Monday, July 28, 2014

Admiral Mason Under Engineered? Ready for Continual Flooding?

In 2007, when the idea of the Admiral Mason Stormwater Retention Pond was being developed, City Engineer Derik Owens reviewed the viability of the proposed pond.

In what is a telling assessment of the viability of the Admiral Mason Pond, Owens states:

"One final point to make is that the system will only work effectively during rainfall events that are not associated with high tidal surges. In the event of significant surge conditions the performance of the system will be significantly impaired and flooding will occur as with most waterfront systems of this nature."

Hmmm.

Page 30 of 49

The Owens letter, along with the also included engineering report, both indicate the Admiral Mason Pond was also only designed to a 25 year flood event.

Hmmm again.

Monday, July 21, 2014

CRA Tells Big Stuff's Team NO THANKS!

In the PNJ last week, Jim Reeves stated he was not involved with the recent low ball Hawkshaw proposal rejected last week by the CRA.

"On Wednesday, the Florida Division of Corporations listed Reeves as the registered agent for H+H Building Group — though Reeves said Wednesday he had resigned that position and had no financial interest in the current proposal."

http://www.pnj.com/story/news/2014/07/16/pensacola-considers-hawkshaw-development/12767321/

No financial interest!  Let's look at the evidence.

Below is the sign in sheet from the pre proposal meeting on June 17, 2014.

Please note the 5th person to sign in.  Oops!  Guess he had nothing better to do than attend the meeting with H&H Building Group.

Sign-In

Who is H&H Building?
  • Originally Hagen Handler Housing...Reeves as Registered Agent, Notorized by Jennifer Reavis, Jim's then Assistant
Hagen-Handler

  • Marriage License of Jennifer Reavis and Scott Handler.  Who married them?  James J Reeves!
License

  • Jennifer Reavis Handler is a Vice President of AMR at Pensacola, Inc.
Linked in

  • AMR at Pensacola Inc. care of who? James J Reeves!
  • AMR at Pensacola Inc. registered agent who? James J Reeves!
  • AMR at Pensacola Inc. Vice President and Treasurer who? James J Reeves!
AMR Sunbiz

Come on Jim!  That was your Team who lost!



Thursday, July 17, 2014

Guest Contributor: Ann Regan City Legal Expenses

Over the past three plus years of Mayor Ashton Hayward’s administration, the city has paid over 50 outside private law firms and attorneys over $4 million for legal services. In most cases documentation for these fees either does not exist or does not cover all of
the work being done. This is according to city records obtained by Councilwoman Sherri Myers for support of her recently passed amendments to the city code.

Attorney-Expenses

Current ordinances don’t require the mayor to obtain City Council approval for legal services’ contracts. The city ordinances that require the mayor to get Council’s approval for contracts over $25,000 or over $100,000 for qualified small businesses do not cover purchases of legal services. “That’s because contracts for legal services are open ended and usually reflect only hourly fee rates and do not contain the anticipated total cost of the legal services,” Myers explained.

Myers’ ordinances, which are up for a second reading at the City Council’s meeting on Thursday, would close that loop hole. Myers’ ordinances provides that the Mayor report to Council when payment to a single outside attorney or law firm exceeds $25,000 during any fiscal year. In addition, it requires that all purchases of outside  legal services be documented and that those records be kept by the City Attorney.

In researching the administration’s purchase of legal services, Myers requested copies of contracts for five of the highest paid outside legal firms. One of the firms was the law firm of Allen, Norton and Blue P.A. of Tallahassee to whom the city has paid over $566,000 for legal services over the past three years. The city could not produce any contract or other documentation with Allen, Norton and Blue to support paying the fees.

In addition, Myers’ requested documents from outside attorney, John Trawick, of the Coastal Association Law Group regarding his work for city. Among other work,  Trawick had written a letter to Robert DeVarona regarding vacating his restaurant at the airport to make way for the new concessionaires. The letter sparked a lawsuit against the City by DeVarona which De Varona won.

Trawick to Devarona

Trawick responded to Myers’ that there was no documentation as to the work he was doing for the city nor for his hourly fee. He wrote Myers that his “representation of the City of Pensacola is a verbal ongoing arrangement with the City.” Despite the lack of documentation for the work, when Trawick presented his invoices, they were paid by the city’s Finance Director, Dick Barker.

