Thursday, June 21, 2018


UPDATE:  THURSDAY 06/21/2018
ORIGINAL PUBLICATION:  06/19/2018 - 5:02 AM










Preparing for the worst.  That is how The Stark County Political Report (SCPR, The Report) terms a work study session of the Canton City Schools (CCS) held at the Nadine McIlwain Administrative Center in "the heart of downtown Canton" last evening.

The tone of the meeting on the HOF agenda item was set as CCS superintendent Adrian Allison outlines the effort of the CCS in coordination with its legal counsel Jeff Bomberger (see legal background below) talks about the effort to structure how the stadium land and other parcels are legally structured to give CCS the best protection should the HOF-VP fail and the stadium and other CCS owned properties are foreclosed upon.  

Allison and Bomberger credit Stark County auditor Alan Harold with being an important factor in the restructuring, to wit: (3:58)

Among the media, only the SCPR was present.

What would one expect from a media outlet that proudly bills itself as "the official newspaper of the Pro Football Hall of Fame?'

Apparently, with the overriding concern of the meeting being "protecting" the Canton City Schools from a HOF-VP meltdown, The Repository chose to ignore any mention of such a possibility.

However, one SCPR reader alleges that Bomberger betrays a "conflict-in-interest" in revealing an accomodation to the $10 million bond purchase interest of HOF Village LLC on an Auditor Alan Harold $40 million "stadium" valuation and $7 millon "youth fields" evaluation that in his judgement still protects the CCS.

There is some evidence of HOF-VP connected/sympathetic folks putting pressure on the likes of Harold and other Stark County political subdivision officials to do the bidding of the HOF Village LLC folks.

Bomberger himself talks about Harold being under pressure.  So one cannot out-of-hand dismiss skepticism that this whole deal is being orchestrated by the HOF connected/sympathetic persons.

Another interpretation is (the SCPR's view) that these are negotiations and negotiations are inherently "give & take" and Bomberger's work should be seen in that light.

Here is the pertinent part of Bomberger's presentation on the matter:  (3:06)

The session could be the most important ever in the history of the Canton City Schools in terms of protecting the school district from any liability should the Hall of Fame Village Project "go belly up" as one Stark County political subdivision official predicted repeatedly in a two hour discussion with The Report on Sunday evening past.

Canton City schools legal counsel Jeff Bomberger of the Cleveland branch of the Squire Boggs Patton presented, gave explanations of and took questions regarding two declarations (including a proposed authorizing resolution) to be added to the CCS/HOF Village LLC/Stark Port Authority agreements.

A CCS BOE meeting is scheduled for Thursday, June 21, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. at:   the Nadine McIlwain Administrative Center, 305 McKinley Avenue N.W., Canton, Ohio.

Bomberger is described thusly on the firm's website:

Jeff Bomberger focuses his practice on representation of Ohio port authorities, primarily in economic development finance matters. Beginning in late 1988, Jeff took a lead role in transforming a local airport/seaport authority into a leading regional economic development financing agency in 
northwest Ohio.

He played a significant role in implementing the first structured lease financings by Ohio port authorities and in the creation and development of common bond fund financing programs to provide credit support for economic development finance projects. His efforts helped to expand the major regional airport, retain the headquarters of one of the leading corporate citizens in the region and otherwise attract and retain jobs. His legislative drafting efforts resulted in the ability of Ohio port authorities to act on an extra-territorial basis to promote jobs and employment opportunities.

Jeff serves as both bond counsel and general counsel to Ohio port authorities, providing counsel on a broad range of matters including corporate organization, contracting, ethics law, public records and open meetings, budgeting and appropriations and other matters. Recently, he has served as bond counsel to various Ohio port authorities on cooperative structured tax increment and special assessment financings, off-balance-sheet structured operating lease financings and other major economic development financings and refinancings.

Jeff has been a member of the National Association of Bond Lawyers and has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America each year since 2006.

The SCPR today begins parsing the CCS/Bomberger exchange.

