Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Junction -- A Good Investment?

A detailed look at the revenue shortfall

By Dan Schroeder

In an earlier article I gave an overview of The Junction and its current financial situation. In brief: Tax increment revenues from 10 other redevelopment districts are paying off the Series A bonds ($7.3 million), while lease revenues from the Salomon Center are paying off the Series B bonds ($8.9 million). But the future revenue to pay off the Series C bonds ($22.4 million) is uncertain. Tax increment from the Junction district itself is covering only about half of the $1.9 million annual payments on the C bonds, and even that revenue is scheduled to disappear when the redevelopment district expires after 2014. The Boyer portion of the Junction is not yet making a profit, so it isn’t providing any lease revenue to the city. Consequently, the Junction continues to be subsidized by lease revenues from BDO.

In this article I’ll take a closer look at why the revenues from the Junction are falling so far short of what was predicted. Looking into these details can give us a better understanding of the Junction’s financial prospects, and perhaps teach us to be more skeptical the next time we hear rosy predictions about the future.

Flashback

To focus this analysis, let’s resurrect some official Ogden City predictions from just two years ago. Here’s the lead article from the city’s July 2007 utility bill insert, titled “The Junction -- A Good Investment” (Click on the image to see the article at a legible size):


The most obvious inaccuracy in this article is the implication that the city’s investment in the Junction was only $6 million, when in fact it was over $40 million plus interest. But putting that blunder aside, let’s focus on the table of revenue projections:


The most notable numbers are the four in the upper-right corner, which predict the Junction’s property values and the tax on those values for 2007 and 2010. How do these predictions match up to reality?

Reality Check

According to the Weber County Assessor’s office, the actual market value of the Junction in 2007 was slightly under $30 million--and the taxable value was less than $9 million. These numbers were based on assessments as of January 1, 2007, and they determined the taxes paid near the end of that year: about $150,000. Because these numbers would have been publicly available by the time the city’s article was written, it would seem that the article’s author had something else in mind.

Perhaps “2007” really meant the end of 2007, that is, tax year 2008. By the middle of 2007 it should have been possible to predict the status of the various construction projects as of the following January 1. But even then the actual assessments fell far short, giving a market value of $70 million, a taxable value of $54 million, and a total property tax of $845,000.

The 2009 numbers are a little higher: market value $80 million, taxable value $61 million, and an expected property tax of $980,000. The numbers for 2010 will be higher still, but not by a lot.

Here’s a graph showing the Junction’s property tax for the last three years, broken down by the various buildings and parcels:


Whereas the only building being taxed in 2007 was the Salomon Center (and at less than half its final value), every taxable Junction building is at least partially on the tax rolls for 2009. Next year we should see some further increases in the taxable values of the Wells Fargo building, the Earnshaw building, and some of the smaller buildings.

Minor details: (1) The Junction’s RDA district also includes the square block west of Grant between 22nd and 23rd Streets, but none of the preceding numbers include the properties on that block. If you want to know the RDA’s tax increment revenue from the whole district, you need to add that contribution (about $160,000 for 2008) and then subtract the tax on the district’s baseline value before it became an RDA district (about $50,000). (2) The numbers in the paragraphs above include not only real property but also equipment in the buildings, which contributed nearly $5 million to the value and $75,000 to the tax in 2008. The graph, however, does not include the tax on equipment. (3) For those properties that are leased by the RDA (that is, the Salomon Center and all the Boyer properties), the property tax is being paid not by the owner but by the tenants. Unfortunately, the bookkeeping for these properties is too complicated for the county’s web site to handle, so you can’t look up the property values and taxes there. I got the numbers from Shelly Campbell-Bustos in the Assessor’s office, to whom I am extremely grateful. To see a complete table of the numbers, click here.

Why the Discrepancies?

So why were the city’s published projections so far off? Let me count the reasons.

First, the projections neglected the fact that not all of the Junction property is taxable. The most valuable untaxed property is the parking garage, assessed at $12 million. (If the garage is ever used commercially it will become taxable--but for the foreseeable future, it would be economic suicide to charge Junction patrons for parking.) The nonprofit Treehouse Museum, assessed at $3 million, is also untaxed.

