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Smoke and mirrors in the land of sunshine and stadiums

The Creative Loafing newspaper is running a piece I wrote about last year’s efforts by the County and City to pull together a local land deal in the hopes of landing Red Sox spring training here in sunny Sarasota. The story has enough monkey business in it to read like comedy — and it’d be wicked funny … if only it weren’t for those little things we all hope to see in our local government and elected officials — pesky things like decent, above-board behavior, transparency, and intelligent decision-making.

Here’s are two snippets from the column:

In an attempt to pull a bit of wool over the parcel owners’ eyes, the county accepted the aid of two of its contacts – two private citizens willing to help the county acquire what it wanted without tipping its hand to the prospective sellers. The plan was for these private citizens – referred to many times by County officials but never named –to enter into contracts with the parcel sellers and then assign those contracts to the county.

Despite the fact that she voted to accept the unreadable contracts, Patterson still admonished the rest of her fellow commissioners after the vote, saying: “You just voted on a package on a property with an appraisal you didn’t see to support a contract that you’re taking over that you can’t read.”

To read this story in its entirety — posted today on Creative Loafing’s website — just click here: Smoke & Mirrors. If you prefer to read it in print, the print column will run in CL’s May 13 issue out on newstands next week.

Posted on May 6th, 2009Comments RSS Feed
2 Responses to Smoke and mirrors in the land of sunshine and stadiums
  1. John W. Perkins
    May 7, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    Is this about a Democrat controlled Government entity ?

    If so, I’m shocked..

  2. My memory is a bit hazy on this, but I recall at the time there was a minor scandal since
    the city’s purchase price of this parcel was approximately double the assesed value of the land. When asked about this, commissioner Kelly Kirshner said that even if we didnt land the Red Sox for spring training, the inflated land purchase was worth it because it put a stripper bar out of business!!!!!! Im sure they could have paid the owner much less to go away.
    At any rate the parcel sellers got a fantastic deal, with the taxpayers getting the shaft.

    I wonder if this white elephant land parcel will end up being thrown into a deal with the county in some kind of trade for Ed Smith stadium, which is being discussed in regards to the latest Baltimore Orioles boondoggle….errrr deal?


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