Office of Citizen
Rest in Peace,
Ready for another screwing
Submitted by Roldo on Wed, 03/12/2008 - 14:22.
READY FOR ANOTHER SCREWING
We are, unfortunately, at a dangerous time in the discussions of the Medical Mart with the Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc. (MMPI) of Chicago and the County, being represented by Fred Nance, managing partner of Squire Sanders law firm.
A Medical Mart is being used as an excuse to build a new convention center that will cost hundreds of millions of dollars and operate annually at significant losses. It also will endanger the City of Cleveland fiscally by rendering its convention center near useless.
We can’t forget the two County Commissioners – Tim Hagan and Jim Dimora – as partners in this deal, which from my view will become a sellout of the interests of County residents. The pair voted an increased sales tax now being collected on most purchases in the County.
The Plain Dealer reports that MMPI and Nance have had “constructive” talks. That’s worrisome because there’s no constructive avenue for this project.
Here we are again attempting to deal at the last minute with a “partner” that wants a sweetheart deal.
It is very reminiscent of the final dealings for Gateway when the Gunds – George and Gordon – had the county where it wanted it in dealing for its lease on the arena. Of course, the County – Hagan in the lead then, too – gave away the store. We can expect the same here.
The County has paid from its general fund more than $100 million on extra Gateway bonds, beyond the $250-million or so from “sin” taxes for Gateway. The bondholders have skimmed millions of dollars more from the city of Cleveland. The debt won’t be settled until 2023 with the payment of some $10 million a year from government revenue.
Hagan at that time led the Commission voting for a $75-million bond issue and a $45-million bond issue that essentially will cost taxpayers over the bond duration with the interest to bondholders some $300 million.
The same kind of proposition will be facing County taxpayers with a medical mart and convention center. Only $300 million will be insignificant to the cost of building and financing the two facilities for conventions.
Tomorrow can we expect the County to place itself (really us taxpayers) in financial jeopardy if Nance and the boys give MMPI a deal that puts the County on the spot for the financing of this facility.
Another massive building project will be a drain on the public treasury and won’t solve any of Cleveland’s real problems.