Who's the Boss

Planning Director Barry Frankenfield designed the city's financing package that gives developers of the Cavalier Hotel $18 million in initial grants and incentives, and also helped write plans to give them an additional $18 million in tax rebates after the hotel is up and running. On July 24, 2013 – two days after Bruce Thompson's investment group purchased the hotel with help of an approximately $11 million wire transfer from taxpayers – Frankenfield e-mailed Robert Howard, Thompson's Chief Investment Officer. Frankenfield congratulated Howard on the purchase and the success of all his projects, then asked if the Cavalier developers had any interest in hearing a pitch from his son, who worked at a financial services firm. “No pressure”, Frankenfield wrote. Howard asked him to send the contact information.Two months after that exchange, Frankenfield told city engineers to “tone down” comments critical of aspects of the project. He suggested that other critical comments could be edited out of city documents. In the weeks and months that followed, Frankenfield continued  working with the developer to secure zoning variances, permits and the additonal state tax rebate, known as GAP financing. When the city found out about Frankenfield’s solicitation, he was reprimanded, according to the Southside Daily website, Virginia Beach’s independent watchdog news organization. But after being reprimanded, Frankenfield was promoted to City Planning Director, according to Southside Daily.

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