NO LOCAL FUNDS AT RISK WITH IDA BOND UNDER COURT ORDER
By Matt Sharpe
A revenue bond inked between the Thomaston Upson IDA and Gordon Jensen Healthcare Association, Inc. in 2013 is one of 13 deals under court order by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The order is for nursing home kingpin Christopher Brogdon of Atlanta to pay more than $89 million in interest and principal owed to investors.
No local funds are at risk according to the T-U IDA.
“Bondholders have been paid so far and that the matter is in the courts. Christopher Brogden's involvement was hidden from the Authority, and no local funds are at risk since this was solely a revenue bond. The IDA’s Bond Counsel has kept us apprised to the situation and will continue to do so,” said IDA Executive Director Kyle Fletcher.
According to the SEC, Brogdon deceived investors, co-mingling money that was supposed to be dedicated to specific projects and diverting funds to other business ventures and to family accounts. He is now under a court order to pay investors the interest and principal owed in 13 bond deals and six private placement offerings. The 2013 bond inked with the T-U IDA is one of those bond deals.
SEC officials say Brogden used funds from the deals to fund his lavish lifestyle including homes in Atlanta and St. Simons, and a private plane worth $1.5 million. In addition to his nursing homes and assisted living businesses, he is part owner of the J. Christopher restaurant chain.
The IDA agreed to enter into an agreement with Gordon Jensen Healthcare Association, Inc. for a $9.5 million dollar revenue bond in April of 2013. Financing of the bond was for 30 years at a fixed rate. The earnings from the nursing home would have been used to pay for the bonds. At the execution of the bond it was stated that all of the money would be used for Providence Nursing Home.
According to the IDA, the conduit bond were not backed by the IDA or local government and allowed for the group to seek financing from other sources.
At that time, the group was in the process of purchasing and upgrading the facility in Thomaston. Early estimates were in the range of $8.1 million. The remainder of the funds would be applied to fees and other necessities.
During the meeting in 2013, IDA attorney Joel Bentley said the IDA board was approached by the group’s attorney in regards to the possibility of the IDA providing bond assistance for the purchase and rehabilitation of Providence Nursing Home.
“This is a non-traditional IDA type bond,” said Bentley in 2013. “Typically our bonds are for purchases of additional equipment for an existing facility or for possibly assisting a facility to move here or relocate here for heavy industry.”
He added while the bond was not for heavy industry, it was in the IDA’s charter where it could execute bonds for similar industries including the nursing home and healthcare industry.
In 2013, representatives for the company said the bond would not exceed $9.5 million and it would be used to acquire and rehabilitate Providence Nursing Home located on South Green Street. The acquisition would preserve 90 jobs and create 10-15 jobs in the future, according to representatives. The 501C3 group did not ask for any tax breaks or special benefits and would pay ad-valorem taxes.
DART GRANT TO BENEFIT THOMASTON PARK SYSTEM
The City of Thomaston has been named a recipient of a $5,000 grant from the Dart Foundation. The grant will be used for the purchase of park benches and trash receptacles throughout its park system. The City provides and maintains three parks and feature walking tracks, ponds, fountains, playgrounds, pavilions, and recreational activities. The addition of the benches and receptacles will enhance their current amenities, according to City Hall.
“We are appreciative of the Dart Foundation’s generosity,” City administrative assistant Brandy Johnson. “The benches will give visitors an area to rest while walking, as well as a place to relax and enjoy the beauty of our spaces. We want to maintain that beauty and having additional receptacles will help us keep our parks clean and inviting.”
The City is in the midst of purchasing the eight benches and four receptacles, with delivery and installation planned within the next few weeks.
The Dart Foundation is a private family foundation established by Dart Container Corporation founder William A. Dart and his wife Claire T. Dart. The Foundation supports projects that enhance education, especially in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math, and those that improve the quality of life in specific communities, including Thomaston and the surrounding area.
City and County Meet To