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Thread: EarthQuest Park / Don Holbrook / Contour Entertainment / Frank McCrady of EMCID

  1. #101
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    re: EarthQuest Park / Don Holbrook / Contour Entertainment / Frank McCrady of EMCID

    Contact Us - East Montgomery County Improvement District

    East Montgomery County Improvement District
    OFFICE LOCATION: 21575 US Highway 59 North, Suite 200. New Caney, TX 77357 281-354-4419 (Voice) 281-354-4529 (FAX) ...
    +
    Show map of ‏21575 US Highway 59 # 200, New Caney, TX 77357-8356‏

    Us
    info@earthquestinstitute.org
    (866) 559-4006
    21575 U.S. Highway 59 North, Suite 200
    New Caney, TX 77357
    EarthQuest Institute

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ____
    I called the Earthquest Institute and the receptionist said no one was available to speak with me. Was I talking to Frank McCrady's secretary?

    DIRECTOR DONALD LESSEM

    MEDIA , PA
    DIRECTOR JOHN MARLIN
    13445 NOEL ROAD, 23RD FLOOR
    DALLAS , TX 75240
    DIRECTOR LEON CUBILLAS
    P.O. BOX 1019
    NEW CANEY , TX 77357

    Entity Information: THE INSTITUTE EARTHQUEST
    1722 ROUTH ST STE 1500
    DALLAS, TX 75201-2532
    Status: IN GOOD STANDING - EXEMPT ENTITY
    Registered Agent: DAVID M ROSENBERG
    1722 ROUTH STREET, SUITE 1500
    DALLAS, TX 75201
    Registered Agent Resignation Date:
    State of Formation: TX
    File Number: 0800941922
    SOS Registration Date: February 22, 2008
    Taxpayer Number: 32034780331
    Those addresses do not match. Why is that? The charity is required by law to have certain information available. I will keep calling until I can get access to it or I will file a report with the police.

    The Texas Non Profit Corporation Act says:

    Art. 1396-2.23A. FINANCIAL RECORDS AND ANNUAL REPORTS. A. A corporation shall maintain current true and accurate financial records with full and correct entries made with respect to all financial transactions of the corporation, including all income and expenditures, in accordance with generally accepted accounting practices.
    B. Based on these records, the board of directors shall annually prepare or approve a report of the financial activity of the corporation for the preceding year. The report must conform to accounting standards as promulgated by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and must include a statement of support, revenue, and expenses and changes in fund balances, a statement of functional expenses, and balance sheets for all funds.
    C. All records, books, and annual reports of the financial activity of the corporation shall be kept at the registered office or principal office of the corporation in this state for at least three years after the closing of each fiscal year and shall be available to the public for inspection and copying there during normal business hours. The corporation may charge for the reasonable expense of preparing a copy of a record or report.
    D. A corporation that fails to maintain financial records, prepare an annual report, or make a financial record or annual report available to the public in the manner prescribed by this article is guilty of a Class B misdemeanor.
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    re: EarthQuest Park / Don Holbrook / Contour Entertainment / Frank McCrady of EMCID

    Team


    The EarthQuest Institute brings together some of the best and brightest minds from across the globe.
    They share a deep devotion to science, education and the discovery of global solutions for a sustainable future.
    Management Team

    Our Management Team is comprised of accomplished executives from a variety of disciplines. They provide expertise in private and public fundraising, financial management, non-profit leadership and the sciences.

    Don Holbrook, President and CEO
    Dr. Matthew Gardner, Chief Science Officer
    Executive Board

    Our Executive Board represents the major creative and philanthropic developers of the EarthQuest concept, with respective backgrounds in science, communication, public education and community development.
    Leon Cubillas, Chairman
    Don Lessem, Founder and Director
    John Marlin, Director
    Don Lessem according to the latest news article by Cynthia Calvert exited the project as reflected in the EMCID board minutes. Marlin and Deborah Thomas who was paid $140,000.00 in 2009 for working 20 hours a week are tangled up in the Whitestone (property) bankruptcy and I bet Dr. Gardner is out or well on his way there. Why is it this page has not been updated? Who is actually left on the project now being run out of the EMCID offices?

  3. #103
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    re: EarthQuest Park / Don Holbrook / Contour Entertainment / Frank McCrady of EMCID

    Quote Originally Posted by SBM
    Who is actually left on the project now being run out of the EMCID offices?
    Most likely no one who could see themselves being held accountable.

    Usually the way these things run, unless there's a full blown official investigation, this whole fiasco will end up under the carpet with all the other fraud being perpetrated upon society almost daily.

    Having said that, can you think of even one of the elected officials or bureaucrats involved who would have the will, ability or intestinal fortitude to perform such an investigation ??

    If they've play their cards right, by the time of the next election this whole fiasco will be dead and buried.
    The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing

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    re: EarthQuest Park / Don Holbrook / Contour Entertainment / Frank McCrady of EMCID

    Quote Originally Posted by littleroundman View Post
    Most likely no one who could see themselves being held accountable.

    Usually the way these things run, unless there's a full blown official investigation, this whole fiasco will end up under the carpet with all the other fraud being perpetrated upon society almost daily.

    Having said that, can you think of even one of the elected officials or bureaucrats involved who would have the will, ability or intestinal fortitude to perform such an investigation ??

