Submitted by Jeff Buster on Sun, 05/04/2008 - 14:42.

The plain, simple minded, Dirty Dealer is unable to cut through the glib assurances of Town Engineer Ciuni and others who continue to ambiguously suggest that  the Cuyahoga County owned University Square Plaza (mall) 5 deck parking garage is structurally safe .  The photo above shows a typical double T precast garage installation at another parking structure.  Notice that there is much more depth of the vertical leg of the T resting on the horizontal (beam is concrete in the above photo but steel in USq.) beam than in the USq. garage lower photo here in an earlier article on Realneo.



It is my opinion that the USa. garage is not safe -  and remember if there is a collapse the garage is OWNED by Cuyahoga County taxpayers.


Besides being unsafe, it is my opinion there is no way to practically “repair” the  garage – and remember the garage is owned by Cuyahoga County taxpayers!


Here’s why the USa. garage is unsafe and UNREPAIRABLE!


The Dirty Dealer does not grasp that there is not one, but TWO failure MODE problems with the 900+ units of double “T” pre-stressed concrete floor planks:


1.          FAILURE MODE ONE IS PARALELL WITH THE LONG AXIS OF THE BEAMS -WHERE THE UNSUPPORTED “ARMS” OF THE “T” ARE CRACKING ACROSS THE ENTIRE LENGTH OF THE PLANK ADJACENT TO and parallel with  THE VERITCAL LEG OF THE “T”  This failure can be seen on the entry/exit ramp from both the top and bottom sides.  Newly installed short steel I beams (and not shoring frames) are being used to temporarily secure this failure mode.

2.          FAILURE MODE TWO IS PERPENDICULAR TO THE LONG AXIS OF THE BEAMS AT EITHER END OF THE BEAMS WHERE THE CONCRETE PLANKS REST ON THE HORIZONTAL STEEL “I” BEAMS (which transfer the plank load to the vertical steel columns).  This failure mode can be seen at the ends of the “T” beams directly adjacent to the shoring frames at all of the 35 shoring frame locations.   (there are actually more than 35 shoring frame locations, and there are many locations were the planks have significant visible end cracking which are not shored).  A few months ago  I telephoned Mr. Ciuni and left a detailed voice message detailing the location of a few of these unsupported ends above the ramp which accesses the basement level of the garage.  I never heard back from Mr. Ciuni.


When Mr. Simon, the engineer who originally designed the garage for Suffolk Construction (a Massachusetts general contractor), tells the DD that it is UPS delivery trucks that have caused the damage – that is false and deliberately misleading.    Because there are many failed planks in mid floor areas of the garage where there is inadequate headroom for anything taller than a car or small van – it is clear that the planks are failing under the normal automobile design load.  Two months ago when I spoke with Mr. Simon he told me that he had not even heard that there was a problem with the garage.   Now he recently apparently told the DD reporter Patrick O’Donnell in the May 2, 2008 edition of the DD that there was a problem with a truck going up the ramp and damaging the ramp when the garage was under construction 5 years ago.   


Anyway, if there was a weight limit going into the garage – shouldn’t there be an elevated bar across the entry which physically limits the height of entering vehicles?



Conclusion:  This parking structure should be immediately closed and demolished. It is an accident waiting to happen.  Spending any more County money on it will be throwing good money after bad. 


Did Star Wasserman know the garage was already failing when Star sold the USq. Plaza “development” to Inland?  (Diversified looked at buying the property but from what I understand from UH Mayor Rothschild, DD passed.)   I bet SW did know because the cracks in these planks didn’t just begin in the last few years – you can prove that the cracks where there almost from the time the garage was constructed because of the corrosion and efflorescence stains which have developed as water has leached through the cracks.  The cracks in the planks may have been one reason SW wanted to sell!  And, if we take Mr. Simon at his word in the DD report, the planks were cracking from the time the garage was built.


Will property insurance cover the engineer’s design flaws?   I don’t think so because most property insurance is payable only on sudden catastrophic damage – not design – caused damage. 


