Dear Fairhope City Council:
Recently several articles have been written in reference to Councilman Kevin Boone and the business connections he has through several LLC to individuals and engineering company Preble-Rish that are conflicts of interest. Mr. Boone has had these connections through the LLC’s for many years and has never acknowledged them or recuse himself from voting on any issues that came before him as a councilman or during his participation with planning and zoning.
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His direct business connection with Mr John Avent of Dewberry Preble-Rish, LLC dates back prior to his being on the council. Mr. Boone has voted for the last four and half years on Preble Rish projects, such as Firefly, where is listed on another LLC with Mr. Avent.
The most egregious and glaring conflict involves the Retreat at Fairhope village aka Fly Creek Apartments. Mr Boone attended and voted on this issue twice in Sept of 2016, SD 16.14, in a Planning and Zoning meeting while Mr Avent was the representing Preble-Rish. So, while Mr. Boone sat on P&Z and Council, Mr. Avent was at the podium and all the citizens present had no knowledge of their relationship.
During the last council meeting councilman Robinson, Conners and Brown all three acknowledge having a conflict of interest with certain council agenda items. They explained the conflict and abstained from voting. Mr. Boone has never done that as an elected official.
It is the responsibility of the Fairhope City Council to address this issue as soon as possible. The Ethics Commission puts the burden of reporting such conflicts of interest directly on our elected officials, once they have been notified and provided documents that support conflicts of interest. It should not be incumbent of the citizens to file an Ethics Complaint. It is clearly the responsibility of the council.
In the case of the Fly Creek Apartments, there has been discussion to repeal ordinance 1572. There certainly was a mandate to do so by the citizens who voted in a new Mayor and two new councilman who agreed the project was not in the best interest of Fairhope. Mr. Boone voted in favor of the project— go figure.
Are we to expect that if this repeal of Ordinance 1572 is proposed that Mr Avent will represent Preble-Rish and the Fly Creek Apartments as well as the property owner? And Mr. Boone, his private business partner, sitting on the City Council will vote yet again for HIS best interest and that of Mr. Avent?
Mr. Boone should resign from the Council. This would avoid any conflict of interest and enable him to continue with his business interests which he puts before the interests of Fairhope. Mr. Boone cannot be trusted.
The citizens of Fairhope should raise holy hell with the rest of the Council and insist that they address the obvious conflict of interests and not just remain silent and look the other way as the previous Mayor did.
Dear Neighbors, Friends and Residents of Fairhope:
Please see below the letter that I sent out to the council members, as well as the mayor. It is imperative that we put pressure on them to stand by their word and do what we voted them in to do. Please send them an email, or copy mine or please give them a call to ensure the Repeal of Ordinance 1572 gets on the agenda at the next council meeting.
[email protected] [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]
Please forward to anyone that would be willing to help.
Fly Creek Resident
Dear Mr. Jack Burrell, City Council President, Council Members Jay Robinson, Jimmy Conyers, Robert Brown and Kevin Boone, and Mayor Karin Wilson:
You were elected to protect the Citizens of Fairhope against bad development. You were elected based on your promise to repeal, and/or support the repeal of, Ordinance 1572 Fly Creek PUD Amendment.
Since the end of October when the Planning Commission denied site plan approval, the repeal of the Ordinance has been laying in your lap on a silver platter to be repealed. Yet, you have (so far) failed to fulfill your promise, causing me and the Citizens of Fairhope to wonder if we are genuinely being back-stabbed.
One would think that you would understand the urgency to place the Repeal on the City Council agenda, and vote in support of it. Currently, there is no approved site plan and there is no permit. Therefore, little to no exposure to the City for repealing it.
We elected you because you promised you were not in favor of the apartment development along Fly Creek. Please do not shy away from protecting us the Citizens of Fairhope just because a developer threatened to sue if you do not do want he wants.
Were we wrong?
We want you to protect us and Fly Creek. We want you to stand up to the developer and say, “No, we don’t care if you threaten to sue, or even if you do. We are going to do what is right to protect Fairhope, its citizens, and its non-renewable natural resources.” We don’t care if someone somewhere says the Repeal risks a lawsuit. The old Mayor, the old City Council and others were perfectly capable of cowering to every developer if they threatened to sue.
