Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Champagne Ready for brutaliTEE Center

ARCC 3-6-2012. The Augusta government surrender to Marriott threat of leaving the project and approved to release more tax money to the private enterprise that manage the TEE Center.

The Trade, Exhibit and Event center (TEE Center) should open in 2012, city leaders have said. The building is attached to the existing conference center within the Augusta Mariott Hotel & Suites and across the parking deck, both part of the ongoing public outcry for what is believed by critics as "insider trading" among some commissioners and the Mayor. The fataliTEE occurred in previews Commission meetings with the rejection for a GMP requested by the builders was solved.

Augusta Richmond County Commission (ARCC) 2-21-12

"When you consider between the TEE Center and the Kroc Center, the new Master's Table, judicial center, library and the new dental school alone, that's over $340 million in ongoing investment in a 1-mile radius downtown," said Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver on June 16, 2010. "You don't see that in other cities at this point."

At the moment Mayor pro-tem Alvin Mason said the event represents turning a page in Augusta.

"We're actually getting things done," he explained. "There are many times when we had to have discussion before we can make something happen. Once we move past that, you have our 100 percent support."

The center was hung up in the Augusta Commission for seven months in 2009 as politicians haggled over dollars and details. "Moving forward, this is a great day for Augusta," Mason said. That was then.

Commissioner Matt Aitken said the project is going to benefit all citizens of Augusta. "I said it before, we're growing up as a city," Aitken said. "I think it is going to put us in a position now to be competitive throughout Georgia, throughout the region."

Officials with the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau supposed to use the groundbreaking event as a marker to begin a marketing campaign to attract events for the center when it opens. The ACVB chairman cancelled his brief to the Richmond County Commission at the last minute, last week. 

ARCC 2-21-12 / ProblemaTEEC - FataliTEE - 

A downtown Augusta firm, R.W. Allen is acting as construction manager for the TEE Center. It is the same company that built the Kroc Center, and now the CEO, Rick W. Allen is running for U.S. Congress District 12th.

It seems pretty obvious: It shouldn't be legal for our Congressmen to use secret information they learn in Washington to game the stock market and make millions of dollars. Insider trading is illegal for everyone else in America, so who in the world would oppose banning it among Congress?

Apparently Majority Leader Eric Cantor and House Republicans have some objections. When the STOCK act, a bill banning insider trading for members of Congress, came across their desks they caved to pressure from right-wing special interest groups, going behind closed doors to water down the bill.

Apparently some politicians in Augusta's government are very familiar with information that not even fellow commissioners know about it and they are taking advantage from it. Or should be said, nonexistence information.

Last week, the Richmond County Commission by a vote of 6-3-1 agreed to a scheme that would have the TEE Center parking deck land deeded over to the Augusta Land Bank Authority minus the $7 million lie in exchange for "rubber stamping" a five year management contract. The motion was made by Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles.

Commissioners Corey Johnson, Alvin Mason and Bill Lockett opposed the motion, with Mason and Lockett stating they learned of the potential donation only minutes before the vote. Commissioner J.R. Hatney abstained after asking for written assurance that the donation was approved by the bank holding the lien.

The problem is that, according to the latest revelations the motion was just air, like the "air rights" "owned" by the city over the parking deck.

Until now the Augusta Delegation of lawmakers has being mute about the case and the public criticism about how taxpayers money has being mishandled. Neither an investigation from the GBI is seems to come soon.

Therefore, Augustans will have champagne ready for the big opening of the TEE Center and parking deck before the end of the year. Or maybe not.
Just when we were getting ready to order champagne, news break that the builders want $836.288 more to finish the center. The Augusta Richmond County Commission rejected the request. But on March 6, 2012, Mayor Copenhaver with the votes on hand surrender to the threatening conglomerate that operate, manage, built and give orders to the city, Augusta Riverfront LLC, which shares management with Morris Communications, the parent company of The Augusta Chronicle.

Then is Heery International and Butch Gallup, a consultant. At this point taxpayers have no idea who is who, what is the money for and where the money where. But the TEE Center now has many tentacles like the conglomerate is in charge. "Taxpayers don't know how a construction is built and managed" is the critic to the critics, but taxpayers know that tax money is being given away to this enterprise and taxpayers know that is seems nobody can stop the bleeding.

Back in 2005 when the Mayor was Bob Young, Mayor Pro Tem Marion Williams kept asking why the city was paying Butch Gallop & Associates $162 an hour to serve as liaison to recruit minority business participation in Phase 5 special purpose local option sales tax projects when the city has a disadvantaged business enterprise coordinator on the payroll.

When the city was negotiating a contract with Heery International Inc. for project management services for tax projects, there were two lengthy debates about whether Mr. Gallop's firm should be included in the contract. Mr. Williams probably did not have an answer because he could already responded by now to those who are doing the same questions today, in 2012.

The way how the TEE Center's contract was made between the enterprise and the city is so messy that taxpayers probably will encounter more stuff until the end of the year.

Following a press conference dated back to May 26, 2009.

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