By Rick Outzen
The man in charge of developing the most important public-private project in the history of the City of Pensacola has issues—and that’s putting it mildly.
Scott Davison, founder and CEO of the now-defunct Land Capital Group and currently VP of Development for Maritime Park Development Partners (MPDP), has been hit with judgments totaling over $10 million for projects in Escambia County, Florida, Texas and across the country.
His integrity, honesty and ability to actually meet the many commitments he made to the community in order to win the master developer contract for the Community Maritime Park are being questioned in a report by Community Maritime Park Associates attorney Ed Fleming to be released Friday, Dec. 10 to the CMPA Board of Trustees.
After a month-long investigation and a review of hundreds of pages of documents, the IN has discovered that Davison misrepresented his development team and his financial capabilities in his original proposal in order to qualify to be the master developer. He actively lobbied for the support of the African-American community with promises of creating a Contractor’s Academy to increase the number of minority-owned contractors and skilled workers—promises that some black leaders believe Davison has failed to fulfill.
The triggers for the IN investigation were a complaint to the CMPA by George Hawthorne against MPDP for non-compliance and bad faith dealings in regard to the Contractor’s Academy/EBO Agreement, the findings of Fleming when he reviewed that complaint and two default judgments, totaling $7.76 million, recorded in Escambia County against Davison and Land Capital Group. One, Case no. 2010-CA-1657, was a default judgment for $374,860.71 against MPDP for failing to reply to a writ of garnishment against Davison.
According to Escambia County Clerk of Court records, that default has been set aside and the final judgment on continuing writ of garnishment was entered Nov. 15. The IN contacted the attorneys for Wells Fargo, the plaintiff in the $7.76 million judgment, to see if the status had changed in that case, but the call went unreturned prior to press time.
The two Wells Fargo judgments aren’t the only judgments and lawsuits against Davison and Land Capital. He had three developments in Escambia County that he listed in his 2007 RFQ submittal. All three have either been foreclosed upon or are in litigation, totaling over $5 million. In Okaloosa County, Davison has a foreclosure judgment for $899,789 for note with Wells Fargo. In St. Lucie County, he had in 2009 a foreclosure judgment for $1.57 million for a Wachovia loan.
Last spring, Davison and MPDP held up the construction of the maritime park when they refused to provide a performance bond as required. Davison tried to convince the CMPA board that a general letter from NorthMarq that stated MPDP partner Rick Rodriguez wasn’t in default on any loans with GMAC Commercial Mortgage and Capmark Finance was sufficient to prove MPDP could get the bond.
After weeks of wrangling, MPDP had to partner with Hoar Construction to form Magi Construction to build the public section of the park. MPDP couldn’t get the performance bond on its own. With Hoar’s financial strength, Magi got a commitment letter from Chubb Group of Insurance Companies for a $50 million performance bond.