My letter and personal communications to the mayor and City Council have gone unanswered, so I appeal to the citizens of Kingman to right the sinking ship we call our city.
Nearly three years ago, I was asked by the Grounds family to find them a development partner for their 400 acres on the north side of Interstate 40, one-and-a-half miles east of the Andy Devine Avenue interchange, in an area now called Kingman Crossing.
I successfully placed Bill Nugent with them as equal partners. We subsequently presented our vision of the Kingman Crossing interchange to then-Mayor Les Byram, his Council, city department heads and members of the public and media. We also went through the public process required to preliminary plat and rezone the 400 acres into 120 acres of regional commercial and the balance into residential.
Because I had two different noted developers with major users interested in Kingman, and after my request nearly two years ago as to their interest in selling some of the city land at Kingman Crossing, new Mayor Monica Gates and her Council asked me to have my clients put something in writing.
We did just that. Four letters of intent were submitted, two to the city of Kingman and two to Nugent/Grounds with the following similar terms in each: $3 per square foot on 120 of the city's 168 acres, 120 acres on the Nugent/Grounds side and the remaining 48 acres to the city for parks, recreation, police and fire substations, etc.
My clients were to pay for the interchange at no cost to the city or Nugent/Grounds, and they were to receive no sales tax rebates from the city. They asked that both the city and Nugent/Grounds pay me a 6-percent commission, which was later negotiated to 5 percent, that I was to split with a Phoenix broker.
On the other side of this equation, the city would have netted $15 million for its citizens. My client further asked for and provided a $15,000 drawing of the interchange, its location, size and type of retail that was to be at each of the four quadrants.
It is extremely unfortunate for the citizens of Kingman that City Manager Paul Beecher convinced Gates and her Council to turn down my clients' offer in favor of a new 14-percent contract with an out-of-state broker, S&Y Capital Group, which had NO major users. Based on the Nugent/Grounds recent sale of their 120 acres plus an adjoining 80 acres to Vanderbilt Farms - at $1.38 per square foot, the City Council has lost its citizens nearly $9 million of market value in today's market.
This loss will be further compounded by the potential of lost tax dollars if and when Council is coerced by Mr. Beecher, S&Y Capital and Vanderbilt to subsidize the interchange.
This is but one example of the underhanded, inept and perhaps fraudulent activity that has, and is, occurring at the city manager's office. Let me list but a few more: 1. City request for the major General Plan amendment for its 168 acres (non-compliance with state statutes and the city's own ordinance); 2. Completed feasibility study by a group that I introduced to the City Council, Transcor, to identify Kingman as the inland port for the West that has been sitting on the city manager's desk for five months; 3. Restriction of staff e-mails that are public property; 4. Below-board dealings by the city manager on four city-owned well sites; 5. Implementation of impact fees on new residential and commercial construction during the worst real estate market I have seen in my 32 years as a Realtor in Kingman; 6. Implementation of grading requirements, which are not even an ordinance here in the city, against new developments; 7. The city's and staff's lack of any vision to see the desperate need for annexation to have some control of the 300,000 new homes that are planned outside city limits and from which we will receive NO sales tax dollars but to which we still will have to provide health, welfare, schools and other benefits; 8. Do we really want to be partners with perhaps the biggest crook, Conley Wolfswinkel of Vanderbilt Farms, in the history of Arizona? - a man who owes the citizens of this state more than $700 million.
I fully support both the Kingman Crossing and the Rattlesnake Wash interchanges, providing there are no "deals" given to the developers. I will, however, be voting against the city in the November referendum, for reasons I have previously stated. I would ask that voters consider this: If my clients were willing to put the interchange in at no cost to the citizens two years ago, why does Vanderbilt require this now, along with the city's pledge not to be their competitor for the next seven years?
It is because Vanderbilt has NO major tenants other than, perhaps, a second Wal-Mart Supercenter. If you don't believe me, perhaps you should re-read Downey Savings & Loan's comments in this paper a few weeks ago.
David E. Hollingsworth
Broker/Owner Hollingsworth Properties, Inc.