The DD reporter never mentions that the garage is owned by the Cleveland-Cuyahoga Port Authority.  So, then the next question is, why would inland be paying for repairs to the garage if Inland doesn’t own the garage?  Unless there is a maintenance/operational agreement between the Port Authority (PA) and Inland making Inland contractually obligated to cover the extraordinary maintenance costs of replacing the failed planks, then the PA will be responsible for paying the cost of the repairs/replacement. 


If I were on the Port Authority, I would immediately file claim against everyone involved with the building of the garage – because many states have a statute of limitations on how many years can elapse before there is a bar to filinga a claim against the builder/developer/architect/engineer.


If I were on the PA I  would attempt to go after any errors and omissions insurance that Engineer Simon, the Architect, local licensed engineers,  or Suffolk, or Starwood Wasserman, or Wasserman’s attorney Dennis Wilcox may have had at the time the garage was designed and constructed.  I would make claims against Starwood Wasserman and SW attorney Dennis H.Wilcox – because Wilcox was working for SW while Wilcox also had the Cuyahoga Cleveland Port Authority  as a client.  That  is clearly a conflict of interest and an ethical violation for an attorney.  


If I worked for the PA I would investigate to find out who was responsible for “selling” the parking garage to the County and make a claim against that person or entity as well.   The County had no business “buying” and owning a parking structure the use of which was exclusively for one mall owner. 


I don’t believe the pre-cast supplier was at fault - though I have not seen the pre-cast engineering drawings and do not know if the pre-cast supplier did or did not follow the reinforcement design precisely. 



Now there is another interesting question:  Why would SW “pay” Inland for several years for empty spaces at UHP?  Inland bought the UHP from SW about two years ago and then SW continued to “pay” inland for empty space in the development. 


One reason SW would “pay” inland is to provide a fraudulent “income” stream to Inland so that Inland would be better able to obtain financing for the purchase of the property.  Could a bank be so stupid and willfully corrupt that they wouldn’t even send out someone to visually confirm who the tenants were in the property?   Probably.  The Ohio Attorney General (when he gets out of bed) should investigate.


Another possible reason that SW would continue to “pay” Inland for empty space is because SW may have had an ownership interest in another nearby competing mall and was hoping to lease up remaining space in the competing mall without competing with US. 


I don’t know if SW was involved in leasing/owning any other geographically close mall property.  Anyone know the answer?

 This is the 5th in a series of Realneo posts about the University Square parking structure.  Four are Buster posts, one is a Roulet post.  Check them out if you're interested.

I will write about the tax increment financing deal that University Heights ignorantly entered into with the developer soon. The DD doesn't have that tax deal explained correctly either.

Double-T-prestressed-correc.jpg94.25 KB
( categories: )

Port Authority financed University Square... asked for more

You are correct again, Jeff, as the Cleveland Port Authority lists $40.6 million loaned to finance University Square parking garage. It seems the PD article avoided that point, but wrote of the project seeking $7 million in additional Port money. Good money after bad? Jeff, you probably saved taxpayers some serious money exposing this mess...

Inland had been seeking about $7 million in financing from the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority to make improvements and possibly cover the $400,000 in repairs. Port officials said Thursday that the request is on hold while Inland assesses market conditions.

Nothing about this is as it seems, but when you look through the Port funding list you have to wonder what is the inside story behind most of the deals... friends paying off friends in various ways. So, has such deal-making come to a stop, with new port leadership and the focus on building a container facility, whether that is smart or not...?

Disrupt IT

hi jeff...this topic

hi jeff...this topic interests me and made me register as a new member. I'm a graduate graphic design student.

I'm working for school project: unsafe parking garages...doing a campaign posters and might be bumper stickers...starting from research the problem...and i found this topic is interesting...coz i'm the one who use the parking garage a lot. I think people might not concern much about this issue...that's why i wanna do this topic and design something as a public awareness.

Thanks for ur article...I get further knowledge. I'm surprised that people talk about this issue coz from my research I didn't see much. I'm so excited to design now.  

Design is everything

The Roman Aquaducts in Spain are still standing, and the Inner belt bridge is falling...what does that say? 


