Why you are seeking a seat on the Board of Directors?
I have been working downtown since 2001. I lived downtown from 2008 to ~2003 and I plan to move back to downtown when my two teenage sons graduate from Clayton High. The companies I work for are value-add companies: we acquire and add value to commercial property by risking our own personal capital in improving these properties. For example, at 14th and Washington AVE, we have fenced, LED-lit and added St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Real Time Crime Center cameras to over 300 parking stalls — we used our own capital to do this and risked that capital knowing if we did downtown would benefit and our capital would be returned to us. Since doing so, there have been ZERO break-ins at these downtown parking lots — ZERO. *ALL of our commercial property investments are in downtown.* We have a vested interest in the success of downtown. Additionally, I am the petitioner for the downtown neighborhood fighting Larry Rice (New Life Evangelistic Center aka “NLEC”) — and I have been for over 5 years now. A core group of neighbors, a team, took out Larry Rice — and we’re still working to keep it that way — I have been in court representing that team and the downtown neighborhood every day I need to be in order to keep Larry shut down. And I won’t stop until he’s gone from the neighborhood. He’s a bad man. I was a founding member of DNA helping Daniel Flynn draft the DNA bylaws, purchase the legal documents to form DNA, purchase the DNA website domain, etc etc — then Jared Opsal grew DNA to what it is today. Jared has done a GREAT job and I want to work with him. I want to help DNA get stronger and bigger so it can affect city policies and change downtown for the better for all of us.
What are your top priorities for DNA to work on?
We pay over $3,500,000 per year to our downtown Community Improvement District (CID) which gives pretty much all the money to Missy Kelley’s Downtown St. Louis Inc (DSI) — I want to understand how that money is being spent before we renew the CID in a couple of years. They need DNA to renew the CID — because they need the votes of property owners to renew the CID. Larry Rice is now my second priority — the CID IS PRIORITY NUMBER ONE for me since they’ve spent, over the years, over $55,000,000 of our money (Fifty-Five Million Dollars). They have all our money we need for improving downtown — it’s important to influence how that money is spent in planning, policy-making etc. and such that that money doesn’t get spent on a few developer’s pet projects thus only lining their pockets — we need to plan how that money is spent so we get the biggest bang for our bucks.
What are the assets you can bring to assist DNA’s mission?
I know a lot of commercial property owners. I understand city planning, permitting and other processes. I have a ton of litigation experience now and sometimes it’s necessary to take on the city to make progress happen. You cannot be afraid to take on the tough issues. I believe I bring a wealth of “insider” information and I will use any and all of it to get progress in downtown and to help grow DNA’s effectiveness and influence in downtown progress.