Project Fusion Cancels Purchase Contract With Century, Ending Plan For 80 Jobs And A $15.3 Million Investment

November 17, 2020

The plans are dead  for a new industry called Project Fusion, new jobs and new investment in Century.

The principals of Project Fusion on Monday canceled their contract with Century to purchase the former Helicopter Technology building and about 40 acres in the Century Industrial Park, ending  the promise of 80 new jobs and a $15.3 million capital investment during the first five years. The contract had not yet closed.

“Project Fusion has spent an inordinate amount of time imparting what is necessary for a successful symbiotic relationship– one that points toward the essence of job creation. However, there has been a sea of misinformation leading to a great dilution of the essential. Again, the essential being the creation of jobs for the Town of Century,” Debbie Aglin of the real estate firm Beck Partners and project investor Lincoln Roland wrote in a letter to Mayor Henry Hawkins. ” Project Fusion would rather not be part of any negative rhetoric, and wishes the council members, governing body, and the people of Century the utmost best.”

Hawkins told the Century Town Council Monday night that Project Fusion principals had obtained a copy of an email from town attorney Matt Dannheisser in which the attorney offered legal advice about contract changes proposed by Project Fusion. The email was included as part of the council’s “agenda packet” distributed prior to Monday night’s meeting.

“They decided they were being kicked to the curb, so they pulled the plug,” Hawkins said.

Council member Louis Gomez, Jr. questioned what exactly had gone wrong, alleging that the agreement with Fusion had been purposefully delayed by the town.

“Why is Matt (town attorney Matt Dannheisser) making comments on behalf of the council?” Gomez asked. “We had the votes.”

“I want everybody to know that I have been in contact with Beck Partners also, and FloridaWest, about this project,” Gomez told the council. “Ever since the first day we voted to let these people come in an bring jobs and opportunity to the town of Century, it’s been stymied, sandbagged and stalled on purpose. All the way down to November the first or the second the meeting was cancelled on purpose because we didn’t even have an agenda packet in our agenda packet.”

The town council had planned to move their November 2 meeting to a local community center because voting equipment was being stored in their chambers for the November 3 election. The meeting was canceled after town staff failed to provide the proper public notice of a location change.

Gomez stated he still does not know why there is a need for the industrial park property to not be occupied by “outsiders at the cost of the citizens of the town of Century”. He said the project was stalled for 28 days after the council voted to approve it before anything was done by the town.

“All I see in this letter here is a good business person that don’t want to get their name drug through the mud from some bad publicity of the things I’ve been harping about for the past three years ago about the coverage the Town of Century gets,” Gomez said. “So whoever is responsible, I want them to be exposed because this is bigger than the town council, the mayor or whoever the others are on this line.”

“That building has been vacant for about 15 years. No jobs. No opportunities for this little dead town that we trying to revive,” he said.\

“Something has to change in the town of Century, and I don’t care who’s exposed, but this was done on purpose….Century is never going to grow; Century is never going to prosper. Century is always going to be the laughing stock of the county until we find out what’s the problem with the leaders of this town,” Gomez continued.

“If someone (inaudible on recording) goes to jail, I don’t care who it is, if that property has been mortgaged or bonded out or something, for some reason they tried to pass it off to West Florida Gin…to keep it from being exposed, but it’s going to be exposed….and I’m not going to jail for nobody,” the councilman said.

“Are you suggesting that the property has been mortgaged”, asked council President Ann Brooks, who voted against selling to Project Fusion.”That was my opinion that it was not a good deal, but I did not do anything to interfere.”

“If the truth hurts, change the truth,” Gomez responded.

“There’s been some shady stuff that’s been going on,” council member James Smith responded. “I can’t pinpoint what it is, but something just isn’t right about this whole thing. Once again, someone comes in and want to bring businesses in here, and the Town of Century leaders are trying to stop that from happening. And that’s a problem.”

Gomez then stated that he spoke Monday to Kipp Aglin, a principal in Project Fusion, who stated that attorney Dannheisser was against the project from the beginning.

“They just could not stand it anymore, and they decided that their name and their business will be damaged if they continue to try to make a deal in the town of Century. And I want that on the record,” Gomez said.

