Saturday, July 11, 2015
HUD To Investigate DAVID BARTON CORNEAL, OLD ISLAND HOTELS, INC. For Threats to "Rent" Rooms in Dow Museum of Historic Homes to "Flagler College Students" and Others
Threatening two neighborhoods and City Commissioners with rental housing as a means of blackmailing them into supporting a PUD for a hotel is unseemly, incendiary and illegal.
Thus, a complaint has been filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 3604c as a result of DAVID BARTON CORNEAL's, fired City Planning and Building Director MARK ALAN KNIGHT's, and OLD ISLAND HOTELS' threat to rent rooms in the former Dow Museum of Historic Homes to Flagler College students and others:
A. DAVID BARTON CORNEAL has purchased the former Dow Museum of Historic Homes and is demanding to rent them out as 30 expensive hotel suites. He demands that zoning laws be amended to allow this through a Planned Unit Development.
B. He threatens to turn the homes into rentals -- using a threat to rent rooms to renters as an unfair tactic to overcome opposition to his project, in violation of the Fair Housing Act, and our rights to live in a diverse city.
C. Under Fair Housing law, everyone has standing to contest discriminatory tactics, not just direct victims.
1. Respondent DAVID BARTON CORNEAL and OLD ISLAND HOTELS INC. are using racial diversity as a threat to exploit hatred to win his Planned Unit Development (PUD). Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called St. Augustine, Florida "the most lawless" city in America on June 11, 1964.
2. Our City of St. Augustine's African-American population has been reduced from 25% in 1964 to 12% in 2015, partly the result of Fair Housing Act violations and violations of the Fifteenth Amendment in selective annexations. CORNEAL's non-lawyer representative, fired former City Planning and Building Director MARK ALAN KNIGHT, has made similar threats to "rent to Flagler College students."
3. This is a thinly veiled threat to rent to African-Americans, and simply forbidden by the Fair Housing Act.
4. On May 6, 2015 at the Planning and Zoning Board (PZB) meeting, PZB member Deltra Long, an African-American who was among the first black students at St. Augustine High School, stated that CORNEAL's plan to develop a $500/night hotel would prevent many people "who look like me" from ever enjoying the historic properties, which were assembled by the late Kenneth Worcester Dow over some 61 years, 1939-2000, and intended to be preserved forever as a museum for all to enjoy.
5. Under Fair Housing Act, everyone has standing to contest discriminatory tactics, not just direct victims.
6. Although I am not a renter or prospective renter and have not been denied housing, I object to the lurid, racially-tinged threat to rent the former Dow Museum of Historic Homes to "Flagler College students" as an improper argument and a violation of 42 U.S.C. 3604c.