Friday, April 26, 2013

Leaders?

“It was everyone from the head of Triad Stage to City Council and bankers,” said Cecelia Thompson, director of projects for Action Greensboro, who went on the trip. “It was a diverse group.”

Walker Sanders, Susan Schwartz, Milton Kern, CeceliaThompson.... We must be in good hands.

I am sure it was essential , fun, exciting and above all...educational.



Thursday, April 25, 2013

Grassroots productions, the community foundation and the city

Billy Jones posted this update. They have no shame or decency as this is IN YOUR FACE absurd...Grassroots should not be allowed to do business with the city. 

Even if we overlook Grassroots production's non apologetic and arrogant deception...it is harder to ignore that Betty' s events kinda suck ... And yes many other entities could do better if given the chance. RFP, RFP, RFP...

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Downtown Greensboro Metaphor

Dirty water will remain dirty, no matter how much clean water you mix in...

Replace the dirty DGI board now!









Friday, April 19, 2013

It's a revamping alright...proper!

So instead of dismissing Betty Cone (and Milton Kern, and Michael Shiftan and Susan Schwartz) from the DGI'executive board and banning her from doing business with the city of Greensboro (for all the right reasons), our civic leaders have decided to include her in the search process for the new patsy. 

Michael Shiftan, who aspires to expand DGI, will also be part of the search... Dang!

So the greedy, retaliatory individuals who fucked it all up to begin with, are now going to stay on and do it all over again...Dang!

I can't wait to find out what role Milton Kern and Susan Schwartz will be playing... 

Feels like a shower scene from the state penitentiary.




Thursday, April 18, 2013

From today's DGI's agenda

One last desperate effort to thwart Action Greensboro's Coup.


12:05        2.  Organizational Issues                                                                                                
A.   Task Force Addressing Operations                                                  Dawn Chaney
B.    Outreach to Young Professional Groups


Friday, April 12, 2013

Edwin's payday...UPDATED

Ed Wolverton 's contract is up at the end of June. 

Everyone could go their own way but that would be too dignified...Instead, it is rumored than Edwin has lawyered up because he has been convinced that he should get paid...it has been reported that Susan Schwartz (the current head of the CEMALA foundation which does not "represent the Cone Family, " but instead represents a foundation endowed by a branch of the Cone Family, the Bryan Foundation and DGI) is defiant, annoyed, outraged, angry and has allegedly been advising Ed on how to stick it to the man...something Ms Schwartz is very familiar with. 

He was offered two months severance and 48 days of accrued vacations/sick days...he turned it down!

Ed is being described as "grieving" and as " unable to run the shop" but yet he is ready to sue...who is he going to sue again? He is not being fired ( technically ), his contract is simply not being renewed.

Susan Schwartz and the rest of the executive committee should resign in  protest. 

Meanwhile the Young Professionals/Action Greensboro have a plan for downtown...Now that's timing baby!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Too Black or Too Poor ?

I am a white guy...a white guy with an accent, a Jewish Spanish Mother and a Catholic French Father.  This caucasian bought an abandoned property on S Elm, across Lee St, a little bit over six years ago aka The Mill.

I often have visitors coming from the other side of Lee st to see what I am up to. The other day was no different and I was actually happy to host an individual that I actually enjoyed being around. After the initial pleasantries,  we ended up talking about the Performing Art Center and I asked: " Why does it have to cost that much, and why does it have to be where the cost to acquire the land alone, adds a minimum of $10,000,000 to the tab?"

I then gestured towards the South Elm Street redevelopment empty 12 acres and said "why not here?...you/we would save about $15,000,000 right from the start, and the community sure would benefit from it".
"Weeeell, you knoooow" he answered.
I replied "No I don't know...Please tell me as I really do not understand because:
-We have the upcoming infrastructure paid for - in part- by the federal government...
-We have the desired access to I-40 and I-85 not once, but twice...once through Lee st and once through South Elm Eugene...
-We have a parking deck planned and paid for as part of the redevelopment...
-We are next to the elusive $6,000,000/mile Greenway...
-We are down the street from the Coliseum, at the entrance of downtown...along the upcoming Lee St corridor...Up from the Nanotech institute...close to 5 universities...So, No...I don't know!"