For starters, The Report was surprised that board members did not discuss ability of the Canton City School System to afford getting the stadium back minus the lease should the HOF-VP "go belly up."

What are these folks thinking?

All they have to do is to look at Massillon city government and the financial albatross it is apparently saddled with in taking ownership of the former Affinity Medical Center complex.

What follows are a number of video excerpts with CCS board members peppering Bomberger with questions:

First, Member and BOE vice president Eric Resnick: (also a Member Mark Dillard interject) (3:05)

Resnick perceptively asks questions about why the "protective" Declarations now?  As far as the SCPR is concerned, Bomberger sidesteps Resnick's question.

See for yourself.

Next up is Member and board president J.R. Rinaldi (who is also a key official in the Mayor Thomas Bernabei administration of Canton government which is the authority for the CCS/HOF/Port Authority TIF) questions Bomberger about improvement in which exchange Bomberger reveals:

  • That proceeds from the contemplated bond (remember about $10 million) will go to IRG (Stu Lichter's company) as reimbursement for infrastructure improvements already made at the HOF complex,
  • That "the close date" on the CCS/HOF/Port authority TIF approval is next Wednesday, June 27th,
  • That the CCS needs to approve prior to the 27th, and
  • That unless the CCS approves the Declarations/Resolution the TIF will not go into effect
Moreover, Bomberger goes in to CCS rights in use of stadium/youth fields/parking lot in the event of a "full breakdown" in the HOF-VP and a concomitant foreclosure by the CCS on the properties.

Member Rinaldi near the end of the following video says to Bomberger:  "We just cannot do this [approve the Declarations] on the fly."  


The absolute final date for approval according to Bomberger is June 30th.  So why is the CCS BOE meeting on the 21st (a mere 3 days after the Bomberger presentation) to considered what all say is a highly complex matter?

The video: (13:11)

Although the SCPR has from the get-go (even at an initial projected cost of $480 million) been skeptical that financial resources would be forthcoming to complete the project as described early on in 2014/2015 as C. David Baker was brought in by the National Museum, Incorporated Board of Trustees to start work as the president/CEO of what is dubbed (i.e. "doing business as" ["dba"]) the Professional Football Hall of Fame. The Report's certainly of HOF-VP ultimate failure as envisioned has not been nearly as the the political subdivision source cited in this blog.

The day after Baker arrived in his office, who was hot on his tail?

Of course, master developer Stuart Lichter who has left a trail across the United States of America with a bevy of heavily taxpayer subsidized projects with very little if any taxpayer accountability, to wit:

The SCPR considers the Baker/Lichter alliance an "all-in-it-together" duo with tag-alongs Repository publisher James Porter and Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce president/CEO Denny Saunier.  And, of course, there is The Rep's cheerleader-in-chief Todd Porter (reportedly, a cousin of the publisher).

Ultimately responsible for the success/failure of the HOF-VP is the HOF Board of  Trustees with the SCPR focus being on Stark Countians who service on the board.

It is truly amazing that our "living in Stark County" HOF trustees would let Phase 1 of the project balloon from an initial estimated $24 million to what some are saying is now $171 million and perhaps as high as $250 million.

One member of the Stark County Port Authority several months ago opined:  "How did this happen?"

That member and all Ohio/Stark County taxpayers (with no accountability from the HOF Village LLC folks) need to look no further than our locals.

Apparently, they have been every bit dazzled by the charismatic C. David Baker as some Stark County political subdivision officials have been and let this project get way-out-of-hand right under their collective noses.

As always, this blogger repeats ad nauseam that the SCPR hopes that Baker et al will find the The Report's skepticism ill-founded and the political subdivision official profoundly wrong in predicting the ultimate failure of the HOF-VP as envisioned.

If the HOF-VP was wholly and completely "a private sector" project, then the SCPR with its mission of local official accountability, accessibility, transparency, communicativeness and openness to public scrutiny would likely not be weighing in.

Godspeed to those entrepreneurs among us who want to risk the private wealth on a project such as the HOF-VP.