Second, the projections neglected the fact that residential properties are normally taxed at only 55% of their full value. The difference takes a significant bite out of the taxes from the Boyer apartments and the Earnshaw building.

Third, some of the assessed property values undoubtedly came in lower than what the projections assumed. This was especially true of the Salomon Center, which cost approximately $18 million to build but is now assessed at only $9.8 million (not counting the equipment). The county actually tried to assess the building at the higher value, but the tenants successfully appealed on the grounds that their lease rate reflects a much lower market value for the building.

Fourth, the projections assumed that the 2006 tax rate would be in effect through 2010. In fact, Weber County’s tax rates tend to decrease over the long term; the 2008 rate was 12% lower than in 2006.

Fifth, the projections for “2007” included the $30 million Ashton Square condominiums--a project that hadn’t even broken ground when the projections were made and that was ultimately canceled. Similarly, the projections for 2010 apparently included a hypothetical $65 million hotel/condo complex on the still-vacant parcel between the Salomon Center and Washington Blvd. Both of these projects were promised to have significantly more value per acre than anything else at the Junction. (More explanation of what’s included in the projections can be found in this earlier version of the article.)

And sixth, the projections were overly optimistic about the timetable for completion of many of the buildings.

The standard excuse for the Junction’s current financial trouble is “the economy”. But the economy has nothing to do with the first four reasons just given, and was only partly a factor in the last two reasons. Perhaps, in a booming economy, the Ashton Square condos would have been started in 2008 and on the tax rolls by 2010--but not sooner. Even during the best economic times, it’s hard to imagine that by 2010 Ogden’s market could have absorbed a new $65 million hotel/condo complex in addition to the Earnshaw building, Ashton Square, Boyer apartments, and other competing residential developments downtown. The timetable for completing several of the buildings had already slowed down by the time the utility bill insert was published, when the economy was still strong.

Sales Tax and Lease Revenue

As the table indicates, property tax isn’t our only revenue from the Junction. It also produces sales tax and lease revenue.

The projected sales tax figures are not particularly large, and we can probably assume that the construction delays and cancelations have resulted in still lower receipts. I’ve inquired with the city regarding the actual sales tax received so far, and will post the numbers when I get them. (Because local sales tax goes into the city’s general fund, it cannot be applied directly to the RDA bond payments. In the end, however, that’s a technicality; what matters is the city’s total revenue.)

The projected lease revenue for 2007 is very close to the annual lease payments made by the Salomon Center tenant, Health & Fitness L.C. That money has been coming in since July 2007, and most of it is being used to pay off the Series B bonds.

The additional $300,000 of projected lease revenue for 2010 must be what was expected from the properties leased to Boyer. The actual lease revenue from Boyer to date has been zero, because Boyer isn’t yet making any profit.

Boyer’s properties (under long-term lease from the RDA) include the Megaplex theater, the Wells Fargo office building, the restaurants, and the adjacent mixed-use buildings with retail on the ground level and apartments above. These buildings are now all finished, at least on the outside. But the office building is less than half occupied, with only two tenants who both moved from across the street. (This is the building for which the Ogden City Council declined to approve two additional floors, which the city itself would have had to “lease” at a cost of $400,000 per year until actual tenants were found.) Boyer’s mixed-use buildings are also mostly unoccupied. Until these occupancy rates increase, Boyer will be losing money on its Junction developments overall. Whenever it does start making a net profit, the city’s revenue will be half of that profit. Ogden Community and Economic Development Director Scott Waterfall has stated that he doesn’t anticipate receiving any income from Boyer in the near future.

The Bottom Line

The Junction projections in the 2007 utility bill article weren’t merely optimistic: they were unfounded and deceptive. Still, perhaps we shouldn’t focus too much on that article. After all, it was published at the start of the 2007 mayoral campaign.

