BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – Union County received a clean/unmodified opinion concerning its 2020 audit from Rushton and Company, a CPA firm.
Clay Pilgrim, CPA, CPE, CCF, delivered the information during the July County Commission meeting.
“I do have great news, this is real riveting information this audit, so I’m glad you joined us,” Pilgrim told the large crowd. He also thanked all county officials for their help.
The 2020 fiscal budget was amended down from $17,999,955 to $17,468,052 during the meeting as well.
The net position/ county equity covers three areas, net investments and capital assets, restricted net position, and unrestricted net position. The total net position for the county in 2020 was $57,418,192.
- Capital assets and net investments – $47,643,505 – examples: buildings, equipment
- Restricted net position – $5,456,656 – example: SPLOST
- Unrestricted net positions – $4,318,031 – example: residual
“For the year, there was an increase in net position, revenues exceeded expenses by $5,505,303. The largest reason for that increase was some operating grants and contributions that were received and sales tax increases as well with a lower expense increase overall,” Pilgrim stated.
In Union County’s General Fund also known as the operating budget, revenues increased 21 percent ($3,708,099) in 2020. Here’s the following breakdown of revenue increases:
- Property taxes – $181,943
- Title ad valorem – $543,158
- Intangible taxes – $174,580
- Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) – $922,524
- Intergovernmental revenues – $1,358,375
“[LOST increase] is a trend we’re seeing across the mountain areas of the state with sales tax. Folks moving this way or spending time up in the mountains with the pandemic that took place last year,” Pilgrim added.
The property tax line includes the last seven years of digest, any collections paid in 2020, and assessments.
Expenses for the county also increased by 4.7 percent ($777,040). The breakdown is as follows.
- General administration – $944,789 – the cost included capital outlay projects and the county reappraisal.
- Sheriff’s office – $297,845 – personal services
One area of expenditures decreased and that was highways and streets which were under by $583,708 also for personal services.
The unassigned fund balance or general fund equity will allow the county to operate for 2.7 months. The fund balance is $3,896,041. Last year, the fund balance was $1,805,929 and could only operate for 1.3 months.
Pilgrim explained that counties want to keep between two- or three months’ worth of monies in the fund balance in case of emergencies. In 2019, when the county increased property taxes by 17 percent on its side, Sole Commissioner Lamar Paris explained that the dip in the fund balance was part of the reason why.
SPLOST 5 went into effect in 2021 and thus far $51,780 has been expended on capital projects. The 2015 SPLOST or SPLOST 4 expended $6,210,663 in collected sales tax. SPLOST money can’t go into the general fund.
“It does typically reduce the need for other taxation,” Pilgrim commented because it goes toward capital projects.
However, SPLOST doesn’t go toward the operational costs. TSPLOST has a little more room concerning the operation of roads and bridges.
After delving into Joe Biden’s friends’ questionable and convenient financial past, All-Star Panelist Joene DePlancke presented her findings on the issue.
“All the deals weren’t funneled through Hunter. He used so many longtime friends and major contributors to generate billions for himself and his family,” DePlancke explained about Joe Biden’s financial dealings.
In 2010, they created a construction firm Hillstone International as a subsidiary of Hill International, founded by friend Irv Richter in 1976. Hillstone was run by Kevin Justice, another Biden friend. Justice visited the vice president’s office on November 4, 2010, and three weeks later Joe’s brother James joined Hillstone as executive vice president. He lacked any construction expertise. Then Hillstone started negotiations to win a contract in war-torn Iraq. The company receives a 100,000 home and $35 billion contract within six months, along with a $22 million US federal government contract to manage a construction project for the state department. At this point, the company hadn’t executed any real estate projects.
Over the next several years, Hillstone International generated $1.5 billion in revenue – three times its normal return on investment. A group of minority partners including James Biden split $735 million between themselves.
Another instance of Biden’s friends benefiting from their connections, a longtime donor and Delaware car dealer John Hynansky received a $20 million loan from the federal government’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). He earned this loan after Biden introduced him to Ukraine officials because Hynansky wanted to expand his dealership in Ukraine. On the loan, it states that all cars would come from Europe, not the United States, to be sold in Ukraine. The American auto industry wouldn’t benefit from the loan and business expansion. However, he received taxpayer money to fund his venture.
When James Biden had a federal tax lien placed on the Biden Bungalow in Keewaydin Island, FL by the IRS for $590,000 plus a $74,700 lien by a contractor, James received a mortgage for $900,000 from an obscure Delaware entity called 1018 PL, LLC. John Hynansky controlled the company.
How Hunter’s dealing began
Long before Burisma, Joe Biden began using his son Hunter for political and financial gain. In 2001, Hunter received large consulting fees from MNBA – the largest credit card company at the time. At this time, Senator Joe Biden voted against the regulatory requirement that credit card companies warn consumers about the perils of making only minimum payments. He was only one of five Democrats to vote against the regulation.
That same year, Hunter became a lobbyist with Senator Biden’s former legal advisor and his job was to submit targeted earmarks to the senator’s office. Often times, these earmarks became part of bills and resulted in millions for pet projects. Eventually, the senate caught on to this scheme and passed an ethics bill prohibiting senators and their families from earmark profiting.
Hunter subsequently left the lobbying game.
