Sunday, December 7, 2014

Apparent Special Deal on City Owned Property

Originally posted on Saturday, September 25, 2010
I have serious concerns about the way City Officials, the Mayor and City Council Members use and dispose of City property and City funds. One of the properties I have had concerns about is the old Pensacola City Police Station at 40 S. Alcaniz Street.

On November 12, 1993, the Finance Committee of the Pensacola City Council issued a memo, subject: Vesting of Job Creation Credits—First National Life Insurance Company. The memo laid out the conditions for Mr. R. K. (Skip) Hunter of the First National Life Insurance Company to acquire the old Pensacola Police Station at 40 South Alcaniz Street as follows:

They established the value of the property at $382,500.00 even though the 1985 appraisal had put the value at $425,000.00. They subtracted the $150,000.00 paid by Mr. Hunter to bring the building up to code from the $382,500.00 so that the cost of the property was now 232,500.00. Mr. Hunter would pay one dollar (1.00) per year for ten (10) years for a lease until all conditions of the lease agreement had been met. No money would be paid to the City for the property but Mr. Hunter would be given employment creation credits for each employee hired to pay off the property.

On November 20, 1997, Mr. Hinkle, the Pensacola City Manager, signed a special warranty deed giving the old Police Station to Mr. Skip Hunter.

Unfortunately, it appears that after the employment creation credits gave Mr. Skip Hunter the property, the business closed, the employees left and the job situation was no better than it was before City Officials, the Mayor and City Council Members gave Mr. Skip Hunter this “special” deal.

On August 7, 1998, two transactions were filed with the Courthouse.

Instrument 1998509493
Warranty Deed from the City of Pensacola giving the old Police Station to Mr. Skip Hunter of the New South Investment Corp Inc. for the price of $10.00 (ten dollars).

Instrument 1998509494
Warranty Deed from Mr. Skip Hunter of the New South Investment Corp Inc. giving the old Police Station to the University of West Florida Foundation Inc. for the price of $2,250,000.00 (two million, two hundred and fifty thousand dollars).

It appears that the taxpayers received $10.00 for the old Police Station and Mr. Skip Hunter received $2,250,000.00.

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On July 19, 2005, two transactions were filed with the Courthouse.

Instrument 2005395895
Warranty Deed from the University of West Florida Foundation, Inc. giving the old Police Station, for $4,200,000.00, to The Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition Inc.

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I have concerns about the warranty deed’s legality as Mr. A. Alan Manning signed as witness and as notary public. He was also the attorney who developed the paperwork. I am a notary public and this seems irregular to me.

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Instrument 2005395896
The Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition Inc. received a no interest mortgage from the University of West Florida Foundation Inc for the old Police Station Finance Amt $4,200,000.00

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The Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition Inc. is a non-profit organization and pays no property taxes so all of the City services they receive are free and the rest of us pay for it.

It concerns me that a $4,200,000.00 property only resulted in $10.00 for the people
of Pensacola. Something seems to be very wrong.

I'm especially concerned and am bringing it to the public's attention because the City Officials, Mayor and City Council appear to be planning to repeat this type of operation even though the previous deal appears to have been a failure. I spoke about this at the Pensacola City Council Meeting of September 23, 2010. The City Manager, Mr. Coby, briefly discussed the new project describing it as similar to the old Police Station debacle.

Councilwoman DeWeese said, "It sounds like congratulations are in order. It sounds like a successful economic development opportunity."

As I stated above, I have serious concerns about these deals.

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