Déjà vu: Is Lumberton About to Get Duped Again??


Last night there was a special call meeting at city hall. The meeting was called to renew the contract with the Lumberton Fire Department Support Group and to vote on a lease agreement on the old Lumberton Hospital with Jack Delk of Magnolia Gardens Assisted Living, Inc. Mayor Miriam Holder and Bobby Gibson, Alderman at Large/Mayor Pro-Tempore were not at last night's board meeting. Alderman Kent Crider presided over the meeting. The board reviewed the contract with the Lumberton Fire Department Support Group. There were some questions about the new officers and members of the support group but Jerry Walters, LVFD Chief, did not have a list of the new officers. Walters stated that the election was held in April and he submitted a list to the board shortly after the election. Walters also noted that he applied for a scholarship program for Jr. firefighters and the grant was approved and he will be implementing that program shortly. The lease with the Lumberton Fire Department Support Group was renewed, but it will not be signed until it is reviewed by the city attorney.
When Jack Delk started discussing his interest in the Lumberton Citizen Hospital, I, along with several other members of the audience, had a déjà vu moment. It seems that we heard this conversation before. Delk stated that he wanted to open a personal care facilty in Lumberton and he wanted enter into a lease agreement with the City of Lumberton to lease the building for one year so he could get the building ready for occupancy. In the contract he presented to the board, he would lease the building for $1.00/month for 12 months, but he said he wanted the option to extend the lease if he didn't finish his work in the first year. Delk repeatedly made references to the poor condition of the building and the hefty amount of work that's needed to get the building ready. Delk also stated that he's only seen the hospital at night, while peering through a window with a flashlight. Delk also stated several times during his negotiation that he didn't have the money to fix the building and would like the City of Lumberton to help him secure grants to bring the building up to standard. But before he ended his presentation/negotiation, Delk stated that he did have financial backing and would like to buy the building. Now this is when the flags went up all over the place. But the worst part of this deal is that once the City of Lumberton accept the lease agreement, Delk has a provision in the lease agreement that states that the "building shall not be leased, sold or transferred by Lumberton without the written consent of Delk or the termination of this agreement." Delk stated on several occasions that he didn't have the money to hire contractors and electricians, but he wanted to lease the building to establish a personal care facility, but in the same breath, he said he did have the means to get money to buy the building. Which brings us to our déjà vu moment.
This is the same smoke and mirror show that was used to get the Movie Star building. There was a businessman that came in and enticed the board with his visions of grandeur. He said that he wanted to purchase the Movie Star building in order to open a restaurant. The board and the citizens of Lumberton were all for this new venture. In an effort to keep the business man honest in his endeavors, the board of aldermen made the stipulation that a business must be opened at the location before the building could be sold to someone else. The board then sold the building for something like $50,000 and it cost the City of Lumberton $75,000 to repair the roof of the building. So, the sale of the building actually cost the citizens of Lumberton $25,000. Later, the shrewd business person fulfilled his contractual obligations to the City of Lumberton by opening a salvage store for a few weeks and then shut the building down and put in on the market for $350,000. Despite reports that Mile Smith purchased the Movie Star building, he's actually leasing the building for the J & R Tool and Die Company, but there's no word on when he's going to start hiring/production. Whenever the details of the deal regarding the Movie Star Building is brought up to the current board, they are quick to say that the deal was handled by the previous board, but now they're having their Ground-hog Day moment. Delk is dangling his carrot,(promises of jobs) before this current board of aldermen and it seems that his main purpose to finish the work of Movie Star bandits (click on officers and directors) and finish the quest to take ownership of another coveted property in Lumberton. When Delk presented his idea to the board it seemed like a good proposal, but now that more and more details are coming to light, it seems that our city is about to be scammed out of yet another building and the loss will again be passed on to the residents of Lumberton. Hopefully, before they sign a lease agreement, Mayor Holder will insist on some benchmarks that should be reached at the 30, 60, 90, 120 days mark; and each month Delk should either present his progress at the board meeting or via notarized letter, otherwise, the board shouldn't consider any extension of the 12 month lease and shake the dust from their feet.

Comments

  1. What is the Lumberton Fire Department Support Group?

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  2. Anonymous,
    The Lumberton Fire Department Support Group is a non profit organization that is under contract to provide Fire Supression & EMS service to the City of Lumberton. It was established in 1999 while under the leadership of then Chief Johnnie Grant. The Support Group has it's own independant Board of Directors and is comprised of Certified Firefighters and Medical personnel.

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    Replies
    1. Inquiring Minds Want to KnowJanuary 12, 2012 at 3:07 PM

      Wasn't there something in the fire department's SOP about husband/wife working on the same department or did they have that removed? Also, why haven't we heard anything about the money raised at these fund raisers? They're always asking for this product and that product, but what products are they purchasing with the fund raiser money?

