A Closer Look At BREC Land Deal At Lovett and Hooper Roads

A Closer Look At BREC Land Deal At Lovett and Hooper Roads

CENTRAL — Based on public records and published accounts, here is a chronology of the acquisition, sale, and development of the proposed BREC Sports Park that fronts on Hooper and Lovett roads:

Jan. 12, 2007 Parcel 52, LLC was registered with the Secretary of State.  The partners in the company were Brandon and E. Gordon Rogillio, Jr.  and Rep. Mack (Bodi) White.  White is a realtor who works for Brandon Rogillio.

Jan. 15, 2007 — Three days later, Parcel 52, LLC pur-

chased three tracts of land near the intersection of Hooper and Lovett roads for $300,000.

March 2007 — ROBOCLO, LLC was formed by Brandon Rogillio, Rep. Bodi White, and Sen. Clo Fontenot.

February 2008 Rep. Bodi White introduced House Bill 792 of 2008 to allow Central to pull out of BREC (Baton Rouge Recreation and Parks Commission) and create the new Central Recreation District.  This would have allowed the $1.1 million in property taxes paid by property owners in Central to stay in Central and be used to build and operate parks in Central.

April 23, 2008 — In an interview in the Business Report, Rep. Bodi White and Central Mayor Mac Watts expressed dissatisfaction with BREC services in Central.

May 12, 2008 — BREC director Bill Palmer held a meeting with Central leadership which included Rep. Bodi White, Central Mayor Mac Watts, and Russell Starns. As a result of that meeting, White agreed to pull his bill from the files of the legislature and BREC agreed to a $6.25 million capital outlay program for Central.

• May 14, 2008 — HB 792 was scheduled to be heard before the House Committee on Municipal and Parochial Affairs at the State Capitol.  However, Rep. White announced before the committee that a compromise had been reached.  Present with Bodi White were Watts; Starns, at that time president of the Central Community School Board, and Palmer, the director of BREC.  Rep. White announced and Palmer confirmed at the committee meeting that White would pull down the bill, and that BREC had set aside $6.25 million for parks in Central, including $575,000 for the Greenwell Springs Historic Park, $2.2 million for the Central Community Park, and $2.92 million for the Central Sports Park.

Late May 2008 — In an interview with the Central City News, Bill Palmer, the director of BREC, said the new Central Community Park would probably be located on 30 acres of land owned by Brandon Rogillio behind Central Middle  School.  When asked about the fact that the land was low-lying and subject to flooding, he said he would investigate that.  Palmer also said in that interview that $600,000 would be spent in Central “before the end of the year” on the Greenwell Springs Historic Park.

Late May 2008 — In an interview with the Central City News, Rep. Bodi White said the new Central Sports Complex would include nine baseball fields, three soccer fields, and a sand volleyball court.  White said more details on the project would be announced soon.

June 19, 2008 — Central City News published an article detailing plans for the three new parks and showing details of the $6.25 million budget approved by BREC.  [Go to www.centralcitynews.net, then search for the June 19, 2008, edition, and go to Page 8.]

Sept. 25, 2008Parcel 52, LLC, amended its documents with the Secretary of State, and Gordon Rogillio replaced Rep. Bodi White as an officer of Parcel 52, LLC.

Oct. 30, 2008 — BREC authorized Bill Palmer to execute the purchase of land for the Central Sports Park.

Dec. 18, 2008 — BREC unveiled four proposed plans for the new Central Sports Park at a public meeting in Central.  BREC did not announce where the park would be located, but the design of the park was an exact match for the tract owned by Parcel 52, LLC.  The promotional materials published by BREC said the Sports Park would be complete in 24 months.

June 11, 2009 — The BREC Board authorized the execution of the documents to purchase a portion of the property owned by Parcel 52, LLC.  Two things owned by Parcel 52, LLC, were excluded from the sale:

• The commercial frontage on Hooper Road, which was one of the most valuable parts of the property, and

• The mineral rights, which could also be worth a substantial sum, in view of BP drilling in the area.

So Parcel 52, LLC retained both the commercial frontage on Hooper Road and the mineral rights.

The site, which was purchased by Parcel 52, LLC for $300,000 in January 2007 was sold to BREC in June 2009 for $709,000 — a profit of $409,000.

In addition, BREC agreed to pay Parcel 52, LLC another $130,000 for earthwork and a 100-foot-long street with curbs and sidewalks.  This street will connect Hooper Road to the proposed park and runs through the center of the commercial property which was retained by Parcel 52, LLC.

Sept. 1, 2011 — As of September 2011, BREC has spent no money on the Greenwell Springs Historic Park, and the park does not exist.  The $600,000, which was supposed to be spent before the end of 2008, has not been spent.

BREC has spent no money on the Central Community Park, and that park does not exist.

The Central Sports Park, which was supposed to be complete within 24 months of December 2008, is still far from completion.  Earlier this year, BREC announced that only a fraction of the Central Sports Park could be built, because funds are not available.

However, as a result of what has occurred, Parcel 52, LLC, is in a far better position:

• From funds provided by BREC, Parcel 52, LLC, has been able to completely pay off its initial investment of $300,000.

Parcel 52, LLC, has made a profit of $409,000.

Parcel 52, LLC, owns a large, valuable tract of commercial property fronting on Hooper Road, which is ready for development.

Parcel 52, LLC, owns the mineral rights on the property.

Parcel 52, LLC has the benefit of $130,000 worth of improvements for a 100-foot-long street with curbs and sidewalks, which provide access to the park — and to Parcel 52’s commercial property — from Hooper Road.

By Woody Jenkins, Editor, Central City News

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