We, I, thought you were different. I hope I am wrong. The Repeal must be placed on the next agenda or your lack of action will allow the Project to move forward. Make no mistake, failure to put it on the next agenda is the EXACT SAME THING AS VOTING FOR THE PUD AMENDMENT to begin with.
I have copied everyone I can on this email, Rock Creek, Woodlands, Sandy Ford, Flying Creek, Sea Cliff Drive and Fly Creek owners (about 2000 votes), and urge everyone who heard the promises, who voted because of this issue to email, call, write – DEMAND- that these politicians who bold faced told us they would repeal or support the repeal of the Ordinance to live up to their promise.
I pray that you do live up to your promise. Mr. Burrell please put it on the Agenda. Mr. Conyers, Mr. Robinson, Mr. Brown, Mr. Boone and Mayor Wilson vote to repeal it.
If you do, we will all be grateful for you doing the right thing -taking a stand against this development. Taking a stand is tough, but we expect you to be tough, and follow through with your promise. Now is the time for you do it. It can no longer wait. What better legacy and testament for an elected official to have. Likewise, what worse legacy can a politician have than reneging on the very promise that got him/her elected in the first place, back-stabbing the citizens, and cowering to a bully-out of town developer. Please don’t be a coward.
Please, put Repeal Ordinance 1572 on the next agenda and vote to repeal it. It is now or never.
Fly Creek Resident
Get a life! I wonder how you would feel if that was your families property, and you were trying to do what is in the best interest for your family.YOUR FAMILIES PROPERTY REALLY. HOW SELFISH
I think while we are at it we should insist they vote on city continuing to fund the Airport for another 7 years to the tune of $325,000 per year ($2,275,000 total). Let’s not forget we’ve already been assisting them for the past 10 years. There is ZERO benefit to the city. No tax breaks. No return on investment. No ownership.
Considering 3 council persons recused themselves from voting this week I think it only right to A’s for another vote and insist Burrell recuse himself (he sits in the Airport Board); and any council person who accepted campaign contributions from the airport in the past 12 months should also recuse themselves.
Furthermore, if they do agree to vote they must provide a deceleration plan of support to force the Airport to stop relying on the City.
GREAT LETTER MiTSy!!!
Appreciate the info
They mayor can’t vote on this but she has certainly voiced her opinion. She announced during a council meeting that the ordinance needed to be repealed and was responsible for having the development voted down by planning!
She is also the one that made the airport story and debt transparent to the citizen. If she didnt no one would know what was going on out there! She asked the council to vote to take back the land bit they didn’t listen and all voted to keep land in airport’s name AND approved another 7 year commitment with no strings attached!
I think credit needs to be given where credit is due. Our mayor is draining the swamp. Get behind her and stop throwing her under the bus with council.
And as far as “family property?” This family owns most of Fairhope. No loss there.
Mr. Ripp, why don’t you run for office in the city of Fairhope?
My father had one of the first consumer groups in Alabama formed in the 70’s. He said that a consumer group was a watchdog for the people. When it comes to the Judiciary or political issues, the same is true. The Ripp Report has accomplished it’s main goal, Using the Court of Public Opinion to pressure politicians to do their job. The Ripp Report is a non-profit, no salaries, and not obligated to any individual, group or PAC. When you are an elected official you have specific duties that would not allow you the freedom to criticize or investigate other elected officials,betrayal of public trust or corruption. They seem to protect each other, The Ripp Report will remain independent.
The airport is essential to every community, business and individuals that travel by private aircraft. You will never see any area that thrives without an airport. There are also several businesses located at the airport that provides many quality jobs for the area. You also have a great deal of people that fly in to Fairhope for vacations and to spend money in Fairhope. The only problem with the airport has been the lack of transparency with the authority.
The airport is a great asset for the town and the county. The investments made at the airport are needed. It just needs to be fair and open to everyone that wants to participate in the investment. No one serving on the authority board should be allowed to participate in any bidding that would benefit them in anyway. That has been the case here and evidently in other situations in the city also.
Sunday…I am so used to hearing the overhead traffic from Fairhope Airport daily that I ignore it until today. A friend commented on the fact that the air is totally quiet….IT REALLY IS and has been for several days. The small aircraft Sunday maneuvers are gone and I dont even see the usual rescue helicopter skimming the bay. Are they all hiding till we forget we have an airport controversy?? What’s up with that???