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Hoodwinked?

In the latest report to the EBO Committee of the CMPA, Davison reported that, as of Nov. 30, 18.37 percent of the construction contracts were with minority-owned firms, 1.47 percent of the design contracts and 20.34 percent of the consulting contracts. He did not break down the minority contracts by race or national origin.

To handle the minority inclusion for the project, Davison added to the MPDP development team The Target Group, whose president Joe Williams was a part of the June 2008 presentation.

Williams told the CMPA board that the Contractor’s Academy was a “legacy piece”.

“Our goal is to put together a framework on how we’re going to get this thing done,” Williams said. “At the end of the day, this community is entitled to know, and your Covenant mandates, that you really do have a plan that you can all be proud of as this maritime park comes into play, that you really do have something that you can point to and say this helped our community.”

To date, The Target Group has been paid $30,000 with CMPA funds, over a third of the amount paid to minority consulting firms. The company is not part of the EBO program and has no one on site. Williams did not return a phone call from the IN.

The CMPA board hired Owen Beitsch to review the RFP proposals of Land Capital and Trinity Capital Advisors. Davison submitted a memo, dated July 23, 2008, to Beitsch to further explain the Contractor’s Academy. He outlined a strategy to launch and sustain the Contractor’s Academy, which included an advisory council, an instruction academy, a recruitment campaign and Land Capital and Magi investing $250,000 to make it happen.

When the CMPA board voted 8-4 in August 2008 to start negotiating with Land Capital, the company’s commitment to the minority community was cited as a primary factor. The board didn’t accept Beitsch’s recommendation to award the work to Trinity Capital Advisors. All five minority board members, Eddie Todd, Juanita Scott, Bentina Terry, Grace Resendez McCaffery, and Rodney Jackson, voted for Land Capital.

BAIT & SWITCH?

Today, there is no Contractor’s Academy, which is one of the reasons Hawthorne filed his EBO complaint. Fleming found in his investigation of the complaint that there was no evidence that a single class or seminar for minority contractors or workers had been conducted by MPDP.

In a letter to the EBO Committee, Jeff Galt, MPDP president, stated that no separate Contractor’s Academy had been envisioned by MPDP or the CMPA when it finalized the EBO agreement. Ed Spears, executive director for CMPA, told the IN that the CMPA board never voted to not have the Contractor’s Academy.

Oliver Darden, who was active in the Gulf Coast African-American Chamber of Commerce when Land Capital made its commitments to the CMPA board, said in a telephone interview, “At all times, there was to be a Contractor’s Academy. Scott is being less than truthful if he says otherwise.”

Darden said that Davison actively courted his chamber for its support. “He told us that he was willing to work with the Gulf Coast African-American Chamber, but he has been unresponsive to us in any shape or form since he received the bid,” Darden said. “I have had no substantive conversations with Land Capital or MPDP.”

In 2007, the Gulf Coast African-American Chamber entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the CMPA to assist with the implementation of the Covenant. It was a party to the initial draft of the EBO agreement but was deleted from the final agreement.

“Scott has flat out disassociated himself from our chamber,” said Darden, “and has gone his way.”

WHAT’S NEXT

At 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10, the CMPA board will meet. Ed Fleming will deliver his report on his investigations of Davison, Land Capital and Maritime Park Development Partners, both the Florida and Texas versions.

The CMPA board will have to decide if it wishes to keep MPDP as the master developer. Their decision will be based on if Davison misrepresenting Michael Buckley of Halcyon LTD as a member of his development team influenced their vote to name Land Capital as a finalist in the RFQ process. Were they impressed that Davison claimed to have a joint venture relationship with JP Morgan Assets Management? Would Land Capital have even qualified if he didn’t have the ten people and their companies he listed in the RFQ but later deleted?

When it came to deciding whether to pick Land Capital or Trinity Capital Advisors, did having the experienced Bruce Cutright as project manager, The Target Group as minority inclusion consultant and establishing the Contractor’s Academy influence their decision to award the contract to Land Capital? Would the board have overruled the recommendation of its consultant to take the other developer candidate without those components in the proposal?

The answers to those questions will determine if Scott Davison and MPDP should remain the master developers and whether Davison lied to the CMPA board or if his statements and proposals were mere puffery.

rick@inweekly.net

BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF COMMUNITY MARITIME PARK ASSOCIATES, INC.
WHEN: 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10
WHERE: Pensacola City Hall, 2nd Floor Conference Room 222 West Main St.
VIEW LIVE:  ci.pensacola.fl.us/live/
MORE INFO: All the CMPA documents, agreements, minutes and the presentations by Land Capital and MPDP are online: ci.pensacola.fl.us/live/pages.asp?pageID=6112

LINKS TO IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS



Request for Qualifications – February 2007
Request for Qualifications Technical Review – April 2007
Land Capital Group – Master Developer RFQ Response
CMPA Board Tabulation Sheet – May 2007
Land Capital Presentation Video
Master Developer Request For Proposal - February 2008
Land Capital Group response to Master Developer RFP
Owen Beitsch Report on the RFP proposals to CMPA July 2008
Follow up questions to Trinity & Land Capital July 2008
Land Capital response to questions – July 2008
Beitsch’s final recommendation
Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes 8.22.08
Final Developer Agreement with MPDP
Covenant with the Community
EBO Complaint, Ed Fleming’s Findings on the complaint, MPDP responses
Scott Davison Default Judgment
Another Judgment

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