Trawick-Letter

Likewise, Myers asked the City Attorney, Jim Messer, for documentation for the work done by the law firms of Beggs & Lane and by Lewis, Longman, & Walker P.A. to whom the city has paid over $582,500 and over $388,500 respectively over a period of about 3 years. The contracts produced by Messer for work done by Beggs & Lane were for litigation work regarding construction at the airport and the Saenger Theater. No documentation was produced for legal work done on the Myers v. Hayward lawsuit or for work done on the DeVarona lawsuit or any other matter.

The contract with Lewis, Longman & Walker dated September 11, 2013 is for potential litigation with the ECUA “and any future new matters as requested by the City.”

Later, Myers requested from Messer any agreements between the city and a list of over 30 outside attorneys that did work for the city. Messer emailed Myers that he couldn’t help and advised that he has forwarded Myers request to Colleen Castille, the City Administrator, for the information. Castille replied to Messer, “these are attorneys you had a hand in secting (sic) and I see this as squarely in your court.” Myers said she did not receive the requested agreements.

Email Exchange Messer and Castille

At the June 12, City Council meeting, Councilwoman Myers presented ordinances to fix the process for purchasing legal services and, as Myers said, to help assure responsible payment for legal services and transparency for the public. The City Council passed the ordinances unanimously.

The ordinances amend two sections of the current City Code, sections 3-3-2 and 3-1-8.

Myers amendment to section 3-3-2 requires, first, that the city’s need for legal services from outside private attorneys be documented by the requesting party and acknowledged by the city attorney and that those documents be maintained by the city attorney.

Second, the amendment requires that any engagement of outside attorneys be in writing and describe the terms of engagement.

Myers amendment to section 3-1-8 would require that the Mayor report to the City Council when the payment of fees for legal services to any one law firm or attorney exceeds $25,000. Thereafter, the Mayor is required to keep the Council updated on the fees being paid to that vendor.

Myers said that she has been frustrated in her efforts to inquire into the city’s process for paying outside attorneys.

“In 2012, I asked Dick Barker for all the invoices for the lawyers that the city had hired over the last couple of years. I was told it would cost me between $450 and $500 to get the records.”

Myers said that as a city official and council member she should not have to pay exorbitant fees to discover how the city is spending taxpayer money and to do her job under the Charter.

“These sorts of fees obstruct council members from doing their work and prevent the public from seeing how things are being done by the city administration. These amendments to the city code will assure that the city council and, most importantly, the public receive complete and accurate information on the administration’s spending of taxpayer money on purchasing outside legal services,” Myers said.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Big Stuff 2.0...He's baaaack! Part 2

So last week I detailed the deal that Jim Reeves and his partners reneged on in 2007/2008.

In reviewing the attached documents from 2007 and 2008 several key items must be noted:
  • In 2007, Reeves and team offered $ 1,400,000 for the property
  • Stormwater retention was to be done on the lot 100% at Reeves expense
  • Reeves wrote to the City "As we proceed...storm water retention has become pragmatic based on the small size of the subject site"
  • Reeves asks to sell 50% of the Hawkshaw development entity to the Moulton's who will fund a stormwater facility on the adjacent Admiral Mason Park. 
  • The City, Reeves and the Moulton's agree that Reeves and the Moulton's will construct the retention facility at Admiral Mason Park at THEIR EXPENSE PLUS $300,000 for amenities.
  • Subsequently Reeves and the Moulton's cancel the project due to the real estate downturn and forfeited their deposit of $140,000.
Hawkshaw-Changes

Admiral-Mason-Contract

Hawkshaw-Eastside-Development

So to summarize, the project would have required a $1,400,000 purchase price PLUS building the Admiral Mason Stormwater Pond which ended up costing the City $1,200,000 plus $300,000 in amenities.

Total $2,900,000

Fast forward 3 years.

The City spends $ 1,200,000 on Admiral Mason Pond.
The Hawkshaw property is appraised at $1,850,000
The City puts out an RFP.
Only Reeve's group responds.

They offer $ 775,000.

What a deal for Reeves!
A total 2008 cost of $2,900,000
A total 2014 cost of $ 775,000

A savings of $2,125,000 for reneging on a deal.  Only in Pensacola!

