Flannigan loses election, lands plum job

Jimmy Flannigan, former Austin Metropolis Council member, on the dais in January 2017 (Picture Jana Birchum)

This story was up to date at 6:04pm March 9, 2021, to incorporate Chad Sorensen’s response to make clear his suggestions relating to the ACE president’s place.

Metropolis Council performs political soccer with conference heart lodge’s PPP mortgage request

It was December 16, 2020, the day after the runoff election for 2 seats on the Austin Metropolis Council.

James Timothy “Jimmy” Flannigan, the District 6 council member, was the one incumbent to lose.

“I awakened considering I have to go search for a job,” Flannigan stated in a March 5th interview with The Austin Bulldog.

Phillip Schmandt
Hilton Austin at 555 E. Fifth St.

Then Flannigan’s cellphone rang. The caller was legal professional Phillip Schmandt, board president of Austin Conference Enterprises Inc. (ACE). That’s the group which oversees administration of the city-owned Hilton Austin Conference Middle Resort.

Schmandt had a job provide. He wished to fill the newly created place of president.

“Phillip referred to as and requested me if I’d have an interest—actually Wednesday after the Tuesday election,” Flannigan stated.

Because it seems there’s an upside to dropping, moneywise.

His new job pays $140,000 a 12 months plus $6,000 for medical health insurance. That’s nearly $65,000 greater than the $81,536 every year he was making when he left the Metropolis Council. And the brand new job solely requires him to work as much as 20 hours per week.

Flannigan utilized, received the job

Three days after being defeated, Flannigan emailed his résumé to formally apply. He was interviewed the identical day the Board of Administrators.

“We mentioned the job necessities that have been posted to ACE web site,” Flannigan informed The Austin Bulldog. “There was curiosity in bringing me on.”

Jolsna Thomas

ACE Board secretary-treasurer Jolsna Thomas informed the Bulldog, “We wished transparency to the general public, somebody to develop the web site, make certain all paperwork have been seen to public, situation RFPs for numerous distributors—insurance coverage, auditors, attorneys, all the varied features—somebody who is aware of the procurement course of.” The board was additionally on the lookout for variety, she stated, and Flannigan—the primary overtly homosexual man elected to the council—checked that field.

Thomas is enterprise improvement supervisor for Rosendin Electrical, one of many nation’s largest employee-owned electrical contracting firms. She can be a Metropolis Council appointee to the Metropolis’s Firefighters’ Police Officers’ and Emergency Medical Companies Personnel Civil Service Fee and Mayor Steve Adler’s appointee to the Metropolis’s Development Advisory Committee.

“It was essential for me to seek out any person to have the best {qualifications} to do that job and provides the group the extent of consideration it wanted,” Thomas stated. “All three board members have full-time paid jobs. We went although the method, interviewed candidates, and chosen the most effective one for the place.”

Flannigan was cautious to not cross moral boundaries.

“I stated I’m not going to signal something or execute something till after the brand new council members are sworn in. We’re not overlapping duties. I’m not going to signal this factor until after the swearing-in.”

To that finish, Schmandt and Flannigan executed his employment settlement January 7, 2021, the day after the brand new Metropolis Council members have been sworn in.

Large pay for small hours

Working 20 hours per week for 52 weeks provides as much as 1,040 hours a 12 months. At a base wage of $140,000, that works out to about $135 per hour. Add in $6,000 for medical health insurance and the hourly price jumps to $140 plus change.

As a Metropolis Council member, Flannigan’s annual wage for the fiscal 12 months beginning October 1, 2020, was $81,536 for a job arguably way more demanding many full-time jobs.

By dropping the election he landed a part-time job that pays $64,464 greater than he earned as an elected official. And the work he does is generally out of sight, out of thoughts. Though ACE is topic to the state’s Public Data and Open Conferences Acts, its web site has been in operation for lower than a 12 months and board members have but to listen to a public remark throughout posted conferences.

That kick up the monetary ladder is sort of a dream come true, proper?

“They don’t pay council members what they’re price available on the market,” Flannigan stated.

