Big Inca

To: Bill

From: The Boss

Date: September 26

Manny’s concluded that the mills are, indeed, suitable for our needs, if we can get them into our hands. We can retrofit into the upper floors without raising suspicions, and move in and out like a normal business.

You were right about the ownership. Fran informs me there must be more than two hundred heirs at this point, many of them “address unknown.” That can be a real headache if we make a bid. Time-consuming, for certain. She did learn, though, nobody’s paid taxes on the property for at least 20 years, which gives me an idea.

First, you start a campaign to Save Our Mills. Get your history prof, the Vikings and Paul, anyone else you can think of to hold a public meeting – in the store or, better yet, the public library. Your make an emotional pitch and then organize. Emphasize the historic role of the mills, their place in yrUBbury’s identity, the fact they’ve become the proverbial elephant-in-the-living room everyone tries to ignore. Suggest they could house a small museum or tourism information center for now. Stress preserving the buildings, while you have a chance, before it’s too late.

Once that’s rolling, you raise the question, “Who owns the mills, anyway?” Which leads to the answer – irresponsible absentee landlords, who don’t even pay their taxes.

Keep yourself in the background through all of this. Let others take leadership.

All of this points to the second stage: convincing the city to step in to seize the property, either on a tax-lien or by eminent domain. Until now, they’ve had no incentive to do this – no buyer was on the horizon. At this point, however, Fran and Manny will have something cooked up – a group of “entrepreneurial angel investors” or a “foundation grant” or some other concept the locals will buy into – so we can promise that this project won’t cost the city a cent, but actually add an unexpected boost to the coffers. When we get to this stage, Fran and Manny will swing into town briefly, get your banker and real estate broker to speak privately with a few city councilors, convince them its “their” idea, that it’s found money in the budget. Maybe we’ll even throw in a few bucks for their council races.

The third phase invokes the promise of “creating new jobs,” originally in construction and renovation, and then in the commercial tenants to follow.

And you thought you had come across the master plan? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet, buster.

For now, put all of your energy into launching this Save Our Mills group. Can you get it up and running in two weeks?


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