"HIGH RISK" PERFORMANCE @ PORT AUTHORITY

Submitted by Jeff Buster on Sun, 01/21/2007 - 13:23.

 

winter sleeping on the street in cleveland, ohio

Corruption and self-dealing continues the demise of NEO -  and these people sleeping on the street are direct victims of our civic malfeasance.

I believe that public corruption and self dealing by public representatives is the cause of NEO's continuing economic demise.  Reputable businesses "smell" this and stay clear of Cleveland and NEO.  Why would a European wind turbine manufacturer decide to establish a facility here, when they can go where governments function in the sunlight?  Testimony to our demise are the recent statistics for ridership on the RTA (whose officials rightly voluntarily disclose their private financial interest to avoid the appearance of conflicts) for regional Cleveland :  in 1980 there were 130 million transit rides, in the most recent year that had dropped to 57 million rides.  Workers ride public transit.  These figures tell me that there are many fewer jobs here than there were in 1980. 

That means our local government is rotten in my opinion.  They tout their performance, but the proof is in the pudding.

 

The Port Authority has done nothing to improve the Port of Cleveland physical facilities, and instead has concentrated on self serving commercial development projects for its close friends and for institutions that don’t need public financing – the Cleveland Clinic.  On top of this, the Authority has seen to it that they are not governed by the Open Meeting Laws which govern other Ohio public officials   See link here:  http://www.ssd.com/publications/pub_detail.aspx?pubid=8909#ConfusedAboutPortAuthorities

 

One of the many challenges facing  Ronn Richard’s and the Cleveland Foundation’s dream of wind turbines on the lake, is the lack of any adequate local port facilities or marine equipment to handle or install the turbines or their support towers.  That’s one reason Mr. Richard can give no date as to when the water based turbines might become reality and a reason turbines should first go on land .

 

I encourage Tom Breckenridge,  Joan Mazzolini and the Plain Dealer to continue and expand this long overdue expose of the Port Authority.  See today's Plain Dealer on line at Cleveland.com for Port Authority coverage.
 

 

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Latest Release from Investigative Reporter Ed Hauser

     

        This is important reading regarding our Port Authority. To reduce the size of the post, I have eliminated addresses.  I have tried to reproduce Ed's "bolds" etc. but when you move things around, these sorts of emphases tend to disappear.  Anyhow, we should be glad that Ed is keeping a watchful eye on the Port for us, because they need "supervision".  As Tim Ferris says, we can't go about our own business because we have to babysit our government(didn't you say something like this, Tim?) The new Ohio government ought to reapply sunshine laws to all of Ohio's Port Authorities. If what they are doing is good for us, then  what is the problem with our knowing the details?

       January 25, 2007

To:  Honorable Board of Cuyahoga County Commissioners  
From:  Ed Hauser

Dear Honorable Board of Cuyahoga County Commissioners:

I respectfully request the county commissioners to appoint a person with Great Lakes maritime shipping credentials to the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority Board of Directors.  There are not any board members with Great Lakes maritime shipping credentials.  Cuyahoga County and the city of Cleveland created the Port Authority primarily for maritime shipping and there needs to be representation on the board.

I respectfully request the county commissioners reestablish negotiations with the city of Cleveland to balance the number of Port Authority board member appointments.  The county residents pay a much larger portion of Port Authority taxes than city residents.  All of the Port Authority owned properties used for maritime purposes were purchased with county tax dollars.

I respectfully request the county commissioners to adopt a resolution requesting Ohio legislators to amend the Ohio Revised Code requiring board members of Ohio's port authorities to file Disclosure Statements with the Ohio Ethic Commission.  Ohio's port authorities are included under Ohio Ethics Law.  However, it's absurd that appointed board members of Ohio's port authorities do not have to file financial disclosure statements with the Ohio Ethics Commission.  Port Authority boards have the power to use eminent domain and issue bonds for millions of dollars for private and public projects.

