Benest may have initiated detectives' Texas trip

Former Arts & Culture Director Leon Kaplan and Sgt. Michael Yore at odds over interview

City Manager Frank Benest and former Assistant City Manager Emily Harrison may have played a direct role in the criminal investigation of the Palo Alto Children's Theatre, the Weekly learned Wednesday.

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Like this comment
Posted by William
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 6, 2008 at 3:38 am

Hmmm .. the police report mentions that interviews were recorded. So, has the Weekly determined if there are any recordings of this interview? Has the Weekly requested the recordings to verify the transcripts?

> Sgt. Michael Yore, who headed the investigation, told former Arts
> & Culture Director Leon Kaplan (who supervised the Children's
> Theatre) during an October 2007 interview in Texas that he had
> flown there because "Frank is just truly trying to get to the
> bottom of things," according to a
> transcript of the interview with Yore.

Did the Weekly ask Sgt. Yore who sent him to Texas when it was preparing this article?

And a casual comment by Sgt. Yore proves what? Are there any emails, or memos, from Benest to Yore, or Chief Johnson, demanding that Yore go to Texas to interview Kaplan? If not--where is the evidence of a "direct role" in this investigation, as the Weekly claims? Without evidence, the Weekly seems to be "blowing smoke" into the eyes of its readers.

It would be unfortunate if a Police Officer, in the course of an investigation, were to "drop" the name of the City Manager so casually--rather than refer to him as "City Manager so-and-so". If the Palo Alto Police make a habit of this, the Police Chief needs to tighten up the procedures so that her officers show more respect for the City Manager (and management staff in general).

> "I have no idea why (Yore) said that. They didn't have anything
> to do with the investigation," she said. She said Yore might
> have mentioned the city manager's name "to try to push a point
> or tell the seriousness of it."

Chief Johnson seems to provide a very reasonable explanation. The Weekly is certainly doing everything in its power to throw mud in the face of this police investigation with this very shoddy bit of "journalism".

> The woman accompanying Yore, who introduced herself to
> Kaplan only by her first name, is a management specialist with
> the police department, not a forensic accountant as reported.

The Weekly article does not indicate if this is from Kaplan's memory, or from the transcript. If anyone from the PA Police Department were to travel to another state to interview someone, and not introduce himself/herself with his/her full name, title, and leave a business card--this would be very poor police practice.

> The transcript also does not include any reference to a discussion
> of the middle-management unionization effort or a "climate of fear,"
> topics Kaplan told the Weekly were included.

So why is Kaplan telling the Weekly all of this stuff that didn't happen, unless he is trying to divert attention from himself or attempting to discredit the investigation? If Kaplan did say these things, what do they have to do with the diversion of money from costume sales?

> Kaplan told the Weekly the arrangement with the Friends regarding
> costume sales was reviewed by the city attorney. But to Yore, Kaplan
> implied the costume-sales agreement with the Friends was more
> informal, according to the transcript.

The Weekly could have checked out this claim with the City Attorney's Office--but it sounds like it didn't.

It really would be a good idea for someone to see if there are any records of this interview to verify the recordings against the transcripts. Memories can be such fragile things.

Like this comment
Posted by Walter E. Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 6, 2008 at 7:56 am

All we can be sure of is it ain't Frank's fault.

Like this comment
Posted by Daniel
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 6, 2008 at 8:09 am

So - one can conclude that the investigation WAS directed by Frank Benest. This suggests that some of the theatre supporters were right all along.

I wonder if the above post was written by someone in the PAPD as part of their continuing misinformation campaign. It sounds awfully defensive - esp. when no one else here attacked the police. Moreover, the writer's question about whether the Weekly asked Yore about his statements is typical police evasion - it has been repeatedly stated that the Weekly has tried to talk to Yore.

Leon's last word in the article about Pat being very good is heartening. I'm glad there is at least SOMEONE out there who relies upon their own experience instead of buying into the police version of "fact".

Like this comment
Posted by William
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 6, 2008 at 8:19 am

> So - one can conclude that the investigation WAS directed
> by Frank Benest.

There is absolutely NOTHING in this poorly written article that proves that Benest had anything to do with "directing" this investigation.

> I wonder if the above post was written by someone in
> the PAPD as part of their continuing misinformation campaign

Nope .. not associated with the police in any way.

and as to the "continuing misinformation campaign" .. wonder if this post was written by someone who writes for Pravda? "Misinformation campaign" -- this police report is the first bit of substantive information released by the police, who have otherwise been guarded in their comments to the public until now.

Like this comment
Posted by Daniel
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 6, 2008 at 9:36 am

Police - guarded???? Between her " letters to the community", editorializing and contradicting herself, Johnson was running off at the mouth all the time during this "investigation".


Like this comment
Posted by Bye Bye Briggs
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 6, 2008 at 10:08 am

Daniel continues the constant attack and belittlement of the police and the PACT investigation that has been the hallmark of the supporters of PACT.
The only reason that Johnson issued any statements before the investigation was completed was due to the howling and incessant baying of the supporters of PACT, and more specifically the "Pat Briggs is a Saint" crowd.

Like this comment
Posted by lazlo toth
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 6, 2008 at 7:25 pm

How sad that all of you have nothing more to do than worry about city employees, the same people who make about the same amount of money per year as it costs to buy a cheap BMW. Enjoy your pathetic lives! Turn off your laptops! Go outside and breath the fresh air!

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