The Protection Racket

Submitted by lmcshane on Thu, 09/24/2015 - 07:21.
 There have been several favored political stooges in the history of Northeast Ohio.  Surely, Russo and Dimora stand out - and, they operated with an understanding that they, too, were above exposure.  Mike White had his bagman Nate Gray, who took the fall for him.  But, why does the media in Northeast Ohio protect Rokakis and Frangos???
I periodically search the name Frangos - to determine whether anyone has bothered to track some of the content documenting his crimes archived here at REALNEO - and, lo and behold, someone else has noticed and somehow got their content published at  I've been aware of it for some time, but expected one of the NEOMG trolls to take it down.  Since it hasn't disappeared  - and it could any day - I am reposting here:
Who is Lou Frangos robbing today?
by matchingwits 
on June 07, 2011 at 10:36 AM, updated June 08, 2011 at 9:32 AM
Todays entry will be the first in a series of 20 different instances where someone has been fleeced by Lou Frangos, parking lot "magnate" and sacred cow of Cleveland. Despite the fact that every bit of the information I will write about has been reported to the FBI, no investigation has been initiated. Is this the proverbial license to steal? It sure looks like it.
We should start with a cursory search of Louis Frangos in public databases, to determine what his public profile says about the man.
In the Cuyahoga County Clerk of Courts site, criminal case search; Frangos has :
Passing Bad Checks, 6 counts
Grand Theft, 2 counts
In Google search, it looks like a partial scrub has taken place; as much of the negative entries are pushed back away from the first few pages. Most likely a reputation defender type service attempting to paint a better picture.
There are two entries by Business Journal, located in Mahoning Valley, which reports on the Youngstown area appearing on page one. They detail his struggles to avoid paying his bills and cheat his investors on a project to develop the Realty Towers apartments.
For the readers who may not be aware: Frangos operates large parking lot operations in both Cleveland and Youngstown under the name USA Parking. This largely cash oriented business has provided capital necessary to shuffle back and forth as he tries to simultaneously portray himself as a wealthy, successful businessman and commercial developer.  This facade is where he gains entry, as Frangos gathers the politicians like the pied piper with cash to lavish on them and promises of grandiose dreams; developing downtown properties. He may have difficulty (re: willingness) to pay his debts, but he loves to pay bureaucrats and politicians to keep the scheme going.
Lets explore one of the many properties Lou has in his portfolio.
The Cleveland Career Center
1020 Bolivar Rd
Cleveland, Ohio 44115
An old Ohio Bell building which languished for years in decay, Frangos struck a deal with the City of Cleveland (which politician benefited from this?) to redevelop it. It now houses city and county employees, under the workforce development services; opened in May 2007. He takes in $72,000 per month in rent for two floors of this building, paid for by the taxpayers. ( side note: I wonder how many police officers and fire fighters jobs could have been saved if not for this expense?) 
The construction company that managed this 8 million dollar project was D A S Construction (another tie to the county corruption scandal), and after the renovation was complete, as always happens with Frangos the obligatory list of unpaid contractors appeared. He was able to shield himself from non-payment using DAS as the fall guy. Interesting to note that nonpayment in another project and subsequent litigation of the debt was the downfall of Judge McCafferty and Steve Pumper of DAS.
As all self proclaimed "developers" do, Lou Frangos does not use the majority of his own money to finance these projects, he can't. His rob Peter to pay Paul style would preclude him from stalling a stack of cash when it is desperately needed to cover his trail of deceit. He solicits money from the "connections" at his disposal, politicians. Whether its grants, loans or tax subsides; he reaches out to those palms he greased for money. But even the taxpayer monies are not enough to cover the large costs, he has sought "investors". 
Some wealthy players in downtown real estate have rolled the dice on Frangos, the latest is Dan Gilbert and his casino group. I hope Mr Gilbert has done his due diligence in background checking Lou.
Others who have dealt with Frangos on past deals and may not be aware of their status as victims of investor fraud are Hal Lapine and Tom Embrescia. Yes, investment fraud. As Lou signs deals with investors and has a payment schedule for returns; he sends out investor statements. Those statements list the "supposed" costs associated with the property and are deducted from the returns. Those costs are fabrications, lies and outright deceptions. He has a staff of employees who help prepare these statements, knowing that its a complete falsehood. (at this point, please open another tab and search RICO in Google). Where is the FBI in this?
You would think that taking in $72,000 per month on a property would be enough to satisfy the overhead costs like mortgage and construction loans, taxes, utilities etc. Nope, Lou Frangos was short on cash and used the rent money on other parts of his scheme, ignoring the loan payments and sending this building into the beginning stage of foreclosure. My question is: did he charge his investors their fair share of the costs while not paying?  
If the city of Cleveland would like an easy way out of this mess, I would suggest reviewing the lease contract. He is not supposed to operate the parking garage in this building for special event parking during the specified work hours when it is dedicated to the Career Center and clearly spelled out in its lease agreement. Would someone point this out to Joe Cimperman?


