Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Billboard Mafia

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Thanks Commissioner Vespo
and we can't forget Clemens and Lowe

The Mafia is Here…the billboard Mafia. They have been in our city for a year and a half now, ever since Larry Karns our former city attorney, (did he ever read a contract?) along with Bob Baldwin, our elusive city manager, were strong armed by Interstate Outdoor Advertising, Inc. They had applied to the City to install billboards along I-95 in our city. Interstate was denied because billboard signs were against our signage Ordinance. So what do they do? They sued us. Why not? Everyone does.

Part of the “settlement” agreement (now understand there was not a suit yet only the threat of one) we agreed never to take any legal action to contend that the Settlement agreement was illegal, unconstitutional or void as against public policy and we promised to carry out the agreement. The Commission gave away our legal remedy. We also agreed to re-zone any property that needed it and to do everything possible to make life easier for this company.

Something happened behind the scenes. Interstate was determined to get their way and Karns and Baldwin convinced the weak City Commission to do business with this “mafia.” It makes you wonder. The only responsible commissioners were Jennings and Golden who voted "no." The money looked good as they had promised to pay us a lump sum of $2,650,000 for 6 billboards (the deal that Baldwin liked) along I-95 on a 20 year lease: 3 billboards on the west side on private property and 3 billboards on the east side. There was a second payment alternative that gave us monthly payments (the deal that Clemens preferred) over 20 years. And then later, we got 3 more signs and the Commission approved this too...a neon sign that I have the pleasure of looking at every day all night long...link above.

The lease is for a term of 19 years and 364 days.

Recently the City Manager and the Commission has asked about these billboards because we have never received the first dime for one of the worst decisions the city has made. Susan Stanton even brought them up again yesterday at the Compass meeting when she was contemplating on how we would pay Compass the $250,000 they wanted, money the Commission had just agreed to pay. We in the Lake Osborne area have been asking about train horns for 4 years now and a remedy that would eliminate noise pollution and would cost the City $12,000. We can’t seem to get the city to act for the thousands of residents that these horns affect on a daily basis. The City does have its priorities.

This was just another BAD contract that the City got into. Instead of requiring that Interstate obtain all the necessary permits, etc. before construction, they allowed them to install these unsightly billboards. I am not sure that the City even reviewed an engineering drawing. All of a sudden one day, they were being erected. We had to accept their Contract as presented. Not one change was ever made. All Staff could see was the $$$$. All the Commission could see was the same. There has been innuendo through the course of this that perhaps the underside of the table saw some too.

Stanton mentioned the possibility of cutting off the electricity to Interstate. Interstate is responsible for the cost of electricity. Have they been paying the bill? Also per section 18 of the Lease agreement, illumination is supposed to be off at midnight.

So, today, 18 months later, we have the billboards--NO MONEY-- but what we do have are stalls from the Billboard company and about the worst blight ever imagined.

2 comments:

dee mcnamara said...

The history of the FREE billboards,
was created by the actions of Vespo, Clemens and Lowe. They joined the billboard Mafia by allowing them not to pay us for the agreed upon lease rent, thus far.
Any Citizens protesting this non payment, while they get business from those signs on our land, are LABELED CONFRONTATIONAL and ostracized by the Commissions. The Commission has the right to give away our whole City ACCORDING TO THEIR IMPULSES, fed by their egos,as they wake up, in bad or good mood.nOT THE RESPECT FOR CITIZENS FINACIAL POSITION.
That is what Citizens have voted into office!
Any legitimate lease holder WOULD HAVE done a thorough professional inspection of a property to be leased.
Compass glad to have suckered the Commissions into the $85.00 permonth 12000 sq. Senior Center,ran with that outrageous lease,and.....
failed to do so.
THE COUNTY WAS OBLIGED TO BRING THE BUILDING UP TO CODE, NOT LAKE WORTH.
THE NEGLIGENT COMMISSIONS NEVER REQUESTED THAT.
THE SHOULD PAY FOR THE REHAB UP TO CODE NOT THE CITIZENS. WE WERE NOT THE NEGLIGENT ONES.

WATCH THE NEXT ELECTIONS!
HOPEFULLY THE CITIZENS ARE FED UP WITH BEING ROBBED AND COME OUT TO VOTE FOR THE RIGHT ,REALLY QUALIFIED CANDIDATE.


Dee

kkss21 said...

Dave Vespo and Retha Lowe made so many destructive decisions while they were Commissioners that it will be years,if ever ,that Lake Worth recovers. Jeff Clemens was almost as bad. At least Jeff did do the right thing for the citizens on a couple of occasions.Karns,that stupid boob,should be disbarred .Dave Vespo had the welcome mat out for anyone who wanted to screw "his" city. There just had to be some form of payment involved for "The city of Lake Worth". Yeah,right.