Stephen Poole; "GPAC, CFGG full of deliberate deception, lining of pockets"

On September 17, 2013, the City Council of Greensboro authorized an additional $3.9 million in spending to acquire two final parcels of land necessary for the construction of a performing arts center... This allocation was in addition to $7.6 million approved in August for seven parcels of land.

Although Greensboro has several real-estate brokers on city staff, the job of negotiating and actually making land purchases was handed to a third party, CFGG, and in particular its president H. Walker Sanders. Neither CFGG nor Sanders had a visible financial incentive to fight tenaciously for the best deal possible because city council and/or city staff had relinquished fiduciary responsibility by allowing CFGG to serve as a full proxy in the purchasing process.

...because two of the parcels of land were purchased after the announcement of the acquisition first seven, the owners of a parking lot at 300/332 N. Elm Street were able to leverage their holdings and received $3.9 million for land with a tax appraisal value of $1.685 million...

But arguably the most egregious aspect of this obtuse arrangement was revealed during the aforementioned September 17th council meeting. Responding to a question from Greensboro mayoral candidate George Hartzman, City Manager Denise Turner-Roth sheepishly admitted that David Hagan—U.S. Senator Kay Hagan’s brother-in-law and member of the Board of Directors of CFGG—acted as the buyer’s agent for all nine deals.

In fact, Hagan must have also served as the seller’s agent for the lion’s share of the purchases. In what amounted to a “Friday night document dump,” the Greensboro News & Record posted an online story at 11:08 PM on September 20 that revealed Hagan earned a total of $586,000 in commissions on the $11.34 million spent for properties...

...as Greensboro mayoral candidate Hartzman stated, “We have four real-estate brokers who work for the city of Greensboro. We had no reason to pay [those fees]. And he [Hagan] is serving on the board of the Community Foundation while he did that. It’s a complete conflict of interest. It should never have happened.”
...In the September 10 edition of the Greensboro News & Record, for instance, an infographic proclaimed the city would earn $800,000 per year in premium parking revenue. This stands in contrast to a document on the city’s Web site called “Proposed Greensboro Performing Arts Center (GPAC) Frequently Asked Questions,” which says parking fees would generate only $675,000 a year—and that figure is based on selling 250 parking spaces for $15 a pop at 180 events. That’s a ludicrous assumption given the plethora of cheap and even free parking near the site’s location, and even AMS’ “Operating Pro Forma” document projected only 149 events by the third year of operation. The city could easily find itself facing an annual revenue shortfall of a half-a-million dollars because of these overestimates of premium parking utilization—and that adds up to quite a bit over 25 years.
...Any ancillary jobs that result from the arrival of the center will largely be low-paying service-sector positions, likely in hotels and restaurants built by developers with direct connections to CFGG or other influential “non-profit” groups.

...if you don’t think being part of a community-boosting non-profit can be financially rewarding, perhaps you should talk to David Hagan.

In short, this project increasingly looks as if it’s being built on a house of cards—and that the common people have been dealt a pretty crummy hand in the process.

Stephen Poole, Special to the Free Press

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1 comment:

sal leone said...

I will agree with GH on this issue because half truths are whole lies. We went from the YMCA to buying land for 7.6 million and now we changed that to 11 million and then we named the center without the public knowing and having anything to say about it. The big question is who will run it, the foundation or City, who will get contracts to build, my guess is the best friends qualified.
If I am elected I plan on contacting the SBI to look into the entire process for fraud because with 20 years of dealing with criminals, I know there are criminal that have ties and use the pen instead of a gun.