Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Farish Street Saga: Did Solomon appear?

The Farish Street fracas in Hinds County Chancery Court may be over as the parties reached a settlement that was approved by Chancellor Dewayne Thomas.  JRA and Watkins Development agreed to turn over the whole deal to LCS Land Development.  JRA The company is owned by Leroy Smith of Colorado.

Highlights of the deal:

*JRA gives rights to all property it owns on Farish Street to Watkins.  Watkins reconveys the property to LCS.
*LCS provides funds to repay HUD Community Development Block Grant to Watkins.  Watkins gives funds to JRA.  JRA repays HUD.  The amount will not exceed $1.6 million.
*The lawsuit against Watkins Development is dismissed and the lien against Watkins is purged.
*LCS will "undertake a comprehensive multipurpose development". 
*JRA will assist LCS in securing TIF financing and other incentives if needed, pending City Council approval.
*JRA will provide "long term financing" of $25 million.
*LCS purchases Atmos building and land from City/JRA for $500,000. 
*Watkins will be allowed to present to JRA board his development plan.


Casual Observer said...

Who owns Ben Allen?

Anonymous said...


"A disconnect between JRA's trial counsel and general counsel had resulted in a viable development plan being withheld from the board."

I ain't no lawyer, but isn't this malpractice? or something like that?

Anonymous said...

Three-card Monte. Or maybe we should say Three-card Phony Yarber.

Now can we get David Watkins to pay the tens of thousand$$$ he owes Hinds County in late property taxes?

Want us to list them all, again, Dave?

Anonymous said...

Who owns Ben Allen? Too easy. David Watkins.

Anonymous said...

@7:31 give it a rest. We've heard enough of you before.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I don't know how he did it, but Watkins pulled a freaking coup. Read the order! Holy shit. There is no doubt that Judge Thomas is some kind of pissed and smells a rat at Jones Walker. Just watch out for those pompous asses to now pull out all the stops to make sure this deal gets killed. A settlement will end the Jones Walker gravy train, and, you know, make them look like the dicks that they are.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I'm sorry, but reading this stuff and the MBJ article today about JRA rehiring Zach Taylor and yet another unnamed lawyer is like cray cray. You can't make this shit up.

Anonymous said...

@7:31 What's a three-card Monte?

Drop 'Em, Hands On The Table, Spread 'Em said...

If you ask 'what 3-card Monte', you are the perfect mark to be had in the game.

Ben Allen and Watkins conspire to have Yarber, the city and the readers of JJ believe a sum of money will arrive at the game and will be dispersed to the pleasure and satisfaction of all parties.

As the game begins, Allen, Watkins and several other conspirators are gathered around a cardboard box. Three bent and well-worn cards are in use. The 'mark', you in this case....or me....or another innocent and naive ignoramus, arrives on the scene to find the game in progress. Seeing how easy it will be to win all the money, the 'mark', you in this case or the city, or me....will believe the game to be legit and will subsequently (but quickly) lose his ass and everything in his pockets.

Allen and Watkins and their compatriots will then yell out that 'the cops are coming', grab their cardboard box and cards and hustle off like a group of roaches. The 'mark', you in this case, will be left standing there, drop-jawed and shafted, broke as the Ten Commandments.

Allen and Watkins will then set up the Monte game down the street and around the corner where other 'marks' can be had.

Anonymous said...

Always works this way....the lawyers suck all the money they can from everybody involved, then everybody settles.

Kingfish said...

As for the lawyers, let us not forget that the JRA got rid of Zach Taylor and hired Priester's aunt. Priester's mom also represents the Convention Center.

Anonymous said...

More Jackson taxpayer money about to get thrown into the Farish economic disaster area. The ROI will be the same as before. ZILCH.

Anonymous said...

