Thursday, March 1, 2018




Note:  (Thursday, March 1, 2018 at 11:00 a.m.) The "real" reason that mechanics lien filing contractors have not been fully paid by the HOF/IRG combo limited liability (not the "phoney" reason pushed out by HOF CEO/president C. David Baker that it is the Stark County commissioners fault)
  • behind the surface reason that the HOF-VP have no money except of course to pay for a gigantic banner to promote the 2018 HOF selected player induction event this summer,
is that HOF/IRG cannot get a $100 million infusion of cash without first satisfying the "lender-in-waiting" insistence that "certificates of estoppel" (LINK for explanation) from the Stark County Port Authority and the Canton City Schools ("CCS," the owner of the Tom Benson Stadium).

It might be that the CCS will on Saturday morning provide its certificate.  The quarrel between CCS and the HOF/Stu Lichter has been primarily over how many dates each gets to schedule events for the stadium.

Here is a copy of the notice of the meeting that the CCS sent out recently. 

ORIGINAL BLOG (published 02/27/20180

LINKS to prior blogs in this series: (your source for information on the HOF-VP,  much of which, The Repository refuses to print)
If you or I did what the Pro Football Hall of Fame (HOF-VP) has done through its visionary-in-chief C. David Baker has done, The Repository would likely be publishing stories about how unrealistic we were in proposing such a phantasmagoric project without any idea about how we were going to finance it.

Of course, the average person doesn't have a "special" relationship with the folks running the Hall of Fame Village "expansion" project, to wit:

Now it is beginning to appear that The Repository cannot even ask or publish answers to (which of the two, it is impossible to determine) questions that literally beg to be asked.

The latest failure to ask (or, it might have be asked, but the answer not published) occurred at last Thursday's Stark County Port Authority.

Had The Stark County Political Report  (SCPR, The Report) been present, readers could bet their "bottom dollar" that the questions would have been asked and the answer (or refusal to answer) would have been published in full.

But yours truly has been in Hawaii for six weeks with another two weeks to go.

The question?

In response to the reported statement by Hilscher-Clarke president Scott Goodspeed.
If the loan doesn’t come through in the next week, Goodspeed said, “it’s not going to be pretty.”  (emphasis added)
And, a follow up statement:
Sam Simmerman, legal counsel for the port authority, said Thursday there is no set date for when the loan might close, but it won’t happen this week. (emphasis added)
Does the SCPR have to cite to readers the obvious follow up question to be answered or not?

Probably not, but here it is anyway?

"President Goodspeed, exactly what do you mean by "it's is not going to be pretty."

A question that likely would have been the opener to a series of questions which might reveal something that Goodspeed knows about the HOF-VP project that the taxpaying Stark County general public does not know.

It could be that Goodspeed is a lot of hot air.  It wasn't that long ago that Hischer-Clarke's attorney let it be known that a lawsuit was imminent:

Apparently, "its not going to be pretty" is a veiled repeat of the threat to file a lawsuit made several weeks ago by Hilscher-Clarke's attorney.

Although the SCRP is sympathetic with the likes of Hischer-Clarke, these folks (the lienholders) are supposed to be astute business persons.


You sit there and let the "unpaid" charges pile up to the tune of a couple of million dollars?

Think Hilscher-Clarke would allow you and I to roll up a proportionally  massive debt like that on our "in the end it will pay off" promise?

While The Repository is at it, maybe just maybe the ought to send somebody other than sports buff Todd Porter out to interview Baker.  Not long ago Porter did a  Baker "softball" piece that should embarrass any self respecting journalist to have his name attached to.

And he ought to take his "hardball" reporting mode (if he has one, which the The Report doubts he does) with him and ask Baker to produce evidence that the county commissioners (an allegation the SCPR hears Baker is making) are the reason that Beaver Constructors, et al, have not been fully paid.

To the SCPR, that Baker would do such of thing ("its the commissioners fault") when he ought to know and the The Report firmly believes he knows that such a attribution is untrue.

Porter and his bosses at The Rep certainly have to know that the Baker line is false and that the "real" reason is that the Stark County Port Authority and the Canton City Schools will not (until definite HOF/Lichter combination conditions are met) issue certificates of estoppel so that the ostensibly "waiting in the wings" $100 million bridge loan entity will approve the loan.

For the schools' part, the SCPR has learned, according to an agreement between the HOF-VP folks and the schools, the schools have a set aside of dates that the schools can and apparently have scheduled the use of the stadium for in such a number that the would be lender in waiting is not liking.

