Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Performing Arts Center Donations Fall Short By $25 Million


There's no way they can twist the story to deny the truth. When you're forced to borrow $25 Million Dollars that means you're $25 Million Dollars short of your goal. Plus interest. From the Business Journal: because the News & Record now limits me to 20 articles a month. Morons.

"The $65 million project will be backed by $30 million in city commitments and $35 million from the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro. The Community Foundation funding is split between a $25 million loan from the Bank of North Carolina and $10 million in donations."

How will the City pay its part?

"For the city’s part, it has already financed $11.5 million to acquire downtown sites along North Elm and Lindsay streets where the Performing Arts Center will be located. It will provide an additional $18.5 million to fund construction via a two-year limited obligation bond anticipation note with PNC Bank."

Bond anticipation note? Translation: They plan to float a bond in 2 years after telling us they wouldn't float a bond and wouldn't make taxpayers foot the bill. Mayor Vaughan lied again.

And this is very important:

"The city will own and operate the center. Meanwhile, the group overseeing operations and governance of the Performing Arts Center will be called the Greensboro Performing Arts Foundation Inc. That group filed for incorporation this June and is awaiting its 501(c)3 status, as well as the finalization of its bylaws and appointment of a 13-member board."

And when the Greensboro Performing Arts Foundation Inc. can't come up with all the money necessary to pay off the $25 Million Dollar loan? Back to the City Council they go.

So far, everything about this project has turned out exactly the way myself and a few others predicted over 2 years ago.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Heritage House Oddity

According to the Guilford County Register of Deeds, The Pavilion at Heritage House Condos is owned by none other than Winston-Salem's Southern Community Bank and Trust, the same bank that held the property in repossession when a previous developer defaulted on the loan before it became Heritage House. The county records show the pavilion has no property value and the county collects no taxes.

But did the homeowners and residents of Heritage House pay to use the Pavilion? And if they did pay to use the Pavilion in any way, shape or form would that not give value to the Pavilion? And if the Pavilion had value would it not be a taxable property?

Who paid to maintain the Pavilion? Just so you know, what they're calling a Pavilion just happens to measure 5.87 acres. You see, it just happens to be the entire parking lot. How 5.87 acres of paved parking can have zero value is simply beyond me but that's what the documents say.

Will Greensboro and Guilford County officials investigate and answer these questions? Or will they continue to turn a blind eye.

There's a lot more oddities at Heritage House. In the beginning I thought this was just corruption on the part of Mayor Vaughan and Councilman Barber. Now I'm beginning to see it quite differently. The list of owners at Heritage House includes some pretty big names among Greensboro's elites and yet the city and media has never made mention of their names. Now it appears Vaughan and Barber are covering for the people who put them in power. The question becomes why?

You can expect myself and others to start naming names soon. The autopost will see to it that it gets done.

By the way, if you'd like to start doing some detective work of your own I've added an online tool box to the left sidebar of this site containing several of the tools we use. I'll add more as I think of them.

Hartzman Goes State Wide

Local politricksters aren't likely to want to read it but Greensboro's own political blogger George Hartzman  is now making news state wide as his ethics complaint against Senator Phil Berger Sr picks up steam.  

What's really groovy about this is that beginning in 2015, many of the same ethics rules that apply at the state level will also apply at the local level giving Team Hartzman and Jones a new tool in the battle against corruption at the local level. You see, George writes it up, I notarize it and the complaint is filed easy-pezy.

That's right, the Greensboro City Council might be able to ignore George Hartzman and myself but if they ignore the State Ethics Board it's fines and jail time.

Bet they didn't see that coming.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Were You Or Someone You Know Forced Out Of Heritage House?

If you were the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina wants you to get in touch with them ASAP. They're not going to take this land grab sitting down and neither should you but they have to talk to you before they can represent you.