Kingfish if you check the JRA records you'll see that Jones Walker and Zach Taylor were never really fired. Even though Ms Brown was named "general counsel" Zach Taylor continued to represent JRA on all PENDING matters, including Farish street, the Westin project and everything else he was working on at the time he was "fired." Jones Walker has billed JRA over $500,000 for the Farish St litigation alone. As usual the lack of transparency of JRA rears it's ugly head. And, it doesn't take a genius to realize that it has been in Jones WALKER'S best financial interest to keep Farish litigation from settling.

Speechless said... Who is running the JRA? way to go Jackson you've found a new way to legalize corruption. I guess y'all forgot though that Zach Taylor is a white guy. I guess he's found good cover by hiding behind Melvin Priester's aunt as the so called general counsel. Does it kind of stink to high heavens that the JRA has just turned into a legal fee authority instead of a development authority? Time for Auditor or the FBI to come bail Jackson out.

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight. Jones Walker (i.e., Zach Taylor) has represented the JRA for eons. Jones Walker has been litigation counsel in the Farish dispute and has billed over $500,000 on that case. And, even though Jones Walker (Zach Taylor), was supposed to have been fired by the JRA, Taylor has continued to represent the JRA on everything he was working on at the time he got "fired." That means he's still working on everything for the JRA because the only thing new they've done is botch up trying to hire an executive director. Even the botched attempt to sale the JRA Westin bonds was done by Zach Taylor.

And now the JRA has "officially" rehired Taylor, I suppose to reward him for all his stellar incompetence and legal corruption. And, they're hiring a THIRD unnamed lawyer as well (probably another younger Jones Walker lawyer).

I'm with Speechless above. Time to call in the Calvary. This is just plain stupid. It may not be illegal, but it sure is STUPID. It's time to get rid of all of the old JRA lawyers and find somebody new, that doesn't have conflicts out their ass.

Anonymous said...

Can't find any LCS Land Development LLC registered with Hosemann's office.

Anonymous said...

Do your research Jackson. Leroy C. Smith is a snake oil salesman. JRA is going to convey all Farish property to Watkins and Watkins to Leroy Smith? Long term financing of another $25 million? Watkins fooled you once. The second one will be shame on Jackson. City Council better get off its ass fast and vet Leroy Smith. There are redevelopment failure skeletons in his closet.

political observer said...

LCS is a Denver based developer. The article is slightly wrong in that it states a settlement was announced; the order requires that the offer to purchase and develop the property (by LCS, eliminating all prior players) must be submitted to JRA. If the offer is accepted, the litigation ends. I cannot fathom how this deal could be rejected if the City honestly wants Farish Street to move forward, wants to make the JRA solvent again and wants all the previous developers (Watkins, Gibbs, Walker, McCallister, Brunson) to be removed.

It's also important for the Watkins haters to note that David spent his life savings on Farish Street. Everything he had. Over $2 million of his own money. He spent the MDA money under the watchful eye of CMPDD who approved every purchase and three separate audits have confirmed the legitimacy of every purchase. It is beyond stupid to make him out to be anything but a hard worker who was eviscerated by the political process. The most scathing adjectives one might append to David is naive and trusting to a fault. He's now teaching at Jackson State, where the students love him. His livelihood has been decimated. Find a way to meet David and his incredible family. You will never disparage him again.

Anonymous said... is Cavalry, not CALVARY (the hill that Jesus was crucified on)...good Lord.

Your entire post is useless based on your grammatical idiocy.

Anonymous said...

The most scathing adjectives one might append to David is naive and trusting to a fault.

And habitually late paying his property taxes. Now maybe he naively thought the due dates were flexible and he oddly trusted that no one would really charge him interest on the past due payables. That is a possibility.

Here Come the Apologists said...

@10:03 AM says go long for another Farish St. Hail Mary and then carries Watkins' redemption water.

Anonymous said...

What are LCS's credentials for this type of development? I see nothing on the web.
Did anyone vet this?

Anonymous said...

10:12 ever cross your mind that Watkins might be broke because of all the JRA litigation? Not everybody is always flush with cash, apparently like you must be.

