NELCDC has received millions of dollars

North & East Lubbock Community Development Corporation (NELCDC) has received massive amounts of Lubbock taxpayer funding.

The original plan was that the organization would be self-sufficient after approximately $2.7 million dollars of public funding and in kind contributions from political sub-divisions like the city and the school district.

However by winter of 2013 the organization was “flat-lining”, to use the words of Assistant City Secretary Thomas Harris. Harris would soon get a surreptitious $30,000 raise from the money he was lobbying the Council to give NELCDC.

Whether the organization was “flat-lining” due to mismanagement we cannot know. It won’t let us see its books. With over $2.7 million in start-up capital you’d hope NELCDC could stay solvent but one year ago Lubbock Mayor Glen Robertson said he was voting in favor of a capital infusion for fear of the city of Lubbock inheriting NELCDC liabilities if the organization failed.

Whether the organization was “flat-lining” due to mismanagement we cannot know.

It was promised last September that NELCDC would repay the city of Lubbock for Thomas Harris’ salary. That hasn’t happened; don’t hold your breath for it either.

The following chart gives the part of the funding we have been able to determine with the limited documents we’ve managed to produce. Those items marked with an asterisk (*) are estimates and the actual numbers are likely higher. We have not included federal grants although those too are taxpayer money.

Note that the penultimate line, $700,000 royalties, requires one more City Council vote to award. You can influence this by contacting the Mayor and your City Council representative and letting them know your opinion.

City Council fye 2004-2007 ($250k/year) $1,000,000
City Council fye 2008 100,000
LISD cash for $169,000 N&E Lubbock study 25,000
LISD land for King’s Dominion* 30,000
City of Lubbock infrastructure for King’s Dominion 1,548,000
Quincy White salary 14 months* 162,500
Quincy White 20% salary 4½ years* 135,000
City of Lubbock fye 2013 & 2014 ($251k/year) 502,000
Thomas Harris III salary five months* 35,000
Pending 75% of 90% of mineral royalties* 700,000
Total known funding (including pending mineral royalties)

What you will see when you examine these numbers is that every aspect of NELCDC is, directly or indirectly, publicly funded.

According to its chief proponent, David Langston, it purchased the land for Parkway Place with the profits from King’s Dominion housing development. King’s Dominion is built on land given by Lubbock Independent School District and whose development costs of over $1.5 million were paid by the city of Lubbock.

Is it necessary to pay a councilwoman’s law firm to get a street paved?

In our interview with Langston he touted Parkway Place shopping center as a “public/private partnership.” When we pressed him on how “public” the public part of that was he back-peddled when it came to whether it was subject to the Public Information Act. NELCDC wants to have its cake (to be a private 501(c)3 entity) and eat it too (to gobble up every tax dollar available).

What will Langston do with the $700,000 if he gets it for NELCDC? In the February 28, 2013 City Council meeting he said the organization would support “the things that are going on in the strategic plan of Imagine Lubbock Together that will make us successful.”

No, you didn’t miss that election. It never happened.

Do we abandon North & East Lubbock?
We shouldn’t. And we haven’t. But it is time to stop public funding to NELCDC before the $700,000 in mineral royalties from the city of Lubbock kick in.

East 66th street with animal shelter
in right background.

There is lots to do and no one at the Sandstorm Scholar is suggesting that we should abandon any portion of our city.

But Langston’s organization is dedicated, to use his words, to providing “personal services.” In other words, the money you give to it will go to bureaucratic overhead, i.e., to pay large salaries and to supplement Langston’s and Councilwoman Joy’s law firm.

How much has Langston’s firm made from NELCDC? We can’t know, because your tax dollars are paying the same law firm to argue to the Attorney General to keep you from finding out.

But there are projects waiting for funding in north and east Lubbock that do not require NELCDC or David Langston to accomplish.

As Councilman Floyd Price has suggested, the city of Lubbock ought to pave east 66th street from MLK to south Loop 289 so that we don’t have a new animal shelter that you can’t get to from here. That can be done with the approximately $700,000 in royalties the Council will vote on soon.

East Erskine inside the Loop
should be paved.

Next year and the next if necessary, the same money should be used to pave Erskine from MLK to the east Loop in order to encourage business development along that corridor.

And the next year, let’s start fixing sidewalks in north and east Lubbock with those mineral interests.

None of this requires padding the pockets of a Langston run non-profit that uses your tax dollars to hide it’s books.

Is it necessary to pay a councilwoman’s law firm to get a street paved?

We contend that the city has enough overhead already without paying a third-party that won’t release all of its records unless ordered by the Attorney General.

In Monday night’s 10p.m. KCBD/Sandstorm Scholar Investigates, Sarah-Blake Morgan interviews David Langston on conflicts of interest with his firm and a councilwoman’s vote on funding. There are shocking admissions about the way that your tax dollars are appropriated that you should not miss. Click here for that story.

Click here to take our reader survey. Should NELCDC continue to receive public funds?