    If they've play their cards right, by the time of the next election this whole fiasco will be dead and buried.
    While the good old boys are a sweeping those who donated to the Earthquest Institute charity should also file a complaint with the Texas AG's office:

    https://www.oag.state.tx.us/consumer...mplaints.shtml

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    re: EarthQuest Park / Don Holbrook / Contour Entertainment / Frank McCrady of EMCID

    Nonprofit Report for INSTITUTE EARTHQUEST
    Annual Revenue & Expenses

    Fiscal Year Starting: Jan 01, 2009
    Fiscal Year Ending: Dec 31, 2009
    Total Revenue $470,652
    Total Expenses $759,948
    No doubt those expenses can be justified. The contributors and taxpayers of Texas need to demand answers!

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    re: EarthQuest Park / Don Holbrook / Contour Entertainment / Frank McCrady of EMCID

    Quote Originally Posted by Soapboxmom View Post
    Nonprofit Report for INSTITUTE EARTHQUEST

    No doubt those expenses can be justified. The contributors and taxpayers of Texas need to demand answers!

    Soapboxmom
    They most certainly do.

    If they don't, we all know what will happen.
    The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing

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    re: EarthQuest Park / Don Holbrook / Contour Entertainment / Frank McCrady of EMCID

    Results for 512-240-5353

    See in map»

    1. You?
      Claim & edit »
    2. Deborah A Thomas (Age 55-59)
    3. Great Frontier Dr
      Georgetown, TX
      Prior: Dallas, TX
      Click to see more
    4. Associated people:
      Ferle B Thomas
    Basic Organization Information

    INSTITUTE EARTHQUEST
    Physical Address: 21575 Us Highway 59 North
    % Dan N Matheson
    New Caney, TX 77357
    EIN: 26-2454184
    Telephone: 512-240-5353
    NTEE Category: C Environmental Quality Protection, Beautification C60 (Environmental Education and Outdoor Survival Programs)
    Year Founded: 2009 Ruling Year: 2009
    So, I just called Deborah Thomas. For 2009, while she raked in $140,000.00 for working 20 hours a week, her personal home number was the one listed for the charity. There are a lot of questions she should be answering. Is she still hooked up with John Marlin and Trey White?

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    re: EarthQuest Park / Don Holbrook / Contour Entertainment / Frank McCrady of EMCID

    Proposed Disney-like theme park faces uncertain future - Houston Chronicle
    In 2005, many area residents shed tears over losing the longtime Houston icon AstroWorld.
    That same year real estate investor John Marlin of Dallas bought land about 30 minutes north of downtown Houston that he envisioned turning into the area's next Disney-style theme park called EarthQuest.
    But now the fate of Marlin's 1,564-acre tract in Montgomery County that he planned to use for the 500-acre theme park and 1,064-acre residential development will be decided by a U.S. bankruptcy court in Sherman on March 5.
    Marlin heads Whitestone Houston Land, LTD., which filed for the Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. He could not be reached for comment.
    But two groups that had been working closely with Marlin in pursuit of the theme park - East Montgomery County Improvement District and Contour Entertainment - are joining forces to try to buy the land and establish a new developer.
    The court has set a minimum purchase price of $10 million, which is about half what Marlin originally paid for the land that straddles U.S. 59 near New Caney. Completion of the project is estimated to cost about $500 million.
    Not good P.R., but ...
    "While not a good public relations move, the bankruptcy sale brings the price down. It could save a substantial amount of money for the project," said Frank McCardy, the improvement district's CEO.
    The district, started in 1994 to improve the area's quality of life and create jobs, retains ownership of the park's conceptual and site engineering drawings, which the district purchased for $7.5 million in bond money. The district has also spent an additional $2.5 million on legal and other efforts to move the long-delayed project forward - all of which are being repaid through the district's 1.5-cent sales tax, he said.
    He would like to see Chris Brown, president of Contour Entertainment, act as an assistant developer with funding coming from outside backers.
    Contour Entertainment of Van Nuys, Calif., designed the conceptual drawings for the park. It would be seven times larger than AstroWorld, with 50 attractions that stress environmental stewardship. This would include such things as a 12-acre water park made from a retreating glacier to an animal park that includes threatened species and a ride through a land with a fiery volcano and life-sized dinosaurs.
    Brown, an ex-Disney designer, believe he has the experience necessary, as his company continues to design projects for Disney as well as a new theme park that he says is opening this year in Mumbai, India.
    "Marlin was a residential developer with no theme-park background," McCardy said. "He couldn't get any financial traction in this tough economy."
    But now McCardy and Brown believe the financial climate is improving and they have active discussions with potential developers who would be able to write the check, but they said they could not disclose the names.
    Seeks Texas investors
    Brown would only say he is focused on Texas investors, who would benefit the most from the enhancement of their community and other properties being developed.
    "I feel very comfortable," said McCardy, adding that if his preferred developer, Contour, is unsuccessful with fundraising he has two others "ready to step in and build it."
    He said he feels good about the project because three theme-park experts have said this spot has perfect demographics. Houston is the only one of the 11 largest U.S. cities without a theme park. Major theme parks are located on each coast but not the central U.S., 18 million people live within a four-hour drive of the site and Houston has a young population with one of the strongest economies.
    But with all the false starts, spurts and delays in the last six years, some area residents are skeptical about it ever being built.

    cindy.horswell@chron.com
    So, we paid 10 million for the pretty pictures and legal entanglements just to get this thing rolling. Now, they must get a solid bid of at least 10 million on the land by March 5 to start the bidding procedure or the bank can automatically foreclose. They just now figured out and conceded that Marlin Atlantis White was only a penny ante residential developer? Some people are really late to the party.