Your observation, though, does point out one very salient point. It's clear that Watkins hasn't gotten rich off of dealing with the JRA and the City of Jackson. Obviously, the opposite has been true. I guess he just didn't hire the right lawyers, wasn't the right color, or didn't suck up to the right politician. Maybe, he should have hired Jones Walker. Or, maybe you, whoever you are, since you seem to know everything, you must be a lawyer.

Anonymous said...

i think zach taylor must be trolling here. how funny.

Anonymous said...

Sweeten the pot to offset the risk: JRA’s $9 million Westin hotel bond gets no takers

Bend over Jackson taxpayers. The pigs need more slop from your treasury.

Anonymous said...

Watkins habitual late payment of property taxes well predates the JRA litigation. Good try.

Anonymous said...

Well I am one small business who got "screwed" by all of them from Performa to Watkins. I desperately wanted Farish Street to work and I signed off on every one of the loans because I believed the people involved. Now we are left with nothing but a bad taste and another developer who will try to use out-of-state tactics. Farish Street entertainment will never realize the kind of rents they want to charge. Jackson is not Memphis. Jackson is more like the Red River District in Shreveport. You cannot bring in these national "daquiri" stores that sell slushy+alcohol at exorbitant prices and hamburgers for $10. and expect any locals to patronize very often. We need local people involved and local flavors to attract local patrons. Prices cannot be equal to New Orleans and Chicago.

Anonymous said...

MBJ reporting Cathead Vodka is moving to Farish Street. That's a start!

Anonymous said...

I agree. My observation is that Watkins has been well intentioned, had too many projects going at once, but most of all, was not always well served by those he put trust in, including some key employees, the City and some partners. I hope David manages eventually to land on his feet. He deserves to.

Anonymous said...

This has been a tough project from day one and JRA did not do its part and pulled the plug on Watkins without legal authority. JRA has o leadership and their lawyers have robbed the City. This developer will fail also because the business model is unsound.

Anonymous said...

Has it been determined that JRA pulled the plug without legal authority? Don't think we've seen any court rule on that yet.

Anonymous said...

11:13 you signed off on every one of the loans. Good Lord, why are you even on this blog. What did you make off the deal? And exactly how did you get screwed.

Anonymous said...

Obviously someone leaked this document to launch an ad hominem attack against Leroy Smith to poison the well on this potential deal. But if I recall, Watkins did bring in third parties to develop and invest in the King Edward Hotel and the Standard Life Building. That worked out well.

It seems like if a guy like Smith is willing to bring investors to Jackson to buy up the property and take a risk on it—while helping the City out of its HUD crisis—that’s a pretty good thing to consider.

So…just how long have Jones Walker and Zach Taylor kept the JRA from even hearing about this proposed settlement while racking up more legal fees and drama? That just sounds criminal. Or it is just business as usual?

Anonymous said...

Show us 3:26 Smith's successes bringing investors anywhere to buy up property, take a risk on it and succeed at redevelopment. Show us.

Anonymous said...

4:38 Get a life. What have you done to bring in investors or anything else for the City? This is not a brain teaser. You got somebody from out-of-state that wants to buy the property and redevelop it. Sale it to him, and get out of his way. If he succeeds great. If not, then at least the property is on the tax rolls and somebody else in the private sector can have a shot at it. It's clear that JRA control and ownership is simply not the way to go. Let them just build parking garages and quite spending money on lawyers for going-nowhere deals. How much has JRA spent on the TCI debacle and since on trying to get a convention center hotel? the lesson is - JRA, stay the hell out of serious business. it's for grownups.

Anonymous said...

Serious business? For grownups? Like the financially disasterous Convention Center?

Tell us 5:21 PM, what have you done to bring in investors or anything else for the City?

Anonymous said...

Convention Center is JRA type business.

Anonymous said...

Julie Skipper and Kamikazee

Anonymous said...

It is all George Bush's or Ben Allen's fault.

Anonymous said...

It's Obama's fault.

Anonymous said...

Nope. still Ben Allen's fault.

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