Sunday, June 17, 2012

"Costly Secret Land Deal Exposed," by the Rhino's Scott D. Yost on Brenda Jones Fox, Dian Brigman, Bruce Davis and the Guilford County Planning Board

"...Guilford County Manager Brenda Jones Fox entered Guilford County into a real estate contract with a private real estate broker, and did so without consulting the Guilford County Board of Commissioners.

Fox signed a contract with High Point Realtor Dian Brigman of GreenPoint Properties.

That contract wasn't drawn up by the Guilford County attorney's office or the Guilford County Property Management Department – instead, it was, according to Brigman, written by Brigman's attorney.

Should attorneys for county "vendors" write contracts?

The contract states that Guilford County will pay Brigman 5 percent of the transaction value of any real estate she finds for Guilford County ...

...The [current]contract ...specifies five sites that Brigman has located for the county...

Who are the owners and listing agents for the five properties?

...of those five sites, Guilford County was already aware of three – the top three choices.

...normally a contract of that sort would exclude properties the county was already aware of before being signed.

...if the county ended up buying one of the properties flagged by Brigman but that county officials were aware of before, the county would have to work with Brigman to determine what was fair and, he added, if that couldn't be worked out between the parties, the matter could end up in court...

...Commissioner Mike Winstead,...said he has no idea why Fox would sign a contract to pay Brigman for work the county is already set up to do.

"We have a whole department that does that," Winstead said.

Why would the County want to pay a 5% fee that it doesn't have to?

...According to [BJ] Barnes...real estate matters are always handled by the Guilford County Property Management Department.

How much has Brigman, or any other realtor recieved from Guilford County and why,
if the county already does what Brigman does?

...Barnes felt duped because, at that time, he – like practically everyone else other than Fox and Brigman – didn't know there actually was a signed contract in place.

...Brigman on the Guilford County Planning Board, and she was the agent who showed Commissioner Bruce Davis the county building in High Point that now houses social services and several other county functions in High Point, and she has done work for Commissioner Steve Arnold.

Should members of the Planning Board
transact real estate related business
with the government of the municipality of which they oversee?

When Fox was asked if she knew Brigman before Brigman approached her with the real estate deal, Fox said, "No."

Fox didn't know a member of the Planning Board?

How long has Brigman been on the Planning Board?

Did Fox know Brigman was on the Planning Board when the contract was signed?

When Brigman was asked if she knew Fox before the deal, Brigman said, "I knew her in passing."

How often does Fox interact with members of the Planning Board?

Should a Planning Board member solicit the city for business?

Wasn't CICO's Paul Gilmer on the Planning Board,
who also may have just jumped to the front of line of
and was appointed to the Zoning Commission
by Jim Kee?

Should members of the Zoning Commission solicit trash related business
from Greensboro?

What is Gilmer's take on Brigman's contract?

...The Rhinoceros Times discovered the contract signed on Sept. 30 was a second contract – there was a prior contract signed by Fox and Brigman on March 18, 2010.

...Guilford County Attorney Mark Payne ...was troubled by some issues in the contract and he wanted a new one in place.

Payne said one concern with the original contract was the possibility that it could be seen as giving Brigman exclusivity in finding property for the county.

In fact, the contract has the following in bold across the top: "Exclusive Agency & Confidentiality Agreement." And the document begins, "This Exclusive Agent Agreement ...""


What did Fox say about the appropriateness
of "exclusivity" and "confidentiality" agreements?

How many possibly redundant contracts
is the county currently involved with
and with whom?


Hugh said...

"Should attorneys for county "vendors" write contracts?"

Why not? The city of Greensboro sold the downtown baseball stadium land based on the value from an appraisal commissioned by the buyer.

triadwatch said...

hugh i think one of the worst apsects of this is that this realtor is also on the planning board and who probably got inside track to this secret contract.

Anonymous said...

I believe that it is all unethical/sad but damn if it isn't just plain sloppy. They should all be tied to enough money to fill their pockets with other transactions/commissions that aren't directly tied to city/county money. I know the market is down but to find the need to leech off "the public pocket book" is just shameful. Not that it hasn't been going on for centuries but it is just a bit weak. Alas what would planning & zoning be without a bunch of back door dealings that can be uncovered, mundane and possibly ethical. not in my lifetime.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Hartzman, you do know that Ms. Brigman recently passed away.