    And it is McCrady who still thinks it can be completed for 500 million. I bet that is way underfunded for what has been proposed.

    Soapboxmom

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    re: EarthQuest Park / Don Holbrook / Contour Entertainment / Frank McCrady of EMCID

    Don Holbrook

    The Next America: Moving Beyond a Fragile Economy at Author
    Las Vegas, Nevada Area Capital Markets
    Current

    see all
    Past
    • Consultant at EMCID
    • Senior Project Director at The Institute EarthQuest
    • President/CEO at Professional Economic Development Organizations

    Education
    • University of Phoenix
    • Wright State University
    • Wright State University

    Recommendations 10 people have recommended Don
    Connections 500+ connections
    Websites

    Twitter 9thTemplar
    Public Profile Don Holbrook | LinkedIn





    Summary


    My professional practice asists both businesses in need of capitalization for their operations and/or in search of a new location for relocation or expansion of new business opportunities and market expansion. We discover the most advantageous business climate and location, recommend the short-list of possible facilities or sites, and negotiate public incentives and inducements that lower the upfront costs of such investments and increase the equity and thus ROI to the ownership.

    We also work with communities to recommend the creation of incentive and capitalization strategies and tools that will increase their ability to attract investment into their locales. Our focus is on deals that create quality jobs, significant investment and improve the quality of life for residents of our community clients. typically this helps the community economic development organization diversify their economy and improve their outcomes to their communities.
    Specialties

    Site Location Analysis, Business capitalization, Hybrid capitalization using special economic development tools, public policy such as incentive strategies tied to ROI, deal negotiations for public incentives and investment inducements.
    The following article takes a very close look at Don Holbrook's shenanigans and his response is very telling. Don Holbrook has a webpage calling himself the Economic Developer.

    Newspaper article questions theme park player’s resumé | Pahrump Valley Times

    Here is the comment about Don Holbrook probably by Holbrook himself:
    economic developer says: February 15, 2012 at 5:50 pm
    In America we don’t give rumors and opinions credence when they are not factual. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but that does not mean it factual. With regard to Don Hokbrook, the facts are he was wrongfully terminated by the Red Wing Port Authority under an allegation of resume fraud. He was given a public apology by that agency and they were made by the courts to admit they were wrong and paid j
    Him approximately $100,000 for their false assertion.
    Holbrook did not mail money into La Salle and receive a degree he turned in a thousand plus pages of online curriculum assignments including a 100 page Masters thesis and nearly 200 page doctoral dissertation to his assigned professors and it took him 4 years to do the work. The FBI issues a statement to all of the thousands of professional students telling them they had been fraudulently misled and it was no fault of the students. Holbrook immediately reported it to his employer and took the degrees off his resume. His employer told him it had no bearing on his own character or expertise and closed the issue. The other claims by the newspaper are just patently false. He has not been discharged ever for any spending or other wrong doings. He choose to not renew his contract in Lake Havasu on good terms so he could move closer to his parents. He has no disgruntled employers or failed projects, that is a fact.
    He has won virtually every award in his industry for his achievements and has every prof essional certification including being awarded the industries most prestigious award of “Fellow Member” in 2008 for his lifetime of professional achievements by his more than 4500 peers.

    So neither newspaper has told the facts. He is an integritous man, well respected by his peers with remarkable skills, knowledge and expertise in the field of economic development, with no failed projects. He was asked due to this to help get the EarthQuest project headed back in the right direction, and it is doing so now. Holbrook feels EMCID is acting correctly and appropriately to get that project in a position to succeed. He has been acting as a consultant to them in this regard because at no fault of EMCID or Holbrook, the previous developer failed to perform… But many others failed as well in 2008-2009 due to the global financial crisis.
    Lastly Holbrook has never told the town of Pahrump they could attract a theme park. Rather he believes that Contour’s recommendation of a world class destination project is right on the mark and compliments the other major attractions and will attract new visitors to Pahrump to do unique tourism opportunities not available or easily replicated in Vegas. These are the real facts.
    Soapboxmom

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    re: EarthQuest Park / Don Holbrook / Contour Entertainment / Frank McCrady of EMCID

    The Vercitas Group
    Partner · Sep 2001 to present · Las Vegas, Nevada
    Site Location and Strategic Economic Development consulting services

    • Australia Christmas Island Destination Tourism Projectwith Simon Millcock
      2011 to present
      Creating a real sense of exotic locale to bring tourists primarily from the Northern Gateway of Malaysia, Asia and Korea to the island with high per capita expenditurres
    • Pahrump Destination Tourism Attractionwith Al Balloqui
      Jun 2010 to present
      Working on creating a unique tourism project that will allow Pahrump to capitalize on the tourism driven economy created by Las Vegas.
    • EarthQuest Institute and EarthQuest Adventure Theme Parkwith Frank McCrady and Matthew Gardner
      Oct 2004 to present
      Working on building the worlds first green and sustainable influenced Theme Park designed from the ground up with clean technologies as a foundation.
    The Vercitas Group page as linked by Holbrook on his Linkedin page goes here:
    http://www.mcsstrategies.com/services.php

    This is all quite curious. Just when did he jump on the Earthquest Titanic and whose idea was it to hijack "Dino" Don Lessem's interactive dino museum idea? Lots more questions!

