The “mysterious appraisal” …

In our previous commentary we spoke briefly of our meeting with the folks at the Port of Baltimore. Make no mistake about it, we were tolerated that day and not at all welcome. We were looked upon as intruders. We were nothing more than outsiders intent upon streamlining the port’s operations and depriving hard-working dockworkers, at every level, of their much-needed livelihood.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The efficiencies of our patented systems, in fact, would lower costs all along the supply chain, and in so doing would have made the terminal more attractive to shippers. Expansion would be required and instead of reducing the numbers of dockworkers, more jobs would be created. But those with selfish outlooks can’t see beyond the ends of their noses.

Before and since that rebuff at Baltimore, we were stonewalled at the Port of Charleston. More than one attempt has been made to correspond with port and political authorities of that beautiful state, but nothing ever came of it. We even put on a dog-and-pony show one day but we “bombed” because very few attended the presentation. Exactly no one from the SPA put in an appearance, but we weren’t surprised. We had previously laid out for them the operating efficiencies of our patented systems and demonstrated that the acreage in two, and possibly three, of their existing terminals would no longer be needed for container handling operations. The acreage, we suggested, could therefore be turned back to the communities for redevelopment. They weren’t buying it.

And speaking of the SPA, the Charleston Regional Business Journal produced an article on July 21st which clearly demonstrates the magnanimity of that port authority. A group of Daniel Island residents just offered the SPA $ 25 million for the 1,300 acre parcel where the grasping port authority once planned the controversial Global Gateway.

“The SPA wasted no time in rejecting the offer,” according to the Journal. Why, the SPA was asked? Because the “suggested price is substantially below the current appraised value of the property,” the board chairman responded. The port “has a fiduciary responsibility to its bondholders to obtain fair market value for the property,” he added.

The Journal went on to report that the SPA president said that his agency conducted an appraisal of the land a year ago and plans to have it updated soon. “I would tell you I have no impression that the value will be anything less than what it was previously, regardless of what today’s market might be,” the president said, and he added that he would not disclose the previous value, saying the appraisal is a key negotiating tool the SPA will use when the board decides to sell the property.

According to an official of the Daniel Island residential group: “The whole key to this is this mysterious appraisal. I wish we could see it, and if not see it, at least have access to the soil conditions. It is certainly our intent to continue the negotiations, but they won’t name their price, and they won’t tell us what the appraisal is based on.” Go figure.

[“Fiduciary responsibility to its bondholders”? What about the other folks in South Carolina?]