Exclusive: Who Traveled To Century On Mayor’s Airline Ticket Purchases And Why

April 4, 2019

EXCLUSIVE: NorthEscambia.com has learned the identities of two people flown to Century last month by Century Mayor Henry Hawkins, and the purpose for their visit.

To date, the town has refused to provide unredacted documents showing the names of the travelers despite repeated public records requests. But NorthEscambia has independently obtained unredacted documents from a source outside the town showing the completed travel and the names of those that traveled.

Travel itineraries from Expedia show the travelers to be Tyson Diavalpham and Mark Endo. With a slightly different spelling, “Tyson Diaz-Lapham” identified himself as a marketing executive with ADC Energy in proposals Hawkins emailed to Escambia County Commissioner Steven Barry. Mark Endo, according to an email forwarded by Hawkins to Barry, is with Emesgy Consulting. Both companies are located in California.

Hawkins also emailed Barry on October 29, inviting him to attend an alternative energy presentation by Endo on October 30 at Century Town Hall.

The companies were involved in proposals to sell Century $200,000  worth of energy saving upgrades at three  town properties.

Hawkins Reimburses Town For Tickets

Monday night, Hawkins provided town council members with a copy of a PenAir cashier’s check for $1,751.70 to reimburse the cost of the tickets and hotel rooms, along with a written statement.

“The Town of Century will never move forward as long as we’re stuck on what’s not being doing [sic] with other’s approval. I am repaying the Town for airline tickets and hotel fees for two gentlemen that I brought to the Town to discuss economic development,” Hawkins wrote. “This is not an admission of guilt but a gesture of good faith in moving Century forward. It seems that there are those that do not want our Town to prosper. We grown [sic] when businesses come into the Town and our citizens are given a chance for better paying jobs. When we don’t strive for economic development then we all lose.”

In December, the town council approved payment of $1,751.70 to Expedia and three airlines on a bill list.

Under the town’s charter, Hawkins is required to seek advance council approval for purchases in excess of $200. The council never gave Hawkins permission to purchase airline tickets.

Hawkins repeatedly contended that Escambia County Commissioner Steven Barry promised to reimburse the costs with county economic development, but Barry has denied even communicating with Hawkins about travel expenses. During a public council meeting, Hawkins called Barry “a lie.” ”

What Happened When The Travelers Were In Town

EMESGY, a consulting company in Torrance, CA, presented written proposals for potential cost saving energy upgrades from ADC Energy of California to the electrical systems at the Century Town Hall, the “Ag Building” community center on West Highway 4 and the former Helicopter Technology building in the Century Industrial Park. The industrial park building is currently unoccupied.

On October 29, Hawkins emailed the general Escambia County District 5 address inviting Barry to attend a presentation from Mark Endo of EMESGY. The presentation was set for the following afternoon.

On November 27, Century Mayor Hawkins forwarded a copy of the proposals in an email to Escambia County Commissioner Steven Barry. “I’m hoping to get your approval on using economic money to do these. If we can do either City Hall or the Community Center would be great,” Hawkins wrote.

Barry said he did not respond to either email, and he never presented the proposals to the Escambia County Commission.

Escambia County has committed $105,000 for economic development in the Century area this fiscal year. Proposals for the money are presented to Barry who in turn seeks approval of the entire commission at a regular meeting. So far, the commission has approved only $24,500 to the University of West Florida Haas Center for a market analysis.

The Energy Proposal

“ADC Energy is patented technology that allows transmission of low-voltage DC to travel long distance using existing wiring. It is now possible for you to battery power your entire facility with ADC Energy,” the company states on its website.

The proposals were in three phases. In the first phase, lighting in each building would be upgraded to “24V Battery powered facility lighting”. The second phase would add solar panels, and third phase would be a solar-powered HVAC system.

The total cost of the equipment, design and installation totaled $197,642 for just the first phase, itemized as follows:

  • Town Hall: $34,593
  • Community Center: $43,368
  • Industrial Park Building: $119,681

Endo proposed the project would be a “renewable energy showcase … to secure massive visibility in local, national, and international media viewed by domestic and international audiences” in an email to Hawkins.

The email also stated, “Century and EMESGY will invite Miami International University (MIU) who is the 4th largest R & D University in the US to work with Century to establish an offsite joint R & D initiative with MIU funding, new jobs, and technology development.”

