MPDP: “Betrayal and Disappointment”

The one person that has been consistently mentioned in both the Request for Qualification and Request for Proposal is Cynthia Griffith, Saxet Realty. Her role per the RFQ was in charge of Commercial Retail and Restaurant Leasing. The RFP had her role as the Coordinating Broker.

I reached Griffith yesterday while she was traveling in Texas, where she also is a real estate broker. I had heard that she had been part of the Land Capital development team from the very beginning and had brought Davison to Pensacola.

Griffith said she had not only brought Davison in the “deal,” but had hooked him up with San Antonio commercial investor Rick Rodriquez, with whom she had gone to graduate school at the Texas A&M.

The commercial real estate broker was reluctant to talk, but said that she hasn’t been paid the money she was promised by Davison and Rodriguez for arranging the deal. “I feel very betrayed by both parties,” Griffith told me.

“I brought them together and then everything went crazy,” Griffith said. “Everyone went back on their word. I know the commercial real estate business can be terrible, but I’ve never seen something go quite as nuts as this.”

She said that after 23 years in the business she isn’t sure she still wants to be a commercial broker. Since 1987, she has operated under the radar representing several national retailers on an exclusive basis, including Ruby Tuesdays, Starbucks and Office Depot.

Griffith thought both Davison and Rodriguez were capable of developing the Community Maritime Park. “Scott is a very brilliant person. I’ve known him for 10-11 years and he is a shrewd business person. I wouldn’t have recommended him if I didn’t think he could do it.

She said that Scott and Land Capital Group appeared to be successful in retail development. “From an intelligence and experience standpoint, Scott is very capable.”

Griffith brought Rodriguez into the deal when it appeared Scott didn’t have the financial resources to be the master developer. She had only recently reconnected with Rodriguez, who had married one of her college friends.

“Rick owns and controls more office space in San Antonio than anyone and had recently done a big housing project with the city of San Antonio,” Griffith said. “I thought good grief, he has his act together.”

Griffith would not tell me any of the specifics of how she was to be paid or about the early negotiations of Davison and Rodriguez. She expected to be paid after MPDP signed the contract with CMPA in August 2009.

Last April, she said that they offered what she called “Little Girl Walk Away” money, which she refused. “All I can say is that I feel betrayed and disappointed,” she said before she ended the interview. “The betrayal is so extensive by Rick, Scott and other members of the team—people that I have personally known for years.”

Through a public records request, IN did obtain a copy of email, dated April 15, 2010, from Griffith to Davison, Jeff Galt (MPDP president) and Mark White.

She writes that the men were to make changes to two agreements that the CMPA has no knowledge of and which Galt and Davison failed to give CMPA attorney Ed Fleming when he made his public record request: MDPD of Florida Commission Agreement and the MPLC of Florida Profit Participation Agreement.

She writes, “…with all the PNJ disclosure, it has been evident that all vendors/contractors involved in this project, to date, have been paid LARGE (her emphasis) sums, and ‘in full.’ Since our original commission agreement calls for that, and in light of the fact that precedence has been set with others, it is necessary that the entire $60K (Your original offer of $50K plus $10K for the unreasonable 8 month delay and associated interest–not to mention attorney fees) be paid upon mutual execution of both documents.”

This statement begs the question from MPDP: were CMPA funds used to pay off contractors for their work to get the bid, not for work on the maritime park. Shouldn’t any such fees be paid by Davison and Rodriguez?

See email: Griffith email