City of Sioux Falls Plays Shell Game behind closed doors with Federal Covid Money

Last night, the city council, mostly councilor Kiley got irritated with me because I pointed out the shell game they played with Covid money. Rick was even more frustrated with the fact that I accused the council of NOT being involved. While he did correct me that they were involved, I reminded them that it was behind closed doors with the mayor in private, non-quorum meetings instead of open to the public working session with the ENTIRE council. According to open meetings laws they can to this, but it really isn’t that ethical or transparent, you know, SOP for the TenHaken administration. (ironically they scheduled a working session today for this Friday at 2 PM, you know, so working people can attend 🙁 they had to schedule the session because of the executive session they had to skip yesterday because the city council meetings start to close to the informational meetings, 6 PM)

So how did they pull this off?

It is true that the city did follow Federal guidelines when spending the initial money, where they played a game with it is what they did after spending the money. The city basically paid for stuff that was already in the 2021 budget following those guidelines. Since the Federal aid paid for those budgeted items, they transferred the budgeted money to other projects that WERE not included in the Covid guidelines (Parks, Zoo, etc). Personally, I think it is questionably legal. The best way you could explain it is using car insurance money to fix the fender on your car to buy a big screen TV and turning around and hiring your neighbor Chuck to fix the fender at a fraction of the cost.

It’s sneaky, very sneaky and probably the reason it was arranged in the mayor’s office with the lights down low. Not sure if the Federal government would even look into this practice since initially the money was spent correctly. I have a feeling this has been going on across the state and country. I reminded the mayor and council this is what happens when you have bad leadership and decision making behind closed doors, rules are broken.

I also reminded the council at the informational public input portion that we are being extremely overtaxed and Downtown Sioux Falls needs to move towards a more walkable downtown.


Ironically, this is because the HR department and the City’s chief liar, the parks director, are finding their jobs very difficult in hiring seasonal workers at $11.50 an hour (I think they want to bump it up to $13.00 an hour). During my public input on the matter I said it is because the city is setup like a for-profit corporation when it comes to pay (execs and directors get overly paid and the minions are underpaid). I also said that no manager, director or city employee should be paid more than the mayor (he makes $130K a year and 19 managers with the city make more than that, with his COF making $177K and almost 90 making over $100K). Which got a good chuckle out of Councilor Soehl (I am assuming because he agrees). Three separate councilors railed on the issue about how we need to pay our seasonal employees better. Which was good.

The police are also receiving two drones that they will share with the Fire Department. After that item passed an officer explained to me they have thermal cameras and will be used for fire inspection, traffic accidents and missing persons. He also told me that they had to follow National Civil Rights rules and objectives when using the drones. In other words they can’t hover over your house while you are having a drunken orgy in your hot tub 😊 While the drones themselves are around $2K, the thermal camera’s put the price tag in at $9K each.

During public input at the end of the meeting I reminded the council they need to put a public task force together to combat panhandling and they need input from the public. Believe it or not at least 4 of them were nodding their heads in agreement while the mayor continued to scowl and grunt into his microphone. That’s mostly all he does at every meeting.

Cruise control government at it’s best once again.

There is also a push to make newly elected CountCilor Jensen vice chair in next months council chair election even though both Starr and Brekke have been there longer and deserve the seat.


#1 D@ily Spin on 04.14.21 at 7:33 pm

Reminds me of Mayor Nagle going to prison for misappropriating New Orleans federal hurricane funds. With expensive sophisticated aerial helicopters, why don’t police not wear body cameras? To keep up with Minneapolis, racist cops seen beat up minorities.

#2 D@ily Spin on 04.14.21 at 7:35 pm

Oligarchy at its finest.

#3 Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on 04.14.21 at 9:09 pm

The panhandlers symbolize the ‘Tale of Two Cities’. As long as they don’t know about the 85th Street Walmart, however, Taupeville will be spared and the panhandlers will be left alone. Maybe these panhandlers would enjoy a One Sioux Falls coin, too.

