Thursday, December 16, 2021

Speculator Destroys Historic HP-1 District Windows, Demands Retroactive Approval from HARB! That's chutzpa.

The late, great, independent-minded Republican U.S. Senator George William Norris of Nebraska (1861-1944) was the father of our U.S. Tennessee Valley Authority.  

Senator Norris once asked rhetorically about corporate crime and government corruption, "How do you prosecute a  million dollars?"

George Norris was featured in Chapter VIII in JFK's Profiles in Courage, but omitted from five portraits in our Senate Reception Room. 

It happened in America, after a 1958 filibuster by Dull Republicans, including Nebraska's Roman Hruska, a passionate advocate for mediocrity being represented in the judiciary.  

Senator Norris should be installed in the Senate Reception Room's portraits, replacing the one of South Carolina slaveocracy advocate John C. Calhoun, a slimy white supremacist solon, who presumably may burn in Hell.

Here in St. Augustine, a mere "million dollars" gets an undue amount of respect from the Dull Republicans who think they own our town -- willful reckless men like disgraced ex-Mayors and business partners JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR. and CLAUDE LEONARD WEEKS, JR., who did so much to welcome carpetbagging developers and destroy our history,.

Just because some entitled "spooner" like CHRISTOPHER MIDDLERBROOKS, or any other well-connected, slack-jawed, cynical Dull Republican,  contemptuous baseball-cap wearing FSU real estate degree graduate -- and his unnamed investors -- blow a million dollars on an historic 1867/1920 apartment building in St. Augustine does not empower him, them, or anyone else, to disrespect the Rule of Law, dispose of dozens of historic windows, or gooberishly play innocent.  

We see right through him. 

We see right through these louche lugubrious goobers, disrespectful developers. 

Of them, my late Irish grandmother would say, they are "typical of their type."  

God forgive these "Temple Destroyers," as  John Muir called them.

They are ravaging nature and our historic buildings.

As naturalist John Muir said, “These temple destroyers, devotees of ravaging commercialism, seem to have a perfect contempt for Nature, and, instead of lifting their eyes to the God of the mountains, lift them to the Almighty Dollar.”

The Rule of Law must be enforced against every single one of the sibilant sneaky cynical speculators who buy and destroy the authenticity of our historic buildings here in St. Augustine, Florida. 

From LinkedIn:

Chris Middlebrooks

President at Lighthouse Property Management & Realty, LLC

Jacksonville, Florida, United States 378 connections

Lighthouse Property Management & Realty, LLC


Born and raised in Tallahassee, FL. Graduate of Florida State University with Bachelors Degrees in both Finance and Real Estate. 

Licensed Realtor and President of Lighthouse Property Management & Realty, LLC. Active member of the National Association of Property Managers (NARPM). Lighthouse Property Management & Realty, LLC is a third party property management company that specializes in managing single family home rental portfolios and real estate sales.


Lighthouse Property Management & Realty, LLC 


Lighthouse Property Management & Realty, LLC

Jun 2014 - Present7 years 7 months

Jacksonville, Florida Area

After scaling Par Property Management of Jacksonville, LLC from zero employees and zero homes under management to nearly thirty employees and 1500 homes under management with three other partners; I decided to start Lighthouse. Our core focus at Lighthouse is not to see how large we can get or how many homes we can get under management; but rather to provide exceptional service to our clients and our tenants. We currently manage nearly 300 single family homes as well as providing real estate sales services for sellers and buyers alike.

Show less 

Par Property Management of Jacksonville, LLC Graphic


Par Property Management of Jacksonville, LLC

Aug 2011 - Present10 years 5 months

Jacksonville, Florida Area

Started Par Property Management of Jacksonville, in August of 2011 with zero houses and zero employees, but a strong drive to become the best property management fim in Jacksonville, FL. As a team, we have grown from 0 to 20+ employees and from 0 to 1000+ single family homes under management. We do not strive to be the biggest Property Management Company in Jacksonville, the state of Florida or the US. We strive to be the best! We know that once that is accomplished, then the growth will take…

Show more 

Hampton Golf Graphic

Staff Accountant

Hampton Golf

Dec 2008 - Aug 2011 2 years 9 months

Jacksonville, Florida Area

Hampton Golf is a third party management company that manages golf courses and hospitality operations. As a staff accountant, I was responsible for managing the financials, budgeting and cash flow analysis for several golf course communities.

Florida State University Graphic


Florida State University

Jan 2004 - Aug 2007 3 years 8 months

Tallahassee, Florida Area

Graduated with a 3.4 GPA with a double major in Finance and Real Estate.

Middlebrooks Relocation System, Agent for United Van Lines Graphic


Middlebrooks Relocation System, Agent for United Van Lines

Jun 2001 - Oct 2003 2 years 5 months

Tallahassee, Florida Area

Middlebrooks Relocation, agent for United Van Lines in Tallahassee, FL. Managed the sales, administrative and operations staffs.

