TAP answers allegations regarding Dumas Hotel sale

Statement (and accompanying timeline) from TAP’s president and CEO, Annette Lewis, regarding allegations made about Dumas Hotel sale.  
Annette Lewis

“Let me begin by stating emphatically that TAP DOES NOT DISCRIMINATE and we always act in good faith.

“The facts are that before TAP accepted an offer, the Dumas Hotel Legacy, Inc. made an offer on June 7 that TAP responded to with a counter offer on June 20, 2017.  “Another offer was received from a different interested party by TAP on June 26.  Prior to accepting the offer, TAP’s realtor contacted the realtor for Dumas Hotel Legacy, Inc. to inform the group of the other party’s interest.  TAP’s realtor also wanted to find out the status of TAP’s counter offer. Though TAP was not required to notify Dumas Hotel Legacy, Inc. of the second party’s interest, TAP did.  TAP did not receive a response.

“When TAP decided to accept the better offer on July 5, 2017, TAP held a meeting with the Dumas Hotel Legacy, Inc. The representatives left the meeting without any constructive communication or request for reconsideration or “negotiations.”

“Nothing done by TAP in reference to the process of events was or is discriminatory, violates anyone’s civil rights, or has been done without good faith.   TAP honors its agreements and will continue to honor its current Dumas purchase agreement.”

Listed is a timeline of events provided by TAP that led to the purchase of the Dumas followed by a closing statement by TAP’s president.

In mid/late 2016, TAP decided to move forward with the sale of the Dumas and engaged a local commercial real estate firm to assist with and handle the sale process.  In early 2017, the Dumas was officially listed for sale at $1,075,000. On April 7, 2017, individuals representing the Community Dumas Hotel Collaborative (now called Dumas Hotel Legacy, Inc.) met with TAP to discuss an offer to purchase the Dumas. TAP agreed to review their proposal once it was submitted in writing. On April 10, 2017, the Community Dumas Hotel Collaborative (“the collaborative”) submitted a written proposal for the purchase of the Dumas. TAP reviewed the same on April 11, 2017. After careful deliberation, TAP rejected the offer as the price was substantially less than the listing price and it would require TAP to remove the Dumas from the market for 12 months while the collaborative sought funding for the purchase. On April 12, 2017, the decision was conveyed to the collaborative.  In that letter, TAP indicated it welcomed further offers from the collaborative.

TAP CEO Annette Lewis outside Dumas Center – once the site of the historic Dumas Hotel. – Photo by S. Hale

Timeline

April 17, 2017, TAP received a letter from the collaborative indicating displeasure with the decision. Additionally, in voicing its displeasure, a member of the collaborative called TAP and left a message stating he “had a right to secure the Dumas and have TAP hold it so funds can be raised to keep the building in the African American community.” TAP did not respond to this demand.

In an effort to communicate to the entire community the plans and rationale for the sale of the Dumas, TAP released an Op-Ed that was published by the Roanoke Times on May 3, 2017. The release was also forwarded to other media outlets.

May 18, 2017, a member of the collaborative submitted an Op-Ed that included specifics about the collaborative’s offer to purchase the Dumas for $800,000. He publicly disclosed TAP’s objection to keep the building off the market for one year while the collaborative attempted to raise funds for the purchase.  He also alleged that TAP had given another organization two years to raise funds and put a plan together.  There is no truth to this allegation.

After the publication of the aforementioned Op-Ed, TAP chose to have all offerors sign a confidentiality agreement since it is customary that financial and other information shared in real estate negotiations remain confidential. A representative of the collaborative signed the agreement, and TAP shared all requested information with the collaborative. Subsequently, TAP received a second offer on June 7, 2017, from the collaborative, this time under the name Dumas Hotel Legacy, Inc. (DHL, Inc.).

  • TAP reviewed this proposal on June 14, 2017, and instructed the real estate firm handling the sale to prepare a counter-offer. The terms of that counter-offer were conveyed to DHL, Inc.’s realtor on June 20, 2017.

 

  • June 26, 2017, an article appeared in the Roanoke Times citing “Community group continues push to buy Gainsboro landmark Dumas Center from TAP.” It was in this article that DHL, Inc. publicly released the details of TAP’s counter-offer ($975,000). This information was released without the consent of TAP or its representatives.

 

  • June 26, 2017, TAP’s real estate agent received a letter from another realtor representing a party interested in submitting an offer to purchase the Dumas.  On June 28, 2017, TAP’s real estate agent contacted DHL, Inc.’s agent to inquire as to the status of a response to TAP’s June 20, 2017 counter-offer and to inform DHL, Inc. that another party had submitted a letter of intent for the purchase of the Dumas.

 

  • While there was no requirement that TAP inform DHL, Inc. of the second interested party, TAP decided to inform DHL, Inc. so DHL, Inc. was fully aware of the potential sale to another interested party and so DHL, Inc. could act accordingly.

 

  • June 30, 2017, TAP received a formal offer from the second interested party.  No communication was received from DHL, Inc. in response to TAP’s counter-offer or the June 28, 2017 communication informing DHL, Inc. of a second interested party.

 

  • July 5, 2017, TAP accepted the other offer for two reasons: TAP had not received communications from DHL, Inc. about the counter-offer and TAP determined the new offer was in the best interest of TAP. TAP and the purchaser signed a standard commercial purchase agreement memorializing the terms of the sale.  The purchase agreement included a confidentiality provision restricting the parties to disclose the details of the transaction.

 

  • July 5, 2017, TAP met with DHL, Inc. to share what had transpired. The same representatives that provided the collaborative’s first offer were present for the meeting and after learning of the purchase agreement, left the meeting without any constructive communications about TAP’s decision or to request a reversal of the decision. TAP released a press communication to notify the public of its entering into a definitive purchase agreement for the sale of the Dumas.

 

  • Subsequently, DHL, Inc. submitted a purchase agreement on terms substantially less favorable to TAP than even DHL, Inc.’s original offer. This offer wasn’t considered as the property was already under contract.

“In this entire process, TAP has remained open, honest, and ethical in all of its communications with persons interested in the purchase of the Dumas,” said TAP’s president & CEO, Annette Lewis. Mrs. Lewis added, “We have honored the process and declined to respond to unfounded attacks against our agency. However, with the onset of numerous false allegations of discrimination, civil rights violations, code violations, and not negotiating in good faith, TAP can stay silent no longer. As an African American, I am proud of the work completed daily by TAP’s diverse staff in service to this agency’s mission and legacy of serving those most in need, regardless of race, creed, or color. We strive daily to do the right thing.  Practicing sound and respectful communications is the right thing.  Following the customary practices that govern real estate transactions is the right thing.  Honoring confidentiality agreements is the right thing. The sale of the Dumas will allow TAP to continue to do the right thing: to focus on its purpose, which is to provide hope and change the lives of thousands of individuals in TAP’s service.”