I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Brownsville Property Sale Price Agreed Upon at Special Meeting

After twisting and turning and spinning back and forth like an astronaut trainee in a centrifuge--it looks like the deal to sell the Brownsville property to Friendship Missionary Baptist Church is back on again. 

After much discussion and fanfare this morning at a special meeting of the Escambia County School Board--all of the parties involved  finally settled on a sale price of $1,002,000.00.

The meeting began with Superintendent Malcolm Thomas asking Pastor LuTimothy May and the Church Chairman of the Board if they were prepared to move forward on the deal at the $1,002,000.00  price point.  When the representatives of the church answered Mr. Thomas' query in the affirmative, the agenda item was taken up by the board for action.

Several speakers addressed the board, with the sentiment that the board should consider reducing the price or giving the church the property at a low lease rate.

Mrs. Moultrie spoke passionately in support of the sale, and just when all of the members of the board were about to vote to approve the sale, Rev. May approached the podium and explained that the church had only committed to $800,000.00 and closing costs.  This immediately put the room into a state of panic.

Where would the remaining $200,000.00 come from?

Knowing that the board has the power to amend contracts it has for action (because I asked our attorney for a written opinion on this subject), and sensing that the deal was about to flatline and potentially slip away, I put forward a suggestion that the board take a substantial down payment and allow the church to pay the difference over time with terms.

I did not want to come off like know- it -all Hart Bochner's character (Harry Ellis) from 1988's blockbuster
"Die Hard"  (and I don't think I did because we all know what Hans Gruber did to Harry Ellis when he tried to negotiate.....)but I wanted to insert some common sense and rationality into the discussion--as we were so close to making this thing happen and I did not want to see any more gyrations or histrionics on this negotiation.

Board Chairman Mr. Gerald Boone called for a 15 minute recess to the meeting, and the church officials discussed the unfolding events. When the meeting re-adjourned, an anonymous church donor had apparently stepped up and pledged to cover the remaining $200,000.00 balance to make the deal happen.

After some additional comments from the board, superintendent, and others--the meeting went full circle back to the original agenda item, terms, and price.

The board eventually, in very anti-climactic fashion, voted unanimously to sell the property at Superintendent Thomas' agreed price of $1,002,000.00---all cash at closing.

Now I just hope nothing else changes because I'm ready to move on from this transaction.

Merry Christmas!

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