Saturday, September 4, 2010

Requium for SouthPass?


It has been six long years since the City ignored the City Plan 2025 and was snookered into an another deal with developers on which the the citizens look like suckers, some of the same developers who were gifted with a $3.7 million TIF deal for a luxury hotel that morphed into a barren parking lot and who would be major campaign contributors to Dan Coody's reelection campaign. With only a City Council resolution authorizing him to negotiate, on September 7, 2004, former Mayor Dan Coody immediately signed a contract with SouthPass Development that had already been prepared and signed by John Nock. When the Council balked in November 2008, City Attorney Kit Williams told them that they had no choice but to approve the development and everything that Coody had promised. Subsequently, Coody waived some of the requirements for the developers, and the City went ahead to build infrastructure that was supposed to be a cost-share project with the developers.

All of the Planned Zoning District and permits for SouthPass were to expire on November 6, 2009, if the Phase One construction was not met. It wasn't. Neither did the developers deliver the required deeds for a 200-acre regional park and 10-acres with water tanks nor the $1 million for park development as required by the contract. All the City has gotten out of this deal has been a toxic landfill, hundreds of thousands of expense for new infrastructure, untold hours of staff time, and a well deserved repution for being a fool.

Thanks to documents released in response to a recent FOIA request, we now know even more. Two days before the permits expired, the developers requested a one-year extension until November 6, 2010. In response to the letter, the City asked for specific reasons for extending the PZD phasing deadlines and subsequent information regarding the timing of the release of the deeds required of the PZD conditions of approval. Since that time, the City has, on numerous occasions, deferred to the developers, property owners, bank representatives and/or attorneys representing the bank to allow additional time in order to negotiate the release of the deeds. It has become increasingly apparent that the lines of communication between the City and the development/ownership group have not been productive, as the City established four deadline commitments that have been extended or missed since these discussions began in November, 10 months ago.

On August 19, 2010, City Planning Director Jeremy Pate told the developers “that unless the deeds are delivered to the City of Fayetteville unencumbered, free and clear of any lien or mortgage and acceptable to the City of Fayetteville before Friday, August 27, at 12:00 pm local Fayetteville time, the request to extend the PZD approval for one year will be denied, to be effective on the same date and time.” That date has come and gone.

City Attorney Kit Williams got involved with a series of memos between John Nock and himself. It appears that the City is sitting on two sets of deeds -- one from the SouthPass developers and one from Chambers Bank pending a deed from SouthPass in lieu of foreclosure. Williams extended the deadline yet again until September 9, because he says Nock says he is trying to get other financing to save his project and cough up the additional $1 million required by the contract. If that doesn't happen, Williams says he will file the deeds from Chambers Bank, but the agreement between Williams and J. R. Meeks of Chambers Bank specifically exempting the bank from "assuming any obligations of SouthPass under any previous agreements and between the City and SouthPass." That is, the City should not count on the promised cost-share expenses and the $1 million it was supposed to get under the contract with SouthPass.

Maybe this will all be over next week, or maybe Williams will cut a new deal granting yet another extension to keep this albatross hanging around our necks for another six years. I think, as Kenny Rogers told me, you need to know when to fold'em and when to walk away. Let's cut our losses and be done with this whole mess.

22 comments:

  1. So John Nock thinks someone is going to loan SouthPass money? The stockholders and officers of the Limited Liability Corporation are not open for public inspection, but the development team that it presented and persuaded the city to get involved with this fiasco were represented to be John Nock, Richard Alexander, Rob Merry-Ship, Keith Roberts, Tim Cooper, Mitchell Massey, Morgan Hooker, Brandon Barber, Hank Broyles, and Hal Forsythe. Good luck.

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  2. Monroe Jesuser, Jr.September 4, 2010 at 4:17 PM

    Yes, please, absolutely. Sorry Connie Edmonston won't get her dream of increasing her ever-expanding empire with an absolutely horribly designed regional sports park that had too few fields and zip for parking. Nothing that any self-respecting tournament organizer would ever consider.

    It's time to cut another Coody albatross loose and continue to try to extricate the city from his shady deals and questionable "agreements".

