Monday, June 18, 2007

Detail Seeking

Disclosure on the Square
http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/journalgazette/news/editorial/17384705.htm

"The belated request from the three council members who voted against Harrison Square appears to be more of an attempt to fuel skepticism than a need to receive information that has already largely been made public."

"Two of the more expensive Harrison Square properties were the focus of much public attention. The commission bought the Belmont Beverage store for $1.45 million at the conclusion of an eminent-domain legal battle; the commission paid $2.4 million for Bill’s Palace restaurant, one of the last and highest-profile holdouts."

"Money from a tax-increment-financing district bought property near, but not in, the district, raising more complex questions, though commission officials insist the purchases were well within legal guidelines."

"Arguments can be made that the city overpaid for some of the property; the $12 million worth of land was assessed at $6 million. But the individual assessments do not measure what each property is worth as part of a bigger purchase, nor do they measure the value of a business name."

"Once the questions have been addressed and Harrison Square is well under way, the project’s opponents on the council will best serve their constituents by doing everything responsibly possible to make the project succeed."

7 comments:

Joe said...

I was thinking the same thing...why did these 3 ask for this information now? It was published in the J-G quite a while ago (each property and how much was paid for it). I guess they don't read the paper.

John B. Kalb said...

Joe - Every property was NOT listed - nor was the date each property was aquired. In addition, what was published in the Journal initialy was wrong - they had the Federal Building as being owned by Lincoln Financial! - and other errors which were listed as corrections later in the week. If you believe everything that you read in the Journal (or any other media outlet) then you are not very astute. John B. Kalb

Joe said...

all I'm saying is, most, maybe not ALL, of the information they are seeking was made public.

In my opinion this was not an "answer seeking" request, this was a "lets stir the pot more" request. And it's a lost cause, they shouldn't even be worrying about it anymore. They SHOULD be focusing on the future and how to make this project as successful as possible.

John B. Kalb said...

Joe- You are assuming that the attorney for the Redevelopment Commission is correct in his statement that "they followed all requirements in the applicable Indiana Code 36-7-14. Attorneys are not always correct - witness courtroom activities - one set of lawyers is always wrong on any item up for a ruling. If attorneys were always correct, we would not need a court system. I suggest we continue to question these activities- I want to find out what our Indiana State Board of Accounts is going to say about Leatherman & Co.s activities toward this boondoggle. We should know next week. John B. Kalb

Scott said...

Let's say for a moment that the property was bought improperly. What would then happen to the project? What does the State have the authority to do in that case? Or will it just be a slap on the wrist? I can't see that guy that owned the Palace giving his 2.5 million back to the city and running a restaurant again. So what are the State's options if the property was bought improperly?

John B. Kalb said...

Scott - Per the applicable Indiana Code 36-7-14, if Leatherman & Co. did what we think they did, they are subject to being charged with a Class C felony - so if the report comes back like we think it will, we will be visiting Karen Richards for action. And this time Leatherman and Co. will not have the threat of a large bond to prevent this action. John B. Kalb

Jeff Pruitt said...

Scott,

I simply want the Redevelopment Commission to admit they didn't follow the proper procedure, acquire new counsel, and make a committment to follow state law in the future.

Currently, they are claiming that they didn't violate the law because they didn't use eminent domain - that is absurd...