Thursday, January 22, 2009

Std-Ex: Repairs turn off Flowrider's Taps

The taxpayers' burden for the Junction Project will exceed $1 million just this year

Ace Reporter Schwebke reports this morning on a story regular Weber County Forum readers have been discussing since at least May of last year. Due to defects in workmanship and design, the sheetrock and steel enclosure surrounding the Salomon Center Flowrider water feature has been inexorably rotting away, finally necessitating closure and repair, the latter of which won't be completed until around the end of February.

The projected cost to the taxpayers -- $309 thousand. The original general contractor, R&O Construction, who is bearing at least a portion of the liability, will pick up another $80 thousand of the estimated total $389 thousand price tag too.

The source of the city's portion of funds -- you got it. It'll come out of Business Depot Ogden lease revenue, that reliable cash cow which Boss Godfrey taps any time one of his bone-headed projects runs into trouble. That's the same cash cow, by the way, that more prudent city officials had earlier earmarked for legitimate infrastructure upgrades, such as Ogden's dilapidated water system, of course.

And here it comes, gentle readers, the inevitable mendacious Godfrey administration spin, straight from Godfrey's #1 henchman, Ogden CAO John Patterson:
The city's cost shouldn't be considered an additional expense, he said, because the improvements are an upgrade and would have been built into the original construction price of the Salomon Center if it had been known the work was needed.
Yeah, that's the ticket: an upgrade -- not a royal screwup. We once again remind our readers: Our Blessed and Visionary Boss Godfrey NEVER screws up! That an indoor faux surfing appliance spewing thousands of gallons of water every minute might require waterproofing is plainly something no one could have anticipated.

Evidently the ever resourceful Mr. Schwebke wasn't quite buying Mr. Patterson's spin, so he went to City Council member Jesse Garcia for his comments. The level-headed Garcia wasn't buying the administration's B.S. either, and wasn't the least bit shy in speaking out:
Councilman Jesse Garcia said it's unfortunate that BDO lease revenues will have to be used to fund Flowrider improvements, but added there is no other alternative.
"If it comes out of city funds, of course it's an added expense. The improvements have to be done because, without it, (the Flowrider) won't function properly."
So there you have it folks. When this latest expense is added to the $750 thousand bond payment which comes due in June, the taxpayers' burden for the project which Godfrey promised would "never put us on the hook," will have inflated beyond a cool $1 million just this year alone. And the meter keeps on ticking.

Now where is that one remaining guy who keeps claiming Godfrey is a genius again?


danny said...

Gee, I said a year ago the place was rotting . . .

Now I say this: The Flowrider is not worth the $389,000 to fix it - not even close. They should close it.

The Sal Center is a black hole that will suck money from city coffers until they close it. And close it they will, inside of five years.

Ray said...

Cowabunga-SURFS UP !!! (not)

Curious 1 said...

In the article Gary Nielson owns the flowrider so why is the city putting up the money to repair it? How many users will it take to pay for the repairs since it isn't an upgrade? Do these ecomomic genieuses understand return on investment?

When will the city council demand the total costs, lease agreements signed by the city and sweetheart deals so the public can understand how private enterprise is subsidized by the taxpayers? If the city bought all the equipment for flowrider, golds gym, I fly and then leased it back under cost then fraud seems to come to mind. Maybe an independentent investigation or at least an audit is warranted.

dan s. said...

Let's add $10,000 onto what R&O has paid, to cover their contribution to Mayor Godfrey's 2007 campaign.

(Quiz: Can you name the other two contributors who gave Godfrey this amount?)

Wm M said...

I'm confused ...

If Gary Nielsen owns the Flowrider, why is Ogden City paying the $309K bill?

Bill Parker

smogbreather said...

Gary Nielson does not own the flow rider, the whole Salomon Center complex is owned by the taxpayers of Ogden. Ogden is the landlord. Mr. Neilson's lease payments do not even come close to covering the bond payments on this boondoggle.

Brought to to by the gang of five, several of them in their final weeks as lame ducks.

Moroni McConkie said...

Interesting that the Standard-Examiner hasn't ever acted on the scuttlebutt, which it has surely heard, concerning private lawsuits against the FlowRider for injuries (broken necks, etc.) sustained by its customers. I don't know if Ogden City is also a defendant, but is it reasonable to presume that any settlement or verdict in favor of plaintiffs could further deplete BDO revenues?

What will it cost us said...

If I owned a business in Ogden I would want the mayor manage my business leases, actually demand the same perks. When will the other businesses in the city besides the Junction get breaks to operate with taxpayers money, or do you have to belong to the mayors ward.

