Politics

Board repeats same mistakes…and so does Collins

During the April 1st meeting, the board discussed the never-ending struggle to transform the golf cart path into a walking trail.  During the 40+ minute conversation they heard an update from Public Works Director Don Sisko indicating DOT was taking 30-40 days to review site plans.  The site plan was for the proposed parking lot adjacent to the existing parking lot but several hundred feet apart.  When pressed, Don admitted the estimated costs were $100,000 but could be considerably more.  They began to discuss the existing parking lot.

Listen to the video HERE (it’s only audio)

1:16:50 minutes in, Melissa Adams addresses the Mayor and says, “I have reached out to that property owner numerous times and he’s not returned my phone calls.”

A short time later Commissioner Bellflowers asks Melissa Adams…”You’ve reached out to George?  I haven’t met the man but I’ve heard a lot about him.  He hasn’t returned any phone calls?”

Commissioner Larson interjected to add George shares ownership of the property with a business partner, but there was no mention of contacting him

Adams responded that she’d spoken to George’s wife who indicated he was not interested in any type of ‘sharing partnership’ of the parking lot.

The consensus was for Adams to contact Rachel Cotter with McAdams Group to integrate their driveway into the comprehensive plan.

During the April 15th meeting (1:25) Dan Hartzog addresses the board to confirm he’s written a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to present to George.  The memorandum included a ‘consideration of $100 to make the agreement binding.’  A consideration of any nominal amount is necessary because the town planned to alter the property to make it ADA complaint.

George and his partner Jacob own a company which buys and develops land.  They purchased 33 acres of the golf course in 2014.  I’ve known George since 2010.  My husband and I speak to him 3-4 times a week.  I consider him a friend.

Despite the many calls to George, and his refusal to partner with the town, they moved forward with another attempt.

At no point in the video or official minutes from April 1st does the board ever discuss another attempt at partnering with George or tasking Dan Hartzog with drafting an MOU.  The minutes don’t reflect a closed session after the conversation regarding the golf course on April 1st, or prior to the conversation regarding the MOU on April 15th.

When exactly did the board vote on this issue and task the attorney with drafting the MOU???

On May 7th one of George’s employees contacted me.  He said one of the commissioners was coming into George’s business frequently and harassing him to sign the MOU.  I stopped by to show him photos of the three male commissioners and he didn’t recognize any of them.

A few hours later he sent me a photo…of Tonzie Collins.

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screen shot of conversation on May 10

 

They told me Tonzie implied he was a commissioner.  I showed them articles from the very expensive amotion hearing which removed Collins from office in 2013.  For the next two months the employees sent me messages and videos of Collins inside George’s business.  He would go there as many as three times a day looking for George.  They messaged me one day, after George indicated to Collins he had no intention of signing the MOU, and said Collins yelled at George and threatened him.

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The last message I received from them is dated June 25…more than a month after the board tabled the issue to wait on the ADA survey they’d commissioned.  Collins was still stopping by to ‘negotiate’ land deals for the town.

The board, by consensus, gave Bellflowers permission to contact George.  When Bellflowers found out I knew George, he asked me to introduce them.   George was traveling a lot during that time and I used that as an excuse to decline.  But I didn’t want to introduce them and I definitely didn’t want to play a role in this fiasco.

At some point in June George showed me the MOU.  I’m not an attorney.  And I don’t think I’m an attorney as some have suggested.  But I know crap when i see it.  George and his partner are shelling out way more than $100 for property taxes.  If the town is going to use their land, preventing them from developing it, at the very least the contract should be equal to what they’re paying in taxes.  The MOU was also incredibly vague about what kind of alterations they planned to make to the land and whether or not they’d pay to reverse those alterations.   I suggested he have his attorney look at it and make sure he was protected if anyone was injured on the property while the town was using it.

The truth is…they never wanted to sign the MOU.  They never wanted to partner with the town.  They run a business, not a charity.  They’re looking for development opportunities, not opportunities to salvage Larson’s ill-conceived walking trail.

Ultimately they declined to sign the MOU and eventually…Tonzie quit coming by for his little chats.

Until recently…

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I spoke to George Friday night.  I posted this Sunday night.  Monday during a ribbon cutting ceremony, Mitchell assured me he hasn’t talked to George in more than six years.  So I stopped by this morning to clarify.  After conferring with his partner, George said Tonzie made that phone call.

During Monday night’s Board meeting Mitchell confirmed part of their closed session was to talk about the golf course parking lot…again.

To Mike Mitchell…I apologize and retract my statement.  Neither George or Jacob actually know any of the commissioners.  George pumps me for information about local politics so he doesn’t have to attend the meetings himself. So it’s not a big surprise they were confused about who actually called.

Things to ponder…

  1. How many times does the board get to offer an MOU to these men before it’s labeled harassment?
  2. Why are members of the board negotiating MOU’s when they’re not qualified to do so?
  3. Which member of the board tipped off Tonzie Collins???  Remember, he called Jacob Friday afternoon.  The board didn’t meet in closed session to discus any of this until Monday night.
  4. How much official business has this board conducted business behind closed doors, in email or through texted conversations?  And why?  What are they doing that they don’t want us to know about?

 

 

 

 

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