The following will be both a recap of what happened with the so-called $80,000 investment into Land of the Dinosaurs that was done about 5 years ago by the GREDC/4b Committee when Darrell Best was the president (as well as the president of the Chamber of Commerce), as well as records from the last few years to track whether a new 4b board was able to recover the money. The short answer is no. I went down to the City of Glen Rose today to look at documents and, while I found quite a bit where the 4b talked about what the heck they could do to recover what was not supposed to be an investment, I couldn't find, for the joint City/4b audit done at the end of 2013, that the money was any longer being referenced anywhere.
So, let's start.
Sep 14, 2009- Mike Dooley told the Somervell County Commissioners Court about Land of the Dinosaurs and that the proposed show would require NO money, they were getting private funding, they simply wanted the Commissioners Court *blessing*. (Audio link)
Dec 8, 2009- Darrell Best discussed over email Mike Dooley's request for money.
Jan 8 2010- on Jan 4, Mike Dooley came to the 4b asking for money for Land of the Dinosaurs. He presented it as an INVESTMENT. So, oops, NOW they needed money.
Jan 28 2010 -Funding application from LOD to GREDC asking for the money (p 7-14). Note that Dooley wanted originally an outright grant of the money but said he would consider an investment or loan. On p 12 Dooley checks neither of the boxes having to do with Conflict of Interest-why not and why was this application okayed without all fields being filled out? -Don't forget Darrell Best was the chairman of the appointed 4b board at this time.
Feb 9, 2010. Feb 9, 2010- Letter of confirmation that the City of Glen Rose approved the request of GREDC to invest 80,000 in LOD LLC (p 4)
Feb 11, 2010- Mike Dooley wasted no time sending an invoice for the check, which was signed by Mayor Miller.
Feb 17, 2010. Membership interests at $10,000 apiece, total $80,000 paid on Feb 17.
July 14 2010. The LOD was cutting back to one day a week and Mike Dooley asked the commissioners court if he could defer payments till the end of the season as the show was losing money. The commmissioners court approved that.
August 6 2010-on August 2, 2010, Darrell Best makes motion for independent auditor
August 20, 2010-I did an open records request to Darrell Best asking for a copy of the agreement between LOD and 4b. Emails here
August 24, 2010-I asked Darrell Best in email what would happen if the LOD lost money. Best replied
Their loss is there loss, its not a loss to GREDC unless they go bankrupt and fold and then we would own 8% of a defunct operation, but I don't think that will happen.
10 Sep 2010- Darrell Best, when I asked for a copy of the contract that GREDC had made with LOD said
...the money wasn't a loan. It was an investment. For the $80,000 investment the GREDC owns 8% of the show. Our investment will be returned in 5 years and we will retain 8% of the show in perpituity.
and then told me there was no contract with LOD. I wondered at the time how the fool, since the city had already written a check to LOD, that they could do that without a dang contract. Shouldn't SOMEBODY have made sure that 80 thousand dollars was being accounted for? What's interesting is that Darrell Best was also one of the investors, although it's not clear if he invested in this before or after he worked to approve it. Hre's from a later document from Jimmy Gosdin
Sep 13, 2010- Darrell Best told me in email that he thought the public didn't get to know what happened to that money
As LOD is a private corporation they have the right not to share their information publically. Their only obligation is to the EDC and they can share that in executive session, without public disclosure. I'll check with the Attorney General to make sure that is correct, if you wuld feel more comfortable with me doing so. Thanks, Darrell
(My answer) Darrell Thanks on the first. On the second, asking the AG or not is not a matter of my comfort, but of you supplying the info as requested. I will say that if you decide to contest the request to the AG, I will add my own opinion that if public money is going to invest in a private company, that makes information about the status of the investment open to scrutiny by the public. D**
Sep 23 2010- Recap I did on this. I wondered at the time, still do
There is a supposition here that the LOD LLC company had 1 milliion dollars in investment, right? Because each 1 membership *interest* whatever that is, is worth $10,000, so 8 of them is $80,000. But the intiial investment that is listed for LOD is actually $250,000 per a page I don't have scanned but which shows the startup costs. IF that's all that got put in to invest in the company AND NO MORE MONEY WAS PUT IN, the 80 thou would actually be about 1/3 of the company, right? Instead of 8 percent? What proof is there, via a bank account statement that the company actually had 1 million bucks in the bank? Do you see where I'm going with this? A company is worth X amount. If they invested 1 million dollars then the company is worth 1 million dollars and the 80 thou investor is only a small percentage-but if they didn't put in that much money, then seems like the *membership interest* would be much more compared to the total.
Sep 30, 2010. The $80,000 shows up as a receivable with Note 8 on the "Government Wide Statement of Net Assets".
Note 8: Note Receivable Land of the Dinosaurs
In February 2010, the Corporation invested $80,000 in Land of the Dinosaurs LLC, a private production company, for the purpose of promoting economic development by means of tourist attractions in the City. The investment is being treated as a loan to the LLC and is recorded as a note receivable on the Corporation financial statements. The LLC intends to repay the investment in five years, including interest at a rate of 2.5 percent simple yearly interest.