ACE will get extra assist for similar cash

Flannigan’s compensation is sort of revenue-neutral for ACE’s finances as a result of board advisor John Roberts—whose duties Flannigan took over—was paid $11,000 a month in 2020 for a complete of $132,000, in keeping with data obtained via a public info request. So in Flannigan ACE will get an worker on the payroll as an alternative of a contractor who lives in Dallas for a internet further annual outlay of $14,000.

Chad Sorensen

The ACE board settled on the bottom wage of $140,000 primarily based on information Schmandt requested from consultants CHMWarnick, lodge asset managers. The agency did a survey of metropolis owned lodge amenities across the nation. Managing Director and Chief Working Officer Chad Sorensen emailed a letter to ACE board members August 31, 2020, and beneficial an annual wage vary of $125,000 to $175,000.

Replace: However Sorensen’s letter contained a seemingly odd advice. “Candidate ought to produce other work pursuits and never deal with this position as a main supply of revenue to mitigate the danger of over-stepping tasks and compromising the construction,” The Austin Bulldog has requested clarification of that assertion and acquired this e-mail at the moment: “…[t]he intent of ACE President place is to not supplant the position of Hilton as operator of the lodge, nor was it meant to supplant CHMWarnick because the skilled asset supervisor to ACE, which is required the bondholders.”

Sherri Greenberg

In a September 25, 2020, ACE board assembly, Schmandt moved to set the president’s pay at $150,000 with an anticipated 20 hours per week dedication of time, in keeping with the board minutes. Board member Thomas provided an modification to regulate the pay to $140,000 every year, Schmandt accepted the modification, Sherri Greenberg seconded, and the movement was authorized unanimously. (Greenberg, a professor on the LBJ College of Public Affairs, additionally chairs the Central Well being Board of Managers. She didn’t reply to a request for an interview for this text.)

Was hiring Flannigan authorized?

As a sitting council member Flannigan voted February 20, 2020, to nominate the three ACE board members who employed him. Two of them contributed to his reelection marketing campaign: Schmandt ($400 for the final election) and Thomas ($100 for the final election and $200 for the runoff).

As well as, Flannigan voted July 29, 2020, to approve an modification to ACE laws that created the president’s place he was employed to fill.

The Metropolis Regulation Division examined Flannigan’s rent for the job with respect to revolving door insurance policies and decided that no provisions in Metropolis Code have been violated. The authorized recommendation left open the choice to amend guidelines for the longer term.

Flannigan additionally signed with foyer agency

When the Bulldog requested Flannigan what he was going to do outdoors his part-time job with ACE, he stated, “I’m nonetheless attempting to determine that out. I’m advising A.J. Bingham, a buddy. None of it’s paid work, not paid proper now.”

A.J. Bingham

Bingham Group proprietor Alfred J. “AJ” Bingham Jr. despatched an e-mail to a consumer February 1, 2021, stating, “I’m writing to replace you that we’ve signed former Austin Council Member Jimmy Flannigan as a strategic advisor to Bingham Group.

“On this position he’ll present steering to the agency on Council and metropolis division engagement, in addition to neighborhood relations (in Austin and Williamson County).

“As chances are you’ll know, presently he’s the one former member of the 10-1 system available on the market, so his perception is each a price add and distinctive amongst our opponents. He’s instantly accessible for advisory engagements. To that finish, we wished to give you and the crew a free 30 minute session associated to you enterprise and the Metropolis of Austin. Simply let me know the dates and instances.”

Bingham is a lobist registered with the Metropolis of Austin, as is Bingham Group worker Julie Potrykus. The agency lists eight shoppers in its metropolis foyer registration.

Requested if he has supplied strategic recommendation to Bingham, Flannigan stated, “That’s my experience however I’m not lobing and I’ve not been paid. He stated he recalled that Bingham, when representing the Butler Park Pitch & Putt operators, as soon as lobbied him as a council member. The golf facility has operated since 1949 on a slender strip of land between Riverside Drive and Barton Springs Street, simply east of Lamar Boulevard. Flannigan stated he voted in opposition to Bingham’s consumer.

By moving into a task that sells the expertise he gained as a council member, Flannigan has the potential to run afoul of Metropolis Constitution Part 2-7-66, which states:

“No former Metropolis official or former worker shall use any confidential info to which he had entry advantage of his official capability and which has not been made public regarding the property, operations, insurance policies, or affairs of the Metropolis, to advance any private monetary curiosity.”