Today I got the following e-mail from Emily-Mary Brown, NC Certified Paralegal, ACLU NC:

"Dear Mr. Jones,
Thank you for your e-mail dated July 28, 2014.  Chris Brook, our legal director, reviewed your initial submission and asked me to respond on his behalf.

In order for us to further evaluate this matter, we need to hear from an individual(s) who has been directly impacted by the City’s actions.  If you know of someone affected by the City’s actions, we encourage you to ask them to get in touch with us.

Regards,
Emily-Mary Brown
NC Certified Paralegal"

You can e-mail me at RecycleBill@gmail.com and I will forward your messages to Ms Brown or you can contact them via their website and their general intake form.


Update: Tuesday July 29, 2014. This morning I forwarded this post to gwen@gsodaycenter.org of the Interactive Resource Center who is setting up emergency shelter for the refugees of Heritage House. If they refuse to pass the information along I will consider them co-conspirtors aiding and abetting after the fact.

Sorry folks, we know you only want to help people but what happened at Heritage House is no more that a land grab.

Vestal Property Management And Other Names Not Mentioned With Heritage House

Does the name Charles Coffey ring a bell?  He's the President of the Heritage House Homeowners Association. Mr Coffey is the chairman of the board at Central Gateway Business Alliance, President of Coffey of GSO,LLC and works in management at Industries of the Blind in Greensboro. He's a member of the Guilford Merchants Association and Triad After Work Social Business Networking.

How about Sonny Vestal? Mr Vestal owns Vestal Property Management where the only testimonials for his company are for Heritage House where people like Nina Coffey, Charles Coffey's wife wrote:

"To Whom It May Concern: Re: Vestal Management Property Management, Inc. Vestal Management Property Management, Inc. has managed the Heritage House Homeowners Association for quite some time. Our Association has 177 units with 53 different homeowners. My husband, Charles Coffey, is the President of the Association and we both feel that Sonny Vestal, along with his staff, has done an excellent job collecting and managing our finances. I would highly recommend Vestal as a property manager. Nina Coffey, Secretary Heritage House Homeowners Association "

Vestal's leasing division, VIP reality is still listing Heritage House rentals despite the fact that the City of Greensboro has ordered everyone out by the middle of the week.

Apparently Charles Coffey and/or Sonny Vestal failed to pay the water bill at Heritage House as that was the City of Greensboro's official reason for forcing 400 people from their homes.

Kinda puts a whole different spin on the story when you start pinning names to the events. I wonder why city officials and the News & Record never bothered to do that?


If memory serves me correctly the Coffeys and Vestals were among those who donated to the downtown Greensboro performing arts center. Was it the Heritage House residents' water bills that was donated?

Now Ben Holder it's time you started talking before these guys have you bumped off.

Downtown Greensboro Not Safe For Pedestrians

According to the News & Record, Greensboro Transportation Engineers are saying that downtown Greensboro is one of the most dangerous places to walk or ride a bicycle:

"A recent study of car-pedestrian crashes in the Greensboro area ranked the center city, university area and bus stops in general among the most likely spots for collisions that inflict the most serious injuries."

Overall Greensboro's Walk Score is a miserable 28 giving us yet another reason why no one would want to come here.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Ethics Complaint Filed Against Phil Berger Sr

George Hartzman of Greensboro, North Carolina has filed an ethics complaint against President Pro Tempore of the North Carolina Senate, Phil Berger Sr on behalf of the citizens of North Carolina relative to Senate Bill as passed by the Senate in July 2014. The controversial bill is currently awaiting signing by Governor Pat McCrory


The bill is said to personally benefit Senator Berger's son, Phil Berger Jr and Paul Norcross, Chief Political Adviser to Phil Berger Jr in the formation of charter schools.

You may view the Complaint by clicking here.

Full disclosure: I am the Notary who notarized the document for Mr Hartzman. My seal expires Febuary 23, 2016.

