Dewey to investigate trades with Dirt Works, Coastal Towing

Officials must also respond to watchdog group’s FOIA request

By Ellen Driscoll

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Dewey Mayor TJ Redefer authorized an investigation into the town’s involvement in the police department’s military surplus program at the Feb. 9 commissioners’ meeting. In January, Commissioner Paul Bauer called for investigations into the Seasons Pizza demolition, a $35,000 transfer from the town’s general fund and two undisclosed bank accounts.

Redefer tasked Bauer, Commissioner Dale Cooke and Town Manager Scott Koenig with investigating the exchange of surplus equipment with Dirt Works for the Seasons Pizza demolition.

Redefer also tasked officials with responding to a FOIA request submitted by Jeffrey Smith of Dewey Citizens for Accountability, and to report findings to commissioners.

Smith’s FOIA, submitted to the town Feb. 5, requests public records of all vehicles sold, transferred, donated or bartered by the Dewey Beach Police Department for the past three years, including all monies received.

The FOIA also requests information on vehicle transactions between police counsel John Brady and the police department since 2014, and written correspondence between the town manager, mayor, commissioners, town solicitor, police counsel and any other employee or contractor

regarding vehicle transactions between Brady and the police department since 2014.

The town has 15 business days to respond to the FOIA request.

Commissioner David Moskowitz said that the investigation should include determining what services were received by the police department in exchange for equipment with an initial acquisition value of over $260,000 given to Coastal Towing in 2014 and 2015.

Moskowitz said officials should also find out whether any Coastal Towing employees have relatives who work for Dewey Beach.

Former Mayor Diane Hanson echoed the need to investigate Coastal Towing bartered transactions. She said for $260,000, the town could have purchased each of the town’s eight police officers a $30,000 new vehicle over the past five years. º“That money is not accounted for, and we don’t know what it was used for,” Hanson said. “We don’t know what we got in exchange, and that needs to be looked into.”