Friday, August 5, 2016

Nancy Hoffmann Attempts To Steal Downtown Building

Jeff Sykes' article, Lawsuit claims Hoffmann violated neighbor's property rights finally explains the recent articles in Triad City Beat and the News & Fishwrap trashing Sidney Gray for not having restored the Glitters Building downtown:

"Property owner Sidney Gray filed the suit in March against Hoffmann’s limited liability company, Enfield LLC and her hired contractor, Auburn Construction. The suit claims that the construction firm used a wall on Gray’s building as a support structure without permission and built a vestibule partially atop the wall. These encroachments are among a list of nine specific violations of Gray’s property rights that are at issue in the lawsuit.

Interestingly, the lawsuit refers to a claim by Hoffmann’s company that it has “adverse possession rights” to Gray’s property, despite North Carolina law requiring 20 years of occupancy for an “adverse possession” claim to be valid."

Hoffmann has tried to steal Gray's building and now she's setting him up using TCB and the N&R to get public opinion on her side for when the City does it for her. Thanks Yes Weekly, for setting the story straight. Jeff's story continues:

"Gray claims he was not consulted about these encroachments of his property rights and that when he noticed the work in September 2013 that he contacted Hoffmann.

A Sept. 29, 2013 email from Gray to Hoffmann is an exhibit included in the lawsuit. 

“This new construction is in violation of our party wall agreement that was subject to and a part of the purchase of your property at 302 South Elm Street,” Gray wrote. “Please remove this structure and repair any damage to the South Wall of my building located at 300 South Elm Street.”

The suit claims that Hoffmann and her contractor, Alex Ritchy of Auburn Construction, ignored Gray’s request. This led to a meeting on Dec. 17, 2013 in which, according to the lawsuit, City of Greensboro officials met with Ritchy.

“There was general agreement that the encroachments were unlawful,” the lawsuit states. “There was general concern about whether the encroachments compromised the Wall such that there were questions about the structural integrity and firewall rating of the wall.”

Gray claims that trespasses and encroachments continued after this point and that Hoffmann refused to remove the encroachments or repair the claimed damage."

Just because Nancy Hoffmann is on City Council does not make her above the law. Myself and many others in local media have known about this lawsuit for months and yet Jordan Green of Triad City Beat ignores it in his article and fails to address questions about it after personally promoting his story in the Facebook Group Greater Greensboro Politics:

Journalism bought and paid for, a once award winning journalist now reduced to political crony. Sad, so very sad.  And no, I can't prove that Jordan knew of the lawsuit but the long established pattern of one sided accounts from TCB, always reporting in favor of city council members is suspect at best.

So when Councilwoman Hoffman couldn't take Sidney Gray's building by “adverse possession”
she deced instead to get TCB and the News & Fishwrap to do articles like  Brian Lampkin: Empty storefronts hamper downtown growth who wrote:

And in neither article was the lawsuit or the fact that Greensboro tax dollars were used to repair the building in which Mr Lampkin's Scuppernong Books is located.

And none of the articles take into account the
2010 Moser, Mayer, Phoenix Associates Greensboro Downtown Economic Development Strategy that Action Greensboro and the Greensboro Partnership removed from their website after I linked to it back in 2013 but managed to get the City of Greensboro to make public again recently:
“Retail rents cannot fully support the cost of rehabilitating blighted buildings… Absent financial intervention, storefronts will remain vacant or will attract tenants of marginal quality and with a high probability of failure.”
Oh yes, Nancy Hoffmann knows of this study. So does Zack Methaney who is using quotes from the study on DGI's website:

You see, Brian Lampkin, 5 or 6 new restaurants every 2 years or so has been the average in downtown Greensboro for the last 40 years-- they come, they go-- but like so many who come here from somewhere else with two coins in your pocket to rub together, you got suckered into downtown-- Greensboro's riskiest place to do business-- by Greensboro's status quo and when the flash of free publicity and newness wears off, and your business becomes slower you start getting desperate and get in bed with those who burned you thinking that's the only way out.

After all, as the Downtown plan points out:
"Local market data suggests that retailers in downtown Greensboro are achieving a lower sales volume, and spending closer to 25% of sales on rent."

And now that you've been caught they'll simply forget your name and fish for another sucker just as they've always done.

Want downtown to become successful? Subsidize only owner-occupied buildings. In the short term it will drive down real estate prices and rents so more businesses can afford to move in. In the long term it will make being a commercial landlord less profitable causing them to be more apt to sell to the kinds of people who would buy a building, start a business and spend a lifetime there.

No, I'll not get Mr Lampkin's vote for Mayor of Greensboro next year but I wasn't going to get it anyway.

Update: From the Triad City Beat article linked above showing Councilman Justin Outling's participation in this scheme:

"Outling said under the new system the city would have the authority to make repairs and then place liens on derelict properties.

“We protect our investment because we’ll be the priority lienholder,” Outling said. “It’s a win-win-win because we also repair the property and improve the building stock.”
It's a win-win for Council members in the property business or those willing to take bribes from connected developers.