The document was mailed to the address below on 2/27/2014 Correction: 7/27/2014 and faxed to (919)715-1644 at 1:10pm, 7/27/2014 as well as e-mailed to the State Ethics Commission at the following e-mail addresses: ethics.commission@doa.nc.gov, education.ethics@doa.nc.gov, sei@doa.nc.gov

State Ethics Commission
1324 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC  27699-1324

Saturday, July 26, 2014

How To Steal Property From Poor Homeowners


A work of fiction... sorta'.

Let's say you've got your eye on a piece of property that isn't in the best part of town but has the potential to become a great commercial property. Only problem is about 400 mostly sick, elderly and poor people live in 170 separately owned condominiums there and you're not willing to pay the kind of money it would take to convince them to sell.

Now let's just say that you're an attorney, retired state senator and partner in a business that manages homeowners associations and the homeowners association for that very condominium project just happens to be among your portfolio.

Add to that your wife is mayor and a well known city councilman and attorney along with an often controversial retired county commissioner and commercial real estate salesman just happen to be investors. Oh, and the disbarred attorney husband of a city councilwoman is also an investor. Nothing can go wrong because the daughter of the city councilwoman is the assistant district attorney so even if you get caught it never goes to court.

The first step might be to pocket the money paid by the homeowners and skip paying the water bill until the city water services department department starts making waves about the long overdue bill.

The second step might be to divert the city's code enforcement department's attentions elsewhere so that problems there go unnoticed for far too long.

The third step might be to leak the story to an ambitious local blogger/activist with a history of writing about social issues and blight, even perhaps pushing the issue into the local newspapers to get folks all stirred up. You know, make yourselves available to the blogger for interviews so the local newspaper will want to run his story even though newspapers don't like to run stories written by local bloggers.

The forth step could be to release a press release overstating the number of police and 911 calls to that address so that it appears to be the most dangerous place in town.

The fifth step would possibly be to force everyone, even those who own their homes, to leave declaring the place a public nuisance and taking the property for the water bill without taking anyone to court or serving any sort of due process.

Only problem is: the blogger you slipped the story to found out about your little plan and started making threats. What to do, oh what to do?

You could offer him a piece of the deal but unlike the rest of you who are all living in mansions and taking European vacations the blogger is living in one of the city's poorest neighborhoods, a single parent begging for rides to city council meetings because his car is out of gas. He isn't going to wait until you sell and cash in on your new project as that might take years.

So what do you do? You have city staff create a request for proposals and give him a make work contract that can be renewed every 6 months at the taxpayers' expense.

Is that pretty close to the way it all happened?

Ben, Mike? Nancy? Don? Yvonne? Skip? Paul? Jim? Anyone?

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Great Heritage House Scam

Previously I wrote: 

"I'm going to put this out there: The City of Greensboro is forcing everyone to move out of Heritage House because the Homeowners' Association has failed to pay the water bill even though the property owners and renters paid the homeowners' association. Many of these people have actual deeds to their apartments. Why didn't the City just take over the responsibilities of the homeowners' association instead? Can you say land grab? Myself and others believe that's exactly what Mike Barber has going on. Just watch to see what well connected developer gets his or her hands on the property."


The media has been reporting and making a big deal of the 2,860 Police-911 calls to Heritage House but when you look at the Guilford County 911 records as provided to my by Sal Leon who got them through a public records request it tells a very different story.


325 of those calls were for medical emergencies not counting the 12 stabbing and shooting wounds reported.

427 calls are listed as Law Assistance Needed. What that means exactly I'm not sure but I doubt it constitutes an emergency.

11 were traffic stops meaning an officer used that address as the location to fill in the blank when writing a citation for speeding or some other traffic violation that didn't begin there but ended close by. You want to know how that works?  I'll explain via first hand experience:

In the early morning of Sunday, November 4, 2012 while already on the phone with 911 operators complaining about a noise disturbance two doors east of my house I heard shots ring out. Reginald Demarcus Wrenn had been murdered on the street in front of my neighbor's house. Officers quickly arrived and reported their location as Textile and Willard. I live on the corner of Textile and Willard. Fox8 published photos of my family's property  as being the site of the murder based on police reports. I verified the process then, I know how it works now. When officers respond to incidents on the street they use approximate locations on their reports. When they respond to a call at an actual address they use that actual address.

