high rollin'

Submitted by Susan Miller on Fri, 03/28/2008 - 10:32.
Since we're thinkin' big silver bullets, let's think even bigger. Here's a plan that I think is brilliant and truly gets to the heart of what Clevelanders want and need. We have the space and the beginnings already, so let's consider stemming the tide of gamblers to Detroit and bring 'em downtown to feed the city's coffers. You want to throw away your money? Hey, we want to take it from you! Yeah! Read all about the proposal for a Casino in Cleveland here. I'm so convinced this is what we need, I am going to rush right out and buy a cocktail dress for the occasion! Lift a glass; this could be a bright future (and I'm not kiddin'!)

Honestly! I can't believe Native Americans haven't reclaimed the Mall for a casino yet. Now that this idea is out there though, Frank Jackson, et al better move fast if they want to retain the potential profits. Roll the dice, deal the cards, imagine the jobs for servers, dancers, musicians and comedians - Wow! Polish your jewels Cleveland! Right next to the Milan of the Midwest could be Monte Carlo of the Rustbelt Riviera.

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Image credit

Nice image.  Unveilings.  Insane.  Did you know this ?!:

"A developer's vision for the east bank of the Flats has grown dramatically, driven by demand for new downtown space for offices, hotels and other businesses."

So, if I say it or print it, is it true??  "Driven by demand for new downtown space for offices, hotels, and other businesses."  Huh?

My question would be, where in the unveiling is the explanation of public funds that will be expended?

Roldo - can you help here?

I was sure I had read several months back about the litany of infrastructure costs that will be provided by the magnanimous residents of the City of Cleveland for this project. I feel certain Roldo had collected them and typed them up for us as he so often does when the folks in Cleveland generously turn out their pockets for corporate welfare. I tell you, some say the people in Cleveland are poor, but I submit they must be feelin’ the pinch these days with so many projects on their credit cards. Residents and visitors to the county share in the tax charity to build the sliver bullet medmart (oh, yes, and MMPI kicks in a miniscule donation, too), but with Gateway and Browns Stadium and the Rock Hall all being paid off - wow, how many mansions can one jobless, homeless, uneducated city afford?

This is why I think the proposal for a casino is a good idea. People want to gamble - that would be people other than me. (I just want to smoke. So I am doing my fair share.) Why not let them do it for the good of Cleveland?

When I walk my dog by the neighborhood gas station at any hour, I can see people lined up to buy lottery tickets inside the small lighted mini-mart. Let's face it - people love to gamble.

How many people who work for the City of Cleveland would rather be working at a lovely beaux arts casino than pushing paper around city hall?

"Owned by, for, and of the people of the region, through a system of equal shares, allowed to be held only by residents of the municipalities invested in the casino, and the possession of which may not be concentrated or monopolized by the few."

Here's where I have a question. "region" Should that be "city"? Let's say the City of Cleveland owns this property and Cleveland builds the casino. Would it not then follow that residents of Cleveland would get a discounted admission to the casino? Would it not be an additional revenue source to say that if you do not live in Cleveland or own a business in the city, you pay more to gamble your money away in the the would be burgeoning coffers of the central city? I would think you might like this idea Laura. In other words, if you live in Hunting Valley, your entry would cost you a few bucks more. If you live in Cleveland - the computer would know because they would be able to verify that you are a resident, business owner and taxpayer already - that your taxes have already been expended to build the thing and you, being part owner, would get a break for your time to contribute more.

Later I will write more about Norm Krumholz's comments on regional government, but for now suffice it to say that the "region" has shown little interest in the vitality of Cleveland proper. So let them eat cake, uh... I mean let them pay more. In fact, that includes me because I live in Cleveland Heights - let me pay more. (I have no interest in gambling, so my extra cash could only be in the price of admission to stand by and watch the fervor.) Let the revenues be for the city alone - screw the region. Turn about may be fair play in this case.

These are just my musings and the sunny outdoors is beckoning me and my dog, so please, if you can Roldo - help us out here. How much will city residents pay to help Wolstein build his dream?

I believe the image credit goes to David Ellison and or Mark Jackson.

what the PD didn't cover on Flats Eastbank

Well, I wrote to Roldo and he wrote back:

"link to www.readroldo.com and cite the column from 5/3/06 headlined, "Flats deal is a disgrace."  The booty is listed at the end..."

Now the list of subsidies in this deal is too long to recount, (Cleveland) PLUS, you should read the whole thing because it is priceless. Here's another great Roldo (unfortunately probably true) punchline to whet your appetite:

"-  And the city will wipe the ass of the developer whenever necessary.

