letter to the editor

A corporation asking for public money ought to tell us who it is

Mon, 03/27/2023 - 3:45pm

Dear Editor:

The community did not have a voice when the selectmen granted the BRDC $50,000.00 of American Rescue Plan funds. BRDC reports it is targeting $350,000.00 in regional ARP funding.

The minutes for the Boothbay Board of Selectmen meeting on Sept. 14, 2022 reports that Erin Cooperrider presented the Boothbay Regional Development Corporation’s like so: BRDC is governed by a Board of Directors who are year-round residents actively involved in real estate development, supportive housing, community organizations, and local government.

No names. The only questions selectmen ask about this corporation about are “What can we do to help?” and “How will you prevent short term rentals and vacation homes in the zone?”

Ms. Cooperrider was one of three commissioners who wrote the framework for LD 2003 deciding not to include short term rentals.

BRDC information provided to the selectmen is in Exhibit A where the address is BRDC, c/o The New Height Group, where Ms. Cooperrider has been a principal since 2015.

To have equity investors there has to be a subsidiary relationship involving a for-profit organization. Unknown.

The housing zone is planned for 162 units at 3.5 times the density of the surrounding area. Eight units will be sold for individual home ownership, but the corporation will retain ownership of the land, Chinese government style.

When asked if there is a way to get a list of other projects to see how they have gone and how they stand now, Erin cited CHOM. The parent corporation of CHOM is CEI. CEI’s 2021 audit reports CHOM was transferred at a value of $1,002,820.00.

Ms. Cooperrider’s bio for New Height Group reports that she served 17 years as “Development Director for CHOM, a statewide affordable housing developer, helping to grow the organization’s asset base from $5 million to more than $100 million using low-income housing tax credits, state and federal historic tax credits, grants, loans, and private equity.”

What accounts for the difference between what CHOM assets are valued at and the other 99 million dollars in assets that Cooperrider attributes to CHOM? The selectmen didn’t ask.

Susan Mackenzie Andersen