But the fact of the matter is that millions upon millions of Ohio/Stark County political subdivision taxpayer money is part of the underwriting of the now estimated to be $1 billion plus cost of the HOF-VP and therefore The Stark County Political Blog has been and will continue to be the vanguard of media holding the likes of Baker, Lichter, the HOF Board of Trustees, local affected/involved school district officials, city officials and county officials accountable for how taxpayer is spent and for them to document a highly productive return on investment for taxpayer dollars going to the HOF-VP!


Copy of proposed resolution and declarations (to be added later)







June 19, 2018 is a day for those of us who cherish "political independence" to celebrate.

Noted and accomplished Republican national political strategist Steve Schmidt announced that he was realigning from being a registered Republican to being a political "independent."

For Stark Countians, watershed political dates are May 4/5, 2015.  On May 4 (registration i.d. change) and May 5   that then "Democrat" Stark County commissioner Thomas M. Bernabei boldly tromped to the Stark County Board of Elections to file as an "independent" candidate for mayor of Canton.

For Schmidt,  the compelling event prompting his move out of the Republican Party was the Donald J. Trump recently employed practice of separating "south of the border" immigrant parents and children.

The SCPR endorses this thought by Brent Larkin of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (LINK to overall editorial) with regard to statewide Republican candidates this fall, to wit:
Voters should demand an answer to that question from every Republican candidate on the Nov. 6 ballot - especially Attorney General Mike DeWine and the entire GOP ticket for statewide office.     
In his heart, DeWine, the Republican nominee for governor and a man with some fine qualities, surely knows Trump is an unfit sociopath. But it's not good enough for DeWine to keep details of his thoughts about Trump to himself.  
Stark County commissioner Janet Weir Creighton and Stark County treasurer are local officials involved in the DeWine campaign.  They should urge DeWine to break his silence.

Moreover, all Stark County Republican Party leaders (elected and unelected) should be following the Schmidt lead and disassociating themselves from the debauched leadership of Donald J. Trump!

The SCPR thinks it is perfectly okay for them to remain Republicans.

But regarding local GOP leaders:  silence is deafening, no?

The SCPR predicts that none have the political courage and moxie to denounce Trump's departure from the over 100 years of Republican community/family building core values.

For Bernabei, it was a local media airing of a vacuous debate between Democratic mayoralty candidates Kim Perez, (LINK to SCPR blog on reasons for Bernabei decision),  and
  • a "nth degree loyalist" Democrat, so the SCPR thinks, who began years ago was a Canton ward councilman to become Canton auditor, Stark County auditor and now serves as the elected Canton city treasurer,
William J. Healy, II running as a two term (eight years in office) incumbent mayor for another four years which the SCPR believes would have resulted, if re-elected, to Canton beIting so deep in a hole that it would never, ever would be able to dig itself out of.

As Schmidt points out in abandoning the Republican Party and Bernabei the Democratic Party, the parties' leadership have not/did not function in an accountable manner so as to correct "run amok" elected leadership and consequently the only responsible thing for them (i.e. Schmidt and Bernabei) has been to separate themselves from partisans who stand by and do nothing as foot soldiers and blind adherents to "organized" political parties.

It appears that way too many day-in, day out Republicans are "all-in" with a lying, scheming and totally self-serving president.

Just as Donald J. Trump has been all about Donald J. Trump, The Stark County Political Report, since about one year into the first term of his mayoralty (2008), has written prolifically that Healy's self-serving ways would prove to be a continuing drag-down-to-the-bottom for Canton government that began decades ago.
Examples of early on SCPR blogging about Healy include:

Ironic no? that Bernabei gets his comeuppance in November, 2015!

Of course, Bernabei does not look at his contesting Healy as being some sort of personal vindication.

At his age and on his quality service as a public official in multiple roles and his financial independence, he did not need to take on the hassle of being besieged by "party interest over community well-being" partisan Democrats.

Trump is and Healy was (as mayor of Canton) who they are.  Very obvious to most of us that they serve/served as egotists of the first order.

But how about the larger partisan-aligned body politic "looking the other way" and or "making excuses" for unacceptable leadership deficiencies of leaders who share political party identity?

