Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Boss Godfey Proposes "Zeroing Out" the Ogden RDA Bank Account

This is what happens when brain-dead citizens elect a mayor with zero business experience

Disquieting article in this morning's Standard-Examiner, regarding Ogden City's River Front Development Project. Scott Schwebke this morning reports that Evil Boss Godfrey has found almost $1 million languishing in the Emerald City RDA's bank accounts; and in true Godfrey fashion, the little shite wants to spend every dime of it. It's a short article, so what the hell, we'll incorporate Ace Reporter Schwebke's full text below:
OGDEN — The city’s Redevelopment Agency Board agreed Tuesday night to hold a public hearing next month to consider increasing its budget by $895,368 to acquire properties for the proposed Ogden River Project.
The hearing will be held Sept. 23. Following the hearing, the RDA board, made up of the city council, may consider allocating for the river project housing funds that have accumulated and weren’t transferred in fiscal 2003, 2004 and 2005.
The funds would be used for property acquisition within the project’s boundaries, said Dave Harmer, who is the city’s director of community and economic development.
“We are trying to move forward with remaining properties in negotiating options on behalf of the RDA or closing (the purchase) on some of them,” Harmer told the Standard-Examiner. The RDA still needs to obtain more than a dozen commercial properties within the river project area, Harmer said. However, the $895,368 isn’t adequate to finalize all of the purchases. “It’s nowhere near enough, but it’s all we’ve got,” he said. All told, the river project will encompass about 60 acres that straddle the Ogden River from 18th to 20th streets and Washington Boulevard west to Wall Avenue and will be a mix of residential, commercial and retail development, said Harmer.
Gadi Leshem, a developer from California, plans to construct a 200-unit development, dubbed Renaissance Village, along the Ogden River in connection with the project.
The development would include shops, lofts, townhomes, apartments and restaurants.
Seems to us we have several problems here:

1) Boss Godfrey's Riverfront project is bogged down. The Ogden RDA lacks the money to acquire ALL of the necessary properties, so the Godfrey plan seems to be to drain all available RDA funds, and assemble these properties "piecemeal."

2) Godfrey has established with the Riverfront Project an ever-increasing money pit. Realistically, this grandiose project cannot move forward unless all targeted properties are acquired by the Ogden RDA. Yet Godfrey poposes that the RDA "zero out" the RDA bank account.

3) Godfrey's economic savior Gadi Leshem seems to have gone into hiding. We haven't read anything about Gadi since this story, which reported that Gadi was on the hook for $6.3 million in restitution to the California Insurance Commissioner.

4) Dozens of property owners within the Riverfront Development have been held in economic limbo since Boss Godfrey first designated their neighborhood as part of his right wing socialist River Front Development scam. For many of them it's been at least three years.

One of the factors that RDA board members should consider is whether at least some of these property-owning innocents should just be bought out, and finally let off the hook.

We'll add snarkily that this situation is one more reason that we all need to reconsider the business qualifications of our little-shite mayor, whose only experience in business (prior to being elected Ogden's Mayor) involved being a pizza delivery boy, before his father-in-law Ed Allen loaned him $30 thousand for his initial campaign run in 1999.

Its should be obvious to all of us that Godfrey bit off a little more than he could chew with the Ogden River Project, just as he's done with several other mindlessly ill-conceived other projects.

As we examine the languishing River Project, our memory turns to this:

This is how the now-floundering Junction Project looked for 44 months under Godfrey's command, almost FOUR FRIGGIN YEARS after he demolished the Downtown Mall:


The clock is ticking... and Boss Godfrey continues his efforts to acquire the whole Riverfont Development parcel, even though "moneyman" Gadi has obviously "flown the coop."

HA-HA!

We're going to assume that Godfrey's River project will move along at about the same relative pace.

So what say our gentle readers about all this?

29 comments:

fufu said...

This project was a stretch back when "times were good" just a few years ago. It does not have a prayer of ever coming to fruition now. We, as a City, cannot keep pumping our every last dollar on this grandiose project. It, like almost every other Godfrey project, is doomed. I guess this is what happens when you have no realistic plans for a community.

Curmudgeon said...

