trillions of dollars."

Where do we go from here? Do we allow the intelligence community to continue their fascist-like behavior (i.e. radical authoritarian nationalism), targeting Americans as well as foreigners, or do we call for real change, and a republic we can be proud of?

It is sobering to read the Declaration of Independence and realize we justified our independence from England for much milder abuses that our own intelligence community is now perpetuating, even on its own citizens. It will be a question to keep in mind as we see how the intelligence community and its political allies try to deflect criticism and maintain the "we are above the Constitution of the U.S." attitude that has so far characterized their behavior.

If our country is to become a democracy once again, the intelligence agencies need to be brought under civilian control. It would help if the officials we elect also believed that rule of law was more important than the false security of thinking our intelligence work is effectively scaring the bad guys into submission. When the good guys become the bad guys, no democracy survives, as we have been learning these past few years.

Malik Haig


Last Updated on Thursday, 11 December 2014 10:04

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Public demonstrated support for proper preservation of the mill

To The Daily Sun,

Anyone reading the paper these days probably knows that the Belknap Mill Society has had historic difficulty with generating enough revenue to cover the operational and maintenance costs required to properly preserve the nearly 200-year old 21,524-square-foot historic mill building. The current members comprising the Board of Trustees are committed to a long-term solution and, as such, have been exploring opportunities for partnership or conveyance of the building.

The public demonstrated its support of proper preservation of the mill building at the December 8th public input session, for which the board is grateful. As the board navigates these difficult times, it is becoming more evident that the public has a great interest in this "gem" of a building. The society has gotten by on years of many citizens' volunteering thousands of hours each year — and for this reason alone, it continues to stay above water. Without substantial and consistent endowments, gifts, donations and membership contributions, the society has historically been unable to sustain the costs of the building in addition to the operational expenses associated with the programs and functions. While bake sales, concerts, art galleries, flower shows and the like are all positive for our community and can yield minimal profit when managed properly, they will never cover the $76,000 cost to replace the burner or the cost of a new roof when the time comes. A change is needed.

Even if the city chooses not to partner in preservation of the mill at this time, the board is confident that something positive will come about to help preserve the historic structure and allow the society to continue with its mission.

Thank you to all who asked questions and/or made suggestions on Monday night. The board intends to explore its options and welcomes input from those who have an interest in assisting us with our mission to maintain and promote the history of the Belknap Mill.

The Belknap Mill Society Board of Trustees

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 December 2014 09:59

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Presentation on Routes 3 & 25 recommendation on Monday

To The Daily Sun,

An open letter to the residents of Meredith:

There will be an informative presentation regarding the results of the exhaustive work of the Route 3 and 25 advisory committee at our regularly scheduled Selectboard meeting this coming Monday, Dec. 15. This update is to familiarize the board members and the public of the final recommendations of the committee.

I urge you to attend to learn more of this project prior to the public hearing that is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 26, 2015.

Carla Horne, Chair

Meredith Selectboard

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 December 2014 09:55

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Froma Harrop - Make names of rape acusers public

Jackie's shocking account of gang rape at a University of Virginia frat house has been growing holes by the day. And it has put Rolling Stone — the magazine that published it without identifying the accuser, the friends she quoted or the alleged rapists — under a harsh light. It only named the fraternity, Phi Kappa Psi.

Not naming the accusers in rape cases has become a standard journalistic practice, pushed by advocates for the victims. That must end.

Failure to identify those involved, ostensibly to protect the alleged victim's privacy, can't help but undermine the credibility of the reporting. It also poorly serves victims by feeding the idea that being raped is a disgrace. Rape is a violent crime, a felony, and women subjected to it should feel no more shame than those who are slashed or punched in the face.

Sometimes reporters do have to shield the identity of sources, particularly in matters of national security. But letting anyone spread information under the veil of anonymity removes one of the safeguards for reliability.

Rolling Stone has published great work over the years, but for this story, it grievously compounded the error of not identifying anyone by not double-checking Jackie's story. That Jackie asked the reporter to refrain from contacting the alleged attackers isn't surprising. That the reporter did as she was asked is amazing. If Jackie made not verifying information a demand for her cooperation, the magazine should have taken a pass.

The details here were so grotesque that critics would inevitably question them. For example, a friend Jackie contacted after the alleged crime told The Washington Post that she seemed upset but was not bloody or beaten as the article asserted. And he said that Jackie spoke of having been forced to perform oral sex, which is different from the genital torture described in the article.

In this and other rape complaints where some claims come unraveled, the advocates often respond that "something happened." And something very well may have. But unless someone on the scene comes out to discuss what that was, it's almost impossible to get at an accepted truth. There are brutal rapes, false accusations of rape and lots in between.
A man dropping a knockout pill in a woman's drink and then sexually assaulting her has committed rape. That is clear.

But the in-between circumstances can complicate reaching such conclusions. In campus cases, the man and woman are often friends. Two students getting mutually drunk or high and not clearly communicating their level of sexual interest leaves a murkier picture.

The gray areas may help explain why some accusers ask college officials not to ruin their alleged attacker's life with expulsion from school. A savage rapist shouldn't even be on the streets, much less on campus.

Do some women fear retaliation by the men? They may, but that can happen anytime someone charges another with a crime.

Rolling Stone did itself no good by briefly blaming Jackie for the inaccuracies. The magazine quickly recovered its senses and put the blame on itself.

In a long note expressing regret, Rolling Stone Managing Editor Will Dana wrote, "In trying to be sensitive to the unfair shame and humiliation many women feel after a sexual assault, we made a judgment — the kind of judgment reporters and editors make every day."

That is true, but reporters and editors should expand their sensitivities to include the reputations of those accused, not always justly. Finally, everyone — especially advocates for rape victims — should work at countering the notion that women traumatized by a violent crime need to hide in shame.

(A member of the Providence Journal editorial board, Froma Harrop writes a nationally syndicated column from that city. She has written for such diverse publications as The New York Times, Harper's Bazaar and Institutional Investor.)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00

Hits: 212

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