Project Fusion was described as an “agricultural related manufacturing operation”.

“The products that are to be manufactured, it was explained to me, that the products are intended to be environmental alternatives to certain types of plastic products using an agricultural product,” Dannheisser said by phone during an August meeting.

Project Fusion offered $760,000 for the industrial building and the lot upon which it sits, plus several other lots in the industrial park for a total of about 40 acres. The town would have owner financed $680,000 of the purchase price.

Moments before approving a deal with Project Fusion in early September, the  town council rejected a $700,000 cash offer from West Florida Gin for the building and about fives acres.

NorthEscambia.com photo.

Comments

34 Responses to “Project Fusion Cancels Purchase Contract With Century, Ending Plan For 80 Jobs And A $15.3 Million Investment”

  1. marcus on November 19th, 2020 3:56 pm

    What’s more, these Fusion folks wanted to produce MARIJUANA products. Why wouldn’t Gomez and Smith told us about that? Why did they keep it a secret?

    The people behind Fusion had no experience running a business and no money to invest in the project. Just a pipe dream.

    So, answer us this Gomez and Smith: Why did you vote to sell FIVE TIMES THE AMOUNT OF PROPERTY for LESS MONEY than what the cotton people would have paid?

    Really makes you wonder about Gomez and Smith.

  2. Marcus on November 19th, 2020 3:38 pm

    Way to go Mr. Gomez and Mr. Smith. You done the Town a solid — not!

    Let’s see, you could have gotten $800,000 for selling the Helicopter Building to the cotton people. They would have paid cash — money in the bank for Century. Or, you went against everyone’s advise (Hawkins, Brooks, City Manager, Attorney) and tried to sell the building PLUS ANOTHER 40 ACRES OF LAND for less money, only a small portion of which would have been paid at closing.

    How much kick back were the two of you going to get?

  3. Six on November 19th, 2020 11:27 am

    I need to open me a coffee shop in Century so you can come in and sat down and we can have a real Mayberry conversation so I can bring the people into the future. I knows exactly what’s going on here and when you leave my shop you will know what inside trading took place. I have the scoop and it’s a new Jack swing. I will be setting at the table. Your table is ready are you. Take 6

  4. M in Bratt on November 19th, 2020 7:24 am

    LOL, maybe they can get them to look at the old sawmill before they leave town, but only if they can get it with nothing down and little or nothing for payments

  5. Citizen on November 18th, 2020 1:57 pm

    Seemed like a bad deal to begin with plus i don’t trust FL West. Just get the gin folks in there if they will still deal with you. Looks like a blessing in disguise that they cancelled it.

  6. Alan on November 18th, 2020 1:01 pm

    My guess is it was bio-plastics made from Hemp.

    @Just Wondering – that was a very interesting turn of phrase as but in the next sentence they say the essential is jobs. Why they could not just say that in clear English I have no idea.

  7. t on November 18th, 2020 8:52 am

    You have to believe this was a grow operation.

  8. Mike on November 18th, 2020 8:08 am

    What a laughing stock that town is

  9. DLo on November 18th, 2020 8:03 am

    @How High
    There is a lot of legal, medical marijuana being grown in Florida, it is well regulated and controlled the same as any other pharmaceutical commodity. The companies that grow medical marijuana, by law, are the same companies that process it into finished products and sell them to the end user, no middle men. There’s no fly-by-night companies producing legal marijuana, it’s a very controlled industry, and the jobs are good jobs, well paying and lots of room for growth within the market. If that’s what this business was planning, Century may have missed out on a huge opportunity. But, that’s what we have come to expect from this shady, inept, potentially criminal group.

  10. Seth on November 18th, 2020 1:10 am

    Once again, Century stomps the shovel into its own grave…

  11. Just wondering on November 18th, 2020 12:43 am

    I’m curious about a strange sentence in the letter,

    Sea of misinformation leading to great dilution of the essential

    What does that mean? Anyone ???