In Canton's case look at this line up of Canton Democratic officials who lined up behind Healy.


The Stark County Political Report has no problem with those who want to stand front and center as identified Republicans and Democrats who openly support their respective candidates for public office AS LONG AS they demonstrate they are just as committed to calling those candidates/officials out when they go awry.

Such is called "responsible citizenship."

Steve Schmidt and Thomas Bernabei have shown citizen responsibility.

They are examples to be followed.

Monday, June 18, 2018


UPDATE: (Correction) 06/18/2018 - MINORITY CONTRACTORS NOT PAID ON 06/15/2018.
Maybe today?




Latest Update: 11:47 AM - ORIGINAL BLOG 06/13/2108 AT 8:19 AM

The Stark County Political Report (SCPR, The Report) has learned that the 2018 Hall of Fame could in the opinion of The Report's well placed source be in jeopardy because Black contractors employed by Welty Construction as the managing contractor for HOF Village LLC has not received from HOF Village LLC monies and authorization to pay two Stark County-based minority owned their share of $3.8 million construction project of a Canton Parks owned parking lot that borders Fulton Road NW next to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Not good news for the Professional Football Hall of Fame in light of 2018 inductee Terrell Owens recent announcement that he will not be attending the 2018 enshrinement to be held July __ of this year.

The SCPR is told that the minority contractors walked off the job on Friday in a dispute over an amendment to their part of the contract submitted in November, 2017 and recently authorized by HOF officials to be paid.  However, the dispute has prompted HOF Village LLC to direct that payment be withheld.

Though paid $80,000 on Monday, nearly $400,000 (note:  SCPR has been cited $320,000, $350,000 and $380,00) remains to be paid which is promised to be paid to them on Friday which The Report is told means that the contractors will remain off the job at least until Friday.

Explosive allegations include:
  • that a non-minority contractor has been paid whereas the Black contractor companies have not be "fully" paid, and
  • a project manager is alleged to have said when the Black contractors walked off the job on Friday (paraphrase) "that's what you get when you try to work with THOSE PEOPLE." (Note:  capitalized to highlight a phrase that minority members of America encounter frequently at the hand of the disgruntled)
Here are two links to prior blogs done by the SCPR relevant to the parking lot/minority contractor matters:
  • May 11, 2017 blog on threat of boycott of 2017 Hall of Fame game, 
    • "ample opportunity  for minority contractors?"
  • May 21, 2018 blog on Bernabei/Mario coup on the HOF "promised to be paid for" Canton Parks parking lot project
Despite having received about $39 million of an "up-to-$100 million 'bridge' loan" about a month ago or so, the SCPR hears that about $12.5 of unpaid invoices remain on the HOF Village LLC accounting ledgers.

Despite millions of Ohio and Stark County taxpayer dollars (past, present and future) being in the financial blueprint of the HOF-VP, HOF officials continue to be largely close mouth about what use the money has been put to and how it will translate in to a high degree of return on investment to the general public.

Sunday, June 17, 2018


One of the greatest adjustments in life is in becoming an "empty nester."  For the most part, Mary and I (recently celebrating 52 years of marriage) have had our beloved daughters make their way out into the world soon after high school graduation at Lake.

Thank you Stark County for being such a terrific locale for the "growing up years" of the Olson girls.  A terrific midwestern "fundamental values" advantage was theirs as they fanned out seeking their destiny.

As in Romeo and Juliet, "parting is such a sweet sorrow."

Sorely and "sorrowfully" missed, but the anticipation of their making their marks on the world at large is the "sweetness" part.

First it was off to college.  Kirstin, the eldest to Kent State University.  Middle daughter Heidi to The Ohio State University and the youngest Kasi ot the BS/MD program at Northeast Ohio Medical University.

Next up:

Kirstin to Valdosta, Georgia (Moody AFB) as a second lieutenant (now Colonel, USAF Retired).

Heidi to Albany, Georgia as a city prosecutor.

