Council postpones Downtown BID hearing following hastily called recess

by Sammy Hanf

Story updates here.

A public hearing to determine what entity will manageactivities in Greensboro’s Downtown Improvement District ended abruptly Tuesdaynight when city council members reacted to news that staffers allowed DGI toalter their proposal days after the publicized deadline.

Councilman Mike Barber called the recess after Eric Robertof Qub Studios alleged that Downtown Greensboro Inc. was allowed to edit theirapplication after the April 8 deadline.

Upon reconvening after a 17 minute recess the council voted8-0 to postpone the hearing to June 7. Mayor Pro Tem Yvonne Johnson was absentfrom the meeting.

Robert said during the scheduled public hearing that he wasprepared to be gracious about losing the bid before learning that DGI was allowedto revise their proposal after the deadline.

“An hour ago I found out from somebody on staff that DGI wasactually given the opportunity to revise their RFP five days after thedeadline, considering the fact that they originally submitted a proposal thatcould have been thrown out right off because they broke the rules,” Robertsaid.

Councilman Tony Wilkins questioned why a friend of his whosubmitted a lower bid in a different situation was not given the sameopportunity to alter his proposal.

David Parrish, Assistant City Manager, said DGI’s revisionswere not substantial and only served to clarify minor details.

The recess was called immediately after Parrish’s comments.

The council then met with staff and members of the press inattendance. Barber advised that more time should be taken to examine thematter.

Evan Morrison, one of the members of Robert’s team, said theproposal submitted by DGI was over-budget at 900,000 compared to the stated maxof $600,000.

Robert sued the city last year, claiming he didn’t receivepromised funds for an Elm Street redevelopment project. Robert later droppedthe lawsuit.

Mayor Nancy Vaughan said the council wanted to give staffthe time to evaluate the process.

“The purpose of my motion was to end further discussionuntil the process is sorted out, so that’s all I’m asking the staff to do is tosort out the process. Without any further staff comment or any comment,” Barbersaid.