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Saturday, June 13, 2015

Kerrville City Attorney Wrote in March, 2015 that Cailloux Sports Field Deal Required Competitive Bids

I attended the City Council meeting Tuesday evening when they voted to issue a $9 million certificate of obligation (bond) to build a sports complex we don't need. There has been a lot of controversy over the deal, where the city will buy a 125 acre tract south of Holdsworth Dr. from what appears to be a for profit company, Cailloux Foundation Properties, LLC, a Texas limited liability company, and have  Cailloux build athletic fields, bleachers, restrooms, etc. Total cost: $9 Million. It is impossible to tell from the contract how much is for the land, and how much for the construction. The city will not get competitive bids on the construction, or an independent appraisal on the land, as required by Local Govt. Code. It is a flagrant disregard for the law.

As reported by the Kerrville Daily Times, after I restated my concerns at Tuesday’s council meeting, Jack Pratt, mayor and imaginary Vietnam vet/Green Beret, responded, “We respect your opinion, but we’ve had four other lawyers who say the opposite.”
Mike Hayes also said Tuesday he is confident the contract of sale is legal.
“To suggest that I would put a contract in place or draft a contract because I’m on the second floor of City Hall is an insult to my ability, my training and my ethics, and I resent that,” Hayes said.

Well, that is exactly what Mr. Hayes has done. I have obtained documents from the city which include this jewel, an email he wrote to Ben Modisett at Cailloux:
"Because municipal funds are involved, my analysis so far indicates we need some form of public bidding via ch. 252, Local Govt Code...."

What is it with Kerrville? The citizens claim to be conservative, Republican, God fearing people, but they allow the community to be led and represented by a fraud who claims he was a Special Forces (Green Beret) soldier who did four or five tours in Vietnam, when he was a personnel clerk, and the closest he got to the action was an air-conditioned office in Saigon - for six weeks!

This is the kind of corruption that is commonplace in some of the border counties in South Texas. It's shocking that it happens here, with such an educated electorate.

My friends from other cities and states ask me what in the hell is wrong with Kerrville.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Some real combat vets opinions of Kerrville Mayor Jack Pratt

Here's what they have to say at This Ain't Hell But You Can See It From Here about Kerrville's own poseur war hero:

MrBill sends us a link to the San Antonio Express News that tells the story of Jack Pratt, Junior, the mayor of Kerrville who won his office proclaiming that he was 4-tour Vietnam Special Forces veteran. He started telling that tale more than three years ago. Folks started wondering about it recently, and so they got a FOIA:

His military records indicate he spent nearly eight years in the Army but just seven weeks in Vietnam as a personnel supervisor before leaving the service as a staff sergeant in 1971.

Pratt, 73, denied that he embellished his resume but declined to provide documents to substantiate his claimed achievements.

“I’m not going to help you with any of this because you’re trying to crucify me,” he said last week. “I don’t need to confirm my personal history.”

National Personnel Records Center documents say Pratt was a radio operator in Germany in 1964, a personnel sergeant in Thailand from 1967 to 1969 and in Vietnam from May 25 to July 15, 1971.

Pratt blames politics for the sudden scrutiny – but you know, if I was running for office and one of the reasons I was telling voters that they should vote for me is because of my military service, I’d have documentation in my pocket – and I’d make sure the NPRC has everything correct. The last thing I’d do is drag this thing out.

But, Jack Pratt appears to be nothing more than another Flemron Dickey – it looks like he has also embellished his education credentials and his work experience, as well as his career as a personal clerk that morphed into a Special Forces killer dude and seven weeks became four years. By the way, Kerrville, speaking from experience, the first thing the phonies do is blame the military’s record-keeping. The second thing they do is blame politics (or some other haters) for the sudden scrutiny. They never provide documentation to exonerate themselves (so you look like you’re on a witch hunt). They always keep digging hoping you’ll get tired of beating a dead horse before they get tired of digging.


Why do the voters in Kerrville, who claim to be so patriotic and love the real combat vets, allow a phony like this to represent their town as mayor?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Kerrville Railroad Commision rams through $9M bond issue for Cailloux athletic complex

I call it the Railroad Commission because they railroaded a fraudulent ordinance through by misrepresenting the nature and legality of the contract that is would fund.
The City Council voted 3-1 last night (Bonnie White dissenting) to issue $9,000,0000 in debt obligations, supposedly to acquire an athletic field in some supposedly undetermined location. Mayor Jack Pratt struggled comically to claim that the debt has nothing to do with the contract the city signed to buy 105 acres south of Holdsworth Dr. for $9,000,000. Under the contract, the seller, Cailloux Foundation Properties, LLC, a Texas limited liability company, would construct baseball fields, buildings and so on. But Pratt claimed the bond deal was "not tied to any specific contract," and the approved funds could be used to build a a project "anywhere by anybody."

When Bonnie White moved to postpone voting on the bond until the city gets an opinion from the Attorney General on the contract's legality, Pratt shut down any debate, claiming that the bond issue had nothing to do with the Cailloux deal.