    Soapboxmom

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    re: EarthQuest Park / Don Holbrook / Contour Entertainment / Frank McCrady of EMCID

    Economic Developer: Home
    Current MEGA Destination Tourism Projects - The EarthQuest Adventures Theme Park & Resort, Houston, TX


    Don Holbrook specializes in creating unique destination tourism projects within the entertainment and retail industries. Check out his latest project the first ever Green Theme Park powered by clean renewable energy with an economic impact of 17,000 jobs at full build out and over $1.3 billion in facilities investment. Holbrook negotiated the local incentive plan, assisted in the creation of special state legislation supporting the capitalization, managed the consulting team, assisted in the investor solicitation package, shaped the public private partnership agreement and did the final site location for the project. Governor Perry, calls this one of the most dramatic projects in the history of Texas Economic Development. Check out the project at their website.
    I can't find a quote anything close to that anywhere. So, where did Holbrook come up with that story????

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    re: EarthQuest Park / Don Holbrook / Contour Entertainment / Frank McCrady of EMCID

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Holbrook
    Governor Perry, calls this one of the most dramatic projects in the history of Texas Economic Development.
    If and when the public become aware of what actually happened and how they've been ripped off, this sorry saga could very well become "dramatic"
    The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing

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    re: EarthQuest Park / Don Holbrook / Contour Entertainment / Frank McCrady of EMCID

    Talk of the Town: EDC SAYS GOODBYE TO HOLBROOK

    Don Holbrook certainly shows his true colors when those he has hoodwinked call him out!

    I did the advanced math. Holbrook was paid $185.76 an hour for every hour he worked for the Earthquest Institute charity in 2009 for a total of over $144,000. That is beyond ridiculous.

    I sent out an e-mail today. I would have included Don Holbrook as he is the President and CEO of the charity, but I didn't have his e-mail.

    From: Dobrott, Heather
    Sent: Thursday, February 16, 2012 4:45 PM
    To: 'leon.cubillas
    Cc: 'fmccrady@emctx.com'; 'sparmer@emctx.com'; 'dmarks (the attorney who set up the charity)
    Subject: Earthquest Institute Information Request

    This request is made under the Texas Public Information Act, Section 552 of the Texas Government Code. In accordance with the law, which requires that the “Officer for Public Records shall promptly produce such information for inspection or duplication, or both, in the offices of the governmental body,”

    The Texas Non Profit Corporation Act says:
    1396-2.23A. FINANCIAL RECORDS AND ANNUAL REPORTS. A. A corporation shall maintain current true and accurate financial records with full and correct entries made with respect to all financial transactions of the corporation, including all income and expenditures, in accordance with generally accepted accounting practices.
    B. Based on these records, the board of directors shall annually prepare or approve a report of the financial activity of the corporation for the preceding year. The report must conform to accounting standards as promulgated by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and must include a statement of support, revenue, and expenses and changes in fund balances, a statement of functional expenses, and balance sheets for all funds.
    C. All records, books, and annual reports of the financial activity of the corporation shall be kept at the registered office or principal office of the corporation in this state for at least three years after the closing of each fiscal year and shall be available to the public for inspection and copying there during normal business hours. The corporation may charge for the reasonable expense of preparing a copy of a record or report.
    D. A corporation that fails to maintain financial records, prepare an annual report, or make a financial record or annual report available to the public in the manner prescribed by this article is guilty of a Class B misdemeanor.

    Also certain disclosures are required by the IRS, therefore I respectfully request access to the following information:
    All records of the Earthquest Institute or The Institute Earthquest that are required to be publicly available including, but not limited to financial records, records reflecting the activities of the charity as outlined on its website EarthQuest Institute - Programs, a list of the currently active managers and board members of the Institute, information relating to Dr. Gardner’s proposal to house the Institute on EMCID property until it could be moved to the theme park, filings with the IRS or State of Texas and any other information concerning fundraising or activities of this charity.

    Thank you for your kind help. Please make the records available to me via e-mail and or publication on the charity’s website.

    Thank you,

    Heather Dobrott
    This might clarify just a few things!

    Soapboxmom

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    re: EarthQuest Park / Don Holbrook / Contour Entertainment / Frank McCrady of EMCID

    Don Holbrook has filed a corporate bankruptcy in NV and claims he was not paid by some developer. I could take a wild guess who that might be. Holbrook is in full meltdown mode as evidenced by the comments. I guess he blew the 144 grand he made in 2009. The Earthquest Institute was paying him $185.76 an hour. Ridiculous! Here is his latest rant:

    Newspaper article questions theme park player’s resumé | Pahrump Valley Times
    « Older Comments


    economic developer says:
    February 16, 2012 at 10:49 pm
    I reread all these posts again and it just amazes me how smart and appropriate all of you self righteous people are. You are too small minded and malicious to even understand and accept facts and truthful commentary. I truly am glad people like you are not in control of government or there would still be lynch mobs and witch burnings. That is just how ingnorant and angry you are in your slanderous and heinous comments about good people trying to help your community create new jobs for people who need them. There is no reasoning with idiots and it just proves why most intelligent people don’t read blogs. Your community struggles with progress because it is filled with hateful nasty people and most decent folks won’t put themselves through the humiliation of working in your community. That is all this entire commentary has made clear to me. Go to Afghanistan please… Within weeks the Taliban would leave and the war would be over.
    Charming, isn't he? Can we deport him back to Mars?

