Rental Property Shenanigans at 510 Dallas St.

UPDATE: An interesting development, apparently Mr. Ryder was arrested on or about June 8, 2017 for six counts of larceny by employee (a felony) according to the Mecklenburg Co. Sheriff’s website. He has a June 29, 2017 court date for these charges.

The good news for a blog primarily focused on local government in Huntersville, town hall never stops providing me material to write about. The bad news for a blog primarily focused on local government in Huntersville that currently nets this writer $0 per word, town hall never stops providing me material to write about.

I referenced receiving some records related to rental property owned by the town in a post a few weeks ago about the Huntersville Legal Dept. According to the town’s response to my request, the town is currently earning rental income on eight (8) residential parcels (the town collects rent on non-residential properties as well). Rents paid range from $400-$650 per month. Seven of the eight residential parcels are situated along the Hwy 115 corridor and are related to the planned Main Street upgrades. But one parcel, 510 Dallas St., stood out since it was off of Hwy 21 and clearly not related to the Main Street project.

The purchase of 510 Dallas St. was approved by the prior town board 5-1 (Commissioner Phillips opposed) at their Sept. 21, 2015 meeting and the purchase contract was executed by the town in Nov. 2015 for $330,000 as part of the planning for the US 21/Gilead Rd. project. The existing structures at the parcel are set to be demolished at some unknown point in the future to make way for a redesigned interchange with US 21. You can review the project plans here. The US 21/Gilead Rd. project has now been turned over to NCDOT and is tentatively planned to start concurrently with the I-77/Gilead Rd. interchange project. There is no firm start date for construction of either project at this time since NCDOT is still engaged in utility relocation and obtaining right of ways – including still needing to negotiate the acquisition of property directly across the street from 510 Dallas St.

Some issues don’t require much in the way of explanation and this is one of them. I’ll allow the reader to draw their own conclusions based on the following information.

  • 510 Dallas St. is approx. 3,472 sq. ft. with a large detached garage on almost a full acre of land
  • The current rental contract for 510 Dallas St. was signed and approved by former town manager Greg Ferguson sometime in Dec. 2016; this rental contract did not require town board approval
  • The current term of the rental agreement is Dec. 1, 2016 through Nov. 30, 2017
  • The US 21/Gilead Rd. project will not begin construction by Nov. 30, 2017
  • The current tenant is listed on the rental agreement as C. Lane Ryder, Jr.
  • The current rental amount per the agreement is $600/month
  • According to Zillow, the current “Rent Zestimate” for this property is $2,198/month
  • The town did not publicly advertise the property for rent prior to renting it to Mr. Ryder
  • As of yesterday, June 15, Mr. Ryder has failed to pay rent to the town for the months of Dec. 2016 and Feb. 2017
  • Failure to pay rental payments when due constitutes default under the terms of the rental agreement
  • Mr. Ryder is currently in a relationship with a member of town staff

Just another example of the mismanagement of taxpayer dollars that lead to the departure of the former town manager and a new town board being elected in November 2015.