Saturday, Aug. 30, 2008 | The scope of potential conflicts of interest at the Centre City Development Corp. once again expanded Friday, a day when the agency’s attorney resigned and one of the city’s largest proposed hotels withdrew from downtown.
The downtown redevelopment agency’s lead counsel, Helen Holmes Peak, who has received income from Lennar Corp., resigned after she acknowledged participating in discussions that she shouldn’t have about one of the company’s projects at CCDC. She said she was unaware of the earlier financial connection to Lennar and didn’t know the company was still involved with the project.
That development, Ballpark Village, was dealt a separate setback Friday as Marriott International jettisoned its plans for a 1,929-room hotel on the 7.1-acre site east of Petco Park.
Within the last week, CCDC has expanded an investigation to determine whether Graham’s involvement in any downtown project during her tenure was inappropriately tainted by her undisclosed income from Lennar and The Related Group, whom she partnered with on a Florida condominium deal. She made nearly $3 million from that deal, court records show, but did not report it in required conflict-of-interest disclosure forms.
Both Lennar and an affiliate of Related had development projects before CCDC, and records show Graham was involved in negotiations on the deals.
Now, CCDC Chairman Fred Maas said he’ll recommend that the probe again expand to include Peak’s involvement with Lennar projects during her time at the agency, where she has worked since 2001. CCDC’s board will discuss the recommendation Sept. 10.