I respectfully request the county commissioners to have the Port Authority reinstate provisions for preparing future development plans and conducting public hearings to gather comments for those plans.
In September 2003, the Port Authority adopted the provisions for preparing future plans and holding public hearings that were repealed from the Ohio Revised Code.  In January 2005, the Port Authority deleted those provisions from its Rules & Regulations.  In March 2007, the Port Authority plans to release its $900,000 Port Relocation Study without the provision to conduct a public hearing to gather comments for a study the taxpayers paid for.  The Port Authority's behavior regarding this matter is unacceptable.

I respectfully request the county commissioners not to reappoint Chairman John Carney when his term expires.  A recent Plain Dealer article (1/21/07) raised significant questions about Chairman Carney's potential conflicts of interest.  After inspecting the Port Authority's public records, I believe there may be potential conflicts of interest between Chairman Carney and developers.  I am providing my findings in a timeline below:

01/12/06- "Moving port is key to plans" (Westside Sun News, Ken Prendergast)·
        Carney begins to introduce Stark to the Port Board by recommending him to develop eastside Port property.
        Carney says the port authority, which finances new development projects, can play a direct role in making Stark's plans a reality.  Carney, Stark's partner in the $20 million Crocker Park "lifestyle center" in Westlake, has introduced Stark to the rest of the port authority board as well as to other downtown developers.
         Carney acknowledges his partnership with Stark puts limitations on what he can do officially as port board chairman.  When Starks was looking for a port authority to help finance the construction of parking decks at Crocker Park, he turned to the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority to avoid conflict of interest.
         "Because he's a partner with me, I wouldn't be able to be involved with any dealings with him," he said.  "What I'm doing at this point is to put my do-gooder hat on in making introductions…"
          "We will work with Bob Stark and the city to accomplish this sooner rather than later," Carney pledged.

04/20/06- Port Relocation Study - Request for Qualifications (RFQ):
·         Carney recommended Stark three months before the Port Authority released a RFQ for the future development study.
·         Carney is a partner in the ownership of the Water Street Apartments located in the area stated below.
            "…Define potential use of existing Port Authority east side property and determine if more vigorous re-use of the property could be created by encouraging increased density between the existing Warehouse District  and Port Authority property by the physical connection (between West 3rd and West 9th streets) of the two areas and provide a conceptual plan and cost estimate…"

05/24/06- "Developer Pitches Warehouse Plan" (Plain Dealer, Christopher Montgomery)
·         Carney travels to Las Vegas on Port Authority business for a developer's convention from May 21-23, 2006.
           Asher said he thinks it has helped that he and Carney have attended many of the meetings… "I think it brings a lot of confidence and cohesiveness to the plan," Asher said.  "Retailers can look at us and know that we wouldn't be spending our time on this unless we thought it was worthwhile."  Carney said he is there to assure retailers that the Port Authority board has considered Stark's plan and is "working with him to achieve it."

07/06/06- Carney turns in expense report for the Las Vegas Trip
·         Carney turns in a hotel reservation form for a room booked by James Stark, no receipt of payment only a hand typed bill totaling $1,126.19 for a three night stay at "THEhotel at Mandalay Bay."

09/08/06- Port Authority Board Meeting Minutes
·         Hauser Public Comments- "He closed by saying he believes that John Carney has a conflict of interest between his role as board chairman and his relationship with developer Bob Stark."
·         "Director Wager commented that he believes that Chairman Carney has shown an excess of caution regarding his role on the Port Authority board and his professional associations, and has recused himself in discussions with multiple developers.  Director Wager stated that he believes that any suggestion to the contrary is false."
·         No public record of any Port Authority board members meeting with any developers for eastside properties. 

09/15/06- Memo from Carney to President Failor
·         "Per our conversation, The Mandalay Bay hotel receipt attached to my expense report dated July 6th, contains James Starks' name because the Stark organization handled the reservations on my behalf.  Please be advised that the sole occupants of the room were myself and my wife.  These charges were paid by me and are reimbursable in full to me."