19 of those calls to Heritage House were for a community program. I'm guessing those are the same meetings held as in many Greensboro communities like Neighborhood Watch and such.

54 of those calls are listed as 911 Unknown. Does that mean they don't know who called or why they called? Both? Or something else altogether? Do officers respond to 911 Unknown calls? If yes then there must be a police report, right? If no then why not?

There were 390 alarm responses at Heritage House. I have no information as to how many of those might have been false alarms but newly passed city ordinances are going to make false alarms expensive enough to make people become more careful.

3 were Burglar alarms. I don't know why the differentiation.

51 calls were follow-ups, meaning officers went back out without being called via 911.

2 were for traffic assistance needed.  See my explanation of Traffic stops above.

23 calls were for Check Welfare/Assist Family. Lots of elderly and sick people live in Heritage House.

There was only 1 call because someone was stuck on a elevator.

And Code Enforcement calls, the thing Ben Holder, Mike Barber and others have been making so much noise over-- 6 calls. And many more of those calls aren't what some folks want you to think they were.

That's 864 calls that were not criminally related and if you scan through the list you'll notice I didn't even take the time to count calls that involved the Greensboro Fire Department or other agencies other than police and Emergency Medical Services. Add those in and you'll see the misrepresentation on the part of Councilman Barber is even greater than what I've listed. Seriously, the man is a pathological liar.




Oh, don't get me wrong, you can click on the link and see for yourself that Heritage House is not the kind of place you want to live. There's more than enough crime there. But the 2,860 calls as has been tossed around by Mike Barber and media outlets is in-fact a fabrication designed with motive other than to serve the citizens of Greensboro.

Also, I want you to remember that many of the residents currently being forced to leave Heritage House have deeds to their apartments. They bought and paid for those properties and are now being forced out without their day in court. If the city of Greensboro can do that to a community housed in one building what's to stop the city from doing the same to entire communities of free standing homes? The answer-- nothing if the residents are too poor to fight back. This wasn't even voted on by City Council. Mike Barber and Mayor Nancy Vaughan have just crossed the line into totalitarian rule. They think they're king and queen of Greensboro.

While the opinion is mine, all of you should thank Sal Leon for making this info available to the public when Councilman Mike Barber wanted to use it to twist the story to suit his own personal narrative.



As always, because the local media has proven unsuccessful at giving you the whole story, please use whatever tools you have at your disposal to share this with as many people as possible. Greensboro will become a better city because of your efforts.

Lorillard Water Quality Tests

Lorillard Tobacco has been in the news for months now but there is another issue I wish the City of Greensboro would address.

There exists a full time unnamed stream that originates from underground on Lorillard property and flows north across Bessemer Ave, Wendover Avenue, Textile Drive, Phillips Avenue and eventually into Reedy Fork Creek and the Haw River. It passes through 2 city owned parks and several housing developments where children play. Woodmere Park is one of those neighborhoods. Coming out of the ground it should be the purest water in all of Greensboro but is it pure when it leaves Lorillard Tobacco Company?

I played in that creek all the years I was growing up. I've wondered since I was a child why there are no fish in that creek. Many smaller creeks and streams are teaming with fish but none live there-- why? Could it be the water?

A few months ago I submitted a public information request to the City of Greensboro asking for results as to any water quality tests that might have been done on the creek. I know the State is in charge of doing such tests but being that the city owns most of the land including public parks and would be at least somewhat liable if children playing in the creek were to get sick I thought the city would at least have some records.

The City of Greensboro had no such records available. Isn't it about time we learned?
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