Kasi to Dayton, Ohio (Wright-Patterson AFB) as a resident medical doctor,


Kirstin in Colorado with her husband Mark and their three children.

Heidi in Oklahoma (having recently completed her PHd in English Literature) with her husband Mark.

Kasi in Hawaii with her husband Will and their two children.


Kirstin and her husband in the midst of visiting England, Scotland and Ireland.

Heidi/Mark off to Denmark on a academic/sightseeing tour

Kasi (a Lt Col/USAF) not currently traveling but as an Air Force global health officer (now chief of the medical group at Hickam AFB) travels frequently across the globe.

And papa and mama have tagged along with them all in travels across this great nation and to the likes of Canada, China, England, Germany, Holland, South Korea and Sweden.

Indeed!  Martin Olson is "one proud papa."

And to each and every SCPR reading father:

Friday, June 8, 2018



TAKEAWAYS: (Participants:  Board president Halkias, Superintendent May & Treasurer                                       Jordan)

  • Meeting did nothing to convince SCPR that there was a makes sense in the first place for filing the complaint and just as mysteriously dropping Plain's objection to Tom Benson Stadium being valued at $4.5 million,
  • Highlights of meeting:
    • Apologized for not responding in more detail to SCPR e-mail inquiries and for none of Plain's board members not returning SCPR calls,
    • Deny that Plain LSD got anything in return for dropping valuation complaint on Benson Stadium baseline appraisal for something in return and deny that the drop was because Repository publisher James Porter (a Plain SD graduate) and zealot HOF-VP supporter"twisted" Superintendent May's arm (as conjectured in SCPR blog),
    • Complaint based on common knowledge that stadium rehab obviously cost more than $4.5 million,
    • Current appraisal of about $40 million offered as a justification for dropping the complaint which does not make sense to the SCPR because the dismissal let Auditor Harold's baseline go unchallenged.
      • The $40 million sets the amount (for now) on which HOF Village LLC gets the revenue for to finance bond debt servicing over 30 years at 100% of "increased" property tax,
    • Apparently sending a message to auditor's office on baseline valuations for HOF-VP properties that lie in Plain School District as the HOF-VP 
BOTTOM LINE:  The SCPR is still skeptical that Halkias, May and Jordan gave "real" reasons for the actions taken.

UPDATED:  2:45 PM 6/8/2018

"a puzzle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma"

On or about March 29, 2018 the Plain Local School District filed with Stark County auditor's office a Form DTE 1 which is the means by which anyone or entity who wants to challenge (nominated as being a "complaint") the assessment of the Canton City Schools' Tom Benson Stadium by Alan Harold who is the current sitting elected county auditor.

On June 3, 2018, Canton Repository publisher/CEO James Porter (a "prime mover/promoter of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Village Project) wrote a column extolling the leadership qualities of Plain Local School District superintendent Brent May.

In the column Porter reveals that he has had (presumably) recent meetings with May "the purposes: of which he says were:
  1.   How can May keep moving the community forward by partnering with the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and 
  2. [H]ow can we figure out a way to get a great project he has envisioned off the ground.
The SCPR is told that HOF and Canton City School officials were none-too-happy about the Plain LSC challenge to the $4.5 million baseline evaluation of Benson Stadium in advocating that it be appraised at $85 million.   (see analysis below)

The Report is also told that a list of demands in settlement of the challenge was communicated to the Canton City Schools.

The word is that the challenge, if it were to proceed and were to be successful could possibly really, really, really muck up plans to give to life to the "fallen-on-hard-times" financial viability of the overall HOF-VP.

One Stark County political subdivision official suggests to the SCPR that the "mucking' problem lies in the HOF not having adequately planned for the financing of the project.  

On June 4, 2018 this:

Isn't the timing of the Porter column interesting?

What a wonderful guy Brent May is, he says.

Maybe somebody ought to check May's arms and determine whether or not Porter administered some "arm twisting" (figuratively speaking, of course)  during those meetings?

And, get this?

According, to Plain LSC officials, (Jordan is Plain LSD's treasurer) the district got absolutely nothing for dropping its valuation complaint.

