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Vann Clan Has Big Month: Land Give-a-Way; Lien Goes Away; Nephew's Wife Gets Big County Job

Columbia County – New Peyton Place?

Posted October 21, 2014  10:21 pm

Marc Vann recommended a give-a-way of Hospital Authority property.

Lake City/Columbia County, FL – Yesterday morning in Federal Court, Judge Timothy Corrigan compared the goings-on in Columbia County to Peyton Place. The events of the past month indicate the judge's observation to be a poignant one. Last week, Vann king-pin, Marc Vann, a long time Lake Shore Hosp Auth Board member, moved into action and recommended the Authority give over half-a-million dollars of property to Lake City, for free. Last night, the City Council removed a $5,000 lien from one of the Vann properties in downtown Lake City and sometime during the day the County hired his nephew's wife to a top County post.

No LSHA Plan

Lake Shore Hosp Auth: $4,000,000 spent in real-estate spending spree - still no plan

Beginning in 2006, The Lake Shore Hospital Authority in a crazed buying spree, led by Authority Manager and then Board member and Republican kingpin, Jackson P. "Jack" Berry, began spending Authority money on every piece of downtown property they could find in the vicinity of Lake Shore Hospital. There was no business plan; no business model; no nothing. Like the federal government, the aim was to spend money.

Sometime in September of this year, Manager Berry appears to have gotten together with Lake City, City Manager Wendell Johnson to examine which Lake Shore Hospital Authority property the City would like to have.

Two weeks ago on October 7, City Manager Johnson sent a letter to the Authority listing five lake view properties.

City Manager Wendell Johnson talks about the property transfer.

A week later on October 13, City Manager Johnson came to the Authority and said, "We’re askin' for the land to be conveyed from one public agency to another. (silence) The City’s open to negotiation. (unintelligible) Certainly, we don’t want somethin’ for nothin’... If there's goin’ to be a need for that land to build offices, certainly I would understand that. We [Johnson and Berry] actually talked about splittin’ the parcel of properties down the middle... and we just take the south."

Blight Never Mentioned

An examination of the Authority minutes going back to 2004 indicated there was never any mention by the Hospital Authority Board to buy up property to remove areas of blight.

On Monday the 13th, Board member and quintessential Columbia County good ole' boy, Marc Vann, said of City Manager Johnson's remarks, "I think it is a great idea. When I got on the Board the whole purpose of buyin’ up all this mess was to clean the area up... I would not be in favor of sellin’ anything to the City. Tax payer money bought it to start with. It’s the same people whether it’s got a City title on it, or Lake Shore title on it.... I make a motion that we approve the City’s request to donate those parcels to the City – or transfer title to the City."

While it is located in the Lake City, city limits, the Lake Shore Hospital Authority collects taxes from all County property owners, City and County. The City population is 18% of the total County population.

Mr. Vann's attitude – tax money is everyone's tax money, no matter the source – is the prevailing attitude among many officials in Columbia County.

With two dissenting votes, the Authority Board decided to give away property that cost all Columbia County taxpayers over $600,000. Authority Manager Berry did not reveal the actual cost of the property.

October 20, 2014: the Vann Clan Got a Free Pass

During Monday's October 20 Council meeting, City Manager Wendell Johnson recommended that the City Council remove a $5,000 lien from a Vann held property in downtown Lake City.

It was removed.

Vann's Nephew's Wife

Also, on Monday October 20, Marc Vann's nephew's wife, Paula Vann, who was previously an account executive in the furniture business and is a recruitment specialist, was offered and accepted the job as Executive Director of the Columbia County Tourist Development Council (TDC).

Marc Vann is on the County's Economic Development Advisory Board. His nephew, Matt Vann, Paula's husband, is on the City Community Redevelopment Advisory Council.


Ms. Vann, who has an MBA and a very nice smile, was the County's fourth pick for the TDC position.

The TDC's top pick could not come to salary terms; the second pick, Florida Representative Elizabeth Porter, seemed to have withdrawn from consideration because of a time constraint; the third pick unexplainably – disappeared; which led to the fourth pick, Ms. Vann, being touted as number two by assistant County manager Ben Scott.

The local newspaper, the Lake City Reporter, who has proclaimed itself the "cheerleader" for Columbia County, touted Ms. Vann as the TDC's 1st pick.

The TDC, as reported last week, wanted to interview Ms. Vann. It was never given the opportunity.

Yesterday morning when Federal Court Judge Timothy Corrigan compared Peyton Place and Columbia County, he may have been on to something.

Comments  (to add a comment go here)

On November 1, 2014, Ursula from Columbia County wrote:

The county good old boys club doing what they do best .using tax payers money to pay of liens ,going on a crazy land buying spree and hiring their families for great positions for county jobs .The average man or woman has no chance to get jobs like this unless they know one of them.


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