At an April board meeting, former Centre City Development Corp. President Nancy Graham addressed concerns about her potential conflict of interest with the affiliate of a business partner working to build a city-subsidized skyscraper downtown.
“I can guarantee you and I think you all know me well enough to know right now that there’s no truth to those allegations whatsoever,” she said. “… I did not negotiate this transaction.”
But as we’ve since documented, Graham was in fact involved in negotiations — at the same time she was receiving money from the developer’s affiliate.
James Lough, an outside attorney CCDC hired to investigate Graham’s involvement, drew the same conclusion. In a staff report for Wednesday’s CCDC meeting, Lough wrote: “Ms. Graham was involved in the negotiations of the potential [development and disposition agreement].”
Lough’s conclusion came after reviewing CCDC files and interviewing the agency’s staff. But the CCDC staff — many of whom also had been involved in the negotiations — did not publicly raise any concerns about the obvious discrepancies in Graham’s explanation.
I asked Fred Maas, the CCDC chairman, whether he was concerned by the lack of disclosure. He said:
Lots of mistakes and unfortunate circumstances happened during that period of time. In retrospect I think we all wish we had done things differently, but we didn’t. We recognize the omissions and errors and are doing our best to correct them.