The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Friday, September 21, 2007

Bessemer Bonds, Theaters and Judges

The Bessemer City Council defeated the Mayor Ed May's water bond ordinance last night, and passed the one that Dorothy Davidson brought forth. This is interesting. On the one hand, the issue could be put to rest. We do not know the interest rate on this bond deal, so we don't know if rates will be affected. But it could keep the city from having to borrow $4.5 million to pay for completing the pipeline to Alabaster, which would raise rates for sure. The entire measure was a $26 million dollar bond, because it refinanced old Bessemer Water service debt as well as financing the new water line.

On the other hand, the mayor was very adamant about this being a "good vs. evil" situation, and does not want to do business with Walter Lewis and Gardnyr Michael Capital for a couple of reasons. Gardnyr Michael is the subject of a lawsuit by the city with Bessemer claiming the company defrauded the city to the tune of $1.3 million or so. (Where did the money land? Keep you eyes and ears open!) In addition, the mayor and dissenting councilors do not want to pay Walter Lewis for work he did not do. Bill Blount of Bount Parrish & Company did the leg work to get the 4.5% interest rate on the proposed bond (the rate later went up to 4.8%, and who knows what it is now). Why should Lewis get the credit (and the money)?

Walter Lewis does a lot of business with the city. Louise Alexander said in council the other day that Lewis handled the bonds for Exit 108 development (that's huge...Academy Drive), the Airport, Colonial Tannehill, now the Water Service. Jesse Matthews said he's "married" to Walter Lewis. Walter Lewis claims to have more power than the mayor. Something's not right.

The mayor could veto this deal, depending on how strongly he feels about not doing business with "evil."

Stay tuned.

But Bessemer will finally get the movie theater we've been waiting on for years. Colonial Properties claimed they could not court the theater to build the facility unless they got another million bucks from the city. This has been discussed for at least three meetings, and Tuesday the council denied the gift, with Alexander suggesting they roll another million into the tax incentive bond deal that Colonial already has. But the Colonial rep Brad did a good job of explaining how adding a million to the existing bond will cost a quarter of a million in legal fees and administrative charges, which would become tax incentive money thrown away. And he told them that a theater complex adds a regionality to the center, and would attract customers who would also eat dinner and might buy their kids a pair of shoes on the same trip. I heard "quality of life issue" time and time again. The kicker was when a former resolution was read that revealed the million bucks was coming from an account that could only be used for industrial and commercial development. Alexander had said that the million could be used for raises and other city services...but after learning this and seeing the figures, she and Davidson and others changed their votes and approved the deal 7-0.

Here is the preliminary site plan...sort of hard to read unless you print it, but on this map the cinemas are over to the right. Target is the big anchor in the middle. It doesn't show on this map, but Publix is locating there also. Site Map

The Troy King witch hunt Dan King indictment story grows. Earl Carter, circuit clerk here in Bessemer, in a sworn affidavit, indicated that the indictiment was not presented and certified properly. Rather than being presented to a grand jury in front of at least 11 jurors in open court as required by law, the indictment was brought to Judge Teresa Petelos' office and Carter was asked to sign it there, in front of only Judge Petelos and two assistant attorneys general from Montgomery (Troy King's assistants). That, according to Dan King's attorney Pete Short, is not "open court" and is not in front of the public.

Judge Petelos might find herself in a bad way after this. She is, of course, a republican and her husband Tony is the republican mayor of Hoover. They have both been supporters of the Bessemer cut-off in various ways. This information is from a story by Robert Gordon but the link to the story doesn't work. Also reported on Legal Schnauzer: Bits and Pieces for 40 Alex yesterday.

It looks like corruption in the Bessemer cutoff, on the local, county and state level is being unveiled and will continue to be unveiled over the next few days and weeks. Hmmm.

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