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    re: EarthQuest Park / Don Holbrook / Contour Entertainment / Frank McCrady of EMCID

    What's New?


    CLICK FOR LARGER VIEW

    Earth Quest Adventures is a resort located in New Caney, Texas, approximately 25 miles north of Houston that is scheduled to open to the public in 2011 or 2012.
    Contour Entertainment is the resort's master planner and lead designer. The planned 1,600 acre resort will include a theme park as well as a water park, hotel, conference center, retail and office developments. The size of the theme park is reported to be 200 acres on opening. The first phase was originally supposed to break ground in 2008.
    “It’s a $500 million project with about 50 different rides, including several ‘E-ticket’ rides,” he said, “like going inside a volcano, going through an actual ice cave, launch rides, coasters, and technologies that haven’t been used before” states Don Lessem, creator and founder of the park.
    Isn't Frank "Bonus" McCrady paid enough with salary, car allowance and bonus totalling around 160 grand to clean this up? And, let's not forget all the wining and dining of scammers coming in and flying around the country on the taxpayer's dime. Lessem is gone and should not have his name tied to this fiasco when he was taken advantage of by Marlin Atlantis. Why beat the dead horse on the fact the first construction was to begin in 2008. That just scares off potential investors. And, the statement it is scheduled to open in 2011-2012 is obviously now fiction. It should be removed. We had better enjoy that picture. It along with the other plans and renderings cost a whopping 7.5 million smackaroos!

    Time for a new board and a resignation by McCrady. He should not get another cent of the taxpayers hard earned money!

    Soapboxmom

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    re: EarthQuest Park / Don Holbrook / Contour Entertainment / Frank McCrady of EMCID

    Don Holbrook is making some very lofty claims:



    A finance professional?? Where are the dollars for Earthquest? He claims that he has put together 100s of economic delveopment deals worth over billions of dollars that have created over 50,000 jobs in this country??? He better have some ink on that!

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    re: EarthQuest Park / Don Holbrook / Contour Entertainment / Frank McCrady of EMCID

    Only 50,000 jobs for over billions worth in deals? Doesn't sound very impressive.

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    re: EarthQuest Park / Don Holbrook / Contour Entertainment / Frank McCrady of EMCID

    Quote Originally Posted by Whip View Post
    Only 50,000 jobs for over billions worth in deals? Doesn't sound very impressive.
    The poor dear lad seems to have a dreaded case of zero disease. I am having trouble finding a development deal much less a job outside of the ones for his fellow shall we call them bogus deal makers.

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    re: EarthQuest Park / Don Holbrook / Contour Entertainment / Frank McCrady of EMCID

    A Disneyland for gun lovers - Monday, February 20, 2012 - Copyright 2007 Ourtribune.com
    A Disneyland for gun lovers
    Monday, February 20, 2012
    Cynthia Calvert
    Frank McCrady, president and CEO of the East Montgomery County Improvement District (EMCID), announced last week that a preliminary agreement has been made with Front Sight Firearms Training Centers to build a facility in East County. McCrady said the project will bring significant economic impact.

    The firing range project, which has an interesting connection to the questionable dinosaur theme park, EarthQuest, supposedly coming to East County, also brings a controversial history.

    Front Sight's headquarters is located in Pahrump, Nev., the same community that former EarthQuest consultants Don Holbrook and Chris Brown have contracted with to develop a theme park in that rural area.

    According to the Pahrump Valley Times [10-12-2011], after the EarthQuest project stalled, Holbrook entered a contract with the rural, economically depressed Nevada community to present the efficacy of building Think Tank!, a park where visitors can drive armored tanks. Holbrook prepared a report for the town saying that Think Tank! would be a place, “Where guests would be able to drive a military tank ... in a fun, safe environment.” There would also be obstacles with special effects and explosions.

    Holbrook added that millions more could be gleaned from tourists if Pahrump were to expand on that idea and build 'Adventure Springs,' which would include the tank/explosion range along with a movie, a lake, a visitor center, a town, a hotel with a water park, a family entertainment center, a golf range, an event space and retail and dining space.

    Interestingly, this is the same situation that developed with EarthQuest, which went from a small idea called Project Rex, then became the $50 million Dino-City which eventually morphed into EarthQuest, a $600 million plus, 1600-acre resort with four “lands,” a museum, rides, special effects, a water park, hotels, conference center, restaurants, retail and office developments, with Holbrook involved every step of the way.

