The Parking Garage … April 2, 2007

“For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Prov 23:7)

A neophyte in the realm of city council having been elected the first time and in my first couple of months of service after running against Mrs. Anna Parks Covington (a very gracious lady by the way),  I had been invited to a private meeting between Mr. Allen and myself a couple of weeks before April 2, 2007 where he discussed his plans for a new building, the parking garage. Here he asked for my support to assist in the city’s commitment to aid by leasing several spots within the building. I explained that I didn’t think I could support such an arrangement and the meeting ended.

On the day prior to April 2nd the council received a copy of a “letter of intent” from Mr. Allen and the Hortons.

I had stated  that I would complete the review of the letter of intent Allen  between the city of Jackson and partners John Allen, David and Laurie Horton. The letter states:

“that this Letter of Intent is an expression of Owners’ intention to undertake the design and buildout the Project as well as formalizing the intent of the City to participate as a Lessee of all or such portion of the project as would be mutually agreeable between Owners and the City once construction of the project is completed.”

The letter reminds us on the council, that while a letter of intent is not a contractual agreement, it is to be construed as the start of negotiations with the intent to lease a portion of the spots.

“this Letter of Intent is intended to formalize the City’s real interest in negotiating such a lease arrangement on terms and conditions mutually satisfactory to the parties.”

This is tantamount to a handshake between men that says that if Allen and Horton do what they say they will do, then we must lease whatever amount of spaces as to make this a profitable association between men. That is profitable to Allen and Horton. Maybe not such a profitable deal to taxpayers.

Mr. Allen and the Horton’s letter of intent was approved by council in a vote of 8-1 and my vote the dissenting vote.

I wrote my dissent as an editorial in the Jackson Sun and a few days later Mr. Allen and the Horton’s pulled their intent letter.

A few years later Mayor Gist maneuvered the council in voting to buy back the property, along with Mr. Allen’s unusual expenses, for a total cost of something close to $900,000.00.

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