Kathy Jordan <>  Jun 5 at 4:45 PM

To:  Martin Olson
CC:  Brent May

Good Afternoon Mr. Olson,

We do not have any records which relate to your questions and do not have any agreements or did not receive anything to dismiss the complaint.


Brent May and Kathy Jordan


Plain and Canton school officials are proving to be highly resistant to SCPR efforts to ferret out what The Report believes to have been some sort of wink and nod assurances, "not-in-writing-promises," or the like that Plain LSD got for dismissing the complaint.

That the Plain complaint has mysteriously and puzzlingly gone away without having achieved anything is an enigma that cannot pass a "smell test."

The SCPR has telephoned all five Plain Board of Education members and not one of them responded.  One of them, Monica Gwin, was unable to take a message for a call back because her voicemail box was full for two attempts made over several days.  Good luck to Plain residents who want to contact member Gwin, no?

The converse of Porter's piece is: Who is not so wonderful?

Perhaps Stark County commissioners Janet Weir Creighton, Richard Regula and Bill Smith?

Smith though serving on the HOF Centennial Committee preparing for a Canton Pro Football 100 year celebration extravaganza in September 2020 (likely to cost millions in Stark County taxpayer provided money and services) was left off Porter's "praised be" list  (reference:  The Handmaiden's Tale on Hulu) as written by Porter and reproduced below in this blog.

Porter, again:

These incredible reasons for hope, get brighter if we can get all elected officials, especially on the county level, on board.  (large print, italics added for emphasis)

To add insult to injury in the context of Porter's  "especially on the county level" language, Porter lists a number of Stark County political subdivision officials he apparently sees as compliant, "ask no probing questions" types who seemingly toady up to him as the publisher of the monopolistic Repository.

Let’s follow the lead of individuals who are moving our community forward: Denny Saunier and the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce; Mark Samolczyk, with Stark Community Foundation; Ray Hexamer, with Stark Economic Development Board; and Joe Chaddock, with the Stark County Educational Service Center.

When all of our political leaders start working in unity with the above entities, we will be the talk of the state. When all elected officials follow the examples set by state Rep. Kirk Schuring, Sheriff George Maier, Stark County Common Pleas Judge Frank Forchione and Canton Mayor Tom Bernabei, we will be a community that reverses the trends of the past 20-plus years.

For The Stark County Political Report (SCPR, The Report) has learned from several sources that Porter has insinuated to one Stark County political subdivision official that, he, Porter in his capacity as publisher, that come re-election time will see to it that the refusing official to a Porter demand for the official to do what the official believed could not lawfully be done on a HOF relevant matter will incur the ire of the editorial board of The Rep.

Urging a public official to disregard the official's perception of what the law allows for and he calls for public official unity?

How could a public official possibly unify with a guy who attempts to strongarm?

The Stark County Political Report sees Porter as a bully who plays the role articulated years ago by former Repository editor David Kaminski as likening The Repository to a "800 gorilla that buys ink by the barrel.

Moreover, the SCPR hears from a highly credible source that Porter is not all that forthcoming about disclosing to The Repository reading public regarding special relationships he has with HOF-VP connected companies.

The Report is told that this past December he was in New York City and he and family members were feted to "the bright lights of Broadway" or some sort of similar entertainment by Michael Klein of the M. Klein Company which company has agreed to undertake finding financing to move the HOF-VP further along if not to completion.

Would Porter allow a letter to the editor writer publication space without revealing special relationships with the topic at hand?

Of course not!  He appears to be a man of a double standard.

Lastly, readers should not forget the special relationship that The Repository has with the Hall of Fame itself.

In June, 2016 when The Repository forged its "official" relationship with the HOF; the association raised concerns on the part of Local 1 of the Northeast Ohio Newspaper Guild about conflicts in interest, transparency and concomitant ethical considerations inherent in The Rep being "official newspaper of the Pro Football Hall of Fame" as posted to this very day on the local's Facebook page to wit:

Isn't that letter interesting?

