Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

February 23, 2014

The outside investor: Jeff Broughton is the city’s go-to guy

(Continued)

Kokomo — “You make the reservation, and we give you a door code, and there’s maid service. It’ll be a 4-star place, but it wouldn’t be open to the public. It would be for corporate customers,” he said.

He’s a bit apologetic about ever mentioning his hopes of luring a Trader Joe’s grocery to the Firestone Building, but said he’s still working on it. That’s part of being a developer creating “spec” commercial space. You build it, and you sell it. Broughton has specific lessees in mind for each of his projects.

There’s no doubt Broughton has his detractors, who privately voice concerns he won’t succeed.

His decision to purchase two rental properties from Goodnight drew notice, as has his involvement in a Federal Trade Commission action against a mortgage relief services firm in 2010. The FTC banned him from the business and imposed a suspended monetary judgment against Broughton and his co-defendants.

“If you get into all of that, you’d have to start at the very beginning,” he said. “No one knows the whole story, and no one’s even asked me about it until now. [2010] was a painful year, but all of the connections I’ve made were from when I was growing a 1,000-employee business back then.”

City officials, and Broughton, are adamant all of that is irrelevant, compared to the money Broughton is bringing to the table to improve downtown properties.

“I’m just buying properties. I’m not doing anything illegal,” Broughton said. “I’m just trying to redevelop a portion of the city.

“I came here because of Randy and Greg. They shared their vision, and I agree with it. But the only way it’s going to work is if someone comes in and develops it.”

Scott Smith is on Twitter @JasonSSmith1 and can be emailed at scott.smith@kokomotribune.com.

 

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