See CRA Minutes Here




Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday Funny...Inweekly Loses Touch with its Roots

The Inweekly recently "celebrated" it's 15th year.  As part of his reflections, Outzen posted issue 1 on his ISSUU site.

http://issuu.com/inpublisher/docs/independent_news_issue1

It's worth a read.  Here are a few notes I made that I find interesting:
  • The inside cover lists outlets where the paper can be found.  While the Mayor keeps boasting of his successes bringing new businesses to places such as Palafox Place and SOGO, a reading of the list of outlets shows just how many businesses come and go over a period of time.  The "new" ones are merely replacing the "old" ones.  Here are a few that have faded from Pensacola in the last 15 years, some right downtown.
    • Delchamps
    • Hopkins Boarding House
    • Albertsons
    • Billy Bob's Barbeque
    • Blimpee - Garden Street
    • Barnhill's Country Buffet
    • Boy on a Dolphin
    • Damon's
    • Hall's Seafood
    • Madisons
    • Mr. Manatees
    • Jerry's Cajun
    • Starbuck's Billiards
    • Screaming Coyote
    • Ordon's
    • Marchelo's
    • The Angus
  • The Body Politic states "the Port is struggling" and mentions "Pensacola doesn't have an elected Mayor" as a problem.
  • Outzen's first article in "Outside the Box" states "The Independent promises to focus on the facts of a story and let those facts shape the story.  Our writers would not be told what to write nor have their stories edited to fit an editorial stance or position. There would be no "sacred cows". No targets, no protected figures.  Ummm....
  • Plain Talk states
    • We will NOT endorse political candidates.
    • The Independent will NOT be running an editorial every week.
    • Our comments will be guided by the issue, not a political platform or personal belief.
    • Ummm.....
  • I Had to Much to Think Last Night states:
    • We have no pet projects, no special causes or hidden agendas
    • The Independent owes allegiance to no corporation, no agenda, no curriculum.
    • We seek to spotlight common ground, to be a partner in progress not a pothole.
    • Ummm.......
  • The Inweekly had a staff of SEVENTEEN
  • Health and Wellness - QUINT STUDER is announced as the new EVP of Baptist Healthcare
  • Evenings in Old Seville was a big deal
  • Sertoma's fire works were a big deal
  • Red White and Blues was a big deal.
  • Fish House advertised as a great place for fireworks and Regular Joe was playing.
What really has changed in Pensacola?  Except for Joe!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

County Administrator: ST Aerospace at Risk

Look what can happen when you are trying to use other people's money!

PNJ

"Brown said commissioners would likely have to reexamine and prioritize their list of projects to be funded with the one-cent local option sales tax, which funds capital improvement projects in the county.

The administrator specifically made mention of the county’s commitment of $8 million of sales tax proceeds to help lure Singapore-based ST Aerospace to set up shop at Pensacola International Airport, saying commissioners might want to reconsider that commitment in light of the recent disaster."

Hayward Options:
  • Bake sale
  • Chess tournament
  • A dinner with the Mayor auction (Drew Buchanan would bid for sure)
  • Have the firemen hold boots at street corners. NOT
  • Leverage that special relationship with Scott again
  • ummm...use the $1,000,000 Eco Dev fund appropriated
Hey, but lets face it.  Those are two nice resource centers.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Big Stuff 2.0...He's baaaack! Part 1

Jim Reeves is nothing if not persistent!

The Father of the Irish Politician Club returns to the City 4 years later to cash in on his long planned Hawkshaw Village development.

Background

Hawkshaw Village (previously known as Hawkshaw Eastside) was a $20 million mixed-use development planned to occupy approximately four acres in the Hawkshaw area of downtown Pensacola. It was a joint venture between Hawkshaw Eastside, Inc., comprised of principals Jim Reeves (who developed the adjacent Aragon neighborhood), Jim Cronley, Bill Whitesell and Paul Snider, and Moulton Properties, led by brothers Bob and Jim Moulton. After nearly three years in development, the project was abandoned in late 2008.

In 2006 the Community Redevelopment Agency sold a 1.92-acre parcel of city-owned land near the Gulf Power building at 9th Avenue. They received five proposals for private developments and on August 31, 2006 selected the $20 million plan by Hawkshaw Eastside, Inc., which included 94 residential condominiums and 16,000 sq. ft. of commercial space in four three-story buildings. The members of the Pensacola City Council liked the plan for the guaranteed 25 percent of "workforce" housing included, and the land was sold to the developers for $1.8 million.
Soon after site work began, the Hawkshaw Eastside developers found that the soil foundation was softer than expected and would require additional support. The increased costs made the initial plan economically unfeasible, so the group approached the Moultons, who owned two additional acres north of the original property, and proposed a partnership combining elements of both plans.

