I was fooled by Scott Davison.
I believe in the Community Maritime Park project. I believe in the Contractor’s Academy.
On a Saturday morning over three years ago, I spent four hours with Davison at Crema, a restaurant on Garden Street that is now closed. We talked about the project. He showed me his drawings. We talked about the importance of the Covenant with the Community. I was completely taken in by his commitments: $500,000 a year for the Contractor’s Academy; $250,000 investment to get it started; $2.5 million loan to help with the project; and using his team to get another $10 million in grants for the park.
Maybe I wanted to believe too much and Davison knew how to sell me. Over the past year, we’ve seen the wheels come off the Davison spin machine. Because he didn’t have Bruce Cutright, MPDP didn’t have a general contractor with a Florida license so it couldn’t be the developer. The battle over with UWF for the site of the maritime museum ate too much time. MPDP couldn’t get a performance bond, causing further delays. And now the Contractor’s Academy is non-existent and the EBO agreement has compliance issues….all the while MPDP is paid $15,000 a week.
My first article on the Master Developer Candidates was “Inside Business” – Independent News July 26,2007. Davison sounded impressive and on par with the other candidates.
A year later “Moment of Decision” – Independent News Aug. 21, 2008. I found in this article a quote from Scott Davison from a radio interview I did with him:
“We came up with a device to finance more of the project using some of the revenues from the stadium and the UWF facilities. We put that together with $40 million from the bonds, some of the interest the funds would be earning and $2.5 million that Land Capital would put in as a loan. We would then have the funds necessary to build out all of the site infrastructure, remediation, the stadium, UWF facilities and most of the park. We planned to deliver the stadium by mid-2010.” ….Whatever happened to the $2.5 million loan?
Meanwhile the park is being built and is on schedule. The bonds were sold easily and the New Market Tax Credit funds have helped us keep the extra amenities.