Meanwhile, our leaders are playing the wait-and-see game on the Inner Belt bridge--toying with public safety, so we qualify for immediate federal funding. 

It's a sad, sad world.

I'm an international

I'm an international student...I was surprised finding many structural unsafe incidents in USA coz I think this country is one of the most safety oriented country in the world. 

There is  no plan for the state to inspect the public safety, and no fund absolutely....only 3 reason to do; when first initial build, when renovation, and when have a serious complain...many lessons we've learned since past for examples

NY thruway bridge fell in 1987..... in btw 2007-2008; Interstate highway bridge in Minneapolis collapsed into Mississippi river, A catastrophic bridge collapse in Minnesota, Ceiling tiles fall in one of Boston's airport tunnels, Portions of a parking garage in upstate NY collapsed for no apparent reason, A single car hit a post in North Carolina mall, bringing down an entire section of the garage there, The garage @ U Massachusetts in Boston had to be closed after being deemed structurally unsafe,  etc

I hope what the design I'm going to do might be helpful for people to concern and aware the fact...it might lead to set some organization (like in canada) to deal with this issue and might expand to petition local and state government to enact the law requiring annual inspection 


Serious infrastructure, leadership, and citizenship issues

Welcome to REALNEO - where are you based?

If you think this garage is bad (and it is), you should see our Innerbelt Bridge, which they have on reduced use for fear it will collapse. They've been wasting $ millions for 10 years planning about this - none of the people doing the planning had the intelligence to get anything done, but waste money. We have very poor leadership here, in our region, state and county, and it shows in these type of very public ways. Most citizens are just too dumbed down and lead poisoned and brainwashed by poor mainstream media to do anything about anything that really matters.

But we have lots of professional sports and nice new stadiums all over the land.

To be quite honest, America is entirely dependant on people like you, who come from more enlightened places (and I don't even know where you are from, but it couldn't be less enlightened), to help the good people here to turn this county around, and redevelop it for global harmony in the future. We are not viable on a sustainable Earth and have failed to develop a society capable to solve the problems we cause here.

Fortunately for all, we just elected Obama president.

Disrupt IT

structurally unsafe parking garages

I'm in Boston MA. My original country is Thailand (BKK).

I came here for study.

My project about structurally unsafe parking garages campaign has been completed (for printing campaign). I'm quite satisfied with overall design. I use the campaign under named "G.R.I.P" which stands for Garage Repair and Inspection Plan. My classmates and professor have talked about this project and I felt like they were realized about this issue. I would like to do the public awareness especially in Boston area. And I hope it might expand to overall country. I'm about to do a short video for showing in Youtube also. 

Yesterday there was a collapsed parking garage in Boston. My friend told me it was on the news (tv). I haven't checked yet but I feel that this campaign might be a good idea when the recent accident just happened so people would be realized, more concerned and hope there could be a starting point for something good in the future.



REALNEO archives the truth -University Square

University Square shopping center in 2013 is more than $12 million behind on property taxes and debt payments "

"A $40 million bond-financing deal, which paid for construction of a 2,000-plus-car parking garage at the center, soured"


"To pay for that garage, University Heights agreed to cap taxes on the property and to allow the developer to make payments on debt, in lieu of higher taxes. That arrangement, known as tax-increment financing, carried a 30-year term."


"In a filing last week, attorneys for UMB raised questions about where the money from University Square is going. And they added fraud charges to their list of claims against University Heights Holding 4 LLC and University Square Parking LLC, the companies affiliated with the Casabs."




REALNEO's Jeff Buster outlined this colossal failure starting in 2008 -search the site :



REALNEO's Norm Roulet knew that VA was pyramid scheme also involving TIF and bond monies



REALNEO's Lily Miller exposed racism and corruption behind the land bank duo - third party tax lien sales and demolition for shadow partners.  



Juvenile Detention Center and CMHA Taj Mahal will also hit the fan in bond repayment - 



Bottomline : bankruptcy.  We have allowed crooks to swindle every borrowed dollar - and to get away with it.  Steering the same course as Detroit and Wayne County.