FRAUD IN THE INDUCEMENT In “Hoodwinked” (Independent News, Dec. 9, 2010), the IN reported that Michael Buckley, Halcyon Ltd. president, stated that he was never part of the Land Capital Group development team for the Maritime Park.
Community Maritime Park Associates attorney Ed Fleming reported on Friday, Jan.14 to the CMPA board that the inclusion of Buckley wasn’t the only misrepresentation by Land Capital and its founder Scott Davison during the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) stage to be the park’s developer.
Davison claimed to have a “joint venture relationship” with JP Morgan Asset Management. Fleming interviewed Frederick Sheppard, JP Morgan managing partner, who told the attorney that his company had never had such a relationship with Land Capital. Sheppard, like Buckley, had been approached by Davison but nothing came of it.
Henry Beer and Communication Arts Design were also listed in the RFQ. Beer told Fleming that Davison had asked him to write a proposal for a waterfront project in Pensacola, but, like Sheppard and Buckley, “nothing ever came out of that contact.”
Karin Bacon, sister of actor Kevin Bacon, was listed as in charge of “Image Creation and Event Programming.” She was brought for one visit for which she billed $10,000, plus expenses. Bacon wasn’t paid in a timely manner and accepted a negotiated lower payment of $6,000, plus expenses. She dropped out of the project and has no interest in working with Davison, according to Fleming.
Harold DeBlanc of Silver Cloud Partners was listed in the RFQ as the master developer and project manager. Fleming reported to the CMPA board that Silver Cloud has been administratively dissolved and its phone number has been disconnected and reassigned.
These people, which Davison called “a peerless group of professionals that has the experience, talent and desire to transform vision into reality” and their companies were important to the RFQ because without them Land Capital and Davison would not have met the requirement that the developer must have one or more projects previously completed or in development that totals at least $50 million. One of its developments needed to be a major mixed-use project similar to the Maritime Park.
Fleming told the CMPA board that Florida law states that there is fraud in inducement of a contract if representations by the contractor made as qualifications are not true and relied upon in selecting the contractor. Contracts induced by fraudulent, or even negligent, misrepresentations as to qualifications may be rescinded and/or cancelled.
“Land Capital was deemed to be ‘qualified’ for this project based solely on the representations made in its response to the RFQ,” said Fleming.
The CMPA board voted unanimously to cancel and rescind its contract with Maritime Park Developer Partners, a company that Davison told the board was to include him and Land Capital. That, too, has been proven to not be true, but that’s a story for another day.
MPDP’s attorney, Erick Mead of Moore, Hill & Westmoreland, told the daily newspaper that MPDP will fight the CMPA in court to disprove the fraud allegations.
WHAT HOTEL DEAL? Scott Davison, vice president of development for Maritime Park Development Partners, repeatedly told the Community Maritime Park Associates Board of Trustees that his company would be announcing soon a hotel deal for the maritime park.
CMPA attorney Ed Fleming is convinced that Davison had no such deal. As part of his record request of MPDP, Fleming also asked for: “All correspondence, including without limitation letters, emails, notes and other documents, between the Developer (or any related entity) and any retailer, restaurant or hotelier (including any agent, employee, agent or representative thereof) concerning the potential development of any parcel of property located in the Maritime Park that would be subject to the Developer’s role in the private development.”
Fleming also asked for evidence of solicitations by Davison and MPDP of hotels and letters of intent from such hotels.
“I never received any documents that showed Davison was in any negotiations with any hotel group,” Fleming told the IN.
GUN HAPPY State Senator Durell Peaden was known for introducing a new gun bill nearly every session. His successor Greg Evers, who was also heavily supported by the NRA, is doing the same with SB 234.
The bill limits a prohibition on carrying a concealed weapon or firearm into an elementary or secondary school facility, career center, or college or university facility to include only a public elementary or secondary school facility or administration building. Looks like UWF students and Episcopal Day School teachers can lock and load for their classes if this bill passes.
According to the Daily News, Evers will also introduce another gun bill that would bar doctors and other medical providers in Florida from asking patients or the parents of child patients if they have guns in their home. Silly doctors.
ANOTHER INNER-CITY SCHOOL CLOSED At the school board workshop on Jan. 13, Superintendent Malcolm Thomas brought the recommendation from the School Attendance Zone Advisory Committee to close Spencer Bibbs Elementary School and divide those students between the new downtown school and O J Semmes. The official recommendation will come to the board for advertisement in February or March.
There are currently 636 students at OJ Semmes Elementary. The school will need an additional six classrooms to accommodate the students. They will use a modular unit with three classrooms from the Clubbs Center and the vacant classrooms at Semmes to handle the load.
Spencer Bibbs students have had challenges with the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) since the test’s inception. However, there has been remarkable progress over the past three years. The percentage of third-grade students who scored a three or above on the reading test is up 69 percent since 2007, jumping from 36 to 61. In math, the percentage of third-grade students who scored a three or above has more than doubled over the same period, from 41 to an amazing 84.
This is the third inner-city school scheduled to be closed at the end of this school year.