    Front Sight has a controversial history in Pahrump. Matt Ward, editor of the Pahrump Valley Times, said that while the range is part of the peaceful community, it is known as a “gun nut heaven.” The owner, a former chiropractor named Ignatius Piazzo, originally touted the idea as a residential development with a total gun focus. Piazzo, according to KLAS-TV in Las Vegas, bought 550 acres in Pahrump in the late 1990s and promised to build ''the safest town in America' by building a 'Disneyland for Gun Lovers.'” KLAS-TV investigative reporter Colleen McCarty (Las Vegas News, Weather, Traffic, Sports - KLAS-TV 8 News Now) said, “Thousands of people bought in with memberships ranging in price from a few thousand to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Most were guaranteed a lifetime of weapons training and six-figure deals, called platinum memberships, and were promised a one-acre home site.”

    But the master-planned community never happened. Piazzo, according to McCarty and Pahrump Valley Times reporter Gina B. Good (archive.pahrumpvalleytimes.com/2005/11/18/news/frontsight.html), was eventually sued by several of those members.

    California attorney C. Keith Greer filed a class action lawsuit in November 2005 on behalf of several Front Sight members, alleging racketeering and fraud. Greer said Piazza de-frauded thousands for his own personal gain, Good reported. She also reported, “The action demands a jury trial under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. The 26-page complaint against Front Sight centers on membership benefits and promises. At the organization's inception in 1998, memberships were sold to fund construction of shooting ranges. Free classes for life with memberships that could be willed to family members were attractive to gun owners who sought professional training. Additional benefits - like home sites - were promised for higher priced memberships.”

    Greer said, "Piazza took other people's money for investment capital to start his operation and then when he got it up and running, he hung them out to dry. Didn't follow through on the promises he made, didn't give them what they expected, didn't give them their money back."

    Eventually, by June of 2009, in response to Piazza's refusal to pay a multi-million dollar settlement, a federal judge ordered a receiver to take control of Front Sight, its facilities, its operations and its assets (www.pahrumpvalleytimes.com/2009). Seven days later, Piazza made a financial offer and regained control of his property. According to the KLAS-TV, Front Sight still owes more than $5 million of the class action settlement.

    Websites devoted to Front Site (THR - Powered by vBulletin) have lengthy complaints that Piazza is a Scientologist or a former Scientologist. In fact, Piazza sued one of his former platinum members for writing in her blog that she believed him to be a member of the controversial organization (Diana Hsieh: Front Sight, Ignatius Piazza, and Scientology?).

    Pahrump Valley Times editor Matt Ward says a mysterious death that occurred on the property, along with the recession, stopped the home development side of the operation.

    "A guy died out there, not by a gunshot, but it was some sort of accidental hanging. Then there was a big lawsuit and the home development just never happened,” he said. According to KLAS-TV, a range visitor died in 2007 in a zip line accident and a lawsuit did take four years before it was settled (www.8newsnow.com/story/15691632)

    Front Sight failed to meet Nevada state fire safety standards numerous times, according to KLAS-TV reporter McCarty. The reporter said, “Front Sight has failed again to outfit its classroom building with fire safety basics like sprinklers, fire pumps and water. It's no surprise despite claims construction was on target; Front Sight has again failed to meet its deadline. This is the fourth such failure in the last two years.”

    Controversy not withstanding, the Internet is also filled with glowing praise for Front Sight. Numerous blogs, letters, articles and news reports show there are many who vouch for the experience as exceptional, fun, beyond their expectations and that the gun range experience is excellent.

    Courses range from $1,000 to $2,000 and the website (Gun training | Firearm Training) is filled with dozens of testimonials, course offerings, and options to learn or enhance individual firearms proficiency.

    Final arrangements with Front Sight is pending; the final site has not been chosen yet.

    As with EarthQuest, McCrady is assuring taxpayers that the development will not cost them a penny. EarthQuest developers received millions of dollars from EMCID; taxpayers were given assurance that parking fees at EarthQuest and intellectual property rights will make up for the EarthQuest costs estimated to be as high as $10-15 million (The Tribune has made numerous requests of EMCID for the total number of dollars spent to date on the EarthQuest project but no answers have been provided). McCrady said the incentives given to Front Sight will come from rebates of sales taxes and other revenues generated by the new business itself.

    “None of the incentives will come from any existing source or take away from current funding,” he said. “We’re looking at venue taxes to provide the incentive needed to bring these businesses to East County.”


    © 2011 Ourtribune.com

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    Where's the money? - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - Copyright 2007 Ourtribune.com
    Where's the money?
    Tuesday, February 21, 2012
    Cynthia Calvert
    The East Montgomery County Improvement District (EMCID) is a public agency empowered by the State of Texas to issue municipal bonds that are sold to the general public. The funds received from the sale of the bonds can then be invested in various projects, with both public and private interests, within EMCID’s boundaries.

    Generally speaking, in an improvement district such as EMCID, bond proceeds are utilized to facilitate economic development within EMCID’s district that will benefit the taxpaying public with local job creation, new tax revenues, user fees, etc. The new and increased assessments can then be used to fund a variety of civic, charitable, educational and other organizations to improve the overall quality of life for local residents.

    Consequently, there is a solemn obligation on the part of the EMCID leadership and board to ensure that the bond funds are managed diligently and invested prudently.

    The Tribune has now independently confirmed that EMCID issued $7,635,000 in sales tax revenue bonds on April 15, 2009. The proceeds of that bond sale were used to reimburse the promoters of the EarthQuest project for pre-development costs, primarily conceptual, and design work.

    The bonds were issued in two sets with different maturities, and a blended interest rate of 6.525 percent. The bonds will mature in two stages of 20 and 30 years, in 2029 and 2039, respectively.