Just curious, but why can't Mr. Lesham buy the remaining properties he needs to complete his River Project Rennaisance Village? What particular advantage is there to the city buying the properties and then turning around and selling them to Mr. Lesham?

As I've noted on several occasions, I know dipsquat about commercial property realty, so I may be missing something here. Happy to be informed if I am, but from the paper's article, I don't quite understand why the RDA has to act as intermediary for Mr. Lesham in acquiring the last parcels. Unless Lesham's arrangement with the city is that he won't be buying property for his project until all the necessary parcels have been acquired first by the RDA and packaged together for him. Is that it?

david s. said...

It's nice the city council is having a public hearing on this to get public input. I hope there will be some attendance, besides me.

dan s. said...

curm:

Good question. I don't know the answer, but I can think of one important difference between Leshem and the city as purchaser: the city has the power to use eminent domain.

WhatWardRUin said...

this is absolutely wreckless on it's own, but that is only the beginning. this week godfrey instructed all departments to withdraw 2% from their budgets for deposit into a common account for the administrations use. that's 2% of their annual budget amount for godfrey's slush fund. at the same time he is now telling his empty suited directors that there will be no funds available for the pay for performance and if that's not enough, all departments should begin to prepare to implement a reduction in force in order to cut expenses. this is madness. want more? the city's state mandated rainy day fund is $600,000 in the hole. a velodrome is going to be the next silver bullit from godfrey's never ending list of stupid ideas that will lead this city into bankruptcy. we cannot afford any more hair brained ideas. he hasn't even finished anything he has started, not to mention the outcome of numerous law suits is still up in the air. between matt godfrey and scott brown our city is on the brink of financial ruin and godfrey just keeps on spending as if he has found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. wait a minute..............he's not just a short man; why he's a leprechan. disregard all of the above. we are truly blessed to have a leprechan leading the way. he is magically delicious.

WhatWardRUin said...

dan s. - curm
there is another possibility. lesham has no money. he has defaulted on several agreements around town because he can't produce the cash.

follow_the_ratz said...

So someone clue me in here. If Less-Ham has no money...how does all this river project thing work? From what I heard, it is something like if you went to sell your house, and someone put money down on it, but never came thru with the actual mortgage. Well, how long do you have to hold on to your house before you can sell to a REAL buyer? Is it possible there is some expiration date this Lesham guy has to meet and the munchkin has to pony up the cash instead?

And to WhatWard....if what you've heard is true, then how on God's green earth can MOGC or any city run function INCREASE it's maintenance functions or staffing???

Thanks for the input everyone.

WhatWardRUin said...

lesham has purchase options on all of the river project and the wal-mart property. he has only put a token amount down to secure the parcels and prevent the owner from selling to another buyer by way of an option agreement. the agreement has an expiration date, which is closing in on lesham. if the options expire the seller may now sell his property to the next bidder; likely at a much higher price. the city can't afford for the options to expire because their project is penciled at the previous market price, so they step in to bail out lesham. gahdi has these agreements all over ogden. he was supposed to close on the wal-mart parcels a month ago, but they don't actually expire for a few months. watch out for the next round of panic from city hall. the city is banking on gahdi having the money for the wal-mart if they buy the options on the river project. a huge mess and a good lesson in prudent development.....never put all your eggs in one basket. too late.

frank said...

Gadi says oink

Matty says oink oink

and little Bobby head butts the non believers.

What a team we have at city hall.

This gang is so lame none of them could get laid in a whore house with a fist full of hundreds.

follow_the_ratz said...

So essentially then, the short turd on 9 is trying to scrounge up every dime he can from every piggy bank on every desk or wallet of every worker for the city as well as every city tax payer, I assume to help his little wasteoid projects "appear" to be "coming along"??
What the hell happens when he's sucked every cent out of every crevice of every couch in Ogden?? If a city goes bankrupt...what really happens to it?????
Anyone know the answers here??

Curmudgeon said...

What ward:

Couple of things. First, do you have a source we could go to for the city's rainy day fund being 600K below full? And I wonder if that's because the city has already tapped into it to cover shortfalls in anticipated revenues this fiscal year. Any one know?

