Sunday, August 7, 2016

Two very different Nancy Hoffmann related articles on her downtown property which received taxpayer funds she voted for via DGI

"Vacant: Behind the empty storefronts on South Elm’s 300 block"

"The Depression-era building at the southwest corner of South Elm and Washington streets is by no means the oldest or grandest on the block; many of the two-story buildings on the 300 block of South Elm date back to the turn of the century and feature decorative cornices, arched windows and other architectural flourishes.

..It’s an unavoidable fact that Lampkin’s landlord is Nancy Hoffmann, a Greensboro City Council representative who purchased the building in 2012. Her investment resulted in an increase of valuation from $247,700 to $495,800 between 2014 and 2015...

...The Washington Street side of 300 S. Elm St. is a barren expanse of brick and boarded up windows.

Lawsuit claims Hoffmann violated neighbor's property rights

A lawsuit filed in Guilford County claims that Greensboro City Council member Nancy Hoffmann's redevelopment of a building in the 300 block of South Elm Street included trespass and unlawful encroachments on a neighboring building.

A sign posted on the Washington Street side explains the tentative, provisional state of the building: “Available for development by lease, joint venture or offer to purchase.” And in quotes: “The right place — the right time.”

Many of the windows are boarded up.

There are other buildings on the 300 block of South Elm Street with vacant storefronts — all of them, incidentally, on the same side of the street — but 300 S. Elm, owned by Sidney and Ricki Gray, has become a focal point for frustrations about blight and real-estate speculation. With 14,000 square feet, according to local tax records, it’s among the largest on the block.

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.

...the building occupies a key location — almost at the midpoint of the crucial South Elm Street corridor from Center City Park to the north to Gate City Boulevard on the south end that functions as the heart of downtown Greensboro... 318 S. Elm St. — also owned by the Grays — has been vacant since Blu Martini closed about six months ago after a multi-year run.

...Gray owns a corporation, 300 South Elm, in partnership with his wife, Ruth Gray. 300 South Elm owns one of Gray’s many downtown properties, in this instance the building at Washington and Elm streets most known as “The Glitters Building.” Hoffmann bought a building adjacent to 300 South Elm, which is now home to Scuppernong Books, located at 302-304 South Elm.

The southern wall on Gray’s building is the subject of an 1896 agreement, handwritten and filed with the Register of Deeds on Nov. 23, 1896. The Wall Agreement gave the Methodist Protestant Publishing House permission to erect a building next to what is now the Glitter’s Building. The owner at the time allowed the 302 South Elm building to attach to his wall, providing they built a stairway to the second floor of his property.

The agreement gives the 302 S. Elm owner permission to “build to said wall but not so as to materially impair or damage or endanger said wall” but not to “remove, change or impair the said wall when completed without the consent of the other party …”

The vacancies are a source of aggravation for Brian Lampkin, co-owner of Scuppernong Books, which is sandwiched between the Grays’ building at the corner of Washington and Elm and the defunct Computer & Electronic Services storefront...

...Hopping up from his chair, he led a brief tour down the block, pointing out the derelict storefronts, all of which have been vacant with the exception of the former Blu Martini since before Scuppernong Books opened in December 2013. Waiting until he’d passed one of the empty arcades Lampkin jerked his head sharply in its direction, making it clear he wanted to focus attention on the entire block rather than a specific property, he said, “One morning I came by and saw a guy s***ing in a bucket in that entryway.”

Code compliance officers with the city of Greensboro have made similar observations. In August 2015, the owner of the Newell Building was cited when a homeless person’s belongings accumulated in the entrance.

Lampkin said he doesn’t want to demonize investors who let their properties languish, but at the same time he believes they should recognize that the vitality of the larger community is at stake.

...Downtown Greensboro Inc. President Zack Matheny said he shares Lampkin’s concern about vacancies on the 300 block of South Elm Street.

...“During 2013-2014, Enfield undertook to renovate the building at 302-304 S. Elm, and in the course of that project, Enfield installed and constructed certain additions to the building, portions of which attach to, rest upon, or penetrate 300 S. Elm,” the suit states.

In addition to the destruction of metal coping on top of Gray’s wall, the suit claims Hoffmann’s contractor placed a portion of a rubberized roof on top of his property. A vestibule belonging to Hoffmann’s building rests on top of Gray’s building, the suit states, in addition to roof joists that penetrate the wall of 300 S. Elm.

The suit claims that Auburn Construction entered and damaged the elevator shaft area “with rods and bolts that were drilled and/or inserted into the 1928 addition to support an elevated deck serving 302-304 S. Elm.”

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.

“Why should commercial real estate be treated any different than residential?” he asked in an interview. “For your house, if you’re not maintaining your house in an orderly fashion, if your yard is overgrown, if there’s mold in the house — any situations that would be deemed inappropriate, the thought process is that you would be required to take care of it.”

...“Do those who have invested so much into buildings on South Elm feel used by those owners who sit back and take advantage of the hard work of others?” Lampkin wrote in his News & Record op-ed. “How about a fund that the owners of vacant storefronts would pay into to support the businesses and buildings that are making their properties more valuable?”