    In addition to the foregoing bond sale, EMCID President and CEO Frank McCrady said in a recent Houston Chronicle article that EMCID has also incurred cash expenditures of $2.5 million in non-developmental costs related to EarthQuest. This amount was apparently paid out of existing tax collections, bringing the total (verified) cost of the project to $10.135 million.

    Given the pending foreclosure of EarthQuest’s intended site, the unending project delays, an almost complete turnover of those involved in the venture and the continuing weakness in the local and national economies, EarthQuest is, by any measure, a troubled project. Notwithstanding, McCrady has given repeated assurances that “EarthQuest will be built” . . . [and] “it’s not a question of if, but when.”

    But what happens if EarthQuest doesn’t get built?

    To answer that question it’s necessary to first understand how the bond process works.

    Simply stated, a municipal bond is a written promise on the part of a governmental agency (in this case EMCID) to repay monies it borrows from private investors. As collateral for the bonds, EMCID granted the owners of the bonds a lien on, and a pledge of, three fourths of 1 percent of EMCID’s sales and use taxes. This calculation equals 50 percent of the total sales tax base of EMCID.

    Thus, the bond is similar to a mortgage that would be taken out when a homebuyer purchases a house. In the case of EarthQuest, the $7.635 million in bonds issued by EMCID represents the “mortgage” that

    EMCID incurred in order to “buy” a “house”, i.e. the EarthQuest theme park.

    If the theme park subsequently becomes a reality, then new jobs will be created, new tax and revenue streams will be generated and the “house” will produce sufficient income to pay off the mortgage.

    However, the EarthQuest project differs from a typical home purchase in one major respect: the “mortgage” was incurred in 2009, but no “house” has yet been built. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that the “house” will ever be built. Nevertheless, EMCID has guaranteed to the purchasers of its bonds that the “mortgage” will be repaid.

    And like all mortgages, the bonds must be repaid with interest. Since these bonds were issued for 20-and 30-year terms, while paying 6.525 percent interest, the total interest cost to EMCID is projected in the bond prospectus to be $10,960,254.

    Consequently, the total cost and liability of the EarthQuest project is not $10.135 million as previously mentioned, but is more than $21 million due to the future accrual of interest, the payment of which has been guaranteed by EMCID.

    So who will pay this “mortgage” if the house never gets built?

    As usual, the answer is: the taxpayers. More specifically, the taxpayers that reside or shop within the EMCID district.

    If EarthQuest isn’t built, EMCID will have no choice but to repay the principal and interest on the bonds out of current tax revenues. In doing so, the annual debt service on the bonds will significantly impair EMCID’s ability to fund other projects. For example, the total annual debt service of the EarthQuest bonds, by year, is: 2012 - $487,506; 2013 - $550,556; 2014 - $551,506; 2015 - $552,156; and so on.

    The foregoing scenario becomes even more disconcerting when the total bonded indebtedness of EMCID is considered. That is, EMCID has additionally sold bonds on two other projects unrelated to EarthQuest. The unpaid principal amount of these two bond sales equaled $7,673,416.00 as of February 15, 2012. When the annual debt service of these two bond issues are combined with the EarthQuest indebtedness, the above annual payments more than double.

    For example, the total, combined annual debt service of all EMCID bonds, by year, is: 2012 - $1,077,494; 2013 - $1,141,924; 2014 - $1,142,849; 2015 - 1,142,133; and so on.

    With only a finite amount of tax receipts coming into EMCID, combined with EMCID’s outstanding bonded indebtedness, it is painfully obvious that EMCID will have to forego many economic development opportunities if the EarthQuest project is not built.

    So who will pay if EarthQuest isn’t built? You will.


    © 2011 Ourtribune.com

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    EarthQuest works with LSC-Kingwood design students

    Published on: January 07, 2011
    The Game Design and Simulation Project Development students at Lone Star College-Kingwood spent the fall semester working with Dr. Matt Gardner, the MIT scientist at EarthQuest, on applications to promote EarthQuest Institute’s involvement in the development of a theme park that will be located in New Caney. Gardner met with the students on a monthly basis to give feedback on their progress. Based on EarthQuest’s message of sustainability, students created games that will teach concepts of alternative energy sources and recycling in fun and engaging ways. The games will be available on the EarthQuest’s website in spring 2011.
    Pictured from left to right: Andrew Jeffers, Hac Dieu, Jesse Bolin, Brian McNulty, adjunct faculty Sean Bellinger, associate professor Caroline Chamness, Dominic Prestia, Dr. Matt Gardner, EarthQuest Institute, Steven Paradzys, and Jason Bush with his son, Nathan Bush.
    This is the only outreach program for Earthquest that I have ever been able to find. As far as i know these were not published on the website. So, this is all we have to show for $996,667.00 in donations. I found the 2010 statement on Guidestar, though it is supposed to be available for public inspection and copying by law. Everyone associated with this is long gone except the EMCID board member Leon Cubillas who is a director and of course Frank McCrady who shares the same office suite, but refuses to make the documents available.
    This request is made under the Texas Public Information Act, Section 552 of the Texas Government Code. In accordance with the law, which requires that the “Officer for Public Records shall promptly produce such information for inspection or duplication, or both, in the offices of the governmental body,”

