Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Metro "disengaging" from Real Estate Contract

In a follow-up to his excellent bit of reporting back in June, The West University Examiner's Michael Reed reports that Metro is backing away from the smelly deal.

(Metro ‘disengaging’ from real estate consultant’s contract, West University Examiner)
Describing Metro’s agreement with its real estate consultant as “a point of concern to the new Metro board,” spokesman George Smalley said the transit agency “is now in the process of disengaging from this contract.”

The three-year agreement with McDade Smith Gould Johnston Mason and Co. — approved by the outgoing board in December — was the subject of a recent Examiner investigative report.

The article, “Metro’s latest ground game: a sweet real estate deal (June 24),” pointed out the firm would be receiving commission payments on all Metro land acquisitions going forward — even those on rights of way and donated properties.
Reed goes on to remind readers of the extensive family ties between executives with McDade, Smith, Gould, Johnston, Mason and Co. and the real estate department of Metro. The entire was a mish-mash of inside baseball and (to be honest) poor contract-writing by Metro's outgoing board. It was so bad that the VP of Real Estate services who signed the contract for Metro (Todd Mason) is the Chief Financial Officer at the real estate company, and was the person who signed the contract on their behalf. Think about that last bit for a minute.

Then think about this: Amazingly, a search of ChronBlog's archives reveals no story on this by Houston's (former) newspaper of record AT ALL.

Just another day's business in America's worst big-city daily.

Congrats to Mike Reed and the Examiner for their quality reporting on this issue. They saved Metro from getting stuck with a terrible contract that it has to be said was negotiated and signed under unusual circumstances. I'm hoping a full investigation into this matter is the next step, but I'm not holding my breath.

Just another day's business in Houston's worst public agency.

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