  12. Hmmm on November 17th, 2020 9:40 pm

    Gomez and Smith are up in the air because this wonderful deal was “killed” by someone. Sometimes the loudest ones are the ones that are hiding something. This whole Fusion deal has seemed odd from the get-go. How it was ramrodded through, last-second, after the deadline, and by a company no one has ever heard of in a town that has been victim to multiple scams and questionable businesses. A few other things…

    #1 It was a terrible deal for the Town of Century. Fusion was getting an absolute steal on not only the building, but all the other land they were getting, plus all the other perks TOC promised. All because this unknown start-up company might hire “up to X amount of employees over the next X years.” Three employees would have been “up to” that amount. The WFG deal actually made much more sense for the city. Money for the building, Century could keep the acreage… without a bunch of strings attached.

    #2 What if there was some funny business going on by members of the Century government, in order for Fusion to be getting this great deal? Kickbacks, involvement in the company, or who knows what? It’s interesting that now that there is going to be a mayor change, suddenly the deal is off because Fusion is worried about what people are thinking. I’m guessing, it’s because of what people were going to think when all the truth came out, because of the new mayor not being in on the deal.

    #3. Or…. was the whole Fusion deal just a smoke-screen to keep WFG from being able to buy the building? It seems like there are certain people there are who extremely against WFG getting it…and why? This property and building have been empty and costing Century money for years and years. Instead of selling it to a well-established local business, Century keeps talking to these start-ups no one has ever heard of, flying in mystery people, etc.

    #4 The article says that Fusion obtained an email where the town attorney was advising about some contract changes Fusion wanted, and now Fusion wants out. Who was Dannheiser writing the email to? If it was to the city council/mayor.. isn’t that his job to give advice on that? How did Fusion “obtain” this email? Hawkins… Gomez… who gave it to them?

    I don’t know… Gomez shooting off at the mouth, talking about people going to jail and “he ain’t going to jail” and trying to pin all kinds of things on Dannheiser.. makes you wonder if he was in on the deal and wanting to distance himself from it now. Hopefully the truth will come out…

  13. Kane on November 17th, 2020 5:12 pm

    It will be interesting to see if the Gin makes another offer and what their connection to Matt Dannheisser and for that matter the town council member have with the Gin. I reread some of the articles covering this whole ordeal and it seems like this would be a boon for the Gin they might even get a better deal on it now.

    I can see why the council wants a company in there other than the Gin which has no plans to hire more people. They wanted a company that was going to help the town grow not just line their own pockets.

    @Curioser Just look at the letter head in the article and google Beck Partners not that hard to do.

    @How High As far as I can tell Beck Partners and Beck Ag are an investment/reality management firm. The only info on them and marijuana is a Beck website that gives information to their clients on property management laws in varying states regarding marijuana. There was ZERO info on project fusion and whether or not it had anything to do with marijuana. My question for you is where did you get that info. Post your link or your source otherwise you’re just making things up.

    Here are my links because I believe in sharing.

    https://www.teambeck.com/cannabis-insurance/

    https://www.teambeck.com/marijuana-in-the-workplace/

    There you go!

  14. just sayin on November 17th, 2020 4:19 pm

    The cotton folks should now offer half the money they offered the last time.

  15. Perry on November 17th, 2020 2:01 pm

    That’s an odd-sounding letter that they wrote to Century.

  16. Sandra on November 17th, 2020 11:11 am

    The Town of Century needs to ammend its charter to implement a “strong mayor” form of government as the City of Pensacola did. Now that Ben is mayor economic opportunity providers who previously could not deal with ” he a lie” Hawkins will come back onto the towns radar. The present town council is over run with uneducated hicks as evidenced by virtually every quote attributed to Gomez and reducing their ability to constantly destroy any job opportunity that comes their way could be accomplished by a strong mayor form of government.

  17. SueB on November 17th, 2020 10:23 am

    ” The former Helicopter Technology building is a 40,000 square foot office/warehouse building with full climate control, sprinkler system, new HVAC and energy efficient lighting. The town re-acquired the industrial building at public auction for less than $1 out of pocket back in August 2009, following the town’s foreclosure judgment against the now defunct Helicopter Technology.”

    Did the council unanimously agreed to let the town attorney look at the preliminary offer from Project Fusion?

