I was on the board and they do a great job there with the public services component. After being on the board a few years, the Executive Director wanted to get on the Housing Development gravy train. I was deadset against it, since we had no housing experience whatsoever.
We were able to get Holy Cross to co-sign on a loan and a building was built with, I think 11 or 12 condos on Cambridge Street. At the sign time, the market crashed and the project basically tanked but thankfully Holy Cross was there to pick up the tab. Bottom line this project has been a disaster.
During board meetings,we could never get a budget or an exact feel as to where we stood on this project. Again thankfully Holy Cross bailed us out and I thought it was the end of Housing endeavors, but I was wrong.
At this time we an employee there whose sole job was to do housing developments and she came to a board meeting and told us we could buy City Builders,as Holy Cross is bailing us out, could be bought with grant that we were getting from the state, forgot the name of agency. The grant was something like 500,000 and the board approved it, although I was again against.
About a week later another board member called me and told me that the grant actually was not a grant, it was a loan!! We had another meeting now to do the vote over and Scott Hayman was there and basically told the board that they would be there to back us, if we could not pay. The vote passed, although I voted against it again. Needless to say I was now personna non grata at board meetings and was pretty much forced off the board.
Please note I did alot of work there working on the books and insisting we hire a CPA, Bill McCullough, to come to do our books and present an Income & Expense sheet and Balance statement at each meeting.
I bring all this up since City Councilor Rivera brought up South Worcester last night at City Council. For the record, they do a great job on public services and none of the City CDBG monies towards these services should be held up. On the other hand, the Housing Development track history has been a complete disaster starting with Cambridge Street, 500K grants that were loans and the construction of a building at the former City Builders site that nobody wanted.
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