By Anne Geggis, News Source @Sunsentinel
The company that Pompano Beach hired to direct tens of millions in taxpayer money to redevelop blighted areas has announced it is ending its nine-year contract with the city, alleging a hostile environment.
The termination comes a little more than a month since two City Commission members voted to fire the company in an emergency meeting.
But the company wasn’t dismissed. A majority of the commission agreed to keep Redevelopment Management Associates on its $1.1 million contract on Dec. 12, and let it continue its oversight of improvements on the city beachside and its northwest district.
The controversy is impugning the company’s reputation, Redevelopment Management Associates’ leader said.
“It is a very unfortunate circumstance, that instead of working to continue the phenomenal growth of this city, our meetings have become a place where we … are constantly having to go on record to correct erroneous statements by the same commissioners and a handful of people,” said Kim Briesemeister, co-director of Redevelopment Management Associates, in a statement.
The emergency meeting in December was called when members of the City Commission said they were alarmed to discover the principal directors of the redevelopment company had purchased property in the area Redevelopment Management Associates was under contract to redevelop.
Briesemeister and Chris Brown, co-directors of the associates, had purchased the property under companies with different names: Old Towne Flagler LLC and East Village 2300 LLC, according to property records.
The letter said the redevelopment associates will stay on for three more months as the city takes over operation of the agency.
The associates have overseen the redevelopment of the beach, which has brought the announcement of new restaurants, a hotel and shops to a 6.5-acre swath of city-owned land that had been largely dormant for decades.
City officials could not be reached for comment after the company’s announcement just before 5 p.m.