A more reasonable “optimistic” prediction for the Junction would have been a built-out taxable value of about $100 million, which would generate about $1.6 million in property tax annually. Combined with the Boyer lease revenue, this would have been just enough to make the payments on the Series C bonds through 2014. After that, either an extension on the tax increment or subsidies from BDO (or some other source) would still have been required to continue the bond payments through 2026.

A reasonable “pessimistic” scenario is more or less what we have: two Junction parcels still vacant, significant construction delays on some of the others, and no lease revenue from Boyer expected for several years. Payments on the Series C bonds are requiring a subsidy from BDO of almost $1 million per year, in addition to all of the Junction tax increment. If the tax increment expiration is not extended, the subsidies could increase to the full $1.9 million bond payment.

(Let’s try not to imagine even worse scenarios, such as the Salomon Center tenant walking away and defaulting on the lease. Then the city would be liable for another $590,000 a year in bond payments.)

So is the Junction a good investment? From a strict financial standpoint the answer is an unequivocal “no”. It is being subsidized by other RDA districts, by BDO, and by occasional one-time expenditures. Over the 20-year duration of the bonds, the subsidies will add up to at least $20 million, and possibly $30-40 million.

The question, then, is whether the Junction’s benefits to the greater community are worth a subsidy of one or two million dollars a year. Even as someone who doesn’t especially care for the particular entertainment venues at the Junction, I can see real value in creating this new gathering place in the heart of our city. But I can’t put a dollar amount on this value, so I’ll leave the final judgment up to the reader.

Of course, now that the Junction is (mostly) built, our opinions on whether it was a good investment are purely academic. The more pressing question is what we should do next. In particular, should our public officials extend the Junction’s tax increment for another 12 years beyond 2014? Also, what should Ogden do to promote development of the two Junction parcels that remain vacant? I hope to address these questions in a future article. Meanwhile, please share your views on any of these questions.

35 comments:

RudiZink said...

Fantastic report, Dan! Many thanks!

what would jesus say said...

Another excellent article Dan!

Curmudgeon said...

Ditto the above.

And let me add that this is the kind of digging and straight-up reporting that I'd normally expect to see --- that all of us should expect to see --- in our home town paper. Sadly, we haven't. Unfortunately, the SE has left this kind of research-based nuts-and-bolts reporting to individuals like Dan S. to do [thanks again, Dan] and to blogsites like Weber County Forum to make public [thanks again, Rudi].

blackrulon said...

This city information is provided by the same people who orginally said the ice tower would cost $120,000. When,hopfully, abandoned the cost was 1.8 million dollars. That is a change of 150% Will we ever learn the name of the donor who covered the misspent ice tower funds? Like many people I thought that the funds had already been given to the city in the past fiscial year. Were laws or ordinances broken by not having the funds to the city by last June? It seems that city officals believe that underestimating initial startop or construction costs is balanced out by wildly overestimating revenue projections.

monotreme said...

Thanks, Dan.

Dan S. said...

Curm: While I would have expected the Standard-Examiner to report on some of these details--especially the ludicrous numbers in the utility bill insert--I would not expect them to analyze the property tax numbers in as much depth as I have. The research for this article took several days and involved multiple interviews with five different city and county officials. The S-E can't afford to let a reporter spend that much time on one article. Also, I doubt that the S-E has anyone on its staff who is competent to handle even the very simple arithmetic that I had to do. (Anecdote: Two years ago I informed editor Dave Greiling of a factor-of-ten arithmetic error in an article. In response, he more or less promised that S-E staff would never again attempt to do arithmetic.)

Curmudgeon said...

Dan:

Sorry, Dan. We disagree on this. One of a metro daily's responsibilities is --- or ought to be --- keeping a jaundiced and skeptical eye on how elected officials deal with public monies. The digging you did is very much the kind of thing good dailies used to do. Regularly. A good metro daily that doesn't have on its reporting staff someone who can read a spreadsheet and follow the money not only isn't doing its job well, it can't.