I may have been a little too intense, but after the initial shock, he finally answered: "Well, the unidentified donors would not want to contribute in this neighborhood, and from what I've heard, the University district could also be a hard sell for the same reasons". I then proceeded to make him aware that he had been in my neighborhood for a while now, and that he had yet to be shanked or threatened even though he was wearing pleated khakis. 

So what is it? Too Black or Too Poor?...or are they simply Too Stupid?

I would like to thank the Community Foundation, Action Greensboro, DGI and the unidentified donors for their fucked up, bigoted approach to community building. 


Friday, April 5, 2013

N&R / DGI corrections

I received a call last night from Nancy Mc Laughlin regarding an upcoming article. Of course the topic being DGI and downtown...I bite. 

I told her that, before we begin, I should let her know that I resented my new title as DGI' strongest critic, I would have preferred to be Downtown's strongest advocate...of course I end up as DGI' strong critic.

After a brief off the record conversation, she asked, if this is about personnel changes, "do you think it is a good first step?"
I answered  that Ed is probably a decent human being, and if this is about him losing his job (and we know it is), then I thought it was sad because it would not address the underlying issues and losing a job is no cavalier matter... even it is DGI's President and CEO. 
I also said that if Ed was to be sold out by his own (and we know he is), then one of the benevolent board member should actually offer him a job. Maybe the CEMALA foundation or Action Greensboro should take him in as Susan Schwartz is such a huge fan and all.

I explained to her that Ed is not a creative man but that he was doing Susan Schwartz's bidding as well as the work of DGI's executive committee. I then used a metaphor that I have come to know well lately, and that was to compare the DGI board to an infection...changing Ed or a few board members would not solve the overall problem because some contamination would remain and the infection would inevitably come back. 

Susan Schwartz, Milton Kern, Dawn Chaney, Betty Cone and Michael Shiftan ...all have been there way too long and have no real desire for change...if anything they want to control more.  
It is now time to amputate because this infection is killing us. 

In retrospect, Bob Braswell's arrogant move was probably the most "courageous" ever taken by a DGI board member. The other relics only care about retaining their board position as it socially defines them, so that in turn they can keep on getting "theirs". 
They may be outraged by the sudden government scrutiny but you don' t see them resigning in protest...no no no. I kinda wish they would!

Time to share the sandbox folks... with all...even young professionals.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Grassroots Productions LTD

So Grassroots Productions LTD is now a Greensboro North Carolina FOR profit corporation. The mysterious circumstances under which Grassroots Productions went from a non profit to a FOR profit were never really investigated, and the financial deceit never really exposed...and yet...Grassroots Productions LTD continues to enjoy exclusive contracts with the city of Greensboro without any competition. 

Humor us and make it look like the city cares about questionable ethical behavior from its  Non Profits/for profit " contractors". 
Anyone else who is not Betty Cone would have been suspended immediately, but here, nothing happened! 

I believe that an RFP should be  issued just in case someone out there has  better /more modern /cooler ideas than Betty Cone.  I must say that our "parades" and festivals look a little tired and lack overall imagination and creativity. A Fresher perspective would complement a fresher  and "revamped" Downtown. 

One detail worth noting is that all questionable , convoluted,  accounting practices surrounding benevolent/charitable non profits all have one organization in common...Action Greensboro...you know, the Bryan Foundation Action Greensboro...you know, the Young Professional Action Greensboro...you know the $6,000,000/mile Greenway Action Greensboro... You know the Center City Park Action Greensboro with unaccounted monies and undisclosed management fees.


"...Grassroots Productions is Action Greensboro's Special Event Manager for Center City Park and is responsible for all things related to Special Events in the Park."

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

á la tienne !

Some cities in NC seem to get better press than others...
I'll drink to that !

Action Greensboro/DGI... not their first time at the rodeo


It was a very smart move by council members to have the city attorney report directly to them. I asked what I thought was a simple question
Thanks to Councilman Kee, I received an answer yesterday afternoon right before the council meeting. Thank You again Councilman Kee!