Investors make out and protect Rokakis -Frangos

The great irony in all of this - Rokakis and Frangos made out on exclusive tax lien sale to outfits like Aeon, Woods Cove and Plymouth - and now, their buddies also make out on the demolition monies. Watch for Cuyahoga County Land Bank to collect the property after demo so it can be handed off to one of their preferred Western Reserve Land Conservancy investors and the cycle of parasitism continues, ad nauseum.

And, don't forget the other go-to money income generators for R and F - CMHA Section 8 and Cleveland Housing Network transfers. JR's good buddy Brancatelli is priming the old YMCA site for a transfer to CHN because their lease-to-purchase and other schemes for single family housing doesn't generate any income for them, but homeless folks make a great return on investment and they can pile them up into one giant real estate project, unlike their scattered sites. 

See also, the "Dream Neighborhood" hatched by JR for his other near west side acolyte Brian Cummins - guaranteed rental stream to the investors who get properties for FREE from their scooby-doo CDC.
Want to understand the evil ?- watch this whole video
Sent to Plain Dealer today 11/8:
NEOMG editor Chris Quinn admits the media outlet dropped the ball on Russo-Dimora.  For whatever reasons, this same publication continues to delete any of my on line comments related to the Rokakis-Frangos real estate racket.  The activities of Russo-Dimora pale in comparison to the activities of Rokakis-Frangos.  This duo as Treasurer-Deputy Treasurer, could favorably overlook major tax liens and wite-out debt--and they legislated the tax lien sales that the NAACP Legal Defense fund called discriminatory.  Those properties were sold exclusively to outfits like Plymouth Park, Woods Cove and Aeon Financial - outfits that then went on to not pay the taxes on the properties -- many are now blighted and vacant and held by the quasi-governmental entity known as the "Land Bank." The "Land Bank" generates NO tax revenue for Cuyahoga County and, in fact, costs us as the staff mysteriously mushrooms to include Rokakis-Frangos loyalists.

This nightmare is never-ending if we continue to allow these two racketeers to work under cover of the federally-funded community development corporations, like Slavic Village and Detroit Shoreway.  A long standing commercial property - the Brooklyn YMCA - on West 25th just transferred to the "land bank" and it will be demo'd at taxpayer expense with all of the unpaid taxes forgiven.  Perhaps, this time the NEOMG-Plain Dealer will investigate.
See how the land bank operates in Detroit 
The firing came at a time Duggan was defending the city’s demolition efforts in the wake of a scathing report centered on the bid process, costs and true progress of the program. There were also calls for an audit of the Detroit Building Authority and land bank’s demolition activities.
Thank you for questioning O'Malley's trumpet of justice. This is all wrong and it should be exposed, but will he go after Sharon Sobol Jordan and Budish? Highly unlikely. Will ANYONE in Cuyahoga County question the set-up known as the Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corporation? It has been set up to apparently to evade any scrutiny by design. It was incorporated by former County Treasurer Jim Rokakis, who is consistently given a pass on every evil kick-back scheme he cooked up. The vast network of HUD funded CDCs, Housing Court, federal and county HHS monies towards Cleveland Housing Network, Neighborhood Housing Services, Centers for Ohio have grown to bloated proportions hiring friends and relatives, who are paid six figure incomes. The network grew out of his time in Cleveland City Council and now he is protected by his benefactors - like Dan Brady, Dale Miller and, his former BOR employee Cheryl Stephens on Cuyahoga County Council. Expect them to rubber stamp $30 million dollars to hand out to their CCLB friends. It is a repulsive network of parasitism that we continue to vote into office.