Oh, that last one.  That was just in my notes, not the 57-page agreement."

click through...

I recommend this entire series in fact. If you haven't read Roldo, you have no idea what's really going down in real NEO.

our tax dollars at work

As tax day, April 15 approaches, it is instructive to consider what those sums finance in our region and beyond. Here's one thing to consider.

Plain Dealer Friday, April 04, 2008 

CEO Scott A. Wolstein , Developers Diversified Realty Corp.

Headquarters: 3300 Enterprise Parkway, Beachwood

Business: Real estate investment trust specializing in shopping centers

Scott Wolstein, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer $7,152,401

Change from previous year: +16.5 percent

Developers Diversified paid Wolstein a salary of $880,449, up from $641,667 in 2006. His compensation package included stock awards valued at $2,528,826 and option awards worth $628,812. He also received $700,000 in bonuses, $1 million in nonequity plan compensation and $1,414,314 in "all other compensation." The latter included contributions to the company's elective deferred-compensation plan, as well as car allowance, personal flight service and amounts paid for long-term disability and life insurance policies. Wolstein contributed $1,563,596 of his compensation to a nonqualified deferred-compensation plan, to which the company can make matching contributions.


David Jacobstein, Former president and chief operating officer $3,273,437

Daniel Hurwitz, President and chief operating officer $2,934,530

David Oakes, Executive vice president and chief investment officer $1,089,510

Timothy Bruce, Executive vice president of development $842,055

William Schafer, Executive vice president and chief financial officer $806,751

SOURCE: Proxy filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday

Tracking Ceo Pay (This regular feature tracks 2007 executive compensation at publicly traded companies in Northeast Ohio.)


Here's what they get from us: (thank you Roldo)

Here’s the line-up of public loot (your money):

  • BDOHS (port authority) will provide $11 million in loans.
  • City of Cleveland will provide $6 million in Core City loans.
  • Cleveland Public Power will provide $3.4 million in services.
  • Cleveland Water Division will provide $740,000 in infrastructure costs.
  • Cleveland will provide another $1 million from its general obligation bonds.
  • The County, City and Cleveland schools will forgo $11,140,000 in property taxes under a TIF (tax abatement) program to help the project.
  • Cuyahoga County will provide $1 million in subsidies.
  • The State of Ohio will provide a grant of $3 million for “environmental remediation,” matched by a loan from Cuyahoga County of $1 million, both committed from the 2005 Clean Ohio program.
  • Tax exempt Parking Revenue Bonds estimated at $8,540,000 will be repaid from Public parking facility revenues.
  • Tax-exempt infrastructure bonds estimated to be $9 million are secured by annual payments by the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District.
  • The sum of approximately $4,550,000 will be made available through the Federal Highway Administration.
  • The federal government has appropriated and the city shall obtain and make available when required for eligible project costs a grant of $1,464,735 from the U. S. Department of Commerce National Oceanic Atmosphere Administration (NOAA grant).
  • All rental and condominium units (some 300 units) will be tax abated at 100% for 15 years. No cost estimate given by the city, port authority or county.
  • The city agrees to enact legislation as necessary to amend and extend the CRA residential tax abatement program to assure that all residential improvements are eligible for the full 15-year, 100% abatement of real estate taxes. No cost given.
  • The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) will construct a transit station on the RTA Waterfront Rail Line for the project “…all at no cost or expense” to the developer. No total or estimated cost mentioned.
  • The City of Cleveland “shall take all necessary action to vacate all existing streets within the project site to the extent no longer require as public improvements for the project, and any easements which impair or adversely affect the development, construction or occupancy of the project, or which lie within the project site and are no longer required for use as public improvements for the Project.” No cost estimate given.
  • The City of Cleveland “shall convey to the developer all the land owned by it (the city) within the residential site not necessary for public improvements by official quit-claim deed…” No cost estimate given.
  • Under a section called “public improvements”, it states: “Public improvements necessary to support the Residential project will include but may not be limited to the following….
  • Abatement, demolition and environmental remediation (including all necessary earthwork and soil clean-up) of the Project properties as they exist as of the execution date of this Agreement so as to allow for construction of the Residential Project.
  • On-site paving and landscaping for all areas from the building lines of the Residential Project to the street curb as well as the public spaces of the Riverfront Park described below.
  • A Riverfront Park extending from the southern boundary of the Project along the Cuyahoga River ’s edge north to the Norfolk & Southern rail line with an eastern edge defined by a realigned Old River Road and a new street network described below. The Park may include but not be limited to the following elements: a riverfront boardwalk, gather places; pavilions; project signage, retail kiosks; and a marina for transient boater use.  The Riverfront Park shall be planned in such a manner so as to receive the proposed extension of the Towpath Trail…
  • Utility improvements, replacements and/or upgrades sufficient to provide necessary storm and sanitary sewer, water, electrical, gas and thermal heating and cooling services for the Residential Project and the permanent improvements in the public right of way (e. g. street lighting) and property (e.g. Riverfront Park fixtures and appurtenances) for ongoing and seasonal needs.
  • Street improvements, realignments and additions to serve the Residential Project and its associated parking facilities, including all necessary traffic control equipment and signage…
  • Bulkhead repair, replacement and improvements sufficient to maintain the long-term integrity of the eastern edge of the Project site bordered by the Cuyahoga River .
  • The Public Parking Facilities and Private Parking Facilities estimated to consist of a minimum of 1,600 spaces in total and sufficient to serve the retail and residential uses of the Project by way of four structured facilities and no fewer than two surface lots, including all necessary equipment, landscaping and appurtenances.
  • An allocable share of land acquisition costs associated with the square footage occupied by the Public Improvement as a percentage of the entire Project square footage (Residential Project plus Public Improvements.)
  • Any and all soft costs which may be attributable to construction of the Public improvements including but not limited to architectural and engineering services, lighting, traffic and parking consultants, permits/fees, testing and inspection,  temporary utilities, financing fees and costs and capitalized interest on bonds or loans.

