With the controversy over Chick Fil-A and the Cathy family's funding of anti-gay hate groups showing no signs of abating one has to wonder why the City of Norfolk in a secret sweetheart deal gave the anti-gay company a $300,000 taxpayer paid gift. As the Virginian Pilot reported, the sale was never advertised by the City of Norfolk and involves a sales price that is $1.2 million less than the city paid for the property and at least $300,000 less than investors with a proven track record would have paid for the property. Adding insult to injury is the fact that there are troubling questions about Chick Fil-A's employment practices: the company is being sued by a woman who says she was fired so that she could "be a stay at home mom" - apparently in good submissive Christian wife fashion; a lawsuit has been confidentially settled by a Muslim employee who says he was fired for refusing to join in pray sessions, and then there are issues of franchises and how they are expected to utilize their Sundays by going to church and spending time with their families, and that those who don’t go along with the Cathy family rule risk having their contracts terminated. So far, no one for the City has explained why the taxpayer gift to a discriminatory company. Here are article highlights:
The fast-food chain Chick-fil-A is set to buy a 1.2-acre parcel from the city of Norfolk for $800,000 - less than its assessed value and far less than what the city paid for the property five years ago. Norfolk purchased the property from the Union Mission Ministries for $2.05 million. It is assessed at $1.01 million.The proposed sale price is troubling to some, said Henry Conde, president of the Ghent Neighborhood League. There is a fear that the transaction could hurt property values on the next round of assessments.Ghent businessman Richard Levin said after he learned of the Chick-fil-A deal, he offered the city $1.1 million for the property. He said he did so in part to make a point - that the city should have required that Chick-fil-A "pay market value." Levin said the sale will depress land values in Ghent.No council members expressed opposition when the proposal was presented to the City Council three weeks ago. The council at that meeting authorized City Manager Marcus Jones to make a deal with Chick-fil-A, which is based in Atlanta. "Marcus did that," Councilman Barclay C. Winn said. "Now we have a handshake deal. Not until seven or eight days after he'd given his word did we hear about opposition."Alice Allen-Grimes, president of the Norfolk Preservation Alliance, said she is concerned that no one knew the property was for sale. It was not listed on the city's website, and no request for proposal was issued for the site. "There should have been some effort made to ask for proposals," she said. "Who knows who might have come forward if people knew the property was available?"
The whole deal stinks and still there's no explanation from City Council as to who was responsible. One can only hope that the public becomes educated about the deal and Chick Fil-A's bigotry and boycott the restaurant.
Meanwhile Governor Bob "Taliban Bob" McDonnell's comment on the Chick Fil-A controversy comes down to a statement that : "I love chicken." When pressed, McDonnell stated:
Following a pause, the governor continued: "If we start having governments issue permits or zoning changes, or withholding those because of someone's political or religious beliefs, we are going down a very bad road."
Funny how McDonnell has no problem passing discriminatory laws in Virginia based on religious belief. But I guess that's OK in McDonnell's book because the Christianists believe they are entitled to special right not available to the rest of us.