Second: On one point, have to give Hizzonah creds for good management. If city sales tax revenues are down significantly, as I expect they well may be, then directing departments to prepare for mid-course budget cuts is wise management. [Note: I did not say it was wise management to commit surplus funds in other accounts, like BDO, to new acquisitions when facing budget shortfalls in the city's operating funds accounts. Committing BDO funds that way may especially not be wise if Ogden is going to have to pony up one or several more --- unanticipated --- bond payments for the Junction development. But ordering departments to prepare for budget cuts in anticipation of a likely shortfall in sales tax revenues is prudent management.]

time to finish something said...

I have to call B.S on that one Curm. They knew ahead of time that things were getting bad for the economy, Godfrey knew the Poilice Department was 140K over last years budget. They had money left over from last year. He used the money for popsicles, and other one time expenditures. He should have kept the money for the state mandated 5% cash reserve fund.

I would imagine that anyone can grama the information from the city recorders office.

Godfrey has lived on the credit edge too long, it's going to bite him in his fat ass soon.

Southsider said...

WhatWardRUin,

You said...

"lesham has purchase options on all of the river project and the wal-mart property. he has only put a token amount down to secure the parcels and prevent the owner from selling to another buyer by way of an option agreement."

Is this in addition to the 30 properties he has already purchased?

WhatWardRUin said...

curm;

there is nothing prudent about spending more than you earn and then demanding that someone else pay the piper. if i over spent my income should i expect my brother to make the sacrifice to bail me out? the city's budget is supposed to be set on the basis that there is a cost to deliver services. if the budget amount is decreased are you prepared to have your services decreased incrementally? i didn't think so. godfrey has been careless with our money, yes our money. it isn't his to frivolously spend on whatever whim tickles his funny spot, it is ours that we have invested in the care and maintenance of our city. if he is prudent and spends wisely then we should have a return. what can you point to that we have to show for his spending? he promises that he will deliver the moon and we get nothing but a bunch of debt and half done projects. the departments that maintain the public good in ogden are not godfrey's own personal army to dispatch at his will. they work for us and godfrey has done a pathetic job managing the city and it's resources.

WhatWardRUin said...

southsider;

lesham owns numerous residential rental properties in central ogden and on the east bench. he has options on the walmart parcels and in the river project. he has a combination of options and purchase agreements for most of the east side of washington blvd, 22nd to 26th. he had an option (expired) for property around the pond west of wall.

danny said...

Here's another question.

Why is Ogden seen as Godfrey's personal playpen, to buy, sell, give to this or that crony, or whatever?

Why is the city buying commercial property, assembling property for Gadi, arranging for specific use of property, or any such thing?

The city should sell all the river property it has and let the market decide what to do with it. Any "surplus" funds should be used to cover the losses on Godfrey's previous incompetent scams.

After 200 plus years, people still believe the benevolent leader should do all and decide all. People can't stand freedom, and don't believe in freedom, when you get right down to it.

The government condemns, then sells to the mayor's friend, helps the mayor's friend pay for it, plans out what to do with the property, and nobody sees the whole thing for the stinking socialist mess that it is. I am ever, and more and more, alone.

Bill C. said...

Danny, just pray that you never have to pay rent to lying little matty or gadi.
Come to think of it, That's their grand scheme, everyone but a select few will have to pay these guys to do business in Ogden, those few either have managed to hold on to their property despite harrasment and non cooperation, or contributed in one way or another to the advancement of this grand scheme.
Hey, have you noticed that half of lying little matty's neighborhood is for sale or rent by Provident, you recall the guy from Arizona that along with g-train threatened to extend every Council meeting hours by lining up kool-aid drinkers to sing the praises of lying little matty.

Tec Jonson said...

Bill, you noticed, too, that Provident is obviously on the move OUT of Ogden. The led a group of investment hungry fools from Scottsdale after they conspired with the rest of the mortgage industry to inflate the value of all their hometown property. Now that the steam is out of their shell game they will liquidate all of their easily mortgaged properties in Ogden further depressing a stale market. Thanks guys. Now anyone deserving of an affordable home on the bench will pay for their inflated venture after doing zip to the properties. On of the provident homes is next to tone of mine and has never been occupied and has never been watered and the backyard vines are infesting my yard and tree saplings are undermining my retaining walls. Get out of town soon I say to Spain and co.

