08 March 2020

[Bess Tuggle] - Major Concerns About the Old Cousins Purchase

I need some help folks.  I’ve got one nagging at my mind that just won’t go away.  Being rained in doesn’t help, but there are pieces of the pie missing that I just can’t seem to find.  Our taxpayer-funded pie, that is.

The Citizen reported “Newton County seeks authority to fund public projects.”  “The county approved the purchase of the former Cousins Middle School on Geiger Street on Feb. 4, although the county has not yet determined how it will pay the purchase price of approximately $1.2 million, nor has it finalized how renovations will be funded.”  “The county currently rents the Cousins Center at a rate of $11,425 per month.”

This water is so muddy it’s ridiculous.

In response to an ORR to the Board of Education I received, in part and paraphrased: “State of Georgia, County of Newton, Contract for purchase and sale of real estate.”  On the 8th day of December, 1998, the 25 +/- acres commonly known as the “Old Cousins Middle School Site..” for ten thousand and 00/100 dollars.”  Section 15 reads “15. Assignment.  Purchaser may assign this contract to another non-profit entity.”  Then section 16:  “Refund.  In the unlikely event Purchaser should at a later date sell the Property of a third party, then in that event, Purchaser shall pay to the Seller any and all net profits received from the sale to the third party.”  Purchaser is listed as ARNOLD FUND, signed by Robert R Fowler, III as Trustee.  Seller: NEWTON COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION, signed by E.W. Clamp, Superintendent and by: Don Floyd, Board Chairman.

In researching, and I admit there are pieces of the pie missing, only 4 months after the sale (per georgia-register.com) “COUSINS COMMUNITY CENTER, INC. is an entity registered at Georgia with company number K916519. Company is incorporated on19th April 1999. Current status of the company is Active/Compliance. The company's registered agent is FRANK B TURNER JR, 1118 CONYERS ST, Newton, COVINGTON, GA, 30014, USA The company's CFO is CHARLES BERRY, 80 EASTWOOD DRIVE, COVINGTON, GA, 30014, USA The company's Secretary is CHARLES BERRY, 80 EASTWOOD DRIVE, COVINGTON, GA, 30014, USA The company's CEO is Tom Solley, 8134 Geiger Street, Suite 1, Covington, GA, 30014, USA”  It got “flipped” from one non-profit to another, IMHO.

Then from the Non-Profit Explorer: COUSINS COMMUNITY CENTER INC
8134 GEIGER STREET, COVINGTON, GA 30014-1288 | TAX-EXEMPT SINCE FEB. 2003
EIN: 02-0627128
Classification (http://nccs.urban.org/classification/NTEE.cfm)
Community, Neighborhood Development, Improvement (General) (Community Improvement, Capacity Building)
Nonprofit Tax Code Designation: 501(c)(3)
Defined as: Organizations for any of the following purposes: religious, educational, charitable, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition (as long as it doesn’t provide athletic facilities or equipment), or the prevention of cruelty to children or animals.”

        Someone PLEASE connect the dots for me!  Help me with my math, too.  I don’t know how a facility went from $10,000 to $1.2 million, with former workers griping about the falling down/rat-infested building and we don’t even know how much it would take to fix!  And I have to ask, if this lil’ old grandmother could find this information from the comfort and convenience of her home watching a 4-year-old grandson, why didn’t the county commissioners take any of it into consideration when voting to buy it with -OUR- tax dollars?


ORIGINAL PURCHASE & SALE AGREEMENT*: 



*Ed. note: These are pages 1 & 8 of this contract. The rest is pretty much boilerplate & pertaining to contingencies. We are in possession of the .pdf of the full contract & I'll be happy to email that to anyone who would like it. - MBM

ADDITIONAL INFO:

HYPERLINK "https://georgia-register.com/K916519-cousins-community-center-inc?fbclid=IwAR0RCuJRffz-8SvYuABdJ3WNrR_qwWuqiAzlR_DuGDRZSNJVxWPD-PFYQCk"https://georgia-register.com/K916519-cousins-community-center-inc?fbclid=IwAR0RCuJRffz-8SvYuABdJ3WNrR_qwWuqiAzlR_DuGDRZSNJVxWPD-PFYQCk 

HYPERLINK "https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/20627128?fbclid=IwAR1v0LbXk01oQvmTbXsXXLFs3JsxejOGkbs6eyrrU60ofvBJ4yAh2UiXJfo"https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/20627128?fbclid=IwAR1v0LbXk01oQvmTbXsXXLFs3JsxejOGkbs6eyrrU60ofvBJ4yAh2UiXJfo 

For your further reading enjoyment (grinding my teeth):   https://www.georgiaconservancy.org/blueprints/covington?fbclid=IwAR2p7Y80M7BeysmzD0bFTfF-mljarCbWExff8430lBAaRygG8k6yS7lFd44https://www.georgiaconservancy.org/blueprints/covington?fbclid=IwAR2p7Y80M7BeysmzD0bFTfF-mljarCbWExff8430lBAaRygG8k6yS7lFd44 

https://qpublic.schneidercorp.com/Application.aspx?AppID=794&LayerID=11825&PageTypeID=4&PageID=5723&KeyValue=C062000000001A00&fbclid=IwAR2xvs_7XCh-x0F2F9TPwm_jNsPk9YGjGLH29eFphzFpiz77LA_pFbFhAi0https://qpublic.schneidercorp.com/Application.aspx?AppID=794&LayerID=11825&PageTypeID=4&PageID=5723&KeyValue=C062000000001A00&fbclid=IwAR2xvs_7XCh-x0F2F9TPwm_jNsPk9YGjGLH29eFphzFpiz77LA_pFbFhAi0 

https://www.open990.org/org/586032079/arnold-fund-john-sawyer/?fbclid=IwAR2_Gc1tJjK8SRDQRLjOAcnPn8o9bPuJsgJDqTorFNY4lnt2HxhuwqM5BN4"https://www.open990.org/org/586032079/arnold-fund-john-sawyer/?fbclid=IwAR2_Gc1tJjK8SRDQRLjOAcnPn8o9bPuJsgJDqTorFNY4lnt2HxhuwqM5BN4 

PPS:  Heartfelt thanks to my -wonderful- husband who is a much better researcher than I am, and Mr. Sam for his patience and guidance while teaching me how to do an ORR and where to send it.

4 comments:

  1. How do you buy a piece of property for $10,000 then lease it out for $11,425 per month? Quite a return on your investment. With all the names involved you would think someone would want to keep this an arm's length relationship. This is what one-party rule, good ole boy network, self-dealing looks like.

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    Replies
    1. I agree - and it makes me sick.

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    2. You're right and I've asked myself the same question (over and over and over.. at 2 a.m.). One of the things that -pisses- me off is that it got flipped so quick - and no one threw up a red flag. I'm no attorney (though I did survive 1st year law and worked as an assistant for 4 years for a local law firm) but just the fact that it went from the Arnold Fund to the "Cousin's Community Center, Inc." kinda nulled the the paragraph about a BOE refund should the buyer sell to a third party. The "original" buyer didn't own it anymore. I feel like a dog chasing its own tail.

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  2. Another interesting point: Property seldom has intrinsic value. Its value is determined by market factors (how much is someone willing to pay for it?). How did they determine that this parcel was worth in excess of $10 million? Besides the county there is no other entity desiring to purchase the property. Therefore, it basically is worthless.

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