Recommendations received

Albert Heichberger

“Chris: Is very capable of his business management and association. Al Heichberger”

Here is my e-mail to HARB today:

-----Original Message-----
From: Ed Slavin <>
To: <>
Cc: <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>
Sent: Thu, Dec 16, 2021 10:54 am
Subject: 260 St. George Street: Invoking Adverse Inferences for Applicant's Spoliation of Evidence in Destroying Historic Windows. (December 16, 2021 HARB hearing, Case No. PL2021-0152)

Dear HARB members:
  1. Please DENY the application for a retroactive certificate of appropriateness concerning 260 St. George Street, an historic eleven unit historic 1867/1920 apartment b building favored by winter visitors..
  2. Please REFER the matter to Code Enforcement Board.
  3. It is an ancient equitable maxim that "omnia praesumuntur contra spoliatorem," or all things are presumed against a wrongdoer who destroys evidence.
  4. Were the windows in quo destroyed improperly, without candor and with disrespect shown to the City of St. Augustine and our HP-1 district's laws?
  5. Evidence at the November 18, 2021 hearing strongly suggests so that the destruction of evidence frustrated HARB's enforcement of the Rule of Law.
  6. The Applicant destroyed all of the original windows, making his testimony about their condition self-serving and unreliable.   
  7. The destruction of the windows is "equippolent to a confession." Pomeroy v. Benton, 77 Mo. 64, 86-87 (1882).
  8. Administrative agencies and courts will draw adverse inferences from the Applicant's behavior in destroying the original windows.
  9. Here is a short excerpt from my 1989 American Bar Association Judges' Journal article, "ALJ Independence Undermined: What the Interior Department is doing and why.":  "Discovery law is clear that potential litigants are subject to sanctions if they destroy records relevant to reasonably foreseeable litigation, regardless of whether a complaint has been filed." Solum & Marzen, "Destruction of Evidence," 16 Litigation (No. 1 at 14.)  Pursuant to discovery rules and the spoliation inference, default judgments are entered against parties that destroyed evidence. Telectron, Inc. v. Overhead Door, Corp., 116 F.R.D. 107 (S.D. Fla 1987); Wm. T. Thompson Co. v. General Nutrition Co., 593 F. Supp. 1443 (C.D. Cal. 1984); Carlucci v. Piper Aircraft Corp., 102 F.R.D. 472 (S.D. Fla. 1984). Judge Learned Hand wrote..., "When a party is once found to be fabricating or suppressing documents, the natural, indeed the inevitable, conclusion is that [it] has some- thing to conceal, and is conscious of guilt." Warner Barnes & Co. v. Kokosai Kisen Kubushiki Kaisa, 102 F.2d 452, 453 (2nd Cir. 1939). As the First Circuit has held, it is only fair to "plac[e] the risk of an erroneous judgment on the party that wrongfully created the risk." Nation-Wide Check Corp. v. Forest Hills Distributors, Inc., 692 F.2d 214, 218 (1st Cir. 1982).... " [S]poliation evidence ... is admissible to show consciousness of guilt." United States v. Mendez-Ortiz, 810 F.2d 76, 79 (6th Cir. 1986), interpreting F.R.Ev. Rule 404(b); 22 Wright & Graham, Federal Practice and Procedure: Evidence §§5178, 5240. See also Maguire & Vincent, Admissions Implied from Spoliation or Related Conduct, 45 Yale L. J. 226 (1935); II Wigmore on Evidence §§278(2), 291 (Chadboum Rev. 1979); 31A C.J.S. Evidence, §§ 152-3, 155, 156(1)."
  10. The legal principle on adverse inferences based on spoliation of evidence dates back 300 years, to Armory v. Delamarie, 1 Strange 505 [1722], an English case where a chimney sweep's boy found a valuable ring and took it to the jeweler, with the stone mysteriously disappearing,  Lord Mansfield ordered adverse inferences, and instructed the jury to find damages in an amount equal to the value of the biggest stones that would occupy the fitting, protecting the plaintiff's rights against the wealthy silversmith and jeweler's unethical behavior. That case is the bedrock upon which spoliation of evidence law has been based for three (3) centuries. 
  11. In The Bermuda, 70 U.S. 514 (1865), our United States Supreme Court rightly drew adverse inferences from spoliation of evidence by the captain of a Confederate blockade runner vessel, who threw its mail and documents overboard, just as the United States Navy approached.  From the captain's spoliation came an ineluctable truth: a legal presumption that the vessel was running the U.S. Navy's blockade of Confederate ports.  Likewise, destroying the windows when a City Hall inspector could have examined them first is, at best, inculpatory.  It shows disrespect for the Rule of Law.
  12. HARB should draw adverse inferences and deny the requested retroactive certificate of appropriateness for the windows at 260 St. George Street.
  13. Destruction of evidence -- all of the historic windows -- must have consequences under our Nation's Oldest City's historic preservation laws.
  14. Faster than a speeding dump truck, the small town charm and authenticity of our Nation's Oldest City is being destroyed.
  15. Some investors and speculators lack any decent appreciation for the incomparable historic resources in St. Augustine. 
  16. Sophisticated real estate investors buying one million dollar historic buildings must obey the Rule of Law in our historic town. 
  17. The Applicant has not presented any principled reason why it did not consult with the City of St. Augustine before removing and landfilling dozens of historic windows. 
  18. Res ipsa loquitur.  The thing speaks for itself.
  19. Like the actions of the spoliators of evidence in the cases cited, "omnia praesumuntur contra spoliatorem," all things are presumed against a wrongdoer who destroys evidence.
  20. Please DENY the certificate of appropriateness for 260 St. George Street LLC.
  21. The Applicant has appeal rights and rights to a Code Enforcement hearing.
  22. Kindly forward this e-mail to the Applicant.
  23. All of the beneficial owners, investors and counsel for the applicant and its project should be identified on the record today.
  24. Thank you in advance for your thorough hearing, questions and investigation of the issues in this proceeding.
Happy holidays!

With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,

Ed Slavin

No comments: