July 14, 2024
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Judge Danny Chambers with a huge packet of papers showing the deed history of the Ampitheatre and land

On May 13, 2024, Somervell County Commissioners Court opened 3 bids to buy the Somervell County Amphitheatre. The appraised value of the Amphitheater is $3,020,000, the court had dropped the asking price down to 2.5 million, and the bids were, respectively, $1,500,000; 1,800,000 and $140,000 (That last was the bid from the Promise.)

Video from the meeting. with some comments below. Excuse the sometimes tilted picture, it was so crowded in the courtroom that it was difficult to get around some people who were standing in front of me.

There were a lot of people who apparently worked for the Promise that showed up to hear this meeting. One man brought in a stack of t-shirts, presumably to hand out or sell and I saw some other person taking around a clipboard for people to sign. I guess they thought if they showed up in numbers that the pathetically low bid (140,000 compared to the value of the property. The Commissioners must have been expecting trouble because a policeman was there. Judge Chambers let them know that there would probably not be a decision today and indeed, there wasn’t. None of the people below were listed to speak on the agenda so there was no way for the public to know they would be speaking beforehand.

Side note that since the Amphitheatre is in the city and presumably the CVB money from that would go to the city rather than the county, plus I believe most of the hotels and restaurants are in the city, would love to see an independent report showing the revenues over 10 years, and compared with other tourist venues here such as Fossil Rim Wildlife Park or Dinosaur Valley State Park.

Carl Baugh, of the Creation Evidence Museum talked,

Rough transcript: Watch the video for exact wording

Baugh made reference to perhaps kicking in money to buy the Promise himself or partner with the Promise org. He wanted the Promise people to offer a “more substantial” benefit to the county because the county has to give an accounting to all of us. Baugh told the Promise Org if they could match the other bids (which see above again that were between 1 mil and 2 mil), that the Creation Evidence Museum would contribute $50,000, $10,000 immediately and a few months to raise the $40,000. “Having read the appraisal of the property being 3 million 20,000 dollars, understanding that that takes into account the repairs that need to be made, understanding the investments that need to be made if. Understanding that in its current condition is worth $3,20,000.00

This is an important point and I want to emphasize it. The appraisal TOOK INTO ACCOUNT the current condition of the Amphitheatre; probably it would have appraised for much more if it were in better condition. Saying this because The Promise has insinuated that their paltry offer of $140,000 is what the A is worth but that is simply not so and Baugh correctly tells the real situation.

Baugh says 10s of millions of dollars would need to be expended. Intention has been to offer 2 million for purchase of the facility but no contributors had that money, nor the bank unless he put up Creation Evidence Museum as collateral, but not doing that. .. Promise needs unrestricted use of the property but Promise absolute priority. Our offer, if Promise is successful, to *build a bridge*.

as did Robert Brake

Rough transcript: Watch the video for exact wording.

Businessman, keep Promise open and bring in healthy family oriented entertainment. Wants to work with Dr Baugh and the Promise in the next 10 days

and Brady Gray.

Rough transcript:

Got some feedback that since this was on Friday of Memorial Day weekend, that there might have been a motive to suppress votes (Danny said “Are you kidding?”)Jonathan and I asked the court to set this up on these days (Chambers: Wow) When this facility was set, and I’m taking information from Mr Sanders, the initial parcel of land was donated to the county, $10 transaction fee. County took care of that property till 2013. (losing) money $200,000 a year, last year for the Promise). $1.00 a month lease at that point, last 10 years. Needs a lot of work. Concern that if purchased as 501c3 would not go on the tax roll, so Promise started their own LLC so it would be on the tax roll. Guarantee that millions put out into the facility with outside marketing. Marketing plan to see how many tickets sold. Largest economic driver that Somervell County has

Again, where is the factual report that shows this?

Chambers: Document filed back in 1988 and he has in hand, corrects Gray. Back then land sold for about 1500 acre. Chambers: “I just want to clarify”

(Jonathan Stickland, board president of the Promise, was not there_I still cannot imagine why a supposed christian association made Stickland the board president Certainly an organization can choose, if they wish, to put someone like Jonathan Stickland with neo-nazi association in as board president, as The Promise has (in fact, according to Stickland, the Promise asked him to be board president. But surely they will forgive if everyone in the community or the world will believe it rings hollow to pretend the members therein are someone holier than others who do not subscribe to the belief that people should be accepting of Nazi; some of us apparently have higher standards than the Promise. Adding that I also thought it was weird for Stickland and Gray to make a video showing how broken down the ampitheatre is, including broken seats, and a raft of other issues. Hah, how was that a selling point for this production? “Come to the Promise, just be sure to come early where you can try to pick a seat that works”

There was another bid opened before the commissioners went into executive session. That bid was for a million dollars from A J Real Estate Investments, cash offer.

That brings it in line with the other 2 bids that were made previously of high dollar. My personal opinion is that the Somervell County commissioners should be looking out long term for all of its citizens, not taking a religious bias possibly in favor of the low bidder; ie calling oneself a christian does not and should not afford special privileges that a fair and neutral bidding process has. Plus, in America, we have diversity, with many religions or none at all, and all be great people with no requirement to attend the Promise. Somervell County has a fiduciary responsibility to take the highest and best bid; Since the money coming from Comanche Peak goes down each year, where then taxpayers pay more, it is to the Commissioners credit that they want to diversity the tax base and get as much value as possible for all, so that we will not be paying more than necessary in the future at a personal level.

When the Commissioners came out of executive session, they took no action.

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