Someone once said, “Coincidence. That’s an explanation used by fools and liars.” Way back before COVID ever came on the scene, in early 2019, a series of events took place one day that by themselves, wouldn’t have raised concern, but when viewed together, were anything but coincidental.
Back then, I still hadn’t began my career here at the Messenger and wouldn’t start vigorously stirring the pot in regards to political malfeasance and the ‘good ol’ boys club’ composed of several local officials who bent and broke rules and laws how ever they saw fit, until later that year.
Before the mayor of the city and the past judge/executive of the county started breaking the Open Meetings Act, along with making some shady deals and decisions, there was a land deal I found in the deed book that reeked of an ethics violation at the least. I have been waiting for two years for the deal to come completely to light, and last week, it finally did.
March 28, 2019 was a busy day in the County Clerk’s Deed Book for then Judge/Executive Gerry Lynn, local lawyer Alec Stone, and Industrial Authority Chairman David Pace.
At 11:18 a.m. that day, Articles of Organization paperwork to register a limited liability company to be known as AGLS were filed. The initials were a sandwiching of the two organizing partners’ names—Alec Gerry Lynn Stone.
Later that afternoon, at 3:39 p.m., Memorandum of Option to Purchase paperwork would be filed which was legalese for the Meade County/Brandenburg Industrial Development Authority, via chairman David Pace, was selling their river port land to Nucor.
At 3:41 p.m., another Memorandum of Option to Purchase was filed by Meade County Energy, via sole member Harry L. Lusk, who was selling his land at the river port to Nucor, as well.
Then at 3:46 p.m., a peculiar thing happened. Just minutes after the paperwork had been filed in the clerk’s office to begin Nucor’s purchase of the land at the river port, Alec Stone filed a deed in which he was purchasing a 19.086 acre wooded lot from Linda Principe on Moremen Rd. between Lynn’s bowling alley and Principe’s house for $95,430.
Linda Principe, a widow, did not sell the house where her and her husband, the late Dr. Benedict Principe who served as Meade County’s primary physician for years, had lived. She only sold the land that butted up to the bowling alley and L’ed behind it to Stone. Granted the lot was wooded but even so, I wonder when the last time land in the heart of Brandenburg city limits ever sold for a meager $5,000 an acre.
Now I’m sure a widow, a long time lawyer and a negotiation that led to a ridiculously low priced land deal were all coincidental. I’m also sure the fact that Stone and Judge/Executive Lynn had formed an LLC together the morning of that land purchase were coincidental too. And I’m sure that, since Lynn, Pace, Mayor Ronnie Joyner and everyone else involved in the Nucor deal were under strict gag orders in regards to the Nucor deal, none of them would be speaking with local lawyers about “insider trading” of land to make a profit from that privileged information. It was nothing more than coincidence that Lynn and Stone formed a LLC the same day Nucor was filing Memorandum of Option to Purchase paperwork and Stone was buying up land 3 miles away from where Nucor would build.
Then something even more coincidental would happen just a little over a month later. The land Stone bought would be transferred to AGLS for $50,000. Alec and Lynn were now partners on the 19.086 acre piece of property that surrounded Lynn’s struggling bowling alley that he had tried to offload prior to the Nucor deal.