Monday, December 21, 2009

Standard-Examiner: "City Fine-tuning Ogden River Project Details"

The Standard Examiner prints yet another hilarous "Godfrey announces that he expects to announce" story

By Curmudgeon

The Standard-Examiner has finally gotten around to following up on a story it printed two weeks ago which informed its readers [source: Mayor Godfrey] that an un-named developer newly chosen for the River Project [to replace the Mayor's earlier disastrous choice of Mr. Leshem] would submit a development plan to the city by the "end of the week." The end of the week came and went. No plan was submitted. Another week went by. No plan. Now the SE has, at last, followed up on the first story with a new story that includes an explanation --- kinda sorta --- from the administration of why no plan has yet been submitted:
City fine-tuning Ogden River Project details
The Godfrey administration's new story is that it hopes that a development plan will be submitted "soon." [It is unclear whether "soon" in Godfrey-speak is a longer or shorter period than "by the end of a week."] It seems the developer, who the Mayor still will not name [though he hints he has two more waiting in the wings if the current un-named developer decides the project is too risky to get involved in] is "fine tuning" things. What things?. Arranging tax-increment funding to pay for key parts of it. From the story:
"Discussions between the administration and the developer currently center on how tax increment financing may be used to assist the river project, said Godfrey." [A synonym for "tax increment funding" is "public subsidy."]
The story two weeks ago noted that 60% of the property in the River Project area is still owned by the Leshem and associates group, and that it hasn't been figured out how that uncomfortable fact will be handled by the new [un-named] developer, provided enough public funds can be provided to entice him to take on the project. And what has today's story to say about that problem so clearly identified in its story two weeks ago? That it hasn't been figured out yet how it will be handled by the new [un-named] developer.

And of course the new story ends with the SE's traditional ending for SE River Project stories: "Lesham could not be reached for comment."

And the beat goes on....

15 comments:

what would jesus say said...

It's funny how the Standard wil repeatedly print this type of garbage, yet they wont make a stand on the ethical behavior of the local politicians pointed out by Dan S.

What a waste of trees.

Curmudgeon said...

Well, now, seems to me the story does contain new information, and it is a necessary follow-up to the first story.

The new information is that the hold up, the reason the Mayor's previously announced "end of the week" promise fell through is --- money. Apparently the new [un-named] developer and the Mayor's office can't agree on the public-subsidy aspects of the project, on how much the public will have to pony up to reduce the developer's risk on the project. That's news, and an important follow-up to the previous story.

Also, given the previous story, it is news that the matter of working around the Lesham group's ownership of much of the property has still not been resolved. And so it is news that Mr. Lesham is still stonewalling the press about the matter.

So, I don't think this was a "nothing" story at all. It was a necessary story [given what the SE printed two weeks ago], contained new information, and reiterated for readers that major problems regarding the project have still not been resolved.

Another follow-up story that we should see soon is one on the Wal-Mart project. Didn't the SE run a story over a month ago, or more, saying the project had gone into hiatus pending resolution of a problem regarding access across a still-Lesham owned parcel of land? Has the problem been resolved and is the project back on track? Or is it still on hiatus? I don't recall seeing anything about it recently. [Did I miss something?] Do we need an update on that story now?

But today's SE story was, I think, a real story, containing new information and explaining --- or at least offering the Administration's latest explanation --- of why the expected development plan has not been submitted. I think the SE got this one right. Maybe a few days later than Curmudgeon's Daily Post-Intelligencer and Price Current would have done, but on the whole, it was a good and necessary story.

no subsidies for the rich said...

What is with public subsidies going to greedy private interests and corporations? If I'm going to subsidize ANYTHING it better be for the PUBLIC good. My state taxes increased aplenty last year when that awful flat tax was fully implemented (which as we all know benefits the rich and raised the taxes of the poor and middle class). I cannot afford anymore subsidies for the wealthy and greedy.

althepal said...

The 60% Gadi faction ownership situation is not a minor problem, if Godfrey intends to bring in his "new" developer.

Either 1) somebody's going to have to acquire these property interests (possibly the RDA with new "take out" bonding); or, 2)Gadi's Associates will need to be brought aboard as "co-parties" to the deal.

Either way, Gadi's associates will demand their pound of flesh, i.e., what they deem to be a "reasonable" return on their investments; and you can bet your bottom public dollar that such returns won't come cheap.

They have the Godfrey administration over a barrel, alright.

It's therefore doubtful that this predicament will be "fine tuned" overnight.

Keisha said...

This is what happens when the voters of Ogden mistake a former pizza delivery boy for Donald Trump.