According to their website, the Miami International University of Art & Design “is one of The Art Institutes, a system of schools throughout North America,” and MIU offers degrees in design, fashion and media arts.

Endo suggests in his email that notification be sent to governors, senators, local to international media, and educational institutions to alert them of Century’s renewable energy initiatives and make Century a showcase.

Hawkins never presented the proposals to the Century Town Council in a public meeting.

The Airline Tickets, Unfilled Public Records Requests

As part of a public records request on January 8, NorthEscambia.com asked for the “airline invoices or receipts that have been discussed and appeared on the bill list at recent meetings, along with reservation information for such.”

That request was ignored by the town until it was mentioned at a March 4 council meeting when Hawkins told us and council president Ann Brooks that he would provide the receipts, but he would “black them out.” He refused to answer questions about the legal justification for the proposed redactions.

The following day, a town staffer emailed documents to NorthEscambia.com and Brooks. On each page from Expedia, the name of the traveler was redacted, marked out by hand. No justification for the redactions was provided as required by Florida statute.

No explanation was given as to why it took nearly two months to produce the redacted documents. Florida’s Sunshine Law dictates that records must be produced in a reasonable time, and the only delay permitted “is the limited reasonable time allowed the custodian to retrieve the record and delete those portions of the record the custodian asserts are exempt.”

When pressed Monday night, April 1, as to why the complete public records request as not fulfilled, Hawkins said, “I’ve paid it back, so I’m not obligated.”

The documents included two itineraries and one sheet labeled as a receipt. The “receipt” from Expedia did not indicate the purchaser, but it did show the last four digits of a Visa card used for payment.

In March, the town provided redacted versions of the following documents. The travelers’ names listed appear on the documents obtained by NorthEscambia.com.

  • An Expedia itinerary showing a cost of $560.92 for an American Airlines flight departing October 28 from Los Angeles to Pensacola, and a room with double beds for one adult for two nights at the LaQuinta Inn on Davis Highway in Pensacola. The traveler’s name was Mark Endo.
  • An Expedia itinerary showing a cost of $689.38 for a Delta flight departing October 29 from Los Angeles to Pensacola, a return flight on Frontier Airlines on October 31, and a room with double beds for one adult for one night at the LaQuinta Inn on Davis Highway in Pensacola. The traveler’s name was Tyson Diavalpham.
  • An Expedia receipt for $501.40 for a one-way flight from Pensacola to Eugene, Oregon, on October 31. The receipt does not specify the airline, and the traveler’s name is redacted.

The items provided in early March by the town total $1,751.70.

The December town bill list showed payments were made for charges incurred in October as follows:

  • American Airlines $501.40
  • Delta $366.90
  • Expedia $668.50
  • Frontier Airlines $214.90

The items total $1,751.70, equal to the itineraries and receipt provided but the payee entries listed differ.

NorthEscambia.com photos and graphics.

Comments

19 Responses to “Exclusive: Who Traveled To Century On Mayor’s Airline Ticket Purchases And Why”

  1. ALEX on April 6th, 2019 4:14 pm

    resistance is measured inOhms,

  2. Curious on April 6th, 2019 9:46 am

    Any way you look at it, a couple of slick fellows from California got a free trip to Florida. Thanks to Northescambia.com, and others, it didn’t cost the town a penny.

  3. Chelleepea on April 5th, 2019 5:21 pm

    Apparently we are all in the dark…city hall and the town!

  4. Willis on April 5th, 2019 7:59 am

    At New Hope Primative Baptist Church

    I knew the lights, at city hall, were dim….
    But I never realized the community didn’t have power and lights.

  5. New Hope Primitive Baptist Church on April 5th, 2019 12:32 am

    Century Mayor Hawkins need some supporters in his corner. He got a lot of great ideas, just don’t have the support that’s needed for the cause. Century need lights and power in the community, not just for a prison up there.

  6. ?????? on April 4th, 2019 3:04 pm

    Look at the date of the email Hawkins sent to Barry. One day prior to the presentation…looks like Hawkins “really” wanted Barry there.
    Not to mention, Hawkins uses the same generic email address as citizens to get in touch with Barry. Astounding as much as Hawkins “claims” to speak with Barry he doesn’t have his direct contact information.

