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Manchester aldermen OK dog park records review

New Hampshire Union Leader

October 29. 2013 10:55PM

MANCHESTER — The aldermen have voted to have the Committee on Accounts review the records of the Manchester Dog Park Association.

The vote on Tuesday came as a faction of current and former dog park users have renewed concerns that the group has not responded to calls for it to register as a charity and to be more open with its finances.

The complaints have been primarily directed at Ward 10 Alderman Phil Greazzo, who founded the group and devoted much of his own time and money to building and maintaining the park.

One of the group’s main detractors, Jon Hopwood, spoke out during the public comment period ahead of Tuesday’s meeting.

“After pressing and pressing, they have refused to transfer from a voluntary association,” he said. “They are the Tea Party.”

Greazzo and other members of the group’s board have said that Hopwood is acting on behalf of Democrats to try to make the park a political issue before the election. Later in the evening, Greazzo said the critics who spoke earlier “are not part of the organization.”

He added, “Our bank statements can be provided, and the finance department has a binder with all the insurance information.”

The MDPA uses a city-owned plot of land on the West Side under a five-year agreement the aldermen approved in 2010. It requires, among other things, that the group purchase a $1 million liability insurance policy.

Deputy City Solicitor Tom Arnold said he didn’t believe the city was authorized to audit an outside group, and noted the agreement did not allow for one.

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