09/19/06- Carney is reimbursed for his Las Vegas trip expenses without showing proof of payment for the hotel

10/24/06- Carney finally writes a check to Crocker Park LLC to reimburse Stark Enterprises for the hotel room
·         "The borrower, Crocker Park Delaware LLC, is a joint venture between prominent Cleveland developer Robert L. Stark and members of the Carney Family." (Quoted from a Prudential Financial- News Release 12/20/05)

I second Ed Hauser's requests

In a meeting with a very important developer in Cleveland, I asked why we aren't attracting more, better outside developers to invest in Cleveland, and he responded it is because Cleveland is so corrupt serious developers won't touch us. I believe Ed has well documented the extent of back-room dealing and corruption at the Port Authority and that confirms the perceptions of one of our most important local developers - our leadership is too corrupt for the city and region to prosper. When you add to the current absurdity the ongoing findings about corruption between Cleveland city government and developers on the Cleveland Airport Expansion, and the Forgotten Triangle and CMHA fiasco, etc., the real question about the "Quiet Crisis" in Cleveland is why so many leaders here allow such corruption to continue... they certainly know it is the case. The conclusion must be too many local leaders benefit personally from the corruption. The only way to change this situation is to completely restructure Cleveland leadership. I second Ed Hauser's recommendations, above, and call upon other Cleveland leaders to become personally involved in ending corruption of all types in the planning and development of our city and region.

Disrupt IT

I 3rd HAUSER'S REQUESTS

Cleveland and NEO desperately needs to turn over their boards, commissions, and authorities to new representatives who are ethical and not in it for their under the radar financial benefit.  Mr. Carney, of the Port Authority, feigned that he didn't know that the redevelopment project he was voting for on West Street, was on the same downtown Cleveland West Street as his own property.  That isn't believable. 

FREE ENTERPRISE FOR THE POOR, SOCIALISM FOR THE RICH


Please take the time to read Cool Cleveland's  contributor Roldo Bartimole
here:

http://www.coolcleveland.com/index.php?n=Main.RoldoLinkJacksonsBoilerplate 

Mr. Bartimole's perspective captures my sentiment in this blog posting – the public corruption isn’t all “illegal”, but our past “leadership’s” deals are clearly detrimental to the public and will continue to drag the area under for years to come.

Under the false guise of public benefit, private individuals are destroying the civic fabric by taking scarce public capital and lining their private pockets.  The wealthy socialize the costs of their projects by taking or "borrowing" from the individual taxpayer, while the poverty stricken taxpayer in NEO is forced to  competitively survive in the "free enterprise" system. 

Roldo Bartimole itemizes the millions and millions of dollars that have been sucked out of Cleveland by the area's well heeled developers and land owners and phony sports franchises.  No wonder Cleveland is on its shaky knees headed to the ground while it is being plundered.      Mr. Bartimole's  list of PUBLIC OFFICIAL’S SELF DEALING, MIS-MANAGEMENT, AND CORRUPTION should enrage the taxpayer, but after 40 years of spiraling downward, the public doesn't seem to be aware they are being robbed.  Besides Mr. Mulready, who publishes Cool Cleveland.com, who else will raise their voice and ire?




Thanks to Roldo

This guy should be awarded a prize. He is surely the watchdog that Hagan addresses. Hagan, remember is the guy who won't be swayed about tearing down the Breuer building.
Hagan is a crook. I didn't vote for him and won't. Developers have been sucking the life out of our region for years.
Tax abatement did much for Cleveland's affordable housing market, reviving rundown neighborhoods. It shouldn't be for wealthy developers and the well to do who move into their McMansions and McLofts. It certainly should not support sports facilities and teams. Jeez! These developers should have to pay for the Cleveland Schools to have a complete green building makeover and infusing of more young faculty to get the students excited about learning.
And talk about transparency, what is it with this scant dinosaur of a city website?
Type Portland Oregon or Chicago into your browser and see the layers of information available.

