Babb courts tennis stars’ dad as potential investor

PAHOKEE — Mayor Keith W. Babb Jr. is always looking to bring potential investors into the city to see the available opportunities in town, he says, and, since he’s been busy on that front lately, he’s been posting updates for constituents on his Facebook page.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News/Keith Babb
PAHOKEE — City Manager Chandler Williamson (left) listens to Richard Williams as he talks about possibilities for properties in the city that they were visiting on July 9.

During 2020, he has welcomed to Pahokee Richard Williams, the 78-year-old father of famed tennis players Serena and Venus Williams; and Eddie Levert Sr., actor, singer-songwriter and lead vocalist of the legendary rhythm and blues group The O’Jays.

On June 30, he greeted Mr. Williams for the third time in recent months. “Mr. Williams took a tour of Pahokee to look at various properties and sites for potential investment opportunities in housing, businesses and other economic development,” the mayor posted later that day. He said Williams has been visiting “to discuss and explore with the mayor his vision and various business and economic interests.”

Williams returned this week for another visit, the mayor announced July 9. During this one, City Manager Chandler Williamson accompanied them.

“Thanks to Richard Williams for again taking time out of his busy schedule to travel to Pahokee today to speak with the mayor and city manager about Pahokee’s vision and ways that he may be able to assist in revitalizing downtown Pahokee. Special thanks to Robert Love for accompanying Mr. Williams during his visit to Pahokee today,” Babb wrote.

On July 1, he had put up a comment about a visit that day from the O’Jays’ Levert Sr. but later took it down, prompting some Pahokee residents to wonder what happened. Mayor Babb had written that he was expecting Levert to return Thursday.

“Thanks to R&B singer-songwriter and actor Eddie Lavert (sic) for taking time out of his busy schedule on two consecutive days to speak with the mayor about visiting Pahokee. He is best known as the lead vocalist of the legendary R&B group, The O’Jays, and has accepted the mayor’s invitation to visit Pahokee next week (Thursday) to discuss the possibility of performing a free concert and to explore other potential economic and business development opportunities in Pahokee,” Babb posted.

The mayor did not respond to a voice message left for him Friday afternoon.

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