From: "Jeffrey C. Smith"
Subject: Marc Appelbaum Letter of October 23, 2015
Date: December 15, 2017 at 4:40:26 PM EST
To: Town Council
Dear Mr. Mayor and Members of the Council:
Thank you for forwarding this letter of October 23, 2015, below. I have reviewed this letter with the assistance of two staff members, both trained in chain of custody issues that apply to similar documents involving safety compliance and drug testing for the federal government, having processed over 200,000 documents relating to personal drug tests and custody forms in the past 28 years. While my staff or I are not recognized document authentication professionals (and we did not receive the hard copy regardless), there is enough information from the pdf letter to research and find significant circumstantial facts regarding the letter. We received this letter from you one week ago, and there are more elements that need research.
However, as a result of the preliminary research on the facts known, timing, signature stamp, inclusion of hearsay, and style of this letter, its neither the town’s interest or the interest of our citizens group, Dewey Citizens for Accountablity to claim this letter is authentic. This is a matter that should immediately be reviewed by the town auditor and or state and federal officials to determine the provenance and authenticity of this letter. We know it was submitted to state and federal officials in order to obtain Military Surplus equipment and pass an audit for the Police’s participation.
During our review of the letter in use one we We have spoken to a number of town officials including those who have knowledge of the office practices of the Town Manager. We choose not to speak with, or have any communication with, the former town manager, Marc Appelbaum, due to provisions included in his separation agreement which limits his speech on any matter that could be seen as disparaging to the Town of Dewey Beach.
1. First, there is no doubt, that this letter was signed by a signature stamp. His pen and ink signature looks very different from the signature stamp. I have located two examples of his real signature on matters during his employment, and one other example of the signature stamp which he reported at that time was used, and he authorized his signature stamp to be use, on a document while he was physically far away from Dewey Beach.
2. The stamp was used during a week that Marc Appelbaum was in Dewey Beach. And as you know Mr. Applebaum lives very close to his office in town hall, in fact so close that had there been any issue of importance he could be at town hall within 5 minutes or less. It was not his practice, according to his office personnel, to use his signature stamp on documents when he was in physical proximity to his office, in fact the signature stamp was not even kept in his office.
3. The signature stamp of Marc Appelbaum was kept in the town clerk’s office, which our researchers were told was never locked. Further there was no log on the use of the stamp. That may have been an unwise practice in retrospect, as it would not prevent anybody with access to the Town Clerks office from opening the file cabinet and using it. Without a log there or secured environment, there is no chain of custody that indicates exclusive control of this letter by Mr. Appelbaum.
4. The letter is unique in any letter I have ever seen in working with governments for 30 years in that it uses hearsay to represent that the “Mayor and Council of the Town of Dewey Beach…are familiar with the 1033 program.” That statement assumes knowledge and represents the views of at least five elected officials. I have spoken to three of those persons who claim no knowledge of the “1033 program.” The letter continues by using “We..” throughout. But it is not signed or copied to any of those other elected officials. Further, none of the three officials report having ever seen the letter before I provided it to them. This point #4 by itself with its statements of knowledge by other parties (heresay) is frankly unprecedented and no town manager would dare to represent the views of the entire Council and Mayor in such a manner, and at a time that reportedly the town managers contract was up for renegotiation.
5. The letter is only cc to “Police Chief" not "Samuel D. Mackert, III”. Our research indicates that one of the common characteristics of a forged letter is that it does not contain the name of the person(s) but instead a general term.
6. As I think we all now know, attempts by the Town Manager to obtain information from the department heads were met with resistance and obfuscation. And as documented when he did press, he was accused of interfering in police business. But further, the police chief was quoted in the media as stating that he withheld information from the town manager because “he did not trust him.” That statement was also repeated in my recollection at town Council meetings.
There are serious matters regarding this letter. If the letter is a forgery it would be a unprecedented blow to Dewey’s credibility, as it certainly represents multiple federal and state offenses, and was mailed in furtherance of falsely obtaining equipment. I request that you refer this letter to the Town Attorney, and the Auditor for the town for their review. In the meantime, lets please not distribute this document in any further manner, as that would just multiply the offenses if it does turn out to be false. If the letter is authentic, Dewey must first answer many questions regarding the provenance of the letter purported to be signed by Mr. Appelbaum and know to town Council and the Mayor.
Thank you for your attention to this serious matter.
Jeffrey C. Smith
Coalition Director, Dewey Citizens for Accountablity (DCA)