    Will we ever stop seeing this stuff crawling out from underneath rocks?

    Hope springs eternal....

    Just my opinion. To which their own everyone has the right.

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  3. Why does Kit Williams keep messing with these deadbeats????? There is no advantage to the city to do southpuss.
    When you check the Sec of State website Southpuss is not in good standing, so WHY Kit????
    Coody keeps cropping up. Why do they get to keep the parking lot? We paid for it.
    Assholes.

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  4. You should read Skip Descant's article in the Sunday Northwest Arkansas Times if you want the real story instead of the poison on this blog.

    “It should have happened two years ago," Coody said Friday. Coody remains optimistic that the entire project his administration helped guide will become a reality. “If we get the 200 acres that we want, and the $1 million, and the 10-acre water tank site, that’s pretty much the icing and the cake,” Coody said. “We’ll be made whole if we get those three things.”

    If Lioneld gets less than that, then the failure is on his shoulders.

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  5. STC, I'm sure City of Fayetteville will get the 200 acres. Who in their right mind wants the deed to a once toxic dump? The bank is too smart to want that dump in their portfolio. The one million? Forget it. Williams, an ultimate incompetent, should have placed a lien on the project from the VERY beginning to assure the city would get it's one million. But when lips get stuck up asses then what is prudent and in the peoples best interests gets flushed.

    Why is Williams being allowed to run UNopposed this term? He's the biggest loser to grace your city hall in my lifetime. Just about any 3rd year law student would have better sense than to be had by these 3 time losers.

    Coody? Few folks are searching for the pay-off funds.

    Were there any justice remaining in Fayetteville, home of the law school, a grand jury should be all over this one like a bee on clover.

    .

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  6. L, Dan Coody already took the deed to the toxic dump and released the landowners from all liability without getting anything in return.

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  7. It was all a pipe dream from the beginning. Where has the money from all the loans gone? Is anyone safe from this? How about the guy who runs cattle on it? Is even his 10-year lease for pasturing on the land really safe?
    The Coody era of city government is a blur of hypnosis and fantasy that brought many gullible people to their knees.
    Thanks to the few who spoke out against many of the boondogles of that period. Having been right isn't any real consolation to them. They will always grieve because they weren't listened to by the people in power.
    So few really seem to care about our city.
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061747/

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  8. Jonah's Little HelperSeptember 7, 2010 at 1:21 AM

    In case anyone is interested, below are links to some of the documents referenced in Jonah's post.

    08-19-10 Southpass PZD Final Expiration Letter.pdf

    Southpass_docs_08-27-2010.PDF

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  9. Methinks STC has her/his head in a dark place: that would be Coodyville, you know, right next to Bubbletown?
    Nevertheless, we have our own local--usually un-named when the rubber hits the road--version of sovereign wealth.
    I am afraid that some big people (connected with UA) are bound & determined to fund this thing into some version of their reality. And we'll be there, driving our kids to soccer practice, going to concerts, and eating at the HogRock Cafe, etc. [Not so sure about Connie's picture about folks buying er, workforce housing out there].
    And so it goes.

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  10. What's the number on the pension Coody will get EVERY YEAR FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE if he gets elected mayor or to city council again?

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  11. So some VIP Friends of the Sports Department will cough up green to make soccer fields and theme park and "housing" possible after all? In case anyone thinks this would be an environmental mistake, creating more driving miles, more roadway, destroying woods and wetlands, the city is, simultaneously, going to declare itself god's gift to climate stabilization, wild creatures and plants with a green certificate from the National Wildlife Federation. The first activity will alter and destroy air and water quality, habitat and potential. The NWF badge, on the other hand, requires doing absolutely nothing but crowing about how green we are. There's a point to blaming Coody but hasn't he been gone a while? Who's in charge of what's happening now?

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  12. Who's in charge-its a good question.

    We know that many of the major unelected forces behind the scenes are going though some serious rearrangements due to economic problems (developers, bankers, real estate players). Some have proven their incompetence and are out of the picture (we hope). The performance of others has cast serious doubts about their competence and yet they continue to receive special treatment that includes more taxpayer-funded incentives and pure give-aways.

