City of Clearwater officials meet with Scientology leader

Posted at 10:08 PM, Mar 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-15 03:30:29-04

"Retail, restaurants, ice cream parlors," said Clearwater Mayor George Kretekos.

Downtown Clearwater lags behind Tampa and St. Pete in retail and living space.

"They were saying Cleveland Street offers us some of that component," said Clearwater Vice Mayor and City Council Member Bill Jonson.

RELATED: Church of Scientology to meet with City of Clearwater leaders one-on-one

But will it be the Church of Scientology or the City of Clearwater that steers the new direction of this urban core's redevelopment?

"It's my intent to encourage them to release that plan as soon as they can and to be as transparent because this is really a, has to be a partnership," said Jonson.

Clearwater's Mayor and Jonson both gave us details about their meetings with Scientology's Chairman David Miscavige and his redevelopment team.

But they did so only after meeting with them one-on-one, privately, at the Fort Harrison Hotel, a Scientology owned building.

"The Chairman also reiterated that it is not his intent to control the downtown, to manage the downtown," said the Mayor.

The Church owns half of Clearwater---most of that land tax exempt and more than $200 million in parcels, according to online records

Only one City Council Member, Doreen Caudell, refused to meet with Miscavige and his team sending us a statement which reads:

"We need transparency. Why as our City Manager, for the entire City of Clearwater, have you decided to keep these meetings secretive?"

But the Mayor says these meetings happen all the time between city leaders and developers.

"Developers come in and visit with us, bounce off ideas. The media isn't there."



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