For 4 years Flannigan sat within the Metropolis Council’s closed-door government classes with authorized advisors. Little question he heard a number of info that was no means made public. In advising Bingham Group and its shoppers, how will he guarantee he’s not violating that provision?

“As a result of I spent much more time in public conferences,” Flannigan stated, “and I attempt to be as public as doable. Actually not that a lot stuff occurs in government classes.”

Maybe a greater query is how will the general public believe that Flannigan will not be violating that provision?

In reply, Flannigan notes that he’s not the primary former council member to stroll this tightrope. Mike Martinez, for instance, served on the council 2009-2014 and ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2014. Martinez is presently a registered metropolis lobist who represents 14 shoppers.

“This isn’t an uncommon situation,” Flannigan stated.

Why rent Flannigan so rapidly?

Let’s tackle the context through which the ACE board is working.

Schmandt, in a March 2nd phone interview, stated, “I used to be recruited to be on the board, which was described to me as a possibility for metropolis service, with possibly month-to-month board conferences and restricted involvement in overseeing this essential public asset.”

Schmandt was no stranger to civic service. The legal professional and accomplice in McGinnis Lochridge legislation agency had served on the Metropolis’s Electrical Utility Fee (EUC) 2006 via 2013, together with 5 years as EUC chair. Plus he was on a number of mayor’s activity forces on power issues, in keeping with a listing of his neighborhood service on the legislation agency’s web site.

However serving on the ACE board is way completely different.

The EUC, like most Metropolis boards and commissions, is merely advisory. The ACE board gives direct oversight of the Metropolis-owned Conference Middle Resort and adjoining storage. ACE board appointments are for six years, though two of the three present members are serving out unexpired phrases of earlier members. (Actually, Thomas’s time period expires on the finish of subsequent month.)

“Now we have three volunteer board members, no institutional reminiscence on the board stage…I accepted being appointed as president with little enthusiasm,” Schmandt stated.

“This then turned not a month-to-month expertise for me however just about each day administration, coping with belongings, coping with the lawsuit (extra about that later).  It was far more than I bargained for and it’s been very irritating. Now we have solely three board members so we will’t talk besides in open conferences, and that’s made managing harder.”

The 2 board vacancies have but to be stuffed the Metropolis Council, regardless of an modification  to ACE laws authorized Might 12, 2008, that states the board “shall consist of 5 administrators.”

When Greenberg, Schmandt and Thomas have been appointed a 12 months in the past, ACE was in a decent spot. They got here in with no overlap with earlier board members. They needed to learn to handle a company overseeing the Metropolis-owned Conference Middle Resort that in earlier years had loved working revenues of about $80 million a 12 months. Income plummeted in 2020 to lower than $22 million because of the pandemic that hit simply as these board members took workplace. (See accompanying chart.)

The board’s solely workers was a Dallas-based unbiased contractor, John Roberts, who served as board advisor and whose contract was expiring on the finish of this 12 months.

“We had an asset valued about $400 million, overseen a novice board, with an unbiased contractor who may resign at any minute with us having no entry to his paperwork,” Schmandt stated.

The ACE board’s earlier three members—all metropolis workers—have been gone. One had retired. The opposite two resigned after being sued 5 Fifty 5 Condominium Affiliation Inc., as a result of they owed duties of loyalty to town and couldn’t totally adjust to duties owed in a single capability with out violating duties owed in one other capability. (Trigger No. D-1-GN-20-001141.)

The brand new board members instantly prioritized transparency in ACE’s conferences and paperwork. There had been no provision for taking public feedback throughout board conferences and no repository of knowledge the general public may entry. “That was one of many first orders of enterprise so our conferences and core paperwork could possibly be accessible to the general public,” Schmandt stated.

“Our subsequent step was to strategy council to rent a president that would present that institutional data.”

ACE laws didn’t enable the board to right away fill that place. To alter the laws meant getting the Metropolis Council’s permission. That was granted way of Decision No. 20200729-084 July 29, 2020.

The one who received away

As soon as greenlighted, board advisor Roberts posted the place to ACE’s web site and to 2 industrial job websites, Certainly and LinkedIn.

