Saturday, March 26, 2016

Who Got The South Elm Street Redevelopment Money: Part 9

The story, Who Got The South Elm Street Redevelopment Money, has more questions than answers. And so far no one from the City of Greensboro, after months of stalling, has been willing to explain what happened to almost half of the $8 Million Dollar South Elm Street Redevelopment Project budget. 

And the questions keep coming.

For example: The July 16, 2003 City of Greensboro BEDI Grant Proposal indicates that an Atlanta company called Cooper Carry Inc. has a financial interest in the South Elm Redevelopment Project but nowhere in the South Elm Redevelopment Transaction Report   is any mention of any payments to or from Cooper Carry Inc. What happened?

Now a likely and acceptable explanation is that Cooper Carry Inc. got a 1%, $75,000.oo interest in the project in exchange for architectural design services for the South Elm Street Redevelopment Project as Cooper Carry Inc is an architectural design company but if that is the case then why does the Transaction Report show over a dozen payments to other architectural design companies for the same project?

Did Cooper Carry design the project? Click here to view the Cooper Carry Design on their website.

So did the City of Greensboro give Cooper Carry Inc a 1% interest in the South Elm Street Redevelopment Project for plans that included a baseball stadium that will never be built thanks to Jim Melvin who didn't want to invest in the African-American part of Downtown Greensboro and decided instead to place the ballpark in the whiter, wealthier part of Downtown where economic development wasn't needed as badly?

And did monies designated for the South Elm Street Redevelopment Project get used to fund projects in more affluent areas of Greensboro? Is that the real reason City Attorney Tom Carruthers says I must pay $4,000 to see the receipts? Is that the real reason Eric Robert didn't get reimbursed as he was promised? Is that the real reason no one from the City of Greensboro will discuss the issue despite the fact that Mr Robert has dropped his law suit and the judge has orderd the court records released?

Everything about this project is so irregular it simply cannot be believed. Here we have a project which is 13 years old, was due to be finished in 5 years, is less that 10% complete, has no buyers for the other 90%, was scheduled to be paid off 3 years ago and no one has any idea who is currently in charge because no one from the City of Greensboro will talk about the project.

But I did get the following e-mail on March 24, 2016 referring to the e-mail City Attorney Thomas Carruthers sent me on Wednesday, March 9, 2014.

"Hello Mr. Jones,
Regarding your public records requests (PIRT # 5489), you were sent the email below on March 9, 2016, inquiring how you wished to proceed with your request.
To date, we have not received a response from you providing the requested information.  This PIRT has been closed per lack of response.  Pursuant to our PIRT policy, “The requestor will be deemed unresponsive and his/her PIRT request will be closed if two weeks have passed (10 business days) and he/she has not responded to the PIRT Administrator’s follow-up inquiry.”
Katherine Carter, Public Records Administrator
Communications and Marketing Department - 336-373-3282
City of Greensboro
PO Box 3136, Greensboro, NC 27402-3136 "

Funny, they've always got time to keep up with the formalities but never have time to do the work. The last time I got that letter was when Ms Carter ignored my e-mail concerning PIRT 5442 which was opened in January, reopened, has never been filled and never responded to. That one was about Heritage House, by the way. If they don't want me to think they're hiding something then they should be sending me the public information I ask for or at least explaining why it is not being done.

In her Time Warner News article, Progress Made on Union Square Campus, Elyse Mickalonis writes:

"Planners hope the new campus will not only spur work development, but also commercial and residential development in the area as well.
“We think it’s going to be a great location to stimulate additional development and investment in that part of our downtown," said Kitchen. "It’s also a key front door to our community because lots of people come off the interstate, and that’s one of their first impressions of what they see.”

She was referring to Ed Kitchen whose boss is Jim "Bobblehead" Melvin. It's interesting that Mr Kitchen seems to think the Union Square Campus will spur development as the original plan for the South Elm Street Redevelopment Project called for a downtown baseball park which Jim Melvin scuttled, setting SESRD back over a decade because he didn't want to build in the African-American part of town. And now the Bobblehead has placed his Number 2 in charge of the project.

Ms Mickalonis closes her article with:

"Construction is on track to be done by July, in time for a ribbon cutting in August before students start classes this fall."

From the   July 16, 2003 City of Greensboro BEDI Grant Proposal:

It was supposed to be completed in 1-5 years. It took 12 years to start construction of the first building and not a single piece of land has been sold because Greensboro's elites have been fighting amongst themselves about how to divide the spoils.

And this one, this one cracks me up. It's been 13 years, how many children who were growing up there 13 tears ago were or will be enabled to see anything positive from this project when most of them are already grown and gone.

And the Greensboro City Council is still hiding where the money went, still covering up for the thieves who steal from the poor to build monuments to themselves.