(Southaven, MS 1/27/2012) Southaven aldermen say a plan to buy 10 acres of land for a new senior center are on hold.
It comes amid concerns from some people that the planned sale is a sweetheart deal between the sellers and Mayor Greg Davis.
On one side of the deal is the buyer, the city of Southaven, and the embattled mayor.
The seller is a limited liability company. Two of its members are the mayor’s distant cousins, DeSoto County Chancery Court Clerk Sluggo Davis and his son, former State Senator Doug Davis.
Sluggo Davis admits he set up Eads LLC, the owner of the ten and a half acres off Getwell Road. He also confirms that he and the mayor are related.
“My daddy and his granddaddy are first cousins,” Sluggo Davis explained.
He also doesn’t deny that Eads LLC and its members have donated thousands of dollars to Greg Davis’ campaigns for congress and mayor since 2008.
“I wanted Greg to be my congressman when he ran,” said Sluggo Davis, denying the campaign money was part of any deal. “He was a wonderful mayor at that time.”
But Sluggo Davis insists everything is above-board when it comes to the agreement that the city purchase the ten acres for a proposed senior center. In December Southaven’s Board of Aldermen followed the mayor’s recommendation and voted to buy the property for $1.95 million. Mayor Davis told the board the land was appraised at $2.6 million.
“No, we have not seen the appraisal,” admitted Alderman Ronnie Hale. He was one of two aldermen who voted no on the purchase which is set to close in mid-2012.
With Mayor Greg Davis now under federal investigation for his spending of taxpayer money, Hale says the sale will not go through until aldermen see that appraisal.
“The fact that we’ve been lied to in the past it’s just not prudent for us to move forward on the project until we know all the details,” said Hale.
Adding fuel to the fire, the county’s most recent appraisal in 2006 valued the land at $315,000.
Sluggo Davis said he and a partner, Alvin Gilless, bought the ten acres for $1.3 million in 2005. A settlement statement provided by Davis backed-up his claim.
WREG On Your Side Investigators asked him about the $2.6 million appraisal cited by the mayor. Sluggo Davis said he’s never had the land appraised, never seen the appraisal, and doesn’t know who did it.
So does he believe the property is worth what the mayor claims?
“It’s been on the market and hadn’t bought it,” said Davis.
Southaven’s city administrators said he didn’t have a copy of the appraisal either.
We asked DeSoto County Tax Assessor Parker Pickle why the county’s appraisal is $1 million less than what Davis paid. He was unaware of the sale price.
Mayor Greg Davis has not returned to city hall since his attorney said earlier this month that Davis was under medical care.