In early October, Roberts knowledgeable the board he had acquired greater than 150 résumés from Certainly and one other 125 from LinkedIn.  Others got here from ACE’s web site, ACE board members, and consultants. (See accompanying chart on the timeline for hiring.) In a single e-mail to Schmandt, Roberts wrote, “Many simply don’t appear to go the scent check, both location, expertise, business or age…None actually screamed ‘take a look at me.’ ” Finally Roberts weeded out the overwhelming majority of résumés.

In response to the Bulldog’s public info request ACE’s outdoors attorneys on the Winstead legislation agency supplied résumés of 17 “candidates thought of the ACE board for the place.”

The ACE board interviewed two candidates November 30th: Lee Crawford and Ying McGuire.

Ying McGuire

Ying McGuire’s résumé signifies she is vice chairman of worldwide  enterprise for Expertise Integration Group in Austin.

McGuire didn’t reply to the Bulldog’s request for an interview. However correspondence obtained via a public info request confirmed that she emailed the board the day after her interview and provided to step into the job on an interim foundation or volunteer if wanted. Clearly she was not provided the job.

ACE board member Thomas made positive that McGuire was being thought of.

“She was an excellent candidate, had a number of good concepts, however was simply not the best match,” Thomas stated.

Lee Crawford

Crawford is an assistant Metropolis of Austin legal professional whose duties embody being town’s main counsel for ACE authorized issues.

In conveying Crawford’s résumé to ACE board members, together with others on October 16, 2020, board advisor Roberts indicated that Crawford was “quickly to retire” from his metropolis job.

Crawford declined an converse with the Bulldog for this story however way of e-mail responded to say, “The interview was cordial {and professional}, lasted for roughly an hour, and centered on my background and expertise related to the President’s job description as posted on the ACE web site. I had understood that ACE acquired a big quantity of curiosity within the President place, and regarded myself lucky to have been chosen for an interview.”

All three ACE board members participated in his interview, Crawford stated. “I’ve a number of respect for ACE and imagine the Council’s choice 20 years in the past to create such a particular objective entity to help the conference heart has introduced a number of financial and different advantages to our Metropolis. I hope your story will replicate that legacy.”

Within the Bulldog’s March 4th interview with Schmandt, he stated, “We made a proposal. It was verbally accepted and the following day it was declined.”

He refused to call who received the provide.

However given McGuire’s day-after-interview e-mail providing to step in briefly or volunteer, it’s apparent the board tried to rent Crawford. When requested to verify that, Schmandt stated, “I desire to not remark about that. I actually respect folks’s privateness rights in terms of employment points.”

Requested as soon as once more if he received a job provide, Crawford stated, “I’m not confirming whether or not I used to be provided the place or not.”

Crawford makes $166,000 as an assistant metropolis legal professional, so taking the president’s job would have netted a smaller wage. However for a part-time job and sure potential to attract retirement pay (he graduated from legislation faculty in 1977, in keeping with data of the State Bar Affiliation), he would’ve been forward in each revenue and diminished work hours.

Rejecting the job raises a crimson flag. Was Crawford’s data of ACE such that he may foresee some looming drawback he wished to keep away from?

In a e-mail, Crawford stated, “I’m not conscious of any considerations about ACE’s operations…On the contrary, I’ve all the time believed ACE to be a really well-managed group and a great steward of its belongings. I additionally imagine that ACE’s prudent monetary insurance policies through the years–together with establishing substantial reserves to cowl unanticipated occasions–have contributed to ACE’s potential to proceed assembly its obligations underneath its bond indenture throughout these very difficult instances for the hospitality business.”

What Schmandt informed the Bulldog the morning of March 4, was contradicted what KXAN-TV Channel 36 reported later that very same morning. KXAN’s story stated, “Schmandt stated nobody would take the job in months main as much as Flannigan’s runoff loss and subsequent rent.”

Whereas technically true—as a result of Lee Crawford turned down the job in early December—Schmandt’s remark appeared to recommend that the ACE board provided the job to plenty of folks earlier than hiring Flannigan. Actually the job had been provided to only one individual. And for no matter cause, the board solely interviewed a complete of three folks out of a number of hundred who had utilized.

