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Archive for August 23rd, 2010

Seattle Libraries in Same Boat

Lookee, lookee.

A $67m. city of Seattle budget shortfall has libraries closing across the burg. So Charlotte is not alone in dealing with tighter revenues as a result of the economic contraction and having a city run the libraries — as opposed to a county — is no magic bullet.

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Look South, Pat

Alright, starting to get more Pat in 2012 for governor stories. No surprise — that is the purpose of his PAC and all the fundraising for candidates this cycle.

But if Pat McCrory is smarter than he is proud and stubborn, he’ll pay close attention to the Florida GOP race for governor, which wraps up tomorrow. Should Rick Scott come out of no where to best career politician Bill McCollum that will be powerful evidence that running as an “outsider conservative” resonates will suburban voters smacked around by this recession.

At least one poll has Scott in the lead. Public Policy Polling notes that McCollum leads with moderates, but is getting crushed among conservatives.

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Atlanta DEA Needs Ebonics Experts

I am not making that up. Nine Ebonics experts to be exact, the same number sought in Korean and Farsi.

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EpiCentre: Follow the Money

The great thing about EpiCentre filing for bankruptcy is the window it provides into the operation of the taxpayer-subsidized complex. The Charlotte Business Journal dove through that window last week and came up with some interesting stuff, to wit:

  • There is reason you’ll find so many Afshin Ghazi defenders around town — he’s paid for an awful lot of them. His Pacific Ave. I and II have thrown boatloads of EpiCentre proceeds at local law firms, the CBJ reports. Johnston, Allison & Hord got about a cool million, and is still owed some $448,000. The firm is home to Mecklenburg County Bar president Pat Kelly. Bill Diehl and crew at James, McElroy & Diehl billed $126,000 for its role in fighting off the Regions Bank foreclosure on its $90m. loan. Grier Furr & Crisp also got about $125,000 for bankruptcy work.
  • EpiCentre really does not throw off all that much income for a 312,000-square-foot property. Net operating income was $318,640 in June, and routine, recurring capital expenses could easily claim one-third of that. No wonder the flurry of legal bills tipped the property to a $144K loss for the month. And rumors of an on-and-off “rent strike” among some unhappy EpiCentre tenants gain substance with the claim that almost $120K in rent is owed to the property. That and $1.3m. in lease payments were never made because tenants never moved in after signing leases. Overall, not good signs and no wonder EpiCentre stopped paying on its note.
  • EpiCentre did keep paying Afshin Ghazi, CBJ’s report makes clear. Call it at least $900,000 to Ghazi and Ghazi-related entities over the past two or so years. And that includes almost $110,000 to keep Ghazi in choice Bobcat and Panther tickets.

Me, I cannot wait to see which local pols take and cash Ghazi’s campaign donations.

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August 2010
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