On March 4, Romerica announced a “free” public meeting at which they and their suppliers plan to “discuss”:
- USACE Corp Process
- Phases of the Development
- Current and Future Initiatives of Romerica
At that time, the guest panel was to include:
- R. Thomas Sankey, PWS, CSE Senior Project Manager / Senior Ecologist, SWCA
- Melvin G. Spinks, P.E., CFM, President, Civil Tech Engineering, Inc.
- Gabriel Haddad, Developer, Romerica
New Strategy: PR Firm Goes Dark
Manlove Marketing and Communications, Romerica’s second official point of contact during the Army Corps public comment period, sent out invitations to people who signed up for their mailing list.
However, as of this writing, no meeting announcement has ever been made on the website that Manlove developed for Romerica.
Neither did Manlove return telephone calls or emails to discuss the meeting format and whether they would take questions from the audience. Manlove also has not responded to inquiries from local videographer Jim Zura and the Lake Houston Area Grass Roots Flood Prevention Initiative about taping the meeting.
Manlove originally tried to give themselves the most generous disclaimer in the history of words and websites when they printed this in small type at the bottom of TheHeronsKingwood.com: “DISCLAIMER: Users agree that John Manlove Marketing & Communications and parties involved have no responsibility for any deficiencies, inaccuracies, errors and/or omissions contained in this site or the data and/or information contained therein.”
I then pointed out that as the official point of contact for the permit, they would be held to a slightly higher standard of truth. 18 U.S.C. Section 1001 states that: “Whoever, in any manner within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States knowingly and willfully falsifies, conceals, or covers up any trick, scheme, or disguises a material fact or makes any false, fictitious or fraudulent statements or representations or makes or uses any false writing or document knowing same to contain any false, fictitious or fraudulent statements or entry, shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than five years or both.” That’s when the lights went out.
So Many Questions Remain
I’m suspect the panel will do its best to avoid the real questions surrounding this development Monday night. For instance:
- How have they gotten around single-family residential deed restrictions?
- Why are they proposing to build 25-50 story high rises in an old meander of the San Jacinto (a practice that proved disastrous during Harvey)?
- Aren’t they jeopardizing public safety by rushing to permit so many massive structures in what will surely be reclassified as the floodway when new flood maps come out?
- How will they evacuate 15,000 to 20,000 people if the water comes up again without warning like it did during Harvey?
- How did they miss eagle nests on and adjacent to the property when they were specifically looking for them?
- Why did they not report an eagle nest that their own employees knew about?
- Where will all the kids in this subdivision go to school? It could triple enrollment at Foster Elementary!
- Why did they list a wrong contact phone number on the Army Corps public notice?
- What have these developers ever actually developed before?
- Why are investors suing them for fraud?
- Why do they have such a maze of companies in so many different states and countries selling the same property to each other in different names?
- Why are so many of the companies registered with the Secretary of State at an address that does not exist?
- Why register companies using so many aliases?
- Why is Romerica’s real-estate license listed as “inactive” by the Texas Real-Estate Commission?
- Why does Dunn and Bradstreet think Romerica Investments is out of business?
- Why did Manlove list the “Romerica Group” and then plain “Romerica” as the developer in their website when neither is registered with the Texas Secretary of State and “Romerica Investments” filed the permit application?
- Who produced their market study that supposedly demonstrates the “need” for this project? Need is a key Corps criteria. Yet the market study fails to take into account such crucial factors as retail traffic, proximity to freeways, flooding, and navigability of the West Fork.
- How will raising buildings to 57 feet keep them from flooding?
- Why did Civil Tech apply for an excavation permit that wasn’t in the name of the development?
- Why did CivilTech say all the excavated material would be removed from the flood plain to obtain that permit when the Corps public notice now states that fill will be added to the floodway?
- Why does the Corps’ public notice specify that buildings will be raised to 57 feet and TheHeronsKingwood.com specify 62.42 feet?
- Why does Manlove claim Romerica will preserve wetlands when Romerica has applied for a permit to fill them in?
- How will the fill that they plan to put in streams and wetlands NOT worsen flooding?
- Why are there so many dead links, disconnected phone numbers, and vacant offices listed in various web sites promoting Romerica, the high-rise development, EB-5 visas, and more?
- How could 640 40-foot boats and 200 jet skis possibly fit on the West Fork?
- Why would you even consider putting underground parking in an area that flooded six times last year?
- How will you supply water to all the people who live in the Herons without exacerbating subsidence?
- How will Romerica finance 3.2 million square feet of development in the floodway and floodplain of the San Jacinto River’s West Fork?
- How will the Developer provide the mitigation (i.e., Detention ponds) for fill and impervious cover that is required to obtain the City of Houston and/or Harris County Development permits?
Kingwood Community Center, 6:30 PM
I’m guessing that they won’t allow real questions tomorrow night. They’ll probably make people submit questions in writing before hand and then cherry pick those they want to answer. I hope I’m wrong on that point, but we’ll know for sure when its over.
As always, these thoughts represent my opinions on matters of public interest. They are protected under the first amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP statute of the great State of Texas.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 3/17/19
365 Days since Hurricane Harvey