Which Nancy Hoffmann and Lampkin have already taken advantage of,
and which Nancy Hoffmann voted again for
within a $25 million bond proposal for downtown
which she personally financially benefited from 

...One of the important factors in a business’ ability to succeed is its landlord, Lampkin said...

Lampkin described the idea as “Swiftian” in an interview, acknowledging that it’s not fully fleshed out.

“Think about all they’re getting for doing nothing,” he said. “There are so many people trying to re-create downtown. I know it’s improving their property values.”

“What are they willing to invest?” he asked. “Clearly, Nancy is committed to our business. I hope that doesn’t sound like a political endorsement. But it’s true. It’s a two-way street. Instead of just throwing whatever will make the most money in the shortest amount of time, a partnership is the best way to go.”

Including some of everyone elses money, 
voted for by Nancy Hoffmann for herself
...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.

After she voted herself and her property tenants City taxpayer monies
funneled through now Zack Matheny's DGI,
which neither story addresses

“300 S. Elm Street has an ongoing interest in either renting, selling 300 S. Elm or adding improvements … all of which are hindered by the presence of the Encroachments."
On Nancy Hoffmann's DGI Self Dealing and Conflict of Interest

"Councilwoman Nancy Hoffmann’s office hours at Scuppernong Books last night"

"No taxpayer money was spent on my behalf for the 302/304 South Elm building." - Nancy Hoffmann

Nancy Hoffmann voted to provide taxpayer monies to DGI, and has the ability to nominate board members.

Nancy Hoffmann signed off on the grant as landlord and owner of the property.

The grant money will increase the value of Nancy Hoffmann's property.

Nancy Hoffmann voted herself money via voting for DGI funding, after voting to fund DGI with taxpayer money while in negotiations for DGI's lease the year before, for the same property.  Then she put one of her cronies on the board.

Nancy Hoffmann profited via her tenants rent, via a taxpayer subsidized grant Mrs. Hoffmann voted to fund.

Taxpayer money was spent on Nancy Hoffmann's behalf via DGI.

Should Nancy Hoffmann now be excused from City Council votes concerning DGI?

News and Record Letter to the Editor on Nancy Hoffmann

Hoffmann has a financial interest in an entity 
that received money from an award granted via her city council votes.

Hoffmann has a financial interest in DGI 
and nominated a business partner whom she has a financial interest with to be on the board.

Hoffmann should not appoint members to DGI's board, 
as she has a financial interest in DGI's actions.

Hoffmann should not be allowed to vote on any matters funding or managing DGI.

Hoffmann should resign for self dealing

From a thread at Greater Greensboro Politics on Nancy Hoffmann's Crony Capitalism and Self Dealing

Proposed legal theft of taxpayer money; "developers want $8 million in taxpayer money from City of Greensboro"

Zack Matheny and Nancy Hoffmann "Are NOT Prostitutes … They Are Pimps"; An Adaptation

How to purchase a Simkins PAC endorsement, by Nancy Hoffmann

From the 2010 Greensboro funded study for the Elm Street Center hotel, of which the Rhino can't seem to investigate

DGI $ and favoritism for Nancy Hoffmann's on Elm Street with DGI money she voted herself via her incoming tenents

Legal Theft, by Whoever Votes for Greensboro's City Council Agenda Item 34

City Council Agenda Item 11; Investment Grant for a hotel and parking garage for the Elm Street Center Hotel, LLC.

Nancy Hoffman's perfectly legal contributions from GPAC task force members, as confirmed by city attorney S. Mujeeb Shah-Khan

Nancy Hoffman's campaign contribution connections to Tuesday's Give Away to Greensboro's 1%

Nancy and Nancy

Eric Robert on Nancy Hoffmann

Per DGI's Jason Cannon; City Councilwoman Nancy Hoffmann signs authorization for tenant to recieve taxpayer money she voted for

How Greensboro works, Nancy Hoffman edition

Will Nancy Hoffman vote to fund DGI this evening, after her "final subission" to be DGI's landlord?

Ethical Responsibilities of the Governing Body of the City of Greensboro

What I said last night 

Zack Matheny shoving an incentive for his friends and campaign contributors down Greensboro taxpayer's throats

How Greensboro works; Zack Matheny edition; Pay to play and cronyism personified

Zack Matheny Flip Flops to Run for Congress

On Crony Capitalism in Greensboro; Zack Matheny Edition

The Momentum Group has been in discussions with City Council member Nancy Hoffmann to develop a couple of properties Hoffmann recently purchased on Lewis Street, which would utilize the lot she voted to fund for patron parking. Personal guarantees were required from the investor group that included Piornack, whom Nancy Hoffmann nominated for the DGI board.

Previously, Hoffmann consented to allow a tenant to apply for a retail grant for her Elm Street building for electrical work, frame and sheet rock, and plumbing. In my view, the grant, which was funded by a Hoffmann Council vote that allocated monies to DGI, benefited her personal property. At a Council meeting, Hoffmann stated “No taxpayer money was spent on my behalf for the 302/304 South Elm building.”