Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Manatee Board Oks Land Sales

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Manatee Board Oks Land Sales

Article excerpt

SCHOOLS: Deals could bring $2 million to district as it tries to right its finances

MANATEE COUNTY

Land sales may generate more than $2 million for a district struggling to reach financial stability if two buyers do not back out of contracts approved by the Manatee County School Board.

The sale of the Checkers-Owen Annex and the unused Instructional Materials Center would support operational expenses that might otherwise have to be covered by a general fund that school officials have said will barely reach the black after a multimillion-dollar budget deficit.

On Monday, the School Board unanimously approved the sale of the annex, located next door to the school district building on Manatee Avenue West in Bradenton, for $1.6 million to Blackrock Development Holdings, LLC. They also voted to reject a previous contract for the property from Gold Glove Ventures LLC.

A contract for the sale of the Instructional Material Center, on 26th Street West in Bradenton, was also approved for $550,000 to Firkins Acquisition Inc.

Board member Bob Gause abstained from all three votes and did not participate in the special board meeting held Monday, citing a conflict of interest because Blackrock Development Holdings is a client of his consulting firm Alison-Gause Inc.

"I didn't vote on Gold Glove Ventures contract either because that might open the door for Blackrock," Gause said. "I needed to abstain from both."

He refrained from voting on the IMC property deal because his firm has a pending proposal with one of the directors of Firkins Acquisition Inc.

Currently housing the Human Resources Department, the Checkers- Owens Annex has been appraised at $1.6 million. A deed restriction would prevent the property from being used to promote adult entertainment, gambling or drug paraphernalia. The board had planned to sell the property to Gold Glove Ventures several times in the past, but deals never came through. …

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