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King George Board authorizes county attorney to take action re Project FAITH, if HELP Center footers not poured by Aug. 1

The King George Board of Supervisors took action this week to authorize the county attorney to start a potential time clock on Aug. 1 for reversion of the 5.53 acres of donated land back from Project FAITH, should footers not be poured for the proposed HELP Center’s four buildings.


The action came at the very end of the meeting on July 16, following a closed session, for which the purpose of discussion of HELP Center legal matters was added to the agenda as a last-minute item earlier in the meeting.  
Supervisors came out from behind closed doors looking grim.
They voted unanimously to authorize “all actions authorized and provided for by the Project Faith HELP Center property Deed of Gift and Performance agreement, and as amended,” should it not meet the Aug. 1 deadline for commencement of construction defined as “at least the pouring of all footers.”
If that deadline is not met, then county attorney Eric Gregory is expected to immediately provide written notice to Project FAITH that it has defaulted. The performance agreement with the county then allows 60 days for Project FAITH “to cure any such default before any reversion” shall take effect.

 

REVERSION OF PROPERTY
Reversion is the action to return the donated land to the county due to failure of Project FAITH to meet its obligations under the two companion agreements with the county.
The commencement of construction by Aug. 1 is only one of numerous obligations listed for Project FAITH to meet.
There are several other obligations enumerated in the companion agreements that also may not hold up to legal scrutiny.
According to agreements, “The Board’s decision shall be final,” on the question of whether default is cured effectively.

BOARD UNANIMOUS
Ruby Brabo made the motion, which was seconded by John LoBuglio.
In making her motion, Brabo stated, “Since the current agreement with Project FAITH requires that they have footers in the ground by Aug. 1, and this board will not be convening again until Aug. 6, I’d like to make a motion to authorize the county attorney to take all actions authorized and provided for by the Project Faith HELP Center property Deed of Gift and Performance agreement, and as amended.
Brabo and LoBuglio had both been firm supporters of the proposed development, along with Cedell Brooks. Chairman Dale Sisson and Joe Grzeika were both skeptical that the project could obtain financing.
But that three-vote margin fell apart in early June after it came to light that a three-year-old letter to Froncé Wardlaw indicating interest in the project by Rappahannock Community College (RCC) had been altered by a date change, appearing to make the commitment by the college seem more recent, by two years.
Wardlaw had given Brabo a copy of the altered letter in early May, which appeared to indicate that RCC still intended to be a major tenant in the proposed facility, though RCC officials quickly disavowed the altered letter.
The knowledge of the alteration of the letter changed everything, uniting the board in its skepticism of the future financial success of the project. It also called into question the authenticity of any of the other documents provided by Project FAITH to the county, including those that were provided by Wardlaw to be included in the county’s application for federal funding for the CDBG grant.
Brabo has distanced herself from Wardlaw, telling The Journal on July 15 in response to a request for any recent correspondence with Project FAITH, “I do not respond to any emails Ms. Wardlaw sends me since learning the RCC document was altered.”
The action by county officials sends a strong message to both Project FAITH officials and the public that is unanimous in its desire to strictly enforce all legal requirements regarding the proposed project and without further deadline extensions.

Phyllis Cook

 

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