I'm not inclined to wait for my curiosity to be satisfied before writing about screwy real estate deals that accidentally come to my attention, through no real fault of my own. The subject of this post is the City of West Buechel, Mayor Sharon Fowler and the church property located at 3309 East Indiana Trail, and I intend to re-write it, add and delete until I get bored or run out of easily and cheaply acquired information. Already I had to shell out $10 for a day pass to the Jefferson County PVA data, which goes against a main principle of More Free Stuff!
Gossip as politics
Carl Brown said gossip is the most powerful force in the universe. The power of gossip derives from the ease by which stories can be created and repeated in an information vacuum. If the gossip is the only story available, it is accepted into the mind unopposed. If you're a stickler for factual accuracy, gossip is annoying because gossip invariably carries a large dose of fiction mixed in with a smattering of facts. It is possible to doubt gossip, but in the absence of contradictory details or an alternate explanation, the gossip wins by default. Doubting or disbelieving gossip is not the same as disproving it.
The truth is stronger than gossip in actual practice, but finding the truth is often much more labor intensive. It's just a lot easier to simply make stuff up on the fly.
It was in the summer of 1970 that I first heard the character Don Quixote in the Broadway musical "Man of La Mancha" utter the words, "Facts are the enemy of truth." Don Quixote was insane, as the story goes.
Is West Buechel Mayor Sharon Fowler a rat?
This is not a fair question, but it does indicate the gist of the West Buechel gossip about how Mayor Fowler uses the powers of her office. No person is totally one thing or another. Mayor Fowler may indeed be loving, caring and well-intentioned to those who know her personally. But, with all that being true, she may also demonstrate certain rat-like characteristics in addition to her otherwise noble characteristics.. This is most likely to be true if Mayor Fowler believes that nobody is watching.
The most interesting gossip I have heard on the streets of West Buechel is that Mayor Sharon Folwer seriously abused her official position thirteen and a half years ago, during January and February of 2001, at the expense of the City of West Buechel and for the benefit of her own personal business ambitions.
My primary reaction to hearing this gossip was, "Cool. I've got to get to the bottom of this."
My preferred sources of information are official government public documents. If the documents are signed under the penalties of perjury, that's nice too. My primary attitude is that of a fact checker, but a cop's eyes and a civil litigator are watching too. Eye witnesses can be troublesome, but they are a practical necessity in court. Plus, the official public documentation does not tell the tale in full.
3309 East Indian Trial
3309 East Indian Trial is 3.5 miles outside the City limits of West Buechel.
West Buechel is sued
Trinity United Church of Christ vs. the City of West Buechel, No. 01-CI-02599, in the Jefferson Circuit Court, Division Six, is about an accurate substantive basis for gossip as exists, but the interpretation in the re-telling can sometimes go out of control. Since, practicing lawyers who draft civil pleadings for the Jefferson Circuit Court have a strong professional bias in favor of factual accuracy, I'm willing to run with that.
The question provoked by this old 2001 litigation and the local gossip that swirls around in a pre-election political context is this: Is West Buechel's Mayor Sharon Fowler a rat?
As the story goes, Mayor Sharon Fowler wanted to buy a church property located at 3309 East Indian Trial for use as a day care center which she would run as a for-profit business. That land and buildings were owned by Trinity United Church of Christ, which wanted to sell and close its doors permanently. The price for the real estate was about $400,000.
How do we know that Mayor Fowler wanted to use 3309 East Indiana Trail for her own personal child care business? Easy. We know that is what she wanted to do because that, in fact, is what she did do for nearly ten years until she lost the property during the recent universal economic meltdown.
January 31, 2001 - Mayor Fowler, purportedly acting in her official capacity as Mayor or West Buechel, and on behalf of the City of West Buechel makes a standard offer to buy 3309 East Indian Trail for $388,500, subject to approval of the West Buechel City Counsel. The offer is accepted.
February 8, 2001 - Mayor Fowler, purportedly acting in her official capacity as Mayor or West Buechel, and on behalf of the City of West Buechel makes a standard offer to buy 3309 East Indian Trail for $425,000, but omitting any approval of the West Buechel City Counsel as a condition to the contract. The offer is accepted.
Information about what happened between January 31 and February 8 is lacking.
March 28, 2001 - The Minutes from a Special West Buechel City Counsel Meeting show that the proposed purchase of 3309 East Indian Trail was discussed. No decision was reached and there was no vote on the proposed purchase. It was agreed that a Town Meeting would be scheduled for April 3.
Information about what happened at the April 3 Town Meeting is lacking.
April 13, 2001 - Trinity United Church of Christ vs. the City of West Buechel, Cause No. 01-CI-02599, is filed in the Jefferson Circuit Court, Division Six, seeking injunctive relief, specific performance and damages arising from the Sales - Purchase Contract on 3309 East Indiana Trail.
April 27, 2001 - All parties agree that Trinity United Church of Christ be freed enough from the sales contract that it could find a different buyer, and mitigate damages.
May 30, 2001 - Trinity Academy Childcare, LLC is established with the Kentucky Secretary of State, but it goes nowhere. Trinity Academy Childcare, LLC is voluntarily dissolved on August 20, 2001. The relation between Trinity Academy Childcare, LLC, Sharon Fowler and 3309 East Indian Trail is circumstantial, but otherwise unkown.
August 20, 2001 -
1. Trinity Academy Childcare, LLC is voluntarily dissolved
2. Trinity Academy Childcare, Inc ., a non-profit corporation, is established with the Kentucky Secretary of State.
August 24, 2001 - A general warranty deed on 3309 East Indian Trail from Trinity United Church of Christ, Grantor, to Trinity Academy Childcare, Inc ., Grantee, is recorded as deed number 7712 0834. Purchase price of $430,000 paid in full.
April 26, 2002 - Sharon Fowler Enterprises, Inc. is created as a for-profit corporation with the Kentucky Secretary of State, with Sharon Fowler as Incorporator, President and Registered Agent, using 3309 East Indian Trail for a principal office.
May 28, 2002, organizational papers for Paradise Island Academy, LLC were filed with the Kentucky Secretary and they are available online, here.
- Paradise Island Academy, LLC was expressly organized to operate a day care business.
- Sharon Fowler was specified as the organizer of Paradise Island Academy, LLC
- Paradise Island Academy, LLC had one member only . . . Sharon Fowler.
- Sharon Fowler was registered agent for Paradise Island Academy, LLC, using her then existing residence address at 3723 Ethel Ave.
April 4, 2003, Paradise Island Academy, LLC changed its Principal Office to 3309 East Indiana Trail.
March 24, 2004 - A general warranty deed on 3309 East Indian Trail from Trinity Academy Childcare, Inc, Grantor, to Sharon Fowler Enterprises, Inc.., Grantee, is recorded as deed number 8380 0585.
Standard legal reasoning suggests that people intend the reasonably foreseeable consequences of their own actions, so it is reasonable to suggest that Mayor Sharon Fowler designed to end up with ownership and control of 3309 East Indian Trail from the beginning. A lot of zigging and zagging went into making that happen, but that is how it ended up. Sharon Fowler ended up owning and controlling the church properties at 3309 East Indian Trail for her own personal benefit.. There was never any benefit from that deal that would have ever accrued to the taxpayers of West Buechel.
Kentucky Secretary of State online business organization search
Jefferson County online land records
Jefferson County PVA online property search
Kentucky Court records online
Tom Fox, J. D.
Southern Specialty Law Publishing Company
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This is not legal advice and I am not a lawyer.