Good papers encourage their beat reporters to keep "check-back" files. Once they've reported on something, say the city's projections about what a good investment the Junction was, a card goes into the check-back file, dated one year hence, reminding the reporter to check on how the projections turned out one year down the road. Sometimes the "check back" card might be dated only three months out, or two weeks, or whatever is appropriate.

The SE does not seem to do that much. Stories, once reported [the Junction projections are a good example] don't get followed up six months or a year or eighteen months down the road as a matter of course --- not unless someone or some thing else [you in this case] brings them back to public attention. Same with the non-arrival of the promised private funds to pick up the ice tower development costs. SE reported the story, but didn't put a "check back" card into the file, dated 30 June [end of fiscal year] to see if the money actually had been paid in. Turns out, as you, not the SE, discovered, it hadn't.

The routine failure of the SE to check back on stories it has already reported to see whether projections came through or promised action actually happened is one of its more egregious weaknesses.

OgdenLover said...

Thanks, Dan.
My favorite paragraph (aside from the "election year" comment):

...the Salomon Center, which cost approximately $18 million to build but is now assessed at only $9.8 million (not counting the equipment). The county actually tried to assess the building at the higher value, but the tenants successfully appealed on the grounds that their lease rate reflects a much lower market value for the building.

To me this is proof that the Salomon Center leases are far lower than they should have been. We have heard this for a long time, but never had numbers.

blackrulon said...

I must make a correction to my previous post. The difference on the ice tower early projected cost of $120,000 and the last cost of $1,800,000 is 15000% Yet there are still some who wonder why we are suspicious of cost projections and revenue forecasts.

Dan S. said...

Curm:

I don't think we actually disagree. We're in full agreement on the "check-back" issue. And I fully believe that every newspaper should have someone on the news staff who can not only read a spreadsheet, but produce one.

Perhaps you don't realize that I did far more than merely "read" that spreadsheet. The spreadsheet was a joint creation of Shelly Campbell-Bustos and myself. It went through many iterations, and I'm the one who arranged it in its final form and decided how to plot the data for this article.

Should every newspaper have someone who can do this kind of analysis? Absolutely. Can we expect this kind of analysis from our beloved Standard-Examiner? I suppose we can dream, but the reality at the S-E is so far below this level that any such expectation would be no more realistic than the Godfrey administration's Junction revenue projections.

By the way, I misspoke when I said above that nobody on the S-E staff can handle simple arithmetic. I'm quite sure that they have accountants who are easily up to these tasks, and I wouldn't be surprised if their sports reporters are also adept with facts and figures.

On that note, let me end with an incisive quote from Nate Silver: "I have written for perhaps a dozen major publications over the span of my career, and the one with the most thorough fact-checking process is by some margin Sports Illustrated."

david s. said...

An important point that may have been overlooked is whether the BDO money presently going to subsidize the Junction is LEGALLY REQUIRED to be used for that or whether it is up to the city council whether to use the BDO money that way or not.

Under state law, the city can’t borrow money that the taxpayers will be required to pay, unless they submit the bond it to a public vote, i.e. a “bond vote”.

With an RDA bond (like the Junction’s debt), the taxpayers aren’t legally on the hook to pay the bond. Only the money coming in from the development can be used for the bond, not general city revenues. If that money falls short, the city is not supposed to be on the hook for it.

Godfrey’s “innovation” with the Salomon Center was to “pledge” BDO revenue to pay the bond. (He said it would never actually happen, but we know how that turned out.) The, he ran for re-election saying that all his debt “wasn’t really city debt”. He pledged that the city would pay the debt then claimed it would never have to and didn’t have to.

The important point is that I believe his pledging of BDO revenue for the Salomon Center (with a former city council’s approval) was a violation of state law. I don’t think the city is legally on the hook for any of this debt at all. Like a lot of things with Godfrey, whether this is true or not might require a court ruling.

As somebody who occasionally visits the Salomon Center, I feel nonetheless that debt default and liquidation of the entire project should be on the table. Is the project worth its annual subsidy? It is, at least, debatable.

RudiZink said...