#4 D@ily Spin on 04.15.21 at 9:11 am

Noem gets more attention. Starving aliens must get citizenship before she cares. A majority of states legalized marijuana yet she fights our vote. Goodbye Ms. Moan. There’s no need for a Rush Limbaugh type in politics.

After Roswell, we were fascinated with thin UFO metal that couldn’t be crinkled. Now, we provide Aliens foil blankets. Aliens can’t fly now but some try when they’re dropped from Trumps Berlin Wall.

#5 anominous on 04.15.21 at 10:25 am

since the council rang the alarm bell with that buses of antifa are coming scare down on philips ave during the george floys protests, did the city pay that fake motorcycle gang that was in front of the irish pub to keep the peace that night? Cuz that was really a pile of fascist shit if you ask me.

#6 Further Fear & Loathing on 04.15.21 at 2:22 pm

Reynolds Wrap crinkles, so does that make us less of an existence in the greater universe? And is it actually the crinkle, or the need for it, that makes us less?…. Some feared buses from Fargo, too, but instead buses from Minnesota came to get some our covid. How ironic. And last heard, they are still wrestling with it.

#7 Very Stable Genius on 04.16.21 at 12:37 am

Whatever happen to the good old days, when we felt cocky enough to suggest the idea of not taking FEMA money for an ice storm?

Today, we play a shell game instead, where the more, is the merrier.

I guess like Dillard’s, Trader Joe’s, a Village Down by the River, Sioux Steel II, and a nineteen story skyscraper, that what was once, is now no more. But then, when it comes to Chick-fil-A, please tell me that: “….it ain’t so, Joe…”

#8 Shell'r on 04.16.21 at 8:19 am

Just like most of the promises of our treasure on the prairie, it comes wrapped in a shell of promises of salvation promised by scammers and our residents are too ignorant to fight it so they suck it up and make it a religion.

BTW religion is a: a particular system of faith and worship or a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance.

The ignorant see the promises of simple salvation if they do not think and the scammers of prosperity gospel see it as culling the herd to prove their version of God has blessed them with the ability to financially succeed because they use their gawd given ability to screw everyone else.

#9 My Mistake Mike on 04.16.21 at 8:32 am

Noem turned down Covid money for the unemployed, but TenHaken is more than happy to spend it on ice ribbons and lion cages. It really is a disgusting shell game.

#10 Mike Zitterich on 04.16.21 at 2:29 pm

Technically, the Federal Care Act Funds are still in the City “bank accounts”. They have NOT yet spent the money.

The ‘funds’ will be used for specific expenses pertaining to the Pandemic such as payroll/payroll liabilities, other expenses due to losses of tax dollars, and other contractual obligations.

For what I can tell, the ‘money’ being appropriated to these projects in 2021 are city tax dollars as received from the tax payers locally equal to the ‘same amount’ of the CARE ACT FUNDS.

The actual “care act funding” is then applied to the very expenses as per federal statutes.

The Care Act Funds, much like the same PP EMPLOYMENT FUNDS taking by “businesses” were simply deposited and earmarked for covid related expenses.

The City ended the 2020 with a $300,000,000 million cash in bank, up $54 million from the previous year.

Most of the COVID MONIES will most likely be applied to Payroll, the Entertainment Tax Revenues, Hotel BID and Lodging Tax revenues, some of the other Contractual Obligated Expenses of other projects from 2020.

Just like the Finance Director said a few months ago upon taking the funds, IF it was found by th Federal Govt if we used the funds in the wrong manner, it is then treated like a “FEDERAL LOAN” and we must pay it back plus interest.

So I expect the Finance Director and the City Attorney most likely have been monitoring these funds to ensure they are spent correctly.

Key issue is – ‘we’ really did NOT have a huge drop in tax revenues when you actually take a look at the financial numbers of 2020.

Did we need the $47.5 million dollar Federal Funds? Well, that is how you percieve the Tax Revenue and Other Forms of Revenue as it related to the 2020 Final Expenses.

– Mike Zitterich

#11 D@ily Spin on 04.18.21 at 4:45 pm

Federal Covid public welfare money siphoned off to developers. Someday somebody will go to jail.