Has Iggy's, Sonoran grill or all the PPC properties given great deals by the city, while city services shrink and our water and sewer bills keep climbing?

At least Iggy's is open on Sunday.

Curmudgeon said...

They just never learn.... The administration is still trying to practice Sophistry 101, which evidently all Godfrey Administration spokespersons must take before being hired.

Mr. Patterson's blather beggars belief: "The city's cost shouldn't be considered an additional expense, he said, because the improvements are an upgrade and would have been built into the original construction price of the Salomon Center if it had been known the work was needed." Jaysus. That's like saying "all the solar panels on the new building were installed facing north. We are going to have to turn them all around to face south or they won't work properly and it will cost $350K to do that. But it should be considered an additional cost, because turning them around will constitute an upgrade, and because if we had known they shouldn't face north when we built the building, we'd have paid to put them in right the first time."

Wisely, as Rudi notes, the SE turned to a Democrat on the Council, Mr. Garcia, seeking a plain statement of the plain truth [Democrats specialize in plain speaking in these parlous times]: "If it comes out of city funds, of course it's an added expense. "

What the administration seems still not to have figured out, is that if it keeps on speaking nonsense to cover its tracks, few will believe it on those occasions when it does not speak nonsense. [I know, I know, but there are some such occasions.]

I'd quibble with one comment in Rudi's post, stating that the original screw up was R&O's responsibility. Seems to me it was more the architect's responsibility. When you hire one to design a venue which, on its face, will include extraordinarily high levels of humidity, the architect is supposed to take that fact into consideration when drawing up plans. If R&O, major contributors to Hizzonah's reelection campaign as Dan pointed out, provided architectural services for the project, then I'd agree they are at fault for the faulty design and should be footing a hell of a lot more of the bill than 80K. But only if they were responsible for the design, and I don't know that they were.

beaver said...

"The city's cost shouldn't be considered an additional expense, [Patterson] said, because the improvements are an upgrade and would have been built into the original construction price of the Salomon Center if it had been known the work was needed."

"Cover-All's bankruptcy may give Leshem breathing room from creditors so he can concentrate on the projects, said John Patterson, the city's chief administrative officer."

The saying "it's better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt" comes to mind.

It's easy to sleep at night knowing our future is in the hands of Little Matty's team of geniuses.

brite said...

I am quite furious over this. How can the City be paying over $300K to further an amusement? Our national economy is hurting. The State is cutting budgets at 15-20% across the board, which eliminates programs, services, and likely many jobs. It has been reported that many other city and county governments all throughout Utah are hurting and tightening their budgets. So, how is that Ogden can muster up enough cash flow to pay for this? Ogden City needs to get serious and get down to business. Is this a necessity? This $300K could go a long way. Does anybody really know what Ogden's budget looks like or will look like for the next fiscal year? How many police or fire or other city jobs will have to be slashed in the near future to make up for this $300K? How many essential public improvement and infrastructure related projects will have to be on the back burner because of this? This is a joke. I noticed that the Standard opined today that Kaysville City shouldn't pay their City Council to attend an in-state conference. The cost to send them to that conference is a mere drop in a bucket to the price the Flowrider is going to cost this community.

Bill C. said...

Oh the gondola examiner and Schwebke just can't help themselves , can they?
Once more they intentionally mis-inform. Fact of the matter, this whole write is part of a campain of mis-information. Neilson owns the Flow Rider.
Everyone involved in the project knew that these improvements(?), were specked out from the Flow Rider folks all along. Truth is they were intentionally ignored for a couple of reasons.
The most significant overriding issue being the election that was fast approaching. The jackass center was all ready behind schedule and had significant cost overruns, it was imperative for lying little matty gondola godfrey to have it up and running and for all propaganda purposes appearing to be a success. This was critical to his campain due to the fact that in order to overlook his distain for honesty and crony pay to play politics and vote for him the public was told, "we can't stop the momentum". He also needed it to be completed for his illegal political fundraiser that took place at the jackass center, on the Cities nickel.
It would be interesting to put the architect, the Cities engineer in charge of the project and the big shot at R&O under oath and inquire about this oversight. Oh, but Shirtleff is an idiot GOP crony too busy hiding from polygamists and investigating the BCS. It would be a waste of time to place Patterson or lying little matty under oath, they are prolific liars of the highest order.
If this in fact was intentional, is it not a major fraud?
Crime begets crime. These types of crimes won't appear in your annual crime statistics.

Bill C. said...