Jennifer Neil said...

didn't Flunked English bring up in a previous post the address of record for Gadi Leshem, Ogden Riverfront Development, et al ... is up for sale, part & parcel and empty

... and who the heck is Peter Milinazzo anyway?

TLJ

Dan S. said...

The proposed use of tax-increment financing should come as no surprise. The council designated the River Project area as an RDA district in 2002, and tax-increment financing is the whole point of RDA districts.

The long delay since 2002, however, may create a bit of a problem. No tax increment on the district has been collected so far, and even in a best-case scenario, none will be collected until at least 2011. The River Project RDA district is scheduled to expire in 2019, after which all property taxes are scheduled to revert to the taxing entities. The city had planned on collecting tax increment for 15 years, and is now left with at most 9 years out of the 15. This may not provide enough of a subsidy to make the developer(s) happy.

The obvious solution, from the city's viewpoint, is to get an extension on the collection of tax increment--as it did for the Junction. I predict that we'll see an extension proposal coming forward soon.

Whether or not an extension is approved, this is a good example of how RDA districts and tax-increment financing don't always work out the way they're supposed to. Instead of promoting redevelopment of a blighted area, the city's intervention in this case has (so far) exacerbated the blight, decreased the value of the property, and probably hindered some private investment. As a result, the taxing entities have undoubtedly lost revenue, and it will be many years before they can potentially start making up for the loss. Meanwhile, they have to either curtail services or raise everyone else's taxes.

Curmudgeon said...

Dan wrote:

This is a good example of how RDA districts and tax-increment financing don't always work out the way they're supposed to. Instead of promoting redevelopment of a blighted area, the city's intervention in this case has (so far) exacerbated the blight, decreased the value of the property, and probably hindered some private investment. As a result, the taxing entities have undoubtedly lost revenue, and it will be many years before they can potentially start making up for the loss. Meanwhile, they have to either curtail services or raise everyone else's taxes.

Yup.

underdoggy said...

Godfrey/Greiner curbs nationwide crime!

RudiZink said...

Godfrey realy screwed up on the River Poject. When he brokered all these 51 properties to Gadi Lesham, he apparently neglected to enter into a binding agreement agreement which would require Gadi and his assigned investors to pursue this project.

We in Ogden city will be screwed on this project -- if it ever happens at all.

Is Boss Godfrey a complete moron?

I say YES

It will be fun to watch the gymnastics of the Godfrey administration, as they try to cover their ass on this major blinder.

just another stupid taxpayer said...

It may be fun to watch the gymnastics Rudi, but it will be sad to see the taxpayers getting strapped with more giveaways, and loosing developments dreamed up by the high council on the ninth floor. Not to mention the tax revenue lost to the taxing entities. I suppose the city can broker another pay out from BDO to soothe the School district and others waiting patiently for the Godfrey years of blunders to unwind.

Flunked English said...

Jennifer Neil said...
didn't Flunked English bring up in a previous post the address of record for Gadi Leshem, Ogden Riverfront Development, et al ... is up for sale, part & parcel and empty
... and who the heck is Peter Milinazzo anyway?


Hi Jennifer,

The Chatsworth address is/was home to Cover-All and Bizazz (remember Rupert what's his name?) I would think that the address might be "home" for more entities.

Peter might be a direct employee of Cover-All or he might be just part of the sale of hte office stuff. I have checked a little bit and it is not clear which he is.

I have a new possible whoizdat name for the future River Project. Danny Pouladian.

Cheers,

Flunked

Jennifer Neil said...

Flunked - I have the Oso Avenue address down for many "Ogden" related projects - straight from the California Sec'y of State's office, a few of them from the Ogden Renaissance Village website have the same address ... 8964 Oso Ave Chatsworth, CA 91311

PRODUCER RUPERT said...

I will be back in Ogden soon, to celebrate all the wonderful things that have happened in the City since I first met all of you.
I am amused that you don't seem to have grown intellectually, or looked around at what has happened, and learned how to enjoy it.
I admit I am an outsider, but I think Ogden is a wonderful place to visit, and so I do ... now and then. But I do want to thank you all for some good late night reading ... seems like there is still a great show, like Peyton Place ... that can be based on all of you. Too bad Sharon left us before we could realize her character. She really wanted to be part of it.

ozboy said...

Well, the mayor in all his Trumpian wisdom sayeth about the River Project: "It's tough to plan a project that's so big and so far in the future"

Typical idiocy from this bush league character for sure. I mean the dam place has been "under development" since 2002! That is seven years to plan what the hell they are going to do with the place. How long does a big operator like Godfrey need to "plan"?

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