Business owner Michael Warren resigned from the Downtown Lodi Business Partnership board on Wednesday, writing in a statement that he is “fundamentally at odds with the policies and practices of the organization.”
Warren, owner of Crush Kitchen + Bar and the Market at Crush, turned in his resignation about a month after he questioned the board’s finances at a Lodi City Council meeting.
Warren, who was elected to the board in December, questioned bonuses to the executive director Jaime Watts. He centered his remarks around roughly $5,000 in bonuses linked to the farmers’ market.
In a statement he provided to the News-Sentinel, he said he was unable to reconcile with his fellow board members and provide transparency to the public. But he plans to continue questioning the DLBP as a business owner and demand accountability.
“In the wake of these events I can only hope that the city and my fellow business owners who fund the DLBP demand to know where their hard-earned money is being spent,” he said.
It is unfortunate that Warren decided to resign, said Nancy Byer-Hauan, executive board member and president of the partnership.
“After such a brief time on the board, he did not allow himself the opportunity to contribute to the growth of the organization,” Byer-Hauan said in a written statement.
Warren went before the council in early April because he said he reviewed some of the board’s finances and felt they should be public, especially because it involves taxpayer money.
He then was out of town for the next meeting and missed the meeting this past Monday, where Byer-Hauan reviewed a pledge the board members signed when they were elected.
Byer-Hauan specifically pointed to the portion of the code that asks board members to not “engage in gossip, speculation or innuendo about the board members or civic leaders,” she said.
Warren said he felt that as a board member it was his duty to make these finances public. He took his concerns to the council because he wants residents to be able to help shape the organization’s direction. He said it was not about personal vendettas.
“(I) have simply offered the public an opportunity to view what should be in the public record already. It is entirely inappropriate to demand a pledge which furthers the ‘secret society’ that current and former board members have fostered,” he said.