    The town’s people really need to know just what is Project Fusion.

  18. Lone chief on November 17th, 2020 10:16 am

    I really don’t understand a thing this town does? None!! If it wasn’t so sad it would be hilarious.

  19. WM on November 17th, 2020 10:15 am

    “Century is always going to be the laughing stock of the county until we find out what’s the problem with the leaders of this town,” Gomez

    Time to get rid of your city council.

  20. How High on November 17th, 2020 9:48 am

    After researching this company and it’s principals and products, I have to breathe a sigh of relief that this deal did not go through. It reads as if Century was about to be the proud owners of a marijuana farm. Since marijuana cannot be legally grown in Florida there was nothing else to do but cancel the contract. Now a marijuana farm may have indeed brought 80 jobs to Century but they would not have paid a $20 to $25 an hour wage….maybe $9 to $12 an hour

    Just my take on it

  21. ????????? on November 17th, 2020 9:27 am

    Maybe the new Mayor Boutwell will be able to move the property forward.

    guess hawkins wanted to much kick back or would not pay their airfare, lost opportunity for Century due to the inability of the leadership.

  22. EMD on November 17th, 2020 9:21 am

    Maybe no one there WANTS to work. Why should they when the Left wants to take care of them, kill any incentive, and tell them what to think and not to think, and what to do or not to do. This is what the whole world will be like under Globalism. GIANT Marxism ( a system that has been proven to fail).

  23. judy on November 17th, 2020 8:39 am

    “a sea of misinformation”…that means they were fed a pack of lies. One has to wonder what the powers that be in Century is hiding? Counsel and Mayor must be getting big money from somebody for something…WHY is no one investigating? Do the people who live there like living on unemployment, and doing nothing constructive all day? Why is Henry letting this happen?

  24. Curiouser & Curiouser on November 17th, 2020 8:34 am

    What is Project Fusion??

    Where are they currently located??

    Why doesn’t any information about this company, (described as an “agricultural related manufacturing operation”, and the products intended to be environmental alternatives to certain types of plastic products using an agricultural product,”) come up on an Internet search????

  25. Niknak50 on November 17th, 2020 8:16 am

    Remember my words anyone? Remember i said i would rather get in bed with the mafia than the town of Century.
    But seriously, what politicians never see is that to corporations, time is money. Any serious business doesn’t have time to play stupid games with two-bit clowns. Project Fusion has moved on and I’m sure West Fla Gin as well, which makes zcentury a two time loser.

  26. chris on November 17th, 2020 7:59 am

    Circling. The. Drain.

  27. sam on November 17th, 2020 7:38 am

    pitiful. dysfunctional city government.

  28. SW on November 17th, 2020 7:32 am

    Surprise, surprise, surprise.
    Century.

  29. Gomer Pyle on November 17th, 2020 7:09 am

    SURPRISE! SURPRISE! SURPRISE!

  30. M in Bratt on November 17th, 2020 7:06 am

    And the TOC continues the spiral towards an inevitable crash. Meanwhile, the clown car is warming up it’s engine at city hall.

  31. Rasheed Jackson on November 17th, 2020 6:58 am

    Well, Well, Well, As an old friend would say, Imaginary that!
    I just wonder how much the election had to do with this decision. If Biden takes office the Trump Opportunity Zones, of which Century is one, will most likely go away. Without the special tax breaks and investment incentives, Project Fusion would be too big of a gamble for any investor.

  32. Dave on November 17th, 2020 6:47 am

    Town of Century standard operating proceedure. This has to be the saddest little town in the country and yet somehow the same leadership remains in place. Can you imagine how the residents must feel being a part of this circus? It is enough to make you want to tell a lie if someone ask you where you are from and you are from Century. Where are you from? Oh I live on the outskirts of Byrnville.

  33. Oversight on November 17th, 2020 6:37 am

    Maybe Mayor Boutwell will be able to move the property forward and return it to the tax rolls. However, the town will have to continue to suffer under the current inept leadership for a time.

  34. KK on November 17th, 2020 3:01 am

    Once again another lost opportunity for the citizens of Century due to the ineptitude of the leadership of Century.





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