Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Council Press

Downtown land buys face review

"Three Fort Wayne City Council members who are opponents of Harrison Square publicly requested detailed information Tuesday on how the land for the downtown development was bought."

"Joseph Bonahoom, council attorney, wrote a letter to the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission on behalf of Councilmen Tom Smith, R-1st, Don Schmidt, R-2nd, and John Shoaff, D-at large, seeking the information within 10 days. The councilmen voted against the $130 million downtown development, which the council voted 6-3 to approve in April."

"In the letter, the councilmen seek the price the city paid – or will pay – for each parcel of land and the source of that money. They also request the city disclose its method for determining the value of the property. The councilmen also request information about when parts of the project entered special taxing districts, as money from the Jefferson Pointe tax increment finance district was used to buy some of the land."

Councilmen seek more answers
Three Harrison Square opponents submit a letter questioning the purchase of land slated for development

"The three councilmen said the request was not adversarial in nature, but the call for material was to help better answer constituents’ questions regarding the purchases. The letter asks for the information within the next 10 days."

"Councilman Sam Talarico Jr., R-at-large, and Tim Pape, D-5th District, both advocates of Harrison Square, expressed concern the letter was drafted by Joseph Bonahoom, one of council’s attorneys. They questioned whether it was appropriate to have an attorney who represents the body write a letter that represents the views of a few."

"Talarico said the letter read like a request made during litigation and asks many of the same questions asked by John Kalb and Mark Garvin, who filed remonstrances against the project."

Councilmen Question Harrison Square Purchases

"The three say they chose to write the letter outside of council because they would not get the votes to do so within council. "

"Other council members say they don't understand why the three drafted a letter when the information has been available to the public all along. "