"Under state law, the city can’t borrow money that the taxpayers will be required to pay, unless they submit the bond it to a public vote, i.e. a “bond vote”."

Bingo, David.

I've been doing some background research on this issue myself. Although I'd originally believed the BDO revenue security arrangement was lawful because it was ratified by the 2005 rubber stamp council, I'm leaning toward the conclusion that such authorization was not lawful from the outset, inasmuch as this arrangement (which is the equivalent of creation of a general obligation bond debt) was never submitted to the taxpayers for a vote.

You've opened another interesting can of worms here David, and until I can get down to the County Law Library for some deep research, I'll hold off on arguing any firm conclusions.

Nevertheless, I have a strong gut feeling that you've hit the nail squarely on the head.

david s. said...

Something else I’d like to dispel, is the idea that the Midtown Properties hotel that was going to be at the Junction failed because of the economy, leaving a large vacant lot. In fact, that development was another attempt by Godfrey to heavily subsidize somebody to come and do business in Ogden – part of his policy of “paying people to move here”. When the true nature of Godfrey’s deal came out, the developer backed out, then filed for bankruptcy soon after. Therefore, the issue was not the economy but the mayor’s flawed deal.

As to the Ashton Square Condos- another failed project at the Junction leaving another vacant lot - even when real estate was booming, the owner was not selling his units. Once again, the issue was not the economy, but the ineptitude of the person involved.

Incidentally, the owner of defunct Ashton Square was Godfrey’s city point man for the whole Junction project in the first place - Godfrey's lead city administrator. When the level of debt the city had incurred came out in the newspaper, this man resigned and took a cushy city job at guess where, BDO.

I guess what our mothers told us was right. Deception and underhanded dealing may make you look good for awhile, but in the end, it’s no good.

ozboy said...

The idea of putting the Junktion bonding up to a public vote was promoted heavily to the Mayor and Council back when it was all unfolding.

The Mayor killed any chance of that happening. His rationale was that a vote was not timely and the delay to submit it to a vote would destroy the whole project. ("Hurry up there is no time for due dilligence" a favorite tactic of his by the way) He also said that the public was overwhelming in support of the project as he envisioned it and it was just a waste of time to put it to a vote that he would win hands down anyway. When those two excuses looked shaky he reverted to his ace in the hole - the old "This is not a Democracy it is a Republic and in a Republic I am the decider"

The truth of the matter of course is that he knew it would never in hell pass muster with the voters and that the whole project idea was built on a pack of lies - the biggest of which was that the public was clamoring for it.

TLJ said...

But Rudi,

Stacy Ogden is really missing!

TLJ

targa said...

now if we divide the total end cost to tax payers by the number of households in Ogden, we will get a number that reflects whether or not a multiple use building, designed for surfing pool, a bowling alley, and a gym/skydiving toy, is "worth" the cost per household.

professor Dan has really outdone himself on this latest round of citizen activism. funny, no "smoking man" or anonymous tip was required to produce this excellent piece of investigative journalism. all it took was time, patience, and smarts. there is a lesson here for anyone who wants to make a difference in their community

kudos, sir.

Ogden Resident said...

Dan,

You state, “the projections neglected the fact that not all of the Junction property is taxable. The most valuable untaxed property is the parking garage, assessed at $12 million. (If the garage is ever used commercially it will become taxable--but for the foreseeable future, it would be economic suicide to charge Junction patrons for parking.)”

I wonder if the city is not in fact committing that suicide in that it is partitioning off part of the south part of the parking terrace for the exclusive benefit of the Boyer condo tenants, thus changing the classification of at least a portion of the parking structure. It could be claimed that that property is now taxable in that it is privileged to those taxable condos. Just a possibility.

more like 1500% said...

Actually, the cost increase is more like 1500%. A 100% increase would be another 120k, so going 15 times as much makes for a much greater percentage increase.

Dan S. said...

Ogden Resident,

If a portion of the parking garage is being partitioned off for exclusive use by residents, then I think that portion would be taxable. Is that already happening, or is it merely planned? If planned, when would it start? So far there don't seem to be many residents who would use it.

