Greenbank investigation results to be unveiled

Months after allegations were made about the Greenbank Farm Management Group, some elaboration could be coming.

The accountant for the Port of Coupeville, Chuck Edwards of Edwards and Associates of Freeland, is scheduled to present next week the results of his investigation concerning allegations made by Georgia Gardner about the finances of the Greenbank Farm Management Group, which oversees the property for the Port of Coupeville.

Edwards will present his findings during the Port of Coupeville’s monthly meeting.

Gardner, herself an accountant and current commissioner for Whidbey General Hospital District, resigned in October from a volunteer group looking into how the publicly owned farm should be managed. In her resignation letter, she alleged that the management group hasn’t complied with financial laws and there were errors, omissions and inconsistencies in tax returns and financial statements.

In the months that followed, leaders for the Port of Coupeville and the management group tried to get elaboration on Gardner’s concerns, but were unable to contact her.

“Nobody was able to find out what these errors, inconsistencies and omissions were,” said Jim Patton, executive director for the Port of Coupeville.

The port commissioners in December tasked Edwards with investigating Gardner’s allegations, interviewing Gardner and providing support to the volunteer group forming recommendations about how the farm could be better managed.

The commissioners originally set a Dec. 31 deadline for the report; however, that date was delayed because Gardner was outside the country, Patton said.

He couldn’t comment on the results of Edwards’ investigation because the accountant is still writing the report. He doesn’t yet know how much Edwards’ investigation will cost the port.

The commissioners for the Port of Coupeville will meet at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13 in Room 116, at the Island County Administration Building located at the corner of North Main Street and Seventh Street in Coupeville.


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