6 Dec 2010- The auditor said that the money given to LOD should be in the form of a receivable, via a promissory note, not an investment. Darrell Best said not a word to the auditors while they were presenting.
Dr Mike. So on the Land of the Dinosaurs recommendation from the Wilshire was that this turns into a loan, is that correct?
Darrell Best: No. That's not correct. .. It's an investment.
Ken Prykryl. It's supposed to be a promissory note, is the way they presented it.
Darrell Best: That's the way they presented it because they took that out of the prospectus but that's not what we approved. It was an investment of $80,000 for five years At the end of that five years, we get our $80,000 back and we retain 8 percent of that
Dr Mike That's where I'm not sure that Wilshire allows us to have... is that going to be a promissory note or just the principle plus interest or is it going to have us invested in percentages of the shares?
Darrell Best: I'm not following
Ken Prykrul- Ownership of the business. Would the 4b own a portion?
Darrell Best: Yeah, 8 percent of the business.
Ken Prykrul- Are we legally allowed to do that?
Darrell Best: Yeah, we can own part of the business. WE can't run the business but we can have an equity position in the business.
Sandra Ramsay- Have we completed the performance contract with Land of the Dinosaurs
Darrell Best: No
Sue Oldenburg :Darrell, again, I would like to seek out legal counsel.
Darrell Best: WE need to put that on the agenda to discuss.
So in other words, DON'T LISTEN TO THAT AUDITOR!!!!!!!!
Jan 1 2011. The Texas Attorney General wrote me back that, basically, if Darrell Best never asked for a report on how Land of the Dinosaurs were doing, there was no open record responsive to that request. Since that was true, and I feel that is a loophole accountability scam on the part of Best, it also means that the 4b board had NO information on how their $80,000 investment was doing. That is INCOMPETENT.
What happened after this? The City, the 4b, NOBODY got any money back from Land of the Dinosaurs. I didn't look at this point to see if the 4b explored with an attorney whether the *investment* was even legal or not.
July 26 2011- I went to see if the Land of the Dinosaurs was even viable anymore. Nope.
Feb 4, 2013, Notice of discussion and possible action on Land of the Dinosaurs During that meeting there was a motion made to pursue this through attorneys.
March 4, 2013. On the agenda again.
President Gosdin contacted Mr Dooley and Mr Clayton with Land of Dinosaurs. They are both out of town but plan to attend the GREDC meeting in April. By phone they indicated that they will be putting on a program again this year. Bob Strickland motioned that Jimmy Gosdin speak with the GREDC lawyer about the board's legal position on the contract with Land of Dinosaurs. The motion was seconded by Danny Chambers. Passed unanimously.
April 1, 2013. On agenda again
June 3, 2013. ON agenda.
President Gosdin handed out copies of his email correspondence with the law firm regarding the situation with Land of Dinosaurs (see attached page). Charley Thomas suggested that LOD be asked for a financial accounting for every year. It was agreed that Mr Thomas will draw up the questions to be asked and President Gosdin will present the document to Mr Dooley of LOD.
August 5, 2013, Agenda Another attempt to get financial info from LOD.
Oct 7, 2013. On the GREDC agenda because obviously the 4b was trying to figure out if there was ANY WAY to get ANY MONEY back from LOD.
The letter requesting more information about the Land of the Dinosaurs (LOD) financial situation received a reply from Michael Dooley. He wrote that he will have a response by October 18.
I *think* that is THIS letter, although this one is undated
Nov 4, 2013 Back on the agenda More. The letter referenced here was not in the box of 4b documents that I inspected
A sealed letter had been delivered to the city office from Land of the Dinosaurs (LOD). Oldenburg opened and read the letter to the board. (see attachment) There was no action to be taken.
Dec 2, 2013. Agenda and MINUTES
Copies of the letter that Jay Clayton, President of the Land of the Dinosaurs, sent to the board were distributed to the board members. McClured moved that consideration be deferred until Thomas is present. Briley seconded the motion and it was passed unanimously.
I do have the documentation that LOD sent back,and will post it another day, essentially about how much money they thought they'd make, who they hired, etc.Might be the same as the letter referenced above.
The problem with the LOD is that there was never any contract. Even though the GREDC tried to make up a contract after the fact, it simply wasn't enforceable. Their attorney told them this.
Incidentally, notice something interesting in that attorney letter? He references MY post on this site.
March 6, 2014 Agenda. Minute
The Land of Dinosaurs contract was briefly discussed. Green moved to just leave it as it is and not pursue reimbursement. Briley seconded the motion and it was passed unanimously.
And it appears to me that the amount was written off the book at that point. At least, I couldn't find it on the last audit.
I continue to believe that you SHOULD HAVE CONTRACTS, WRITTEN AND APPROVED ON PAPER before any money ever goes out AND that IF there's a contract, the people involved with it SHOULD FOLLOW IT. If you don't agree with me, sorry for you, but reading this debacle ought to tell you a thing or two.