In 2002, Senator Biden moves forward with legislation that makes it easy to sue for asbestos exposure. His son Beau Biden was a partner in a Delaware law firm that primarily handled asbestos cases.
Fast forward to 2008, PartyGaming hires Hunter Biden as a lobbyist and to manage their issues with the Department of Justice, who recently subpoenaed 12 US banks concerning the company’s wire fraud. Hunter Biden is successful in keeping the DOJ away from PartyGaming until his father Joe Biden becomes vice president. Hunter then must give up the lobbying position and a few months later PartyGaming pled guilty to wire fraud and paid out $300 million.
Biden and China Connection
In 2009, Hunter joins forces with Devon Archer and Chris Heinz to form Rosemont Seneca Partners in partnership with Rosemont Capital. From here Hunter and Vice President Biden fly to China on Air Force 2 in part because VP Biden had US business with the Chinese government. Ten days following the trip, even though both asserted that no business occurred, Rosemont Seneca announced a $1.5 billion deal with the Chinese government also known as the Bank of China.
In 2013, the Bank of China established BHR and placed Hunter Biden on the board of directors, even though he has zero experience in mergers and acquisitions. The BHR begins buying American companies with military connections, Nuclear Power Company, CGN, and Henniges technology. The Henniges purchase had to be approved by an interagency committee due to its military contracts. The majority of the committee consisted of Obama-Biden administration officials.
In 2014, Hunter and his associates launched Rosemont Realty and made a deal with a Chinese government-connected company. They began buying commercial property for China.
“Joe Biden, the vice president of the United States, enabled Hunter to be the frontman for communist China. To buy our companies, to buy military companies, to buy real estate all across this country,” said Joene DePlancke.
Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine became part of the money train in 2014 as well. Ukrainian natural gas producer, Burisma deposited $112,000 into a Rosemont bank account marked “C/O Devon Archer.” The following day, Archer visited the White House to meet privately with Vice President Joe Biden.
On April 22, Archer joined the Burisma Board of Directors and on May 12, Hunter Biden did so as well. Additionally, Senator Mitt Romney advisor Joseph Cofer Black joined the same board. Three Americans are executives for the largest natural gas company in Ukraine. They were each paid $1 million per year or $83,333 per month. None had any qualifying experience in the energy sector or previous ties to Ukraine.
On April 21, Vice President Joe Biden visits Kviv, Ukraine, and brings terms for a US Agency for International Development program to assist the Ukrainian natural gas industry. Archer is appointed to the Burisma board the next day.
The founder of Burisma Zlochevsky was being investigated in 2014 when Archer and Hunter were put on the Board. In 2016, Ukrainian authorities seized Zlochevsky’s property and he fled the country. Authorities then seized Burisma’s gas wells. Hunter used his contacts in Washington to help Zlochevsky with his corruption case. Burisma hired former Obama DOJ lawyer John Buretta.
Buretta met with prosecutors in September 2016 to get the charges dropped. All subsequent charges were dropped. Also, in September, Vice President Biden pressures Ukrainian officials to fire the Burisma prosecutor. Joe Biden later bragged that he had the prosecutor fired by threatening to withhold $1 billion in aid to Ukraine.
The vice president’s final trip to Ukraine was on January 16, 2017. It was also his last foreign trip as vice president. Four days before Joe Biden arrived, officials announced the end of investigations into Burisma. Under Biden’s direction, the Obama administration poured $3 billion dollars into the country.
“Three billion US dollars from US taxpayers with three billion we could do another stimulus check,” added Joene DePlancke.
Follow the money
Additionally, during Joe Biden’s time as Vice President, Hunter had a Morgan Stanley account. In April 2014, $142,500 is deposited from Kazakhstan oligarch controlled Novatus Holdings.
In August 2014, $1.2 million arrived from an anonymous LLC via a small Swiss bank called BSI S.A. In 2016, BSI was part of an embezzlement and money laundering investigation spanning ten countries and at least $4.2 billion in irregular transactions.
In August 2015, $150,000 transferred into an account controlled by MFTCG Holdings LLC Biden. It’s unclear which Biden is referred to in the transaction.
“The money just gets moved so many times if you could see how much went through Latvia,” DePlancke explained, “If you get accounts in Latvia, then you can move the money anywhere.”
During a court trial, Devon Archer described a financial relationship with Russian oligarch Yelena Baturina. Archer said, Baturina invested over $200 million into various investment funds that involved Archer and Hunter.
The pair set up another joint venture, a private-public partnership called MBloom in Hawaii. Hunter’s firm invested $5 million and the other half came from HSDC. The HSDC money came from a program in Washington DC called the Treasury Department State Small Business Credit Initiative, ran by a longtime Biden aide, Don Graves.
Graves served as counselor to Vice President Biden, his domestic and economic policy director, and his traveling chief of staff. And after Joe Biden left the White House, he appointed Graves to the policy advisory board of the Biden Institute.
“You put your friends in charge of these programs and then he dishes out the money to Hunter and Archer,” DePlancke stated.
Very few cash transactions go directly to Joe Biden, but James, Hunter, and others pay for the trips, parties, and expenses for Joe.
“The money goes to Hunter, Beau, James, and Frank, whoever, but they spend it on his behalf,” DePlancke ended.
The majority of DePlancke findings are taken from Peter Schweizer’s Profiles.