There's also the question of who would pay the taxes. Boyer probably isn't inclined to do so. If the RDA pays the taxes, the money just comes right back to them through tax increment--at least until 2014.

Ogden Resident said...

Dan,

Last time I looked about two weeks ago it was almost completed. It might be done by now. Gated access. Go look at the ground level parking on the south end of the facility.

Dan S. said...

Ogden Resident,

Thanks. I'll try to ask McConkie about this when he gets back from vacation.

Blaine Carl said...

David S., did you know that the real owner of the then Ashton Square was an LLC, not the individual you refer to? True, he headed the LLC, but what evidence do you have that he resigned his City CEO positon because The Junction had accrued its debt? And what evidence do you have that this LLC was inept? Isn't this just another of your attempts to place all blame for The Junction troubles on Godfrey?

I'm always taken by these people who think they know so much, yet really know so little. Ashton Square was a development concept, and the parcel of land that the Ashton Square development concept (the building) would sit on was owned by PRI and became what is now know as "an interest in real estate," that is, the land was optioned by PRI (you certainly know who PRI is-if you don't then you shouldn't be lecturing us on why it failed) to the LLC.

PRI owned the 3 parcels of land on the North side of the old Mall site. One holds the Treehouse, another houses the Ensign Plaza and the other was to hold Ashton Square. Prices for the condos at Ashton Square were astronomical and I believe that most Ogden residents were not quite ready to spend that kind of money to move "downtown." Unlike the American Towers in SLC, that sits in the middle of a the then rejuvenated and rejuvenating downtown, Ogden had a ways to go. Ogden is still an infant and I doubt people with 300K-600K are ready to shell out those dollars for that area yet.

If the LLC is inept because it took a shot, and PRI took back the land, then I guess your right. But it would be nice to see some evidence of your claims instead of just throwing out your opinion as fact. There's much more to Ashton Square and the other vacant properties in The Junction than meets the eye, even your eye.

Blain Carl said...

I think if we'd take a look back to check out Midtown and all of its operations and projects, we'd find that Midtown was over extending itself by building hotels and resorts all through Central and Northern Utah. Suddenly, their Venture Capital ran out, most likely due to the economic slide, and Midtown was left high and dry. Several cities have uncompleted Midtown projects sitting there, showing absolutely no activity, and rotting in the sun. Midtown went down by its own volition and over extension, not as David S claims that it was yeto another "flawed Godfrey deal."

Gawd a'mighty man, can EVERYTHING that goes wrong be attributed to a Godfrey defect? Or could there, by chance, be other factors involved. David, I just don't think that things are as simple as you try to make them sound. And this coming from a guy who no more likes the Rhead/BDO deal than you do. But regardless of how we, and others, feel about that, the position is warranted--the City needs a liason between itself and BDO, for running the show on 2nd Street ain't no duck walk.

And Blackrulon, as I read in another post, there's more to relocation than taking a ride and spotting some empting buildings here and there and saying "here we go.". When it comes to keeping businesses in town, regardless of why they may need to move, many factors, besides seeing an empty building, enter the fray. The structures must suit the required needs, from size to location to improvements, to parking to costs, to the purpose of doing that particular business, and the list goes on from there.

I really don't think that Ogden wanted Big Bubba to leave, as Big Bubba was one of the top 5 sales tax payers in town. I know Bubba and he assured me that once the owner of his site had sold out to the developer who was trying to bring Wynco or one of many other major league combines into town, Ogden's CED went out of its way to assist Bubba and keep him in town.

They showed him many properties, both for sale and for lease, they contacted owners of properties that weren't for sale to see if they would sell. The CED did a lot of work to help Bubba stay in town, from property searches to relocation.

Bubba's moving was a loss to Ogden and everyone knows it. The City did not turn its back on Bubba--there were other factors at work that forced Bubba to move out of town, including a piece of land that he and a partner owned, a pice of land that he could build on. For reasons I won't get into, that didn't work but another piece near by did

So, rest your concerns, Blackrulon. The City did its best and this whole mess started with private development, not some idea of the Administration.

what will it cost us said...