Curmudgeon said...

What ward:

You wrote: there is nothing prudent about spending more than you earn.

Of course there isn't. I did not say that there was. Merely noted that as the Bush Recession continues on and consumer spending continues to drop, that city sales tax revenues are quite likely to decline, as they are nearly everywhere. And that as the scope of the decline becomes clear, it is good management to direct city departments to anticipate the revenue shortfall and prepare for mid-year budget cuts. That's all.

I didn't say Godfrey had been a good steward of the city's financial resources. I don't think he has been. I didn't in any way argue that he was spending the city's resources from things like BDO wisely. Only that, as manager of Ogden's finances, if he knows tax revenues are going to come in significantly under projections, it is prudent to direct the departments to prepare for cuts before they have to be made. That's true, and that's all I was arguing.

Curmudgeon said...

Tec:

Bill said there were lots of Provident Partners properties in Hizzonah's neighborhood area "for sale or rent". One of PP's businesses is property management, and PP properties offered for rent do not seem to me to be evidence that the company is dumping its properties and bailing out of Ogden.

I have noticed of late as I walk to from WSU to GFC by various routes through the neighborhoods between, that there do seem to be an unusually large number of homes up for sale, but most of them are not being handled by PP. Some have been up for a while, and "Reduced Price" tags are appearing on the realtors' lawn signs.

dan s. said...

The old Provident Partners signs said "for lease". Now I'm seeing new ones that don't say anything about sale, lease, or rent. Does anyone know the meaning of these new signs?

what will it cost us said...

If they don't water or have weeds call the enforcers and see how fast they go after a FOM, since they were on an old lady awhile back for a brown lawn.

What about the old Golds Gym on 25th, weeds and brown lawn there, or is there a different standard for commercial property. At least they are still paying taxes on the property.

WhatWardRUin said...

curm;

i might agree with you if we were talking about a rational approach to ecomonic forecasting, but we aren't. august marks the 14th month in a row that ogden city sales tax revnue has fallen short of projections. sounds like godfrey has been overly optimistic in his ability to attract paying customers.

Curmudgeon said...

Whatward:

You wrote: sounds like godfrey has been overly optimistic in his ability to attract paying customers.

Fair enough, but let's not forget that the mayor proposes an annual budget for the city. The Council must approve it or alter it. If Ogden seriously overestimated sales tax revenues and underestimated the length and depth of the Republican Recession of '08, the Council has to shoulder part of the responsibility. On the budget, Hizzonah is not a completely free actor.

WhatWardRUin said...

curm;

again, i can almost agree. just remeber that the council gets their factual and forecast information from the administration staff. the council can only pass judgement based on the best data they are given. godfrey instructs his staff to exagerate revenue forecasts. it has happened during the last three budget cycles.

Curmudgeon said...

What:

No argument. And more evidence for giving the Council an expanded staff so it does not have to rely so much on information shaped, massaged and filtered by the Administration.

WhatWardRUin said...

curm;

amen!

RudiZink said...

Exactly right, WWAUI and Curm!

When Ogden City adopted the City Council/Mayor form of government, the Mayoral administration beefed up its staff, with highly paid advisors and legal staff.

For unknown reasons the council (the theoretical legislative branch of city government) failed to beef up its own staff similarly.

The city council will always "suck hind tit," so long as it fails to build up a staff of its own experts, similarly to the lackey staff that the Mayor has assembled.

Gary Williams has admitted it many times: He can't honor his ethical obligations as a lawyer, and give advice to the Council and the Mayor simultaneously.

Now that the sackless retard Jesse Garcia is no longer the Council Chair, we need to urge Council Chair Amy Wicks to act to level the playing field!

The Council needs its own supporting staff. It could not be more plainly evident that the council can't rely on any information provided by the lyin' SOS Boss Godfrey!

jp said...

Living a block down from the mayor, I have grown very sick and tired of passing a new Provident sign every time I take the dogs for a walk. It doesn't seem to me that they're dumping properties - they're gaining control of more and more (which will then sit empty for a year, totally neglected).

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