sam's notes

notes on government, sports and popular culture

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

I admit I'm fascinated with St. James Homes. I'm just trying to figure out exactly what the process was on a business level that led to the complex's demise. So I spent about an hour reading the N&R's 2001 coverage. I give credit where credit is due: they did a great job.

Which makes the current situation all the more depressing. Based on the N&R's reporting back in '01, anyone could have seen that the Grahams were not the people to right the ship. After the commissioners voted to recommend that Grahams receive a $140,000 federal grant (with Wade, Yow and Arnold voting against), it was revealed that the Grahams had serious financial problems. The county was surprised, and everyone wondered why a background check wasn't done on the Grahams.

That's probably because the Grahams really did have good intentions, and came recommended by other housing groups. But the public record showed a history of unpaid bills and taxes as well as foreclosure proceedings.

HUD later got involved, not because of the Grahams' financial history but because of the project's troubled history, which was outlined by Andy Scott, director of Greensboro's housing authority. HUD was concerned about having to bail out the project, plus there was a technicality which stated one group could not receive two grants from the HOME program.

Here's the interesting part: The N&R's last article in 2001 was a staff report listing the Greensboro housing groups receiving HUD grants. The Christian Counseling and Wellness Group, the nonprofit run by the Grahams, received a $588,000 grant. That's also the last article on St. James Homes until January of this year.

It's time to move on, but perhaps some lessons will be learned from this experience.


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