Audits, Lawsuits, and Areas of Concern

On July 20th, 2020, the Fayetteville City Council went into a closed session. When they came out, they spent a lot of tax money. The minutes from the closed session were made public, this week:

A few things happened in that meeting that don’t add up:

  • The City Council decided to buy basement-level retail space in the unfinished parking deck downtown for $550,000.
  • The City Council asked the City Manager to conduct a forensic audit of “areas of concern” in the parking deck project.

Do you see what I’m getting at here? Apparently, we need a forensic audit because we’re not sure where our money’s going. In the meantime, we’re going to spend more money on the same project!?

And why is the City of Fayetteville going into the retail real estate business? That’s not really the purview of city government. Instead, our expert developer partners (Jordan Jones, Mike Lemanski, et al.) are supposed to be doing the developing. That’s their job. That was the point of the entire project.

It doesn’t make sense on its face, and because it’s all done in secret, you’re left guessing why the City of Fayetteville would buy a portion of a parking deck it already paid to build.

Here’s a theory:

A lawsuit was filed a few weeks after the closed meeting. Hay Street Development Pad, LLC (our development “partner”) was sued for $482,518.89, plus interest, by the contractor it hired to build the deck. The lawsuit was quickly and quietly resolved. You didn’t read about it in the Fayetteville Observer.

It’s quite possible that your tax dollars were used to pay off the Plaintiff in this lawsuit. Think about it. The City of Fayetteville can’t pay it because it’s not a party to the suit. And the city can’t just give Hay Street Development Pad cash. That’s probably illegal, actually. Instead, we bought the undesirable basement space in the back of the deck to get Hay Street Development Pad a quick $550,000.

Bada Bing, Bada Boom.

In the meantime, our Mayor and City Council act “concerned” and mention a “forensic audit” because they’re trying to cover their tails.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s a coincidence. You can decide for yourself. The point is we may never know. This deal started behind closed doors and it didn’t stop. Every important decision along the way, millions spent, happened in a closed room under the guise of “economic development” or “attorney client privilege.”

It’s not the way a government of the people is supposed to operate. Just ask this guy:

You reckon that audit will ever happen?

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