Note to Schwebke, " Neilson owns the Flow Rider". For a nominal fee, Cindy Mansell can give you a copy of the lease, I've had one since it was signed. Some facts are foolish to overlook.

ozboy said...

I find it interesting that of the six advertisers (other than Amazon) on the WCF this morning all six are for bankruptcy firms!

Any bets on when the Junktion will go under and how much it ultimately will cost the tax payers of Ogden?

Trec Bronson said...

Neilson family use the iFly, the most expensive of Matty's toys as their own. They run it whenever they like for however long they like for their own personal entertainment. They really do not favor the flowrider, seeing it as unprofitable, a hassle to keep staffed and not as fun for themselves as the iFly.

Thye have personally removed the music system from the flowrider and will be replacing it with canned Mormon approved Hipster-Musak. They have done everything in their power to turn away the regulars who have supported it from the beginning spending a grip of cash to become proficient. They do not support a local team, they have no bulletin board for posting local accomplishments. One of our local riders is the Women's champion and she gets ZERO recognition from the Neilson's and ZERO training time. They have rebuked every suggestion to making it more friendly to the regulars. They have no interactive website, webcam, online scheduling, or anything else to develop and maintain wider interest. They are simply sucking the life out of the Salomon Center.

googlegirl said...

Ozboy said...

"Any bets on when the Junktion will go under and how much it ultimately will cost the tax payers of Ogden?"

Another Real Estate Crisis is About to Hit

drewmeister said...

umm.... wow. just wow.
It just takes my breath away. Nothing I can say can fully articulate my feelings on the matter.

Oh, and dan s.:

I'm betting it's Boyer company, who manages the jackass ctr and several other FOM projects (including BDO), and Big D, who also did a lot of the building of the ctr and several other FOM projects.

dan s. said...

drew: Good guesses! But not correct. Godfrey's other two 10k contributors are Gadi Leshem and Staker Parson Companies (who provided concrete and asphalt for the Junction). Boyer comes in just behind at 9k, tied with Larry Myler who was planning at the time to build the Midtown hotel/condo/water park project. Big D is way down the list at only 2k.

Bill C. said...

Dan, I was going to answer the big contributor question earlier but I would have been cheating, I have the disclosure too.
Hopefully the good readers can see a real pattern developing here, and finally believe it. It's too late as far as elections go, but should serve as a wakeup call for all residents to be vigilant.
His precious little oversized forehead is always scheming in advance, and any proposal-action he proposes should be totally vetted by the public and seriously questioned by the Council.
Hopefully Doug Stevens hasn't been totally swallowed by the darkside and can see these things from the rather obvious crooked intentions they were cooked up from.

Bill C. said...

Oh I forgot to comment on gadi. Looks like his contribution to lying little matty came straight out of matty's playbook, someone elses money.

Mrs. Old-Timer said...

Ogden should be suing R&O Construction and the design architects for the Flowrider building for failure to design and build the building properly. They certainly knew what was going to be installed there.

Any idiot knows that a room with moisture present needs to be built to handle the potential moisture problems. R&O and the architects are responsible for all of the $389,000.00 to repair.

disgusted said...

if they cut corners relative to dealing with moisture on the flowrider i wonder what corners they cut on the swimming pool that sits just above the flowrider on the second floor.
im ok with them not calling it an expense as long as they call it what it really is - another delayed cost over run on the project meant to hide the actual true cost.
monthly payments by neilson $58k city monthly note payment to bond holders $143k. see city financials page 65 swap payments and associated debt and page 71 note 16. all of this was before the cost overruns. remember too that rda borrowed $9 mil more from city to finish the project.

Judy said...

After reading this blog this week my eyes have been opened to what has been happening at the new Junction. What I see is obscene and I am extremely disappointed in our city government.

disgusted said...

now administration is writing off another $6 mil of rda debt from the city general fund this year. two years in a row now and not even a peep out of the city council.
whats that old saying - if you cant screw a friend who can you screw. answer ogden residents

George K. said...

Comment bumped to front page.

Its true, just ask the admin. said...

If the city needs some mo money they just need to get ride of the mayor and his office. they just need to sell it to the highest bidder. OPPPSS..... they already did that.
Right, Matt with your quarter million you pocketed.

Bill C. said...

I wonder if Schwebke will do a write up when we have to plane or replace the bowling lanes, or replace the pins and balls.

toe tapping Howell and Schwbke said...

The mayor is so womderful but a bit clumbsy at times.

Richard Smoker said...

Schwbke and Howell need to teach the boy Mayor how to do the toe tapp. So that some day he can be just as good as Republican Senator Larry Craig.

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