Also there is the matter of the schools' football operations facility being demolished an not replaced.

A snag in this aspect of the HOF solicited schools certificate of estoppel appears to be the schools getting an ironclad commitment to the replacing the demolished facility.

The truth of the matter is that the Stark County commissioners are fully into protecting taxpayer dollars in insisting that HOF/Lichter meet the commissioners "due diligence" standards as, apparently are the Port Authority and the Canton City Schools.

The HOF-VP private sector folks are already into partial public financing of the project but of course is very sparing in releasing "private financing" information and to the degree that anybody gets it (other than the bigs at The Repository), it is leaked out via people who have had dealings with the project in one way or another and who are not in the employment of the HOF-VP.

In a sarcastically amusing and tragic (from a journalistic standpoint) turn of events, the SCPR has learned The Repository "powers that be" are accusing the commissioners' office being "too public" in sharing what the commissioners know about the financing or suspected lack of funding for the HOV-VP.

The HOF-VP have been working with the commissioners to get an allocation of  $500,000, more or less, of Stark County's bed (hotel) tax having been encouraged to do so by state Representative Kirk Schuring.

The SCPR has put out public records requests of Representative Schuring, the Stark County commissioners and the city of Canton.

Some of the material gathered from the commissioners has already been shared.  And there will be more in future blogs.

Today though the focus is on material gathered from Representative Schuring (Republican Jackson) in the form of "extracts" of an e-mail generated/sent by Attorney Randall Hunt on behalf of HOF Village, LLC (a collaborative effort of the Professional Football Hall of Fame and IRG [Stu Lichter]) to Allyson Bussey, president of the Stark County Convention and Visitors' Bureau and to Stark County chief administrator Brant Luther.

The purpose in providing this extract is to outline a statement in the document of the areas of financial involvement as authorized by Ohio law by county government.  An interesting side note is a reference in the document of an meeting between Schuring and Baker set for September 21st.

The extracted part of the document (with HOF credentials of Randall Hunt)

Moreover, the Stark County Port Authority has become a player in the financing of the HOF-VP in being a conduit for the purchase of materials and supplies (subject to Ohio's sales tax so that Ohio and Stark County taxpayers stand to redirect thousands of money that would be used for the benefit of all citizens to the private sector Professional Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The SCPR is working to get a specific number of what Stark Countians and Ohioans by way of not getting sales tax revenue of equipment and supplies used in HOF-VP work.

Accordingly,  the financial viability of the project as part and parcel of public accountability certainly ought to be known to Stark County taxpayers through our public officials.

In other words, a business that is supposed to be digging out information that is being hidden by public authorities, The Repository leaders is "apparently" encouraging government to be secretive.


This is a organization which annually celebrates "Sunshine Week?"  More than "kind of hypocritical, no?"

Publisher Jim Porter and executive editor Jim Porter (a relative of Todd Porter) ought to hang the heads in shame1

Front organizations (Strengthening Stark, Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce and The Repository) for the HOF-VP part of Stark County economic development are pushing for a countywide sales tax in the guise of being for countywide economic development.

The SCPR says the answer should be "no way!" given the lack of information, partial information, perhaps, even disinformation dished out by HOF-VP officialdom.

Such a tax should be a full "go" if the HOF-VP is guaranteed to the voters not to get one dollar of the proceeds.

What is being openly discussed at Stark County Port Authority meetings these days was reported by the SCPR before it came out in Port Authority meetings.  But, when asked about the information before being blogged about, Pete Fierle (the HOF communications person) ascribed the information as being rumors.

The SCPR thinks that the project will never, ever be completed as currently envisioned.

The project started out at $480 million but now is at $1 billion (which, by the way, is a number the SCPR has been using way before any other media).

And the stadium:  it start out at $24 million only to escalate to probably about $170 million.

It is interesting that the "would be lender" is said to be quibbling over the number of dates that the HOF gets to schedule the stadium for.

Let's see.  A $170 million stadium as collateral.  How many events over how many lifetimes would it take for the stadium produced revenue stream to be a viable collateral?

What would Stark County taxpayers put one dollar more of public money into a project that seems so irresponsibly run?

Below is a updated mechanics lien filing list from the first filing:

Note:  Not listed is some $350,000 that the HOF-VP are said to owe the city of Canton for extra security provided for the 2017 HOF induction ceremonies week which Canton City County seems to have no immediate interest in collection.  Strange for a city asking for an income tax increase, no?

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