I commented on the illegality of the whole deal - the contract violates the Local Govt. Code requirements that a city obtain competitive bids for any construction contract, and obtain an independent appraisal on the land. Pratt admitted that he approved the contract without first getting an independent appraisal. When I pressed him on it, he got very defensive, about like he does when his claims to be a badass Special Forces operator who did five tours in Vietnam, when he was in fact a personnel clerk. He made these claims to get elected, which raises the possibility that he violated the Stolen Valor Act by profiting from his false claims. See Kerrville mayor accused of inflating his Vietnam service record.

He even made the wall of shame at This Ain't Hell but You Can See it From Here:

Pratt claimed that the appraisal paid for by Cailloux was an independent appraisal. When challenged, he said, "Mr. Ellison, I'm going to give you this answer. You have threatened to sue the city, and I'm not going to answer that question because of possible legal proceedings." It reminded me of a criminal suspect taking the fifth.

The silver lining, if there is one, is that the mayor and council members publicly stated on the record that they will not spend any of the money until they get the AG's opinion. Even so, they have committed the city to a huge liability, which may well limit its ability to borrow for projects that are necessary or at least beneficial to the city, something that might bring in some good jobs and increase the tax base.

One more interesting item - Councilman Gary Stork commented that before the meeting that Mike Hayes, the city attorney, had been emailing council members about the bond issue. Does this violate the  Open Meetings Act? 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

City Bond Boondoggle - Kerrville gets snookered

The Kerrville City Council is voting tonight to approve issuing bonds that will commit the taxpayers to $9,000,000 in debt, to buy 105 acres of raw land from Cailloux Foundation Properties, LLC, a Texas limited liability company, on which Cailloux will build soccer and baseball fields and associated improvements. This comes to $86,124 per acre, for land that Cailloux's own appraiser values at $16,561 per acre.

Below is an open letter that I have sent to Mayor Pratt and the council members:

Attorney at Law
Broadway Bank Bldg.
500 Main St. Suite J
Kerrville, Texas 78028
Phone: (830) 792-5601
Facsimile: (830) 792-5602

Board Certified in Civil Trial Law                                          E-Mail: rellison@richellison.com and Personal Injury Trial Law,
and Criminal Law
Texas Board of Legal Specialization

June 9, 2015
Kerrville Mayor Jack Pratt
Councilman Stephen P. Fine
Councilwoman Bonnie White
Councilman Gary Stork
Councilman Gene Allen
701 Main St.
Kerrville, TX 78028

Re:       Contract of Sale Between Cailloux Foundation Properties, LLC and City of Kerrville, Texas (Youth Athletic Complex)

Dear Mayor Pratt and Council Members:

I have obtained Todd Parton’s letter asking Senator Fraser to request an opinion from the Attorney General on the legality of the no-bid land purchase/construction contract. I have also obtained the appraisal report by Valbridge Property Advisors dated April 29, 2015.

I have discovered a new problem with this whole deal. Local Government Code § 252.051 provides “A municipality may not purchase property wholly or partly with bond proceeds until the municipality obtains an independent appraisal of the property’s market value.” Has the City complied with this law? I will return to this issue in a moment.

Mr. Parton represents to Sen. Fraser and the OAG that the City’s contract is with the Cailloux Foundation, a “local nonprofit foundation.” This is not accurate. The contract is with “Cailloux Foundation Properties, LLC, a Texas limited liability company.”

Furthermore, Mr. Parton’s letter confirms what we already knew – this is a construction contract, not a contract to purchase land. There is an attempted sleight of hand, to compare this to a contract to buy land with an existing building on it. However, the letter admits that the contract is for “both the acquisition of land and the building of the complex.” The letter is replete with references to “newly constructed improvements,” “construction work,” and so on.

Mayor Jack Pratt et al.
June 9, 2015
Page 2

To return to the issue of the lack of an independent appraisal, which is required by Govt. Code § 252.051, it appears that the City is relying on an appraisal paid for by the seller. I also question whether any of you have even seen the appraisal report, and if so, how you concluded this was a good deal for the city. The appraisal was made for “Mr. Ben Modisett, Cailloux Foundation.” It states “The Cailloux Foundation is the client in this assignment. The Foundation and any assigns are the sole intended user of the appraisal and report. The intended use is for charitable contributions.” In other words, the appraiser disclaims that anyone except its client can rely on its report. Further, how is this a charitable contribution when the City is paying $9,000,000?

Even more troubling, using the seller’s own appraisal values, it is obvious that the City is grossly overpaying. Valbridge appraised the land in two sections, as follows:
304.12 ac. - $4,410,000          $14,502 per acre
70.65 ac. - $1,170,000             $16,561   per acre

The Contract of Sale requires the City to pay $9,000,000 for 104.5 acres, which comes to $86,124 per acre. ($9,000,000/ 105 ac). If it paid the appraisal value of $16,561 per acre, that would come to $1,738,905. The City is paying $7,610,095 more than the appraised value. Why? Is this difference the cost of the construction?

Mr. Parton told Zeke MacCormack at the San Antonio Express that he would recommend the council members approve the $9,000,000 certificate of obligation at tonight’s meeting, without waiting for the Attorney General’s opinion. What is the rush? Why has there been no due diligence? Would you spend your own money without getting an independent appraisal? Would you pay five times market value for land? 

Sincerely yours,

                                                                                    /S/ Richard L. Ellison

Cc:       Brenda Craig, City Secretary
            Mark Armstrong, KDT
            Zeke MacCormack