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GOLDMAN: Mayor’s Shockoe Stadium proposal could give City Hall allies $200 million

Paul Goldman is a local lawyer who helped run Doug Wilder's historic campaign for governor of Virginia.

Paul Goldman is a local lawyer who helped run Doug Wilder's historic campaign for governor of Virginia.

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) –  Ask yourself, why you are learning about this situation right here for the first time? Whatever you may think of Mayor Wilder, the public didn’t have to worry at some $200 million sweetheart deal on a Shockoe Stadium.

Mayor Wilder knew what to do when they tried this curve ball.

He picked up the telephone, dialed and when a voice came on the line, he said simply:

“Paul, come over to my office, I need someone to give me an honest opinion on this Shockoe deal some folks are pushing on the city.”

Doug knew one thing, he would get my honest opinion. I might be wrong. I might be an idiot. I might be a pain in the rear, my hair might not be combed all the time, but he knew I would give him my honest idiot, pain-in-the-butt opinion, hair and all.

I told him the truth.

Mayor Wilder took about five seconds to kill it.

For weeks now, I have tried to do the same thing for YOU, the readers.

I don’t claim perfection. But it is my honest opinion knowing how things go after helping Governors and Mayors run stuff.

On Monday, Mayor Jones introduced his latest version of the Jones Shockoe Bottom Sweetheart deal. Now I know why so many people looked the other way when he called white Richmonders “racist.”

IT IS ALL ABOUT THE GREEN.

They were afraid to say anything for fear the Mayor would make sure they got NOTHING. Two hundred million dollars buys a lot of silence apparently.

The Mayor submitted his revised Shockoe Stadium proposal to City Council on Monday night. It has been revised to by-pass the public AND those city charter procedures intended to allow the people to prevent these kinds of sweet heart deals.

But that isn’t all.

This new plan allows him and his City Hall posse to effectively pick not only the top line contractors for the development projects, but the specific subcontractors, “consultants” and the like, all getting a guaranteed piece of the top line contractors “action.”

How much must the top line contractor give them to get City Hall’s approval? 40 percent at least. The 40 percent number is hidden way down in Resolution 2014-R 29 submitted by the Mayor.

It appears in clause 1 (g) (5) (ii) in the resolution submitted by the Mayor.

Since the top line contractor is also effectively picked by the City Hall posse in back-room discussion with the Economic Development Authority being used by the Mayor this deal, who do you think will be the subcontractors, consultants and like for the company getting the top line contract?

You got it, those with City Hall’s seal of approval.

The Economic Development Authority and his Administration, legally and behind-the-scenes, creates all the rules and picks all the winners, by-passing the process to stop this sort of thing in state law and the city charter!

It is all legal if City Council goes along.

The Mayor’s proposal cleverly doesn’t say whether the 40 percent rule is only limited to Shockoe Stadium related stuff or will also apply for the hundreds and hundreds of additional contracts for the Boulevard Development. This will apparently be revealed AFTER the City Council approves the whole deal, Shockoe and the Boulevard!

Why would the 40 percent rule not be the same since the same people are making up the rules?

While the Mayor’s statistics and promises keep changing, I think it is fair to say at least $500 million is a fair, conservative number to use in determining the total development over time.

You do the math,  40 percent of $500 million is $200 million in subcontracts, “consulting” gigs, and the like. I am not passing judgment on competence, since I don’t know who they might be. But their 40 percent “cut” is guaranteed.

Two hundred million dollars buys you a lot of friends, and a lot of silence apparently.

Paul Goldman is in no way affiliated with WTVR. His comments are his own, and do not reflect the views of WTVR or any related entity. Neither WTVR nor any of its employees or agents participated in any way with the preparation of Mr. Goldman’s comments.



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