The resulting plan, named Hawkshaw Village, would stretch across the combined four acres owned by both groups. The revised project and partnership was presented before the Pensacola City Council in July 2007 and approved 6-3 on September 24.
The new plan also called for a water retention pond to alleviate stormwater issues. The developers offered to spend about $1 million to build a landscaped pond (including a water feature similar to Tallahassee's Lake Ella) at Admiral Mason Park, which had previously been considered for such a purpose, in exchange for permission to use the city-owned land.

On December 31, 2008, it was revealed that the project had been canceled due to the recession economy, and that the developers would not close on their purchase of the city property. Reeves also laid blame at the Chamber of Commerce, which was helping develop a nearby technology park project, for failing to fund a portion of the retention pond. "The Moultons had put about $500,000 in wet retention there already, but everybody has to participate in that wet retention," he said.

http://www.pensapedia.com/wiki/Hawkshaw_Village

Since that time the City has paid for the Admiral Mason Stormwater Pond.

My next post will paint the picture of the deal Big Stuff has tabled to corner the market on the property once again.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Derek Cosson (City IT/Web Guy) and Laura Bogan (Social Media Contractor) IN BUSINESS TOGETHER

When will the conflicts of interest end?

Derek Cosson, the City's Web Master, and Laura Bogan, a $3,000 per month contractor to the City to pimp the Mayor's social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) have gone into business together.

That's right!  An employee and a contractor in the same realm of influence have a little something, something on the side.

Campfire LLC

Who approved this "relationship"?
Were the proper forms required filled out and approved?
What projects are Campfire LLC going to take on?
Does the Mayor's office have any say so over Campfire LLC activities?

The City's HR manual prescribes specific steps in approving outside business activities.

See Page 99 of the HR-Manual

Can Don Suarez go into business with a plumbing contractor to the City?
Can Chief Simmons open a security guard business with Bosso Uniforms?
Can Amy Miller open a tug boat company with the Pates?
Can Paul Jones open an IT consulting business with CollectorSolutions?
Can Tricky Dick Barker open an accounting practice with Dave Penzone?
Can Derik Owens open a sidewalk company with Roads, Inc.

Wait, the last one is a bad example. The Mayor is already in business with Roads, Inc.'s owner.  He's got that one covered. 

Your out Derik! You need to ask Panhandle Grading!

Our JV Mayor's City Hall makes the Keystone Cops look Varsity! 


Monday, July 7, 2014

Hayward needs to Smack His Mini-Me Around

Brian Spencer just doesn't get it!

The only economic development he wants downtown is economic development that lines his pockets.

In the PNJ today COUNCILMAN FOR DISTRICT 6 Brian Spencer was quoted as saying:

"Frankly, I'm a little disappointed," said City Councilman Brian Spencer, who said he had hoped for a development proposal with more housing density that would produce more tax revenue.

Disappointed?  Why because someone from out of town got the property and doesn't need your input?

Mayor Hayward please explain to your boy that people investing millions in Pensacola shouldn't have the Councilman for the district complaining about their outside investment into our city in the paper.

Remember...eyes to the prize and all that cheese.

Or disappointed Brian that you didn't like the price?

http://www.pnj.com/story/news/local/pensacola/2014/07/06/three-pensacola-developments-proposed/12276729/

Maybe the folks on this sign have a bit of responsibility here.  Whose name as at the bottom?



















"Spencer could only wonder if the Whitesell-Green offer might have been higher before the April 29-30 flooding brought on by heavy rains. The Hawkshaw property flooded, as did Veterans Memorial Park on the south side of Romana Street."

Darn straight it did Brian and your name is allllllll over that failed flood pond at Admiral Mason.  But hey Brian, you did get Jerry Pate and Steve Dana paid for the landscaping!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Most telling item in Hayward Viewpoint

This weekend, Mayor Hayward submitted a viewpoint to the PNJ indicating his feelings on Council's actions regarding the Charter.

http://www.pnj.com/story/opinion/contributors/2014/06/29/mayor-hayward-city-charter-working/11556733/

At the bottom of the viewpoint was the following:

Hayward is mayor of Pensacola.

Editor's note: After the City Council voted last week, Mayor Hayward declined multiple invitations from a reporter to discuss the decisions.

Hmmm.  Transparency?

The Mayor has not had a press conference.
The Mayor has ruled only by press release.

Is Navarre's Tamara Fountain and Tallahassee's Colleen Castille running Pensacola for the absent boy king?