Apparently, Publisher James Porter did not thinks the concerns were newsworthy inasmuch as The Report does not think he ever published the letter for Repository readers to take note of.

Kudos to the unionists for having ethics as an higher priority than Porter seemingly does.

This Porter run newspaper celebrates "Sunshine Week" every March as does the newspaper industry as a whole.

Sunshine on whom?

Maybe somebody ought to place a very large sun lamp next to 500 Market Avenue, South next March?   Another one at 2121 George Halas Drive!  And yet another one at 222 Market Avenue, North!

Of course and undoubtedly all Stark Countians wish the "private enterprise"aspect Pro Football Hall of Fame the very best in cobbling together the $1 billion plus of needed money to complete the project.

However, we all need to insist that to the degree public taxpayer money is involved, there must be a public accounting as to whether or not our tax dollars are being put to "with near certainty, highly productive "return-on-investment."

The Repository coverage likely on orders from Porter is almost all cheerleading and relatively little of asking the tough questions.

Sources tell the SCPR that Porter meets with HOF officials weekly.  And undoubtedly there is a hotline from 500 Market Avenue, South to 2121 George Halas Drive that is in frequent use.

Accordingly, Porter has to know much more about the precariousness of the private funding of the project that he is allowing to be put in Stark County's only countywide newspaper chain.

The SCPR's attitude is that if the private sector is not flocking to support the project, then public dollars already invested and being lobbied to be invested (i.e. a countywide sales tax part of which would go for the HOF-VP) are at risk of not being productive enough or perhaps even lost.

In addition to Cheerleader-in-Chief James Porter and his Special Projects Coordinator and cousin Todd Porter, of course, there is C. David Baker who is known to be both fawning and disparaging of Stark County political subdivision officials depending on whether or not a given official is "all-in" or maintains a analytical posture on all-things-HOFVP-matters.

Baker's forte is being a charmer.  But those who see him in different contexts say that he can get quite nasty in a hurry.

Baker is great at blaming others when his unrealistic dreams hit head on with financial realities.

Now turning to Stark County auditor Alan Harold's role in all of this.

What makes Plain's complaint front page news in Stark County is that it was initiated as a challenge to Auditor Harold's appraisal of the contested valuation property includes the following factors:
  • Parcel 10009054, aka Tom Benson Stadium, is owned by the Canton City Schools [CCS] and which is the site of the annual Canton-based first of the new pro football year exhibition game,
  • The parcel has been leased for 99 years to the HOF Village LLC.
    • HOF Village LLC is a partnership between the National Football Museum, Inc. (dba Professional Football Hall of Fame and HOF Village Project developer Stu Lichter,
  • The parcel is subject to a 100% Tax Increment Financing which provides for the return of any increase in value of the parcel (i.e. the rehab of the formerly named Fawcett Stadium) to infrastructure projects to benefit the HOF-VP,
  • Harold  as of January 1, 2018 appraised the property as being worth $4,5 million
    • The $4,543,600 ($4.5 million) is what Auditor Harold defined to the SCPR as being the "base value" as of the date of his appraisal which he says is mandated by Ohio law as it exists and in implement the language of Canton's ordinance as to when valuation shall take place ("commencing in the tax years in which the improvements first appear on the tax list") even though it was and continues to be commonly known that ultimately a finished Tom Benson Stadium cost could be as high as $250 million,
      • The significance of the $4.5 million valuation is that Canton City Schools in light of the TIF being a 100% TIF will only be for the life of the TIF (30 years) the "sole" value upon which the district and other Stark County subdivisions will collect taxes.
Out-of-the-blue Harold has come up with this sort of  (actually there was earlier one that was some $29 million which Harold did not make available to the public) first "increase in value" appraisal which yet has to be approved by the state of Ohio:

What valuation model does Harold use?

You've got the SCPR!

Cost?  Selling value?  Cost but  not items that do not enhance value.

Harold hem-hawed all over the place in his description of how he arrived at $40 million as the current valuation of parcel 10009054.

