Office of Citizen
Rest in Peace,
THE MEDICAL MART MONEY MESS
Submitted by Roldo on Fri, 12/12/2008 - 15:15.
When Squire-Sanders & Dempsey boss Fred Nance presented the report on the site selection committee for the medical mart and the convention center I thought the Greater Cleveland Partnership paid for the study.
Any reasonable person would.
The press conference (some four months ago) was held under the auspices of the Greater Cleveland Partnership and run by Nance.
The press conference was held at the offices of the Greater Cleveland Partnership.
The report was entitled “Greater Cleveland Partnership Medical Mart/Convention Center Site Selection Committee.” It didn’t say “billed” to the County.
When I needed a copy of the report it was delivered by the public relations firm of the Greater Cleveland Partnership.
“We wanted to give you the best information possible,” said the letter accompanying the report - from “Greater Cleveland Partnership Site Selection Committee.” Not from the County Commission.
So you might be led to believe that the Partnership, a sham charity, was taking on some civic responsibility. It was showing civic duty to the people of Cuyahoga County. Stop laughing.
It’s really not that simple, as you might expect.
It was a surprise to me, as it was to the County Commissioners Tim Hagan, Jimmy Dimora and Peter Lawson Jones apparently, when a bill was presented to them for vote yesterday at the County Commission’s meeting.
But, guess what? YOU are paying for it.
The Greater Cleveland Partnership, which took credit, is not paying for it. Of course, the study and its results benefit directly the Partnership’s corporate members.
Nance and the County long ago told me that the payment for Nance’s services on the medical mart deal would not exceed $175,000. Yet yesterday the clueless Hagan, Dimora and Lawson Jones were faced with an agenda item seemingly for another $175,000 with $100,000 apparently for Nance’s work for the Partnership.
Apparently, the Commissioners Three will pay the $100,000 for the Partnership’s study, a self-interested piece of nonsense that selected – as everyone knew it would – a $40-million property owned by the Forest City/Tower City gang of Sam Miller and the Ratners. It will come from money they tell us is very short for REAL NEEDS of County residents.
“Our understanding was this was being paid by Positively Cleveland,” said Lawson Jones, according to the PD report. Positively Cleveland – also neck deep in the med/mart dealing – is really the Convention & Visitors Bureau. I reported some months ago that it had received $100-million in bed tax revenue in the last 17 years.
Now the reason Positively Cleveland was expected and should fork over some dough is that the County, when it dismissed the old Convention Center Facilities Authority that it created, took $161,000 of County money left in the Authority’s budget and gave it to Positively Cleveland and Dennis Roche, its $305,000 a year president. (Why is tax money paying Roche a $300,000 plus salary? Ask Tim, Jim & Peter.)
The Commissioners were not finished dishing out your money for the med/mart & Convention Center, however. The Commissioners tossed a little more dough for the boys over at the corporate-backed Partnership, headed by Joe Roman, its $426,000 a year director.
They also yesterday passed a measure for another $76,400 for medical mart consulting fees to hire the Conventional Wisdom Corp. (aptly named for getting a contract from Hagan, Dimora and Lawson Jones.) Conventional Wisdom will help negotiate lease agreements on the med/mart and convention center with operator MMPI (Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc.)
This ought to be really good. Expect more expenses.
Meanwhile, there’s some $40 million sitting in the County coffers, collected from the increased sales tax for the med/mart & convention center that YOU HAVE PAID THIS YEAR.
Do you know how many people today don’t have money to buy a meal today in Cleveland?
The County Commissioner don’t know, don’t care enough and won’t.