Go Roldo. I've been reading Roldo since Point of View back in the 70s!

Ed, you, me - there are a bunch of us

Having change in leadership in DC and Columbus is dirving change here in things like ODOT, and people here are realizing that. So it seems like lots of people are starting to speak up - it is like the Berlin Wall has been toppled and Clevelanders are free to express themselves for the first time. It'll take a while for people to get used to that - the port is probably the most complex political situation in NEO so it will take a while before there is an army of watchdogs looking over that. Lucky we have Ed Hauser in the mean time.

Disrupt IT

Port conflict in media - links from Citizen Hauser

Cool Cleveland readers write - Wednesday, January 31, 2007

On John Carney's conflict of interest (See On John Carney's conflict of interest on the Port Authority here) After following how the Port Authority operates for over eight years, I find that this tax supported public agency needs to open up to public scrutiny and let the "sunshine" in. This appointed board- filled with developers, lawyers and business people (maritime interests not represented) - has and uses the power of eminent domain, and has issued revenue bonds totaling $1.4 billion for private and public projects. Ohio's port authorities fall under Ohio's ethics law, but board members don't need to file financial disclosure statements- absurd!    I believe that the Plain Dealer articles raised significant questions of conflict along with my findings that were submitted to the county commissioners, to warrant an investigation by the Ohio Ethics Commission. It's the OEC's duty to determine if there are any violations. I requested the county commissioners NOT to reappoint John Carney until these issues are resolved.
from Cool Cleveland reader Ed Hauser
 http://realneo.us/Ed-Hausers-Public-Records-Request ejhauserATameritech.net
 



The Plain Dealer Editorial - Monday, January 29, 2007

The port and purity             The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority was created almost 40 years ago to manage maritime operations at the region's major port. It has since morphed into an economic development financing body with a hand in community projects totaling $1.4 billion.             In fact, port-issued revenue bonds now also finance projects in Geauga, Lake, Medina, Summit and Jackson counties. A nine-member board paid for with public money approved those ambitious plans.             Some critics have complained that port projects get tangled with the interests of board members, including developer and board Chairman John Carney, who is awaiting reappointment.             It doesn't appear Carney knowingly did anything wrong, but the board should adopt some clear rules that deal with situations in which board members have even an indirect stake in port-financed projects. Members should not vote in those instances.             Also needed is an extra layer of transparency - full disclosure of any such interests. That would only improve the board's credibility and help the public sniff out damaging conflicts. 


Cool Cleveland Newslinks - Wednesday, January 24, 2007

John Carney's conflict of interest on Port Authority He wants to be reappointed chairman of the board of the powerful Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, which answers to no one and can float its own bonds, raise millions in public money, and give that money to whomever it pleases. They can also institute eminent domain proceedings, as they've done to assist developer Scott Wolstein's East Bank Flats project. Since Carney holds significant DT property impacted by the Port's decisions, and he co-developed Crocker Park with developer Bob Stark, whose Warehouse District plans would impact Carney's land and Port operations themselves, many feel he should have recused himself because of conflict of interest. Read. And why aren't the Port's board members required to disclose their financial interests? Read. And why just this week does the PD publish an accompanying story that Carney announced in April 2006 he would no longer vote on Flats issues. Read.   The County Commissioners will vote on whether to reappoint Carney this month, and even they are conflicted: Carney is Commissioner Tim Hagan's former brother-in-law. You may want to send your thoughts to the commissioners: Peter Lawson Jones: CNPLJ [at] cuyahogacounty [dot] us, Tim Hagan: cntfh [at] cuyahogacounty [dot] us, and Jimmy Dimora: CNJCD [at] cuyahogacounty [dot] us.

Disrupt IT