Some Stark County Political subdivision officials think Harold is "gung-ho" for the HOF-VP and is spellbound by Baker and therefore takes his marching orders from 2121 Halas Drive.

Harold admitted to the SCPR that he is bullish for HOF-VP and may have received campaign contributions from HOF connected persons he is friendly with, but insisted, nevertheless, that he made his independent determination on the current $40 million valuation figure.

Maybe just maybe Harold should have had another county auditor do the parcel 10009054 appraisal work?

Had Plain persisted with its challenge and the baseline value was set at $85 million:   
  • the HOF-VP gets $-0- for 2018 and not the $1 million that second chart shows, but
  • the CCS likely gets over $2 million annually for the 30 year span of the TIF, and
  • the HOF-VP gets millions less because of the more realistic in terms of a "fair" appraisal with the baseline value being $85 million
    • Note:  With a baseline value of $85 million, only the auditor's office sees fit to go over that number in appraised value would the HOF Village LLC get any money.
      • That's why the SCPR thinks Porter had those meetings with Plain LSD superintendent Brent May.
Now that we know that parcel 10009054 will not have a realistic valuation, it seems likely that HOF Village LLC will benefit to the tune of millions upon millions upon millions of "publicly unaccounted for"  taxpayer provided money over the 30 life span of the TIF.

And, of course, there are additional millions going to the project in other financial schemes designed to get into the pockets of Stark County and Ohio taxpayers to pay for what is billed as a $1 billion "private enterprise" project.

Private Enterprise?

Not even close!

Canton City Schools recently opted to participate in the Stark County Education Service Center 1.49 mill "security and mental health resources" levy that would have, if it passes in August, brought in (according to Stark County auditor office figures) over $1 million.  Others tell the SCPR that it would have brought in more like $2 million.

Apparently, the CCS do not need upwards of $3 million dollars a year in additional revenue?

The SCPR has heard one highly credible observation that questions CCS superintendent Adrian Alison's focus on the financial interests of Canton's schools when it comes to HOF/CCS negotiations.

While Canton's schools are scheduled to get $285,000 annually (for the time being) in lease payments, it is appearing that the CCS will be paying at least $115,000 annually for usage of facilities that the school system owns.


Here is a model compiled by a Harold staff member which shows how much Canton schools will be locked into notwithstanding that as the stadium is completed the increase in value will be reflected in future auditor office reappraisals. (two charts:  [data from Stark auditor's office]; first the 20l7 chart and second the 2018 chart])

To repeat the SCPR's take on the Plain LSC challenge and dismissal:

"a puzzle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma!"

The SCPR believes there are those who fancy themselves as Stark County leaders (in and out of government) who know precisely how the Plain LSD complaint and dismissal in all its detail processed.

But they are not talking.

Why should day-in, day out taxpaying Stark Countians trust these folks in dealing transparently, accountability-wise and communicatively with the peoples' money?

Some say that The Repository as managed by James Porter is the local equivalent in relation to the HOF and the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce as is Fox News to the Trump administration:  a virtual propaganda machine.

"Ain't that ducky?"

Tuesday, June 5, 2018


AS OF JUNE 1, 2018

In terms of parity with men at pay ranges of $80,000 per annum and up: not so well.

However, it has to be gratifying to Stark County women that not only is the top paid Stark County official is a woman.  But two of the top four paid county officials are women. And Renee Robinson is substantially ahead of William Green in annual pay.

One will not see this in many settings in 2018 America.

In categories of $49,999 and below, Stark County's women "taken men to the cleaners!"

Such is a "good news, bad news" scenario.

The "bad news" is Stark County women working in countywide government positions fit the pattern that women are generally paid less than men and are less likely to land high paying positions in numbers in parity with men.

The "good news" is that in the $40,000 to $49,999 category, which is certainly a "I can support my moderate sized family" level of income, Stark County government women employees constitute 64% of workers in that category.

Icing on "the employment cake" is that women have about 500 more county government jobs than men.

Saturday, June 2, 2018










AS OF JUNE 1, 2018




And ADD about another 30% or so of any base salary increases for "fringe" benefits.