Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What Could Go Wrong with a City Buying a Hotel?

Ahhh, yes, more hotel madness, and this time it's not just limited to Wilmington.

Carolina Beach has been bitten by the hotel madness bug, and it's led to allegations of corruption!

What a surprise!

Carolina Beach leaders closed two hotels owned by the town's non-profit CBP3 last week, but one issue regarding the property remains open.
Problem number 1: the town has a non-profit. What is this necessary for?

Problem number 2: they have/had two hotels? Why would they need two? I suppose they like competing with themselves.
Included in the accusation letter that spark [sic] the initial investigation is an signed affidavit from fellow, now former, Councilman Alan Gilbert. The document details Gilbert's version of how the town took over the property.

In closed session, town council originally authorized the Town Manager to bid up to $500,000 on one of several lots that were a part of Arcadius Development and now up for auction.

Gilbert attended the auction, where he said a representative from Republic Bank approached him. The representative said Mayor Macon told him about the town's interest in the oceanfront property, according to Gilbert's affidavit.

Carolina Beach bought one property that day for $475,000, but Republic Bank bought six others for $2.1 million. The bank continued to bid on the property in an effort to raise the price, according to the document.

Gilbert suggested the bank ran up the price of the properties at auction after learning of the town's interest in them from Macon. At a special closed session, Mayor Macon then informed the rest of town council that the bank would sell the property for $3.6 million. Once loans and interest were included, the town owed $4.3 million.
Did you notice how fast that happened? WECT doesn't even go into it. (Great job reporting you guys.) Let's delve into it a bit more.

As far as I can make out, there's the accusation that Macon and Republic colluded to sell this property to the town. Republic seems to have bought the property because they knew that the city would buy it from them at a hefty price. Macon clearly would have to be getting a kickback from the bank here for getting the city to buy this hotel at a later point.

Of course, WECT doesn't go into any of this. It seems like there's a huge story here, but they're just afraid to ruffle feathers (or the feathers of certain people), or whatever the case may be.

And what exactly did Carolina Beach get for $3.6M? This is the picture with the story:

Wow. What a classy joint. I'd gladly pay $60M for that.

Folks, this is an example of why government must be kept limited. You get people in there with no real philosophy about the role of government and they start thinking they have to get involved in whatever is big in the local economy. In this case, it's a roach motel.

We all know government has no roll in the hotel business. Now I wonder if they'll learn that about convention centers?

1 comment:

  1. I would love to go to that place and stay at the nicest accommodation in town.

    Mareiro Hotel at Meireles Beach


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