Hiring course of criticized

Andy Slater

One of many 17 candidates on the listing of these “thought of” for the president’s job who didn’t get an interview was Andy Slater. Because it occurs, he was the Hilton’s first normal supervisor when the conference lodge opened for enterprise in 2003.

Again then he was already space vice chairman for Hilton Lodges and was picked for that job his boss, Ken Smith, who now heads KSI Hospitality Inc. Then a Hilton government, Smith competed with different main lodge chains responding to the Metropolis’s Request for Proposals. All wished to win the job of managing Austin’s new Conference Middle Resort, which opened in 2003. “I made the presentation,” Smith stated in February 4th interview, including the stiffest competitors got here from Marriott.

Ken Smith

“I knew the lodge was going to take off,” Smith stated. “We had bumps alongside the street however general the lodge was extraordinarily profitable…“It turned out rather well and was one among Hilton’s high resorts, pre-Covid.”

The Metropolis’s choice to construct the lodge “primed the pump to get issues shifting” for the expansion that occurred with the expanded conference heart,” Smith stated. “The Metropolis was small. Austin was an afterthought except you have been within the music enterprise.”

Slater did an amazing job as first normal supervisor, Smith stated. “It’s the GM that makes or breaks a lodge, makes everyday choices.”

Slater, way of e-mail, informed the Bulldog, “I would love you to share my feedback and title and disappointment that the courtesy of an interview for the place of President of ACE was not permitted. Clearly certified candidates weren’t thought of on this choice.” However he conceded, “They have been very clear on the entrance finish they weren’t on the lookout for hospitality expertise.”

“Bear in mind the board has employed an excellent administration firm with Hilton, not simply the model however the operator,” Slater stated. “Strong individuals are assigned to the undertaking. By advantage of the contract they’re additionally required to rent an operations monitor to take care of the undertaking and be a second stage of oversight, to ensure. All have an intensive hospitality background. The board felt it had ample expertise onboard with hospitality expertise. And for no matter cause wished to maneuver in a unique course. I’m not bitter about it, I’ve lots to do. My expertise with the board has been an distinctive relationship.”

One different individual among the many 17 candidates thought of, who spoke on situation of anonymity, stated he was stunned the president’s place was not listed with the Worldwide Metropolis/County Administration Affiliation, the go-to spot for executives looking for jobs, together with nonprofits. (The ICMA’s government director and CEO is former Austin Metropolis Supervisor Marc Ott.)

That candidate stated, “The job of president is simply an administrative perform…but it surely actually kind of felt like they have been hiding the hiring course of.”

“While you see this lack of promoting for a place, it appears like an inside choice. You’ll be able to apply, however don’t count on an excessive amount of. It was a closed-door course of and never clear.”

Council motion on PPP mortgage utility

ACE Board President Schmandt wanted the Metropolis Council’s approval so ACE may apply for a mortgage underneath the SBA’s Paycheck Safety Program (PPP) to help the Hilton’s front-line employees. It was a simple request so atypical it had been positioned on the council’s March Four consent agenda.

Schmandt’s February 26th letter requesting permission to use for a PPP mortgage acknowledged, “The mortgage proceeds might be centered on the payroll prices of our hard-working workers that proceed to help and function the lodge. ACE administrative prices are usually not included within the calculation of the PPP mortgage quantity.” The mortgage quantity was not disclosed.

However as a result of some council members suspected foul play in ACE having employed Flannigan so rapidly, the run-of-the-mill matter got here underneath intense scrutiny.

Paradoxically, the in-house professional the council turned to for authorized recommendation on ACE’s PPP mortgage was Assistant Metropolis Lawyer Lee Crawford. If he’d taken the president’s job, the PPP mortgage would probably have flown underneath the political radar and gotten rubber-stamp approval.

What’s evident within the council member feedback throughout the PPP mortgage dialogue is that collectively they knew little or nothing about ACE and the downtown Hilton it manages, a facility valued at $246.6 million, in keeping with appraisal district data. It was as if ACE was one thing model new—not one thing a previous council created twenty years in the past—and all of the sudden it deserved a number of consideration to allay their considerations about the way it was managed.

