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Parking deck questions now need full commission approval

Monday, July 9, 2012 7:35 PM
Last updated Tuesday, July 10, 2012 2:30 AM
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Four questions intended to help forensic auditing firms focus in on potential illegal activities associated with a new downtown parking deck now need full commission approval before they are submitted to 12 firms bidding on the work.

The questions, presented at a Monday meeting of the city’s finance committee, failed 2-1 to gain approval, with Commissioner Jerry Brigham voting against and Commissioner J.R. Hatney absent.

The committee motion needed three votes to pass and now must go to the full commission, where it needs six votes to move forward.

The questions include whether the parking facilities were built without executed agreements between the city and deck manager, Augusta Riverfront LLC; whether bids were properly solicited, processed and evaluated from parties seeking to run the facilities; whether proposed management agreements exceed amounts bid by parking management firms; and whether illegal or fraudulent events occurred during property acquisitions for the facilities.

The questions, intended in part to help auditing firms estimate their price, are meant to determine whether the parking deck activities were within state and local laws, not whether the agreements are the best deal for the city, Senior Counsel Wayne Brown said.

“We did not try to have this be a management audit,” said Brown.

Augusta commissioners voted last year to seek the audit after several questioned seemingly unusual details associated with the construction project, including its construction on privately owned land that had a bank lien on it.

Before they vote on the audit questions, commissioners will have an opportunity to review completed parking management agreements, deeds and other legal documents at a 2 p.m. Thursday work session.

The management firm, Augusta Riverfront LLC, has ties to management of Morris Communications Co., owner of The Augusta Chronicle.

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eb97
835
Points
eb97 07/09/12 - 10:08 pm
4
0
Someone will make sure this

Someone will make sure this gets swept under the rug. They will do what they have to ,to insure this audit does not happen.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 07/09/12 - 10:14 pm
4
0
If they can't even agree on

If they can't even agree on the questions to ask, how can we expect them to ever agree on anything of substance?

Little Lamb
45398
Points
Little Lamb 07/10/12 - 07:48 am
2
0
Code

Are the four questions written in a secret code language? Let's try to parse them. Here is question 1:

1. Were the parking facilities built without executed agreements between the city and deck manager, Augusta Riverfront LLC?

Yes, the parking facilities were indeed built before there was an inked deal to manage the deck, but, excuse me, construction and managing are two separate things that can be executed in either order. You can build a thing and then decide who is going to manage it later. Hopefully, the management contract will be re-bid on a periodic basis so the city can get a better deal one day.

Let's look at the second question:

2. Were bids were properly solicited, processed and evaluated from parties seeking to run the facilities?

Good question. Augusta procurement personnel have a long and tawdry history of violating procedures and state laws regarding procurement and bids. I'm sure a good auditor can find something wrong.

Little Lamb
45398
Points
Little Lamb 07/10/12 - 07:58 am
2
0
More Code

Question three is really deeply encoded. I don't know what they're after here. Please help me:

3.Do proposed management agreements exceed amounts bid by parking management firms?

What are they talking about by the use of this word proposed? I can sit around and propose things all day long and not violate the law. Is someone hinting that the contract the commission approved and the mayor signed pays more money to Riverfront LLC than what Riverfront LLC actually bid?

Question four is a bit clearer than the previous one:

4.Did illegal or fraudulent events occur during property acquisitions for the facilities.

Acquisition of private property by governments is traditionally filled with questionable and illegal and fraudulent events. It's just they "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" system at work. Why don't they just let Don Cheeks and Ashby Krause answer that question and let the auditing firm answer the other three?

Riverman1
82451
Points
Riverman1 07/10/12 - 08:23 am
3
0
LL, you're on the right track, but...

Yeah, all good questions, but the purpose of some Commissioners is to make sure the ground rules are don't ask anything that will cast blame on the owner (even if it is heavily borrowed against) of the land or the Marriott. Let's be honest here.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 11/07/12 - 05:05 am
4
0
It would seem

noting is here.

Little Lamb
45398
Points
Little Lamb 07/10/12 - 08:32 am
1
0
No GBI

Good post, Curtain. But I disagree about the GBI. They investigated a football game brawl witnessed by a hundred people where a coach's face was bashed in and required surgery; and the GBI could find no one at fault.

Riverman1
82451
Points
Riverman1 07/10/12 - 08:37 am
3
0
Naïve

I see lots of naivety floating about today. I am becoming such a cynic about Augusta government.

Little Lamb
45398
Points
Little Lamb 07/10/12 - 08:39 am
3
0
Taxes

How much did the parking deck cost to build? Say, $4 million?

The smart thing they could do now would be to deed the entire parking deck property over to Riverfront, LLC or to 933 Broad, LLC as a gift. Then the tax assessor could assess the property for $4 million. That way, the city could collect property taxes on the new Marriott parking deck.

Riverman1
82451
Points
Riverman1 07/10/12 - 09:05 am
4
0
LL, That's a Good Idea

Heck, give the whole parking garage to them and the TEE Center too since the Marriott is the only one it actually benefits.

Riverman1
82451
Points
Riverman1 07/10/12 - 09:17 am
4
0
Absurdity

The height of absurdity is having the other motel owners out in West Augusta having their room tax sent downtown to pay for the TEE Center and parking deck that only the Marriott benefits from.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 11/07/12 - 05:06 am
1
0
The giving away question

I cannot see it justifiable.

Riverman1
82451
Points
Riverman1 07/10/12 - 11:49 am
2
0
Has Wells Fargo released the

Has Wells Fargo released the lien yet?

eb97
835
Points
eb97 07/10/12 - 03:00 pm
0
0
You should read the Wells

You should read the Wells Fargo web page where people have written about their experiences with them. Folks, they are not pretty.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 07/10/12 - 05:27 pm
0
0
Don't ask, don't tell

Someone should remind the commissioners that Don't Ask, Don't Tell is no more.

Conservative Man
5455
Points
Conservative Man 07/10/12 - 05:50 pm
0
0
Three ring circus.

No way these clowns will EVER vote to investigate themselves....they know parliamentary procedure too well to allow that to ever happen...ie: refer things back to committee where they die from lack of funding.
In this case that actually may be a good thing. It will force a "no" vote thereby putting certain commissioners on record as being in favor of this raw deal for the taxpayers......further digging a hole for themselves at a later date....I say this, because my sources tell me "higher authorities" have already had extensive meetings concerning this very issue..
Gentlemen......the clock is ticking, and time is NOT on your side......
Never mind.....you guys just keep right on as you have all along.....hehehe....

scgator
1042
Points
scgator 07/10/12 - 06:13 pm
1
0
WHY is it that EVERYTHING the

WHY is it that EVERYTHING the city does ALWAYS has an "after the fact" look of ineptitude and ignorance ??? If we could go back and recoup the monies that the city leaders have cost us in the last 30 years.........republican or democrat, it doesn't matter..............neither side has a problem throwing away taxpayer money to their cronies and associates; it is always the same answers......"I don't know how it happened..............I can't make a decision because.............My hands are tied, it's out of my control.................we can't vote, enough members aren't here.....................!!!!!!

That is why they have the "legal" Pre-Meetings, to discuss how and what they will do at the full commission "Public" meetings.

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