Final Word on This Ol’ House

Wednesday night I published an article on Lakeland Local. I was told an office had discovered an advertisement that made it appear a candidate for Lakeland City Commission had his home for sale. On Thursday, the candidate objected to the article. I asked for answers or comment from the candidate. Though I was confident in the accuracy of the article, I offered to hold the article from display while he readied a response. I asked for a response by an 8am deadline.

I received no return calls or emails. I reinstated the article this morning.

The following is for readers who would like to see the process both before and after publication:

• Process Before Publication

In addition to the listing first reported to me, I found the the house is also listed at FBOSellBuy.com, and ForSaleByOwnerBuyersGuide.com. The sites used the same photos for the ads, and the first used four different photos.

The phone number listed in the sale ads is (561) 542-2923. On Wednesday, I called that number for confirmation about the status of the home for sale. I received no response.

The website Manta (“Vital info on small businesses.”) gives that same phone number in their listing for the Goetz Foundation of Florida: Goetz Foundation Of Florida – 426 Bonnieview Dr Valrico, FL 33594 Phone: (561) 542-2923. The site DNB.PowerProfiles.com, also lists the same information for the Goetz Foundation of Florida. GuideStar.com, a site that lists information about not-for-profits, gives a Lakeland mailbox drop address for the Goetz Foundation of Florida, but no phone number.

Though the address listed is for Valrico, Florida, the phone number has an area code (561) for Palm Beach County. According to the WhitePages.com, the number is a cell phone using the T-Mobile service.

On April 9, 2006 the home at 3038 Cleveland Heights Blvd was last sold to the LOXAHATCHEE GROUP. The Quit Claim Deed describes the Loxahatchee Group as “A Florida 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation” whose post office address is “RR4 Loxahatchee Florida [33470] in the county of Palm Beach, State of Florida.”

The Ledger published: “…the Loxahatchee Group, which Florida Department of State records show is the Goetz Foundation of Florida operating under another name.”

On the candidate’s web site he lists the following: “In 2004, Goetz also began the Goetz Foundation of Florida, a 501 (c)(3) non- profit organization, designed to help those victimized by the devastating hurricanes that year and since has changed focus to help impovershed families. – Meet the Candidate

If you search the Florida Department of State records for information about the Goetz Foundation of Florida, you will find two PDF documents (1) (2) that list the phone contact number for James Goetz. In both cases, the number is (561) 542-2923.

• Process After Publication

On Thursday afternoon, the candidate left comments on this article. I used the email left by the candidate in the comments to ask for additional information based on his comment. I withdrew the article from display to allow the candidate time to respond through phone or email. I placed a new article online with the first comment left by the candidate and his assertion the house was not for sale. I found another number for the candidate. Numerous emails and calls were not returned. I sent the candidate a final email offering space on Lakeland Local to explain his feelings and thoughts. I explained I needed the article by 8am Friday morning. I didn’t want the process to drag indefinitely.

On Thursday night, the phone at (561) 542-2923 was finally answered. The person who answered wouldn’t give a name or answer other than to say “Our house is not for sale.”

I have received no additional word from the candidate.

I stand by the article as written. It is presented above unchanged from the original publication. However, I have reinstated it with the additional information concerning the process presented in the sections “Before Publication” and “After Publication.”

The candidate has responded that “the home is in no way for sale.” For whatever reason, the “for sale by owner” ads exist. The candidate has offered no explanation for their existence. However, I see no reason voters should not accept the candidate’s comment at face value at this date.

For the record, no one has called or written asking about ads online concerning the sale of any homes of any other candidates for Lakeland City Commission. Therefore, I have made no inquiry into any other such ads.

7 thoughts on “Final Word on This Ol’ House

  1. Mr. Welch it appears you did call me late yesterday afternoon at the end of business hours and expected a response before 9 am on a Friday. This is not a proper time period for anyone.

    Have you checked with any local realtors if my home was for sale? Did you check MLS or realtor.com, credible real estate sale websites?

    The answer shows to be no.

    You appear to want to jump on the negative spin on stories bandwagon in order to negate the credibility of the new guy.

    The phone number you dialed is no mine.

    This whole story is pretty silly and ridiculous. Even the Ledger disproves the credibility of your story this morning.

    The professional thing to do would be to retract your story immediately. If you do not feel you want to; I am sure other stories you publish will forever be questioned on credibility.

  2. Mr. Welch it appears you did call me late yesterday afternoon at the end of business hours and expected a response before 9 am on a Friday. This is not a proper time period for anyone.

    Have you checked with any local realtors if my home was for sale? Did you check MLS or realtor.com, credible real estate sale websites?

    The answer shows to be no.

    You appear to want to jump on the negative spin on stories bandwagon in order to negate the credibility of the new guy.

    The phone number you dialed is no mine.

    This whole story is pretty silly and ridiculous. Even the Ledger disproves the credibility of your story this morning.

    The professional thing to do would be to retract your story immediately. If you do not feel you want to; I am sure other stories you publish will forever be questioned on credibility.

  3. Pingback: Lakeland Local News and Info from Lakeland Florida » Blog Archive » Listing Home for Sale Raises Additional Concerns About Candidate Goetz

  4. I have responded by email to your threat of legal action that you sent by email five minutes before posting this comment.

    I believe this article speaks for itself.

    If you have any further desire to contact me on this, or any other issue, you have both my email address and my phone number.

  5. I have responded by email to your threat of legal action that you sent by email five minutes before posting this comment.

    I believe this article speaks for itself.

    If you have any further desire to contact me on this, or any other issue, you have both my email address and my phone number.

  6. FSBO are “For Sale By Owner,” and do not get listed on MLS. If I were Mr. Goetz, I’d be concerned about some unauthorized person listing his house on one of these websites.

    And it seems like quite a bit of money for a practical joke. Listing a house on these sites cost from $39.95, $60.00, and $90 per month!

    I might be tempted to contact these websites and demand they be taken down, and perhaps even threaten them with legal action.

    Of course, with Goetz having to pay $16K in back taxes because he was unaware of all the rules, he doesn’t sound like he’s a stickler for details.

    Then again, perhaps details are not important to someone who wants to represent you on the city council.

  7. FSBO are “For Sale By Owner,” and do not get listed on MLS. If I were Mr. Goetz, I’d be concerned about some unauthorized person listing his house on one of these websites.

    And it seems like quite a bit of money for a practical joke. Listing a house on these sites cost from $39.95, $60.00, and $90 per month!

    I might be tempted to contact these websites and demand they be taken down, and perhaps even threaten them with legal action.

    Of course, with Goetz having to pay $16K in back taxes because he was unaware of all the rules, he doesn’t sound like he’s a stickler for details.

    Then again, perhaps details are not important to someone who wants to represent you on the city council.

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