"...As I have received a request from a member of Council to answer your question, here is the answer to Question 1, which sought a legal answer....Your question is based on the Economic Development Services Contract that the City has with DGI.  The City also has an Enhanced Projects and Services Contract with DGI, and an agreement with Downtown Greensboro Improvement Corporation for Downtown Revitalization.   I reviewed all three documents in order to answer the question.   

Question 1:  

If DGI is already being compensated for the "professional management of various programs and projects... including general accounting" and Other Services...

Is it Legal for DGI to charge additional management fees or other undisclosed fees out of the :
- Clean and Green Service contract with The BUDD group -Not Disclosed
- Center City Park's Pass through funds destined for maintenance - Not Disclosed
- Enhanced Projects and services contract- disclosed but claimed that it was to cover financial auditing.

Answer:  Yes....      SO far nothing surprising in his answer, but legal does not mean ethical.

You've also asked for my rationale behind the answer, and it is based on the terms of the agreement.  The terms of the contracts permit DGI to charge for management and implementation of the programs, and it appears that the charges would be included.  Therefore, I do not see what DGI has violated its contracts with the City.  Specifically, I do not see a violation of any terms of the Economic Development Services Contract.  Further, the charges you mention for the BUDD Group or Center City Park, are related to a contract the City has with Action Greensboro, not between the City and DGI.  To the extent that DGI and Action Greensboro have an agreement related to Center City Park, any issue related to fees is an issue for those parties.  I am also unaware of any violation of North Carolina or Federal Law related to DGI under these contracts.  


S. Mujeeb Shah-Khan
CITY ATTORNEY"


"Further, the charges you mention for the BUDD Group or Center City Park, are related to a contract the City has with Action Greensboro, not between the City and DGI.  To the extent that DGI and Action Greensboro have an agreement related to Center City Park, any issue related to fees is an issue for those parties"


So the MISMANAGEMENT of tax payers' sponsored PASS THROUGH funds destined to support a private park, is NOT an issue for the city, because the stealth misappropriation of funds is embedded in a contract between one of the park 's owner's non profit (Bryan Foundation/Action Greensboro) and another city funded entity (DGI) with questionable ethics???

I guess that is the point, so convoluted, so many layers that it would be difficult for anyone to have issues...we would have to understand it first.

WE / taxpayers are doing a very nice and generous thing by sponsoring a private park right outside of Centerpointe for "all" to enjoy... unless of course you touch a tree, lay on a bench in the sun or play with the fountains in the summer heat.
We are supporting the benevolent non profit Action Greensboro which is sponsoring DGI, which in turn is sponsoring Action Greensboro and then I remembered that April Harris used to run DGI.


The Young Professionals sure have good role models.




PS: We are still looking for the accounting on the annual $150,000 contribution to Action Greensboro/Center city park out of the BID fund controlled by DGI...funds that should have been returned if not used. 

BUDGET TIME ...ELECTION YEAR

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Carroll Companies

Roy Carroll, owner of The Carroll Companies SM,  is a Greensboro based corporation which describes itself as follow:

"The Carroll CompaniesSMare a group of companies involved in diverse aspects of
property development, construction, ownership, and management."

Here is he company's contact info.

This is not an exposé on the Carroll Companies SM , I promise there is a point I am getting to a little later...

So we know that, WE / The city of Greensboro have been extremely generous, and supportive of Mr Carroll's endeavors. WE/ The city of Greensboro have given Mr Carroll a few Millions of Dollars to renovate Centerpointe and threw in a few parking spaces as a bonus... We also have provided a few additional Millions of Dollars of our tax money towards his water and sewer OUTSIDE of Greensboro city limits. 

In return, Mr Carroll has provided us with the downtown curfew, the revival of the tent ordinance, the ongoing divisive noise ordinance  and tomorrow night's entertainment facility use ordinance.

Now, it was recently discovered that Mr Carroll also owns an event venue in downtown Greensboro located in his building known as Centerpointe. 

The point is that after looking at the available record, and speaking to the privilege license folks, it seems that only 4 of Mr Carroll's EIGHT companies (plus one event venue) have a privilege license to operate within city limits. 
These are the entities with a privilege license:

These are the entities for which no privilege license was located 
-Carrolland  corporation
-Carroll commercial construction company
-Centerpointe event venue
 Dang!