Kathie Tovo

After a closed-door government session in regards to the PPP mortgage (Agenda Merchandise 68) Council Member Kathie Tovo indicated there had been inquiries from residents about whether or not the PPP mortgage pertained to a former council member to do work “carried out a third-party guide previously, and this new place is a 20-hour work week paid at $140,000 a 12 months.”

Mackenzie Kelly

Mackenzie Kelly stated, “Relaxation assured we’re trying into this situation and intend to be getting solutions outdoors this agenda merchandise that won’t be raised at the moment.”

It helps to know the animosity concentrating on Flannigan was largely a backlash due to his sturdy advocacy for large initiatives like CodeNEXT, the sweeping citywide rezoning undertaking. He was a part of the go-go council majority that might’ve rammed via CodeNEXT had it not been for court docket intervention, whereas Tovo and others voted in opposition to at each alternative. To not point out that Flannigan was perceived as being so abrasive that one council member confided earlier than the runoff election that working with Mackenzie Kelly can be preferable.

Crawford confirmed for the council that PPP mortgage proceeds wouldn’t be used to offset Flannigan’s wage. He stated proceeds additionally could possibly be used for paying utility payments and insurance coverage for the lodge, though that didn’t seem like the intent. Upon additional questioning Crawford stated the lodge had greater than 500 workers earlier than the pandemic hit and now has fewer than 200.

Crawford additionally confirmed the Metropolis wouldn’t be answerable for any debt created the PPP mortgage, ought to it not be forgiven.

Leslie Pool

Council Member Leslie Pool famous throughout the PPP mortgage dialogue that she couldn’t recall any studies the council had ever acquired from ACE relating to its funds. She stated she hoped to listen to extra about ACE via the Council’s Audit and Finance Committee.

“I’m saying this publicly so the oldsters over at ACE will know that that is on our radar—which it in all probability ought to have been earlier than. However we will make up for misplaced time with that and start to see what’s happening and the way they’re doing.”

“Why is it that the Metropolis of Austin owns a lodge nonetheless at this level?” Pool requested. “Wouldn’t it be higher to not personal it? I believe that’s a legit query for us.”

Council Member Tovo stated she additionally appeared ahead to having a dialog about ACE’s two board vacancies and speak about easy methods to fill them.

“It’s a clumsy dialog,” Tovo added, “however I’m additionally eager about listening to from the board about their hiring of a president, as a result of it’s one thing that’s being talked about within the public. It’s an uncommon factor…to increase a proposal of employment to a council member whereas that individual is definitely nonetheless a member of the council. So…that’s one thing I look ahead to speaking with the board about that call, as we transfer ahead.”

Bill Aleshire
Invoice Aleshire

Austin legal professional Invoice Aleshire emailed Tovo March 7th  to recommend that ACE board members ought to, like all Metropolis board and fee members, be required to file private monetary statements.

“The Metropolis is utilizing extra Native Authorities Code Chapter 303 nonprofit companies to hold out metropolis features. ACE and Venture Join are simply two examples. The Metropolis ought to promptly amend its ordinance requiring private monetary disclosure of Metropolis officers to incorporate the board members and executives of those companies (e.g. Jimmy Flannigan) to file the monetary disclosures identical to different metropolis officers who train powers of presidency.”

(Bulldog Disclosure: Aleshire represented The Austin Bulldog in two public info lawsuits in 2011. He presently serves as volunteer legal professional for the Bulldog’s public info requests.)

Tovo’s e-mail response to Aleshire states, “Good thought, Invoice. I’m going to look into that. Thanks for sending alongside.”

Because the PPP mortgage dialogue wound down earlier than the vote, a number of council members expressed appreciation for the ACE board’s work to extend transparency and launch a brand new web site.

Ultimately, the council members voted unanimously to approve ACE’s request for permission to use for a PPP mortgage.

After the council assembly, the Bulldog referred to as Schmandt to ask for a response to the council’s expressed want to get extra concerned in ACE’s enterprise.

“I look ahead to elevated communication to the council,” he stated. “That may be wholesome.”

Not the one city-owned Hilton

Given the council’s “Aha!” second relating to ACE’s administration of the city-owned downtown Hilton and its PPP mortgage utility, one should surprise if the council needed to give a go-ahead for the PPP mortgage requested for one more city-owned lodge.