If the city has done its best why do lease payments at the Junction not even cover the costs of the building by square foot like most businesses, sweetheart deals were made in the back rooms.

Keep posting Blaine we like to laugh at your posts and how one sided they are.

Why would the city pay over $300K for repairs to a private business in a building the city owned? Once a leasee takes possession they are usualy responable for any and all improvements and repairs.

The business development office is run by amateurs that are way over paid.

Blaine Carl said...

The laughs on you, "What It Will Cost," as the 300K you refer to was what it took to get the building up to the status that it should have been in the first place (if you're talking about the Flo Rider).

When the building was built, the construction of the Flo Rider was overseen by the manufacturer, and built to those specific specs. Unfortunately, ventilation and other problems created a situation wherein the interior had to be replaced, which is the landlord's responsibility.

It's not really a laughing matter, but you obviously don't know quite as much as you think you do and if you feel comedic about a difference of opinion, then the jokes on you.

Who the hell are you that you think you know it all? I'd surely like to be a fly on the wall if you were to negotiate with who you claim to be such amateurs in the BD Department. By reading your tacky little posts, I can assure you that they'd have you for lunch.

It would be interesting to know what, if any, projects you have put together and how well they are doing.

Talk about being one sided--you define that and it's obvious you spew forth only garble, not fact.

RudiZink said...

"When the building was built, the construction of the Flo Rider was overseen by the manufacturer, and built to those specific specs. Unfortunately, ventilation and other problems created a situation wherein the interior had to be replaced, which is the landlord's responsibility."

Hmmmm.... If the manufacturer oversaw the installation and confirmed the the Florider was installed according to spec, how come the manufacturer wasn't called upon to chip in on the $308,000 fix? If what you're telling us here is true, it's highly unlikely that the "landlord" ought to have borne the bulk of the liability.

If the manufacturer had some responsibility for its failure to properly "oversee" a plainly defective installation, how come the manufacturer didn't pick up a significant portion of the repair tab?

It's great having you aboard here at WCF, by the way, Mr. Carl. Over the years we haven't found many Godfrey loyalists who've been willing (or even capable) of engaging in logical argument. Nevertheless, at this juncture, I'm getting the uncomfortable sensation that you sometimes cherry pick your "facts."

So for starters on this subtopic, please explain why the Florider manufacturer who performed an "oversight" function (as you readily admit) didn't have its feet put to the fire for failing to anticipate what you've readily admitted to have been "ventilation and other" design defects.

Thanks in advance for your anticipated reasonable response.

disgusted said...

Blaine Carl

i read the lease agreement between the leasee and the city and you are wrong as to who is responsible for the repairs to the flow rider. the leasee took over the building on an as is contract and it specifically states that the leasee is responsible for those types of repairs. and speaking of repairs the place is starting to get run down and he is doing nothing.

relative to midtown i dont disagree that the developer came down under their own weight but the fact remains that weight was obvious before the city tried to enter into the deal with midtown. where was the citys due diligence on the developer. also once again the city was giving away the company store to get them on board. that was mine and a lot of other residents problem with the whole deal not to mention the fact that the city already has more hotel rooms than the traffic can support. so this project would have shut down other hotels and what would we have gained. and then theres the parking stall discussion but i wont go into that.

as for ashton square the fact that the mayors ex point man formed an llc is irrelevant to the discussion or the failure of the project to launch. the bothersome point was that an inside man knew what the option price was on the land that the city could have profited from in the future for the residents and used that knowledge to get his hands on the property for personal gain. a man that didnt have the fianancing to pull it all together but saw an opportunity to get rich by trying to be more than what he is. he has proven that he is not a big wheeler dealer. and as for the need for him to be an intermediator between the city and boyer company get real. the city has plenty of accountants and bd guys to do that.

you think most of us shot from the hip and dont pay attention to whats going on and that is your first mistake. second mistake is you look at the details but dont see the bigger picture relative to cause and effect.

if nothing else existed here a lot of these projects if developed by financially capable developers with their own money and where there development would not be effecting other businesses would be great ideas but that isnt the case. to develop a new tax base just to loose another one is zero net gain. think about it.

