The Palmetto Insider

The blog of the South Carolina Policy Council

USC Accepts Resignation of Innovista Director

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The resignation of Innovista Director John Parks was accepted by the University of South Carolina Tuesday. The project is largely incomplete, despite more than $100 million in tax dollars having been spent already.

The resignation of Innovista Director John Parks was accepted by the University of South Carolina Tuesday. The project is largely incomplete, despite more than $100 million in tax dollars having been spent already.

Innovista Director John Parks has handed in his resignation and will leave the University of South Carolina’s research campus project in 90 days, USC President Harris Pastides said Tuesday. 

The school’s board of trustees received the results of an internal investigation Tuesday into whether Parks properly vetted fired developer Kale Roscoe, who, records show, served a federal prison term for felony tax evasion in 2003-2004, according to The State newspaper.

“The report said Parks was the only one with knowledge of the felony prior to May 2009,” the paper reported. “USC officials and board members, including Pastides, have said they weren’t aware of Roscoe’s past. Parks is also under fire for renting his house in Kentucky to Roscoe’s son.”

Despite being touted initially as a public-private partnership, Innovista is largely unfinished and has just a single tenant, the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health. To date, Innovista has cost taxpayers more than $100 million.

So far, three buildings have been constructed: One is occupied by the Arnold School of Public Health and the second is approximately 20 percent occupied, also by university employees. The remaining 80 percent of the second building and all of the third building sit empty, uncompleted because of a lack of funding.

The two Innovista buildings planned for private businesses haven’t even been built. Those structures were to be privately financed, but funding hasn’t materialized.

Of course, the high cost of space may also be a disincentive to landing private sector clients. According to published reports, space in one of the buildings proposed for private companies, for example, will go for $23 a square foot, which would make it one of the highest-priced locales in the Midlands.

Since Innovista’s inception, the two developers tapped to build the private facilities — Roscoe and North Carolina’s Craig Davis — have been dismissed.

University officials now say they might draw down money from USC foundations to assist a private developer in securing loans to build the private buildings.

No matter what course USC takes with Innovista, Parks won’t be among those involved.

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Written by Cotton Boll Conspiracy

September 8, 2009 at 9:59 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. […] listed is the former head of USC’s Innovista research campus, John Parks. Parks resigned in September after the university fired the developer hired to build the private portion of Innovista. USC’s […]


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