Monday, March 01, 2010

Standard-Examiner: Filings Needed To Cover Leshem Property Demolition Costs

Added Bonus: A plan to help bail one of Boss Godfrey's bestest buddies out of an embarrassing financial jam

Hoo Boy! Interesting followup story this morning from the Standard-Examiner, reporting on the current status of the eight Gadi Leshem-controlled River Project homes demolished on Ogden City's dime in April of 2009. The taxpayers of Ogden have been "carrying the freight" for the costs of this demolition since that time and are only just now getting around to placing a $9,917 lien on these properties. Somebody "apparently" flat "forgot" to do it, says Tom Christopulos, the city's sometimes forgetful business development manager:
Filings needed so costs of demolishing homes on lots with ties to Leshem can be recovered
Hey, here's a great idea. Leshem donated a cool $10 thousand to Boss Godfrey's mayoral re-election war chest in 2007; and Godfrey is still sitting on something like $80 thousand in unexpended campaign funds from his 2007 campaign. Boss Godfrey could quickly clear Gadi's tax lien immediately, by simply disgorging the ill-gotten ten grand donation and paying off Gadi's delinquent property demolition account.

Gadi's a Friend of Matt (FOM) of course. And what are "bosum buddy" friends like Godfrey and Gadi good for for when economic times get tough, if not to help bail their bestest buddies out of embarrassing financial jams?

Bestest Buddies - " I love you, man, even now that you're completely broke!"

If Godfrey can't do this, or if the Little Lord believes he's extended too many favors to Gadi already, perhaps he can at the very least get another of his loyal Godfreyite pals to help out Gadi instead.

Just a thought.


Curmudgeon said...

And I'm afraid the story is another example of less than stellar work by the SE [though I'm glad, at long last, the paper did something of a follow up on cleaning up the properties].

The story is that the city neglected to file the tax liens on the Lesham-associated properties. That should have been the lead. Another part of the story is Ogden City's business development head claiming it was just a silly little oversight, and fiddle-dee-dee, ain't no big thang. Sadly, the SE story leads with Christopulos's self-serving claim that it was all just an oversight. The first words of Mr. Schwebke's story: "Due to an apparent oversight...." Before readers even learn what the city did or didn't do, Mr. Schwebke endorses the "it was all just a silly little inadvertent oversight" explanation in his lead.

And the print version of the paper elevates Mr. Christopulos's explanation to being the story. Here is how the headline ran, top of front page, in the print edition: LIENS OVERSIGHT IN OGDEN. Notice, the claim that it was all an inadvertent mistake is the main point of the headline.

The on-line edition headline is different. There the headline reads:
Filings needed so costs of demolishing homes on lots with ties to Leshem can be recovered.

That headline much better reflects the story than the one in the print edition. I know, I know, the on-line editor had much more space to work with, but still....

Here's how Mr. Schwebke's story should have started:

OGDEN -- Ogden city hasn't placed tax liens on eight properties belonging to a company with ties to developer Gadi Leshem so it can recover demolition costs for vacant homes in the Ogden River Project area.

The city's head of Business Development, Tom Christopulos, said that it was only recently discovered liens for properties belonging to Ogden Riverfront Development Co. at 1915, 1921, 1929, 1935, 1955, 1957 and 1965 Grant Ave., as well as for 1909 Childs Ave., haven't been filed with the Weber County Assessor's Office, said Tom Christopulos, the city's business development manager.

"We got to demolishing (the vacant homes) and forgot to ... do the filings," Christopulos explained, adding that the liens will likely be filed this week.

"It's not a big issue."

Trivial difference? I don't think so. The story should not have endorsed Mr. Christopulos's excuse for what happened. Reported it, yes. Accepted it as the explanation and lead with suggestion that his excuse was accurate ["Due to an apparent oversight...."], no.

And notice, Mr. Christopulos did not say the liens will, at last, be filed this week. Only that they will "likely be filed this week." I wonder if that's the same sort of "likely" as the Administration's claim last November that manufacturers outlet stores were likely to set up in the three city-rehabbed properties "within a month." Still hasn't happened.

We shall see.

blackrulon said...

It would be informative to learn how many leins were filed on property during the time period that the Leesham properties were spared filing.

birds of a feather said...

Maybe Matty can get John Gullo to help his crooked friend from California out.

ozboy said...

On the one hand it could be a "trivial" matter as Da Mayor's mouth piece stated. They are liens being discussed, and any liens on the property won't be paid back to the city until the properties are sold or developed in any event. So it really doesn't matter that the liens were not placed in a timely manner, only that they get filed before the properties are developed.

I think "Blackrulon" has a very pertinent question however. Just who else has benefited over this laxness in the city gummint's oversight? Was it only Leshem's properties that were torn down and then not filed against? If there were others, was the city also lax in placing liens on them as well?

Given the arrogant and in your face corruption of the Godfrey gang, especially as it pertains to favoritism and cronyism toward Gaddi and other FOM's, I wonder if this "oversight" is now being reported because some one discovered it, and it was going to become public knowledge anyway? Was this article some sort of damage control to cut the legs out from under another scandalous story?

Another question is - does Godfrey have the authority to release these liens in the future? Could he for instance quietly "forgive" these liens in the midst of some future and exciting announcement that the River Project is actually going forward? I could see where a relatively minor thing like a few thousand bucks per property could be forgotten in the excitement surrounding a major move forward for this Godfrey/Lesham fiasco.

Curmudgeon said...


What I'm wondering is why the city had to clean up the properties, on its own dime, and take out liens to insure that it will get the money back, someday. Surely Hizzonah's crony and oft-described great benefactor of Ogden should have seen that the job was done, que no?

Jennifer Neil said...

I sent an email to Godfrey a few months ago about the blighted Leshem properties not being held accountable under the City's code enforcement - he replied "He was working with the developer on resolving the issue."


Curmudgeon said...


"A few months ago." I see. And after months [years, now, actually] of "working with the developer," Hizzonah has decided the city is going to file liens on the property it should have filed long ago to make sure the city gets back the money it spent doing the clean-up the developer refused to do, when the properties are sold, whenever that might be.

And here I thought we had an ineffective mayor in office, too given to cronyism for Friends of Matt. How could I possibly have thought that...?

Matt protects His Buddies said...

Anyone who has worked for Ogden City now or since Uncle Mattie took over knows well that not a single person acts or doesn't act on anything without Micro Manager Matt's approval and direction. You can not tell me that it was an oversight of another. It was Matt all along protecting his buddy. Remember Val Southwick?

Ogden City Attorney, Gary Williams said...


I thought we agreed that you would cease from using official Ogden City photography in your blog postings.

As you know, all photographic, literary, lapidary, fiduciary, topiary, and other media containing the likeness of the mayor is strictly controlled.

Please inform us of how you intend to comply.

Thank you.

Gary Williams, Parody Lawyer

Viktor said...

Excuse me Mr. Williams, but I know lawyers and you are not a "parody" lawyer. You sir are in fact a joke of a lawyer. Unfortunately the joke is on the citizens of Ogden who pick up the salary for the lame lap dances you perform on the mayor as a substitute for actual and meaningful legal work. You really wouldn't make a pimple on the ass of a competent and honest lawyer.

"Honest lawyer"? Hmmm, did I just inadvertently come up with a whole new and revolutionary concept?

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