Bill C. said...

Rudi, don't waste your time on this blind blain dude, he seems to have one characteristic identical to the tiny little crooked mayor, he lies. Yep, just makes stuff up.
This dude seems to think that throwing anything out from seemingly informed, inside point of view will be accepted as fact, kinda like the gondola examiner's relationship with the mayor.
This idiot didn't even know how short a stint Hairspray Harmer did with the city, check out his list of lying little matty accomplishments on the thread about the need for the mayor to focus on what he started. Last couple of posts.
Isn't the term deadpan, for some one to be all so serious in appearance, yet so damn funny.

Blaine (your buddy) Carl said...

Bill C., damn boy, you do post some profound comments--informative, thought provoking, and the like. But why this constant lacing with these caustic comments like "Hair Spray Harmer?"

We've had our battles over your style, you seem to be coming across much better, but what good does it serve to insult a person of Harmer's abilities and position, not to mention his background, with these little jabs?

Just curious. Keep up the good thogutht. They encourage response.

disgusted said...

Blaine Carl

"a person of his abilities and position". you sure you didnt mean to say a person of so little ability and one that abused his position.

Ogden Citizen said...

Blaine,

I am curious to hear your response to direct and honest questions, sans hyperbole, personal attacks, or condescension.

You might find that there is a wide range of opinions at this electronic communication node.
You might not be as lonely as you thought.

I, for one would like to read a repsonse to this:
"... please explain why the Florider manufacturer who performed an "oversight" function...didn't have its feet put to the fire for failing to anticipate... "ventilation and other" design defects".

As the quite tolerant bloggenfuhrer said, thanks in advance for your anticipated reasonable response.

Blaine Carl said...

Bill C..Harner put in between 5 and 6 years as CED Director. Before that he was the State Economic Director, under Gov Leavitt. Harmer retired, politically speaking of course, and was available for his post at the City (it took Godfrey some urging, however) that became vacant when Stewart Reed left. Don't tell me I don';t know what I'm talking about, clown. Calling me a lyer shows shows how ignorant you really are.

Like I said, to be credible in this game takes more than playing 9 holes at MOGC. To date your accomplishments are nil and the City sits waiting in anticipation for you to do something, anything, other than take swipes at people on the blog.

Blaine C said...

Ogden Citizen..what makes you think the Florida manufacturer hasn't had his feet put to the fire? I believe that there is something afoot regarding the responsibility of whose to blame for the Flo Rider room deterioration.

Like in many cases, we may not hear about the outcome until its been resolved. The legal baricudas like it that way for then they don't give up their secrets and strategy.

Hang in there..I'm sure we'll hear something.

Dan S. said...

Update: In the article I said I had inquired with the city about actual sales tax revenues received from the Junction. Now I can report that the city is refusing to release that information, citing the statute on confidentiality of tax return data. However, the statute contains an exception for publication of "statistics" that do not reveal information from individual tax returns. Clearly someone made the call that publication of the mall's total sales tax in 1998 qualified for the "statistics" exception--yet they don't feel the same way about the total for the Junction in 2008.

Also, I've tried and tried to pin down city officials on a projection for the lease revenue from Boyer over the long term--expected, or best case, or whatever they're willing to project. They have refused to make any such projections, saying only that "the status quo may not change for a period of time. That being the case, we are not counting on receiving lease revenue to cover debt service in the near term." Again I find it interesting that their attitude has changed so much since two years ago, when they not only made projections but also paid to put these projections in the newspaper and in all our mailboxes.

Jim Hutchins said...

Dan:

That's an egregious violation of both the spirit and the letter of the GRAMA statute.

I am angry reading your post.

As a taxpayer, I think aggregated data on sales tax revenue for a facility I'm paying for is a reasonable and prudent request.

Let me know how I can help.

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