  7. Erac on April 4th, 2019 2:58 pm

    With an illiterate person such as Hawkins running Century Century will only continue to go backwards. He can’t properly punctuate a simple sentence correctly but he wants people to think he’s brilliant, which he is far from. Obviously he never proof reads anything he writes before releasing it for print. But he probably has no idea the mistakes he’s making or does not care . This also tells me what type of person would vote for and elect such an individual to run their town. Unfortunately as long as this clown is in office Century will always be what Century has been for many years. Nothing.

  8. nfw on April 4th, 2019 2:43 pm

    It looks as though they were either economy tickets on AA and Delta or cheap tickets on an LCC. What sort of consultants were they not flying business class? talk about being scammed.

  9. David Huie Green on April 4th, 2019 12:18 pm

    Henry was scammed. He meant well, but didn’t know enough physics to recognize the scam.

    David for education

  10. ASM on April 4th, 2019 10:29 am

    I believe Florida International University in Miami has the R&D designation, not MIUAD Still, one would think a legitimate prospect with a legitimate project to transform Century into a “renewable energy showcase” would know the difference. Definitely smells like a sham perpetuated on the backs of taxpayers. What’s unknown is whether the Mayor was a patsy duped by con men or a partner with them. One is potentially illegal. The other is just sad. Either shows a lack of the kind of good judgement one should expect in a Mayor.

  11. molino jim on April 4th, 2019 9:57 am

    After looking up Emesgy I understand why Century had to pay for tickets and so on. The company has three (3) employees. There is very little information or history on the company. i felt it was odd that a potential buyer for this companies services and produce had to pay for the trip here. I was in sales years ago and it just does not work that way. I wonder if this company is related to the one that was going to grow organic food in the old county building. I have to give the town some credit for at least trying. This could be case of the town trying to get some one in to help build the town and make it a better place and it will be a hard sale.

  12. chris on April 4th, 2019 9:25 am

    I’m not an electrician, but wouldn’t the voltage amount decrease the longer it travels? Ohms and resistance? However, the BS from King Hawkins seems impervious to degradation.

  13. Tawana Jones on April 4th, 2019 9:11 am

    How exhausting this is for residents of Century. However, I called this months ago. This Mayor and Mr. Gomez are not qualified to hold the positions they have. They were voted into office based on race and race alone. I have attended one Council meeting and Mr. Hawkins had the grammar skills of an 8 year old and Mr. Gomez was worse than the Mayors. Mr. Gomez can barely form a complete sentence. Yes, I called it a year ago and now I have been proven right. A biased written article that twisted my words and misrepresented my complaints and the lack of transparency and professionalism of this Mayor has been proven false…

  14. Could've been on April 4th, 2019 9:02 am

    I’ll bet the candidate that received zero votes for Mayor is looking pretty good about now.

  15. Chris on April 4th, 2019 9:02 am

    “Local, national, and international media” and Century used in the same news story. That’s the best laugh I’ve had all week.

  16. Bob on April 4th, 2019 7:47 am

    “…patented technology that allows transmission of low-voltage DC to travel long distance using existing wiring. It is now possible for you to battery power your entire facility”

    What about the bridge you have for sale?

  17. M in Bratt on April 4th, 2019 7:37 am

    No wonder he wanted to keep the big secret. He gives them plane tickets and expenses to come to town and try to sell Century something they don’t need, and definitely can’t afford. You have to wonder what was in it for Henry?

  18. tg on April 4th, 2019 7:29 am

    With the cost of this why wouldnt EDC pay for the tickets.This was a SHAM.

  19. Oversight on April 4th, 2019 5:03 am

    Boondoggle plan and simple. Hmmm, was there a kickback for the “mayor” in the works too?





Have a comment on this story?

We welcome your comments on this story, but there are some rules to follow::

(1) Be Nice. No comments that slander another, no racism, no sexism, no personal attacks.

(2) No Harrassing Comments. If someone says something bad about you, don't respond. That's childish.

(3) No Libel. That's saying something is not true about someone. Don't do it.

(4) Keep it clean. Nothing vulgar, obscene or sexually related. No profanity or obvious substitutions. Period.

(5) NorthEscambia.com reserves the right to remove any comments that violate our rules or we think to be inappropriate. We are not responsible for what is posted. Comments may not appear right away until they are approved by a moderator.

(6) Limit your comments to the subject in this story only, and limit comments to 300 words or less. Do not post copyrighted material. Comments will not be added to stories that are over 30 days old.

(7) No posts may advertise a commercial business or political group, or link to another commercial web site or political site of any kind.