    Southpass begins to take on the qualities of a bailout.

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  13. .


    "Coodyville, you know, right next to Bubbletown?"

    Joking aside and close to being predictive, didn't Coody have grandiose plans for a HUGE bubble over downtown Fayetteville complete with a mini transportation scheme for inside the bubble?

    Shirley, one of you HawgFans can remember and hopefully link it.
    .

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  14. Anyone know if Mr. Nock has successfully been kicked to the curb @ the ol' liberry building?

    In other news: Swear I didn't see this in the paper paper. But from nwaonline.com here 'tis:
    [the beast goes on]

    FAYETTEVILLE — Developers John Nock and Richard Alexander must pay CDI Contractors $409,344.

    Washington County Circuit Court Judge Mary Ann Gunn made the final judgment in favor of the Little Rock-based contractor Tuesday. Also named in the lawsuit are East Square Development and East Square Development Co.

    The suit went through arbitration in 2009 and the arbitrator awarded CDI $379,345. The court added $30,000 to the final judgment for prejudgment interest, with an annual 6 percent interest rate until the total is paid.

    CDI was under contract to build the Renaissance Tower hotel at College Avenue and Mountain Street in Fayetteville. The hotel was never built and the company filed the lawsuit in May 2009 for breach of contract.

    Tuesday’s filing states “nothing concerning the pending litigation will negate the finality of the award.”

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  15. Thanks Little Helper...from the PDF :

    The City has agreed to hold these signed deeds and not file them prior to
    September9 , 2010. If SouthPassL LC obtainss ufficient funding to pay down
    Chambers'B ank debt on the SouthPasps roperty,w e will file the two SouthPass
    Deeds and Chambers Bank partial Mortgage Release (conveying those parcels) on
    or by September9 ,2010. If SouthPasLs LC cannotc ome up with the financing,
    Chambers Bank will file the Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure on the morning of
    September 10, and I will immediately thereafter file the Warranty Deed from
    Chambers Bank.


    Today is Sept 9. Any news from City Hall or Chambers?

    .

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  16. Today is September 10. Did Nock deliver the deed or continue his pattern of dicking the city? Did the bank hand over a deed in lieu of foreclosue? Where is the MSM napping?

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  17. STC, Did you ever consider that you are the only one who wants this shit?
    Coody's done, put a fork in him.
    Nocketal are done, ditto.
    Massey's done, ditto.
    all these assholes are done.
    Good riddance.

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  18. Another city deadline ignored and past. When is Kit Williams going to sue these bastards who have once again screwed over our town?

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  19. Kit's record shows that he will only sue blind ladies with leaking sewer pipes.
    The deadline has been, er, extended, but money like Manna will miraculously appear and milk and honey will yet appear on the pastures of Southpit, along with the usual "seepage of unknown quantities of unknown substances." (the latter is a quote from ARDEQ per 2003 response to FOI request).

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  20. The developers made the Southpit contract void in 2009. So Kit W. isn't shillshallying for legal reasons. The reasons are political or social. (Anyone who's witnessed developers and city officials embracing like 1930's mafiosi will understand this.) The Jordan administration is not living by its own green credo. It should stop encouraging more driving and laying waste West Fayetteville (yes already, we know downtown is pretty and p.c.). Stop kowtowing to Edmonston, the UA Sports claque, the Chamber, or whoever's writing the script. If not, requiescat the lot.

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  21. Has Nock ever delivered on anything? Remember back in 2000 when that lady from Cleveland bought the Mountain Inn and Nock was supposed to get the financing so she could make it a Crowne Plaza? Remember the water park he was going to get financed? Remember the Renaissance Tower? Remember the Radisson going to be turned into a hip modern hotel? All those row houses and empty lots out by the Boys and Girls Club are his too. Now you can add SouthPass to the list. Geez, everything this guy touches turns to crud.

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  22. Actually we're lucky he does NOT deliver, as his ideas are always generic Bubble masquerading as New Urban (in fact, old suburban sprawl OR price-lifting gentrification) and they would end up costing the taxpayer one way or another as now, we see we are bailing him out indirectly.)

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