The Hilton Austin Airport Resort opened in 2001.

The town manages the airport Hilton via Austin-Bergstrom Landhost Enterprises Inc. (ABLE). The airport lodge is valued at $52.eight million, in keeping with appraisal district data.

ABLE has already obtained a PPP mortgage and is contemplating making a second draw on it. Mandy McClendon, media spokesperson for ABLE, informed the Bulldog at the moment, “ABLE didn’t go to the Metropolis Council to use for the PPP mortgage.”

ABLE is a nonprofit included December 10, 1998, for the Metropolis’s profit. A council decision approved ABLE to situation Airport Resort Income Bonds to not exceed $45 million. That cash was used to renovate the previous Bergstrom Air Drive Headquarters Constructing in-built 1968, often called the “Donut,” and switch it right into a lodge.

By the best way, on the council assembly of January 27, 2021, Merchandise three referred to as for appointing 5 new members to ABLE’s board of administrators. Decision No. 20210127-003 was authorized on consent.

What’s Austin Conference Enterprises?

ACE is a nonprofit amenities company created the Metropolis of Austin March 24, 2000. Its objective was to finance, assemble, and function the Conference Middle Resort downtown at 505 E. Fifth Avenue, adjoining storage and associated amenities. The lodge operates underneath the Hilton model.

The Metropolis kicked off the conference heart lodge undertaking giving ACE a $15 million grant. The lodge was constructed on downtown Block 39, which is bordered Crimson River, East Fourth, Neches, and East Fifth Streets. The land was assembled from homeowners of varied tracts on that block H.L. Lodges LLC, which offered to Landmark Group LP December 27, 2000. Landmark then offered Block 39 to ACE June 14, 2001.

Resort development broke floor July 10, 2001 and was completed January 17, 2003, with 801 rooms, in keeping with Wikipedia.

In 2018 a $7.5 million overhead walkway was constructed to attach the sixth ground of the lodge to the fourth ground of the Austin Conference Middle.

The downtown lodge was financed via bonds that ACE issued and for which the Metropolis itself bears no duty. In most years ACE has transferred hundreds of thousands of {dollars} to town. (See accompanying chart.)

When the unique bonds have been refinanced in 2017 within the complete quantity of $194,655,000 the switch was capped at $2 million a 12 months.

The Metropolis’s finances for 2020-2021 reveals ACE income earned the Hilton Austin Conference Middle Resort, together with different funding sources, goes into the Waller Creek Reserve Fund for the Waller Creek Tunnel undertaking.

Belief indicators: Ken Martin has been doing investigative reporting within the three-county Austin metro space since 1981. His aggressive reporting twice garnered first-place nationwide awards from the Nationwide Newspaper Affiliation for investigative reporting. Each of these initiatives resulted in profitable felony legal prosecutions, one for a Williamson County commissioner, the opposite for a con man primarily based in Austin. You’ll be able to learn extra about Ken on the About web page.

Hyperlinks to associated paperwork:

Articles of Incorporation for Austin-Bergstrom Landhost Enterprises Inc., December 10, 1998 (11 pages)

Articles of Incorporation for Austin Conference Enterprises Inc., March 24, 2000 (14 pages)

Austin Metropolis Council Decision that amended Austin Conference Enterprises laws to allow hiring a president, July 29, 2020 (eight pages)

Austin Conference Enterprises Inc. President Job Description undated (2 pages)

Bylaws for Austin-Bergstrom Landhost Enterprises Inc., undated (7 pages)

Chad Sorensen of CHMWarnick letter to ACE Board President Phillip Schmandt re: ACE President Place, August 31, 2020 (2 pages)

Jimmy Flannigan’s employment settlement, January 7, 2021 (12 pages)

Jimmy Flannigan’s résumé submitted when making use of for the place of president of Austin Conference Enterprises Inc., December 18, 2020 (1 web page)

Lee Crawford’s résumé submitted when making use of for the place of president of Austin Conference Enterprises Inc. (2 pages)

Particular Guarantee Deed for Landmark Group LP sale of Block 39 to Austin Conference Enterprises Inc., June 14, 2001 (15 pages)

Supply hyperlink