On Monday, the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) will consider approving $281,660 in pre-development costs as requested by The Frenchtown Redevelopment Partners, LLC. (FRP)
A review of public records by TR revealed that Harold Knowles, who was indicted by a federal grand jury in the Middle District of Georgia last August, was listed as a Manager of FRP in documents filed with the state of Florida on March 6, 2018.
Mr. Knowles was also listed as the registered agent for the corporation.
It was reported on March 13, 2018 that former U.S. Attorney Pamela Marsh and James Judkins of the Ausley McMullen law firm were appearing as counsel for Knowles. Marsh also represents the city of Tallahassee in an FBI investigation of alleged corruption of Tallahassee officials.
The requested funds are for the planning stages of the redevelopment of the CRA-owned former shelter/Frenchtown Renaissance Community center and the adjacent properties located on the 400 block West Tennessee Street and West Virginia Street.
The pre-development costs include planning, appraisal services, consulting fees, management, surveying, legal work, and other miscellaneous expenses. The CRA will decide Monday whether or not to approve the grant, and will discuss terms and conditions should funding be approved.
The CRA has already invested $2.6 million in the redevelopment project in demolition and property management. This is a fraction of the project’s total estimated cost of $78 million.
With the CRA’s approval, the group is considering a development that will include housing, offices, a grocery store, and a parking garage. The group has been negotiating with vendors and contractors, but a final development proposal still needs to be drafted and approved by the CRA.
At this point, the CRA have not entered into a development agreement. While the CRA has incrementally committed to the project, the CRA’s further involvement will be determined as planning stages continue.
Funding for this request is slated to come from the 2018 fiscal year budget.
As a former city resident (33 years – left for good when JEB re-elected) this is really not unusual. There have been investigations in Tallahassee for as long as I remember. It is, after all, a wonderful city. But compared to other capital cities, very, very different. First of all, legislature meets two months of the year. It has one of the most strict open government in the country (how I wish my adopted state was 1/3 as open). It is absolutely ripe for nefarious dealings. Without two or more government officials at the same time, which would violate government in the sunshine laws.
As for Frenchtown, unless and until something is done FOR THE RESIDENTS (yep, yelling) nothing will change. What happened to the homeless shelter? Or the other places torn down? Were they replaced with something better? Probably not. Although I am not black or any other person of color, I never worried about going through there, waving off all the various offers. The residents of Frenchtown deserve better than the plans I have recently read about. Affordable, safe housing. Respect. A true ability to earn a liveable wage without the need to resort to crime. Respect. Respect. It does not sound like the plans being considered gave the residents of Frenchtown what they deserve. Only what will make money for white power brokers.
French Town ——how many times have we spent taxpayer money to rebuild, refurbish, and decorate streets, sidewalks,and store fronts in this area, only to go back a year later, and find destruction , disrepair and abuse of these efforts as if we have nothing better to do with taxpayer monies?. If folks that have interests there or live there, and want to redevelop same, then get a bank loan (odds are that will be difficult do to inherent risks already demonstrated), and help themselves—-leave the majority of us taxpayers that really could care less, out of it !!!!)
These stories that keep surfacing over the years about the COT reveal a deeply embedded, system-wide, incestuous network of corrupt elected officials and their corrupt business cronies-vendors, who use shell organizations and businesses to launder huge amounts of taxpayer dollars into their pockets.
Mr. Knowles is just one player in this web who finally got caught. I sincerely hope he’s busy spilling vast amounts of solid evidence and damning information on the COT cabal to the FBI.
Legalized theft of taxpayer money?… and this is only a down payment? … to a company managed by someone who has been indicted by a Federal Grand Jury?… Are the people awarding these taxpayer funds complicit in this venture?…Have they received campaign donations?…or promised contracts for the project?…Do these shenanigans happen in other cities…or just in Tallahassee?…Should Tallahassee just abolish the CRA?