    The Texas Non Profit Corporation Act says:

    Art. 1396-2.23A. FINANCIAL RECORDS AND ANNUAL REPORTS. A. A corporation shall maintain current true and accurate financial records with full and correct entries made with respect to all financial transactions of the corporation, including all income and expenditures, in accordance with generally accepted accounting practices.
    B. Based on these records, the board of directors shall annually prepare or approve a report of the financial activity of the corporation for the preceding year. The report must conform to accounting standards as promulgated by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and must include a statement of support, revenue, and expenses and changes in fund balances, a statement of functional expenses, and balance sheets for all funds.
    C. All records, books, and annual reports of the financial activity of the corporation shall be kept at the registered office or principal office of the corporation in this state for at least three years after the closing of each fiscal year and shall be available to the public for inspection and copying there during normal business hours. The corporation may charge for the reasonable expense of preparing a copy of a record or report.
    D. A corporation that fails to maintain financial records, prepare an annual report, or make a financial record or annual report available to the public in the manner prescribed by this article is guilty of a Class B misdemeanor.

    Also certain disclosures are required by the IRS, therefore I respectfully request access to the following information:
    All records of the Earthquest Institute or The Institute Earthquest that are required to be publicly available including, but not limited to financial records, records reflecting the activities of the charity as outlined on its website EarthQuest Institute - Programs, a list of the currently active managers and board members of the Institute, information relating to Dr. Gardner’s proposal to house the Institute on EMCID property until it could be moved to the theme park, filings with the IRS or State of Texas and any other information concerning fundraising or activities of this charity.

    Thank you for your kind help. Please make the records available to me via e-mail and or publication on the charity’s website.

    Thank you,

    Heather Dobrott

    That was sent out on February 16th. I have had many responses and some very thoughtful ones from many who have left, but those who operate out of that office feel they are above the law. Frank McCrady is doing everything he can to destroy and discredit this project. Anyone who wishes to walk into the office and view them or who requests them should have no trouble getting access to them. How can anyone get behind this project when there is no honest disclosure as required by law?

    Here is a copy of that 2010 charity statement as published on Guidestar:

    The Insitutute Earthquest 2010.pdf

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    I had another wonderful chat with someone connected to the Earthquest Institute. Many of the wonderful people originally involved in the project have left. The papers went with one of them and are in fact in a box on their way to Texas. At this point there is one EMCID board member sort of holding the bag as no one else is remaining. The problems with the charity and the project in general seem to be tied at least to some extent to the fake multi-billionaire Trey White, John Marlin and their Marlin Atlantis development company.

    The charity was such a wonderful concept. It should go forward. I am looking forward to taking a look at the charity's financial records and learning more about this. With just under 1 million in donations this charity needs to begin the work that was to be forthcoming.

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    re: EarthQuest Park / Don Holbrook / Contour Entertainment / Frank McCrady of EMCID

    EMCID Board Meeting

    Date: March 8, 2012
    Time: 05:30 PM - 07:00 PM
    Everyone who lives in Southeast Texas should make plans to attend this meeting. Why was the bankruptcy kept secret? The only reason it is public knowledge now is because of the incredbile reporting of Cynthia Calvert. Why have the charity papers not been kept in the EMCID office where the charity is now listed? Why do they not have annual reports and the docs required by the IRS either way? When did the board members get notification on the bankruptcy? Why has it not been honestly disclosed that everyone involved in the charity, The Institute Earthquest, is long gone, but the lone board member that sits as a director?

    The attorney that set it up did everything perfectly and to the letter. He has been out for two years and is filing paperwork with the Texas Secretary of State to resign as the registered agent and have his name removed. When is the charity website going to be updated?

    It is high time the public, contributors and investors get some honest answers and transparency as to where their money has gone. Trey White and John Marlin are out and I believe Frank McCrady should be the next one shown the door.

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    From the mouth of the idiot who ran Earthquest into bankruptcy and disaster:



    WHITE VENTURES - ABOUT US - Team
    Mr. White is also involved in EarthQuest Adventures. EarthQuest Adventures is currently in the process of designing a $500M theme park in Houston, Texas named EarthQuest. EarthQuest will be the first mega theme park built in the US since DisneyWorld. Its unique position in the Houston market is projected to attract over 3M visitors per year and raise the bar in entertainment while delivering an eco-conscious message. To learn more about EarthQuest visit: EarthQuest's Website
    Another colossal failure from the talking head Trey White. Disgusting!

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    Filed & Entered: 01/23/2012
    Chapter 11 Confirmation Hearing
    36
    Filed & Entered: 01/23/2012
    Order on Motion for Relief from Automatic Stay
    37
    Filed & Entered: 01/24/2012
    Operating Report
    38
    Filed: 01/25/2012
    Entered: 01/26/2012
    Certificate of Mailing
    39
    Filed & Entered: 01/30/2012
    Order on Motion (Generic)
    40
    Filed: 02/01/2012
    Entered: 02/02/2012
    Certificate of Mailing
    41
    Filed & Entered: 02/20/2012
    Operating Report

    Nothing has been filed. It appears Marlin Atlantis did not get the minimum 10 million dollar bid on the property and the bank will be foreclosing. That means Contour was not able to raise the funds. The question now becomes will they be able to come up with money later and purchase the property?

    Soapboxmom

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