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    2. Inquiring Minds,

      No, there is nothing in the Fire Department's SOG's about husbands & wifes working on the same department. Funny you brought up the money made at fundraisers. I'm getting use to that. The $3,476 that had to be put up for a match on the last grant the department got under the old administration had to be paid by somebody! The city sure didn't pay it. Where do you think the money came from to buy all the fire extinguishers and safety materials for the 55 and above program. All the moneys raised during fundraisers goes right back into helping this community. We have bought a truck to replace the tanker that the county came and got and we have paid to repair the tank that was put on it and paid the insurance on it. The city didn't. We try to help the City by having fundraisers to puchases things that we can. If you want to know so much, why didn't you just stop by and ask?

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  3. Really, (There were some questions about the new officers and members of the support group but Jerry Walters, LVFD Chief, did not have a list of the new officers. Walters stated that the election was held in April), 9 months ago and he don't know who the officers are? Does he really not know who does what in his department?

    Why was Kent Crider even hearing about this anyway? Shouldn't he have excused himself from this part since he is a member of the fire department now?
    What is there to talk about with the fire department anyhow? The city owns the building, the city owns the fire trucks (don't believe me look at the titles for them), the city pays for the insurance on the fire trucks, the city pays for the maintenance and parts on the trucks, the city pays for the gas they use and put on fuelman cards, the city pays for the electricity, the city pays for the phone, the city pays for the internet, the city gives them $1000.00 a month in which they pay themselves $20.00 for each call they go on, not to mention the city also has a budget set up for them to purchase equipment and pay for classes they take after a request has been submitted. So I ask the question of what more could they ask for?

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous,
      I don't know where you are getting your facts, but they are not all accurate. Yes, I know who is on the Fire Department and I know what they do. You are right about a few things tho. 1)The City does own the building. 2) The City own all but 2 of the trucks. 3)The City pays for the maintenance on their trucks and buys parts for their trucks. 4) The City buys the fuel for their trucks. 5) The City pays for the phone. We pay for the internet and have the statements to prove it. The City gives the Support group $1,000 a month to help cover expenses. The $20 a call was stopped by the fire department board when i became Chief. This is a VOLUNTEER dept., not a paid department. You try to know alot about the fire department without being on it. The City use to pay the firefighters $20 a call which was illegal by law. That is why it was stopped in 2009. Yes, the City set up a budget to purchase equipment and pay for classes. They budgeted $500 for classes. Some of these classes cost over $500 for 1 person. As far as equipment goes, they don't have the money budgeted to buy what is needed. That's why we have bought 1 truck and had another donated. Get your facts straight. I have NOTHING to hide.

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  4. Where There's Smoke There's FireJanuary 12, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    I'm just wondering why is Kent Crider residing over the meeting and participating in the voting process after he became a part of the fire department. Kent Crider can't have anything to do with the decisions due to the fact that he is a member of the department along with his daughter Nikki and son-in-law Tyrone. Wouldn't that be considered a conflict of interest? Also, he's probably showing them new ways to bilk the City of Lumberton out of more money because when it was brought up at the board meeting that he's the fire coordinator, he said "yes, I'm there to help them with their finances." So is he fire coordinator or financial consultant? I betcha there's gonna be more and more requests for this and that from the fire department in addition to the things that are already budgeted for the department.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for your reply. You made a good point. Kent should recuse himself when it comes to fire department business. But, i do need to correct you on something. Nikki is NOT a member of the fire department. Her husband Tyrone is. Kent doesn't show us how to do anything. He never attends any meetings. He is Fire Coordinator. He is suppose to be helping the fire department apply for grants to improve the quality of fire protection in the city, something he has not done. All we have asked from the city is that they purchase a deck gun for their truck which would greatly enhance our ability to fight a house fire. Lumberton has the only new truck in the county that doesn't have one. They don't have the money to buy one. We aren't asking for something for US, you are asking for something that will help us protect this community better.

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  5. Mr. Informer,
    Thank you for allowing me to freely reply on this site. I don't mind answering questions for anyone. I just wish everyone would come to know the truth. The Fire Department has nothing to hide. Things have changed alot since Mr. Grant was Chief here. There is no more pay per call. There is nothing going on within the fire department that is secret. As a matter of fact, i would like to invite you to sit in on a board meeting or 2 so that you can see what it is all about. It is alot like the city board meetings, except without all the fussing. People want to constantly talk about things that they know nothing about without bothering to find out first hand. Someday, i hope that the residents of this city will stand behind the fire department instead of against it. I am use to being attacked. That's part of my job as a public official. My door is always open and my phone still works. I won't, however, continue to argue with people over "facts" they have that don't exist. Hear-say is just that. It is what is on paper that counts and everything we have is in black and white. We just want to serve this community, wheather it be fire, flood, natural disaster, or medical in the most professional & effecient way possible. That is why we are here.

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  6. Was the arrest of Miles Smith a mistake then? Because the article below says that he was arrested for forgery, fraud and possible identity theft. Maybe background checks should be done on people attempting to do business with the city?
    http://www.wdam.com/story/16111840/lumberton-police-arrest-businessman-with-key-to-the-city

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