I would love to do the math here, but I do have to get up and go earn a meager income. Can someone compare the funds for infrastructure, tax breaks, etc in Roldo's litany of support linked above to this compensation report? Is this where the term "corporate welfare" came from? I thought we curtailed welfare in this country. Did we just move it from one caste to another?


Wow is this helpful, and it couldn't come at a better time. I am moving the Hough bakeries, Star Neighborhood development project forward and my plan has always been to tell the region's "community development" leadership that I expect them to "Wolstein" the project, meaning to divert/allocate $100s millions of public and private redevelopment funds and incentives to the beneift of the stakeholders of this project, which will largely be for inner-city children, families and seniors education and mental health benefit. True, regional leaders have never been asked to use their powers for good, but now we know exactly what they have to offer for evil. THANKS FOR THE "WOLSTEIN-ME" LIST, SUSAN AND ROLDO!!!

Disrupt IT

Fox News

  Fox News just ran a story on Inland Real Estate Group and the University Heights city engineer assuring everyone that the parking garage is A-OK.  And on a related note, one city dumps Allega for fraud and another city picks them up.  And the "new" curb work in the City of Cleveland is crumbling into nice, deadly chunks.  Just the size to get picked up by a truck and slammed into your on-coming vehicle.

Just ignore the caution tape and support scaffolding.  Not to worry, folks.  Keep moving.  Carry on.



Here is a link to the Fox Cleveland channel 8 report concerning the structural failure of the pre-stressed concrete floor planks in the University Square Plaza parking structure.  Fox does not make any independent inquiry - merely regurgitating what Mr. Cuini tells them. 

Fox needs to get the engineering report (I'll post it here on realneo in the next few days) and then go back and ask more questions.

And it isn't "scaffolding" (which is meant to hold personell) it is "shoring", which is meant to be used for structural support - as in mine "shoring".

Shoring vs. scaffolding

Shoring vs. scaffolding.  Thanks Jeff.  Fascinating distinction.  Wikipedia makes more of a distinction than Merriam-Websters. 

I need to self-check myself on language.  English is not an easy language for expression.   I got into it today with a colleague, although he may want to call me an underling, now, over splitting hairs. 

In your instance, the hairs need to be split.  In his instance, they don't, although I will concede to him that he is the better writer and master of English. 

Happy convergence

1519 Lakeview and Wade Park.  The nephews got a glimpse of the Star Neighborhood development plan today.  I lived on East 116th at one time and now I can orient myself better to the project. 

For Case students, here's the best way to get to the Inner Circle.  Walk or ride your bike straight east on Wade Park.  You will run right into the Intergenerational School.  Look at this map.

You will feel welcome on a sunny day or a rainy day.  Don't limit yourself to artificial boundaries.  Make this neighborhood your home.  By the way, we saw a turkey (!) in Rockefeller Park today.  Obviously, turkeys know no fear :)  Sorry, we missed you guys, but we did the drive-by.  The kids will be back.  Oh-my-god, am I tired.