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Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Lake Shore Hosp Authority

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


Authority Manager Berry (File Photo)

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Columbia County's Lake Shore Hospital Authority, one of the special purpose hospital districts that Governor Scott was thinking about eliminating after he was elected, lingers on as former republican political operative and quintessential public figure, Hospital Authority Manager Jackson P. "Jack" Berry, finally took some heat from the Governor appointed board after claiming he failed to get a recent appraisal on the Shipp property purchased in a wild property buying spree in 2006.

Coming in Part II Manager Berry explains his concept of property development:
Well, if you wait until somebody gets interested in it -- you not -- I haven't seen a rat get in a rat trap yet that's waitin' for em to build one for em to get in. It just ain't gonna happen.

In 2006, Authority Manager Berry was the Lake Shore Hospital Authority's board member leading the charge to buy up every piece of property in the area of the Lake Shore Hospital, eventually spending about $4,000,000 of Hospital Authority money, in cash. Today, the property in downtown Lake City in what Manager Berry recently referred to as the "ghetto" may be worth 20% of that, if you could find someone to buy it.

At last month's April 8th Authority meeting the Board was trying to determine the present value of the Shipp property, which was purchased for $200,000 in 2006.

The Board directed Manager Berry to get an appraisal on the property. He didn't.

A plan without a plan – Manager Berry explains

More LSHA
stories are here.

During last Monday night's May 13th meeting, it was explained that a local doctor is trying to make a deal to get the Authority to donate the Shipp parcel and one or two others in return for his buying a 1300 sq. ft. modular office to put on the site. This will be a satellite office to one the doctor is building on the upscale west side of Lake City on US 90.

Authority Manager Berry explained the proposed deal this way (This was one of two different deals on which Manager Berry was working): "The doctor that wanted to put a modular office in -- in for a number of years that go as -- get em to basically -- give em the property to maintain a medical office there for X number of years."

Lake Shore Hospital Authority Attorney, Marlin Feagle opined, “We would have to advertise that meeting and offer that lease on a RFP. You would have to comply and it would have to be discussed at a public hearing."

Board member Lori Chancy asked Board member Marc Vann for a suggestion regarding the value.

Mr. Vann said, "I don't know that I have a number. Last month you (Manager Berry) were going to try to get us a value at today's market price so we would have some idea of what it was worth."

Authority Manager Berry responded, "I know about what we got in it."

Mr. Vann, annoyed, "I don't care about that. We're past about -- in it."

Manager Berry explained:

"We’ve had -- I’ve almost have to get an appraisal to do it. We really need to see -- do a site plan to see exactly how much land he's gonna need before we get an appraisal on it. We can't get a site plan, till we get a -- a agreement -- on the number of years. He's sittin’ ready on hirin' an engineer to do a site plan and pave the parking lot and all this stuff if we get the problem of the years -- is worked out. It would be simple to do, because all we gotta to do is set an appraisal on it and if you say ten years -- if he sells it -- five -- you'd have to go back pro rate the difference and pay us for the land."

Mr. Vann said he wanted to see a proposal before the Authority did anything.

Manager Berry finally announced that he had plans, "Well, I actually have a set of plans back there for the buildin'. It's a 1350 sq. foot modular buildin'... That's not a big buildin'."

Mr. Vann agreed.

"1300 sq. ft. doesn't look like anything. We don't have a plan."

Board member Bruce Naylor, "1300 sq. ft. doesn't look like anything. We don't have a plan. If this was part of the plan, that would be one thing... I think now we have to have a plan."

Manager Berry responded, "We've got to start somewhere. You all give me some guidelines."

Board member Chancy suggested renting the property.

Manager Berry responded, "You're gonna get a guy to invest 75 or 100,000 dollars in paving a parkin' lot to rent a piece of dirt? I know he ain't goin' for that."

Authority Attorney Feagle added, "Bruce said it. Maybe you need to just start out and come up with some sort of master plan -- how you want to develop -- what kind of offices you want here. Whatever you do it's going to have to come as a publicly noticed meeting... Whatever you do won't be a done deal until you have a meeting in the public domain and discuss it."

After some discussion Manager Berry said, "I done think 2,000 is a good square footage."

Chairman Dr. Waseem Khan, "Sounds like we need more information Jack, maybe something about the building?"

Mr. Vann, "If it's modular they've got to have a picture of it."

Manager Berry said he had a floor plan.

Mr. Vann, "No, I'm talkin' about a picture -- what it looks like."

Chairman Khan tried to ask, "Where's the proposed ..."

Mr. Berry spoke right over him, "I called the company to get some color brochures and they don't have any. Everything's on the Internet. We don't have a color copier."

Mr. Vann said, "I don't care about the color."

Manager Berry, "Let me see what I can come up with for the next meetin'."

Epilogue

It's business as usual at the Governor appointed Lake Shore Hospital Authority.

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