Wednesday, March 28, 2018


UPDATE:  3;46 p.m.
(paragraphs 5 and 6)

LINK to New Times Article dated today.

Putting The Canton Repository to Shame!

APRIL, 2016





On Thursday, the National Football League's NFL Draft Days site selection committee will be in Canton to evaluate Canton as a candidate to possibly get Day 3 of the total three day annual NFL Draft that draws "die-hard" NFL fans.

It appears that if northeast Ohio gets a 2019 or 2020 date, the first two days will be in Cleveland NOT in Canton.

Until Monday, The Stark County Political Report never heard one word that if National Football League were to bring its annual draft of college players to Ohio, Canton would be the site.

And never, never, ever has there being a public discussion of only one day (the most insignificant:  being the third day) if at all would be the third day.

Accordingly, local businesses will benefit only marginally if Canton gets the third day of a three day event in which the selectees have a marginal opportunity to stick with NFL team.

And, here is the difference spelled out graphically by the publication Sports TV Ratings.

Even if the NFL does grant Canton a day in April of 2019 or 2020 The Stark County Political Report sees CEO/president of the Pro Football Hall of Fame (HOF, National Football Museum, Inc) as having failed to deliver on the hopes/expectations of locals when in 2014/2015 he began promoting his apparently phantasmagoric vision of an expanded HOF complex into a village.

When Baker began talking up the idea of the NFL bringing the draft to Canton, he was not qualifying the notion as being for anything less than the whole three day shebang being totally in Canton, Ohio.

Recently a Stark County political subdivision official described a C. David Baker (who earns at least $615,000 annually as CEO/president) as a man who was literally begging that the official smile on Baker's quest to get required by the-then prospective "bridge loan lender" of "up-to-$100 million" to approve a loan to get the HOF-VP out-of-hock (sorta inasmuch as the "up-to-$100 million has to be paid back within six months to a year [i.e. if the loan is in the form that bridge loans usually take on].

Sources in a position to know, say that the first tranche of the "up-to-$100 million" loan was in the amount of $39 million which is just enough to pay off contractors who have worked on the now estimated to be $171 million "best high school football stadium in all of America."

Originally, the stadium (formerly known as Fawcett Stadium; now Tom Benson Stadium after the recently deceased owner of the New Orleans Saints who donated $11 million, more or less) for Fawcett's rehab which Baker and his HOF-VP team initially set at $24 million, more or less.

The SCPR dug into this blog's vast archive of videos and found the following gem (see below) in which Baker answers Councilman Bill Smuckler's question:  How's the financing going?

Good! Baker said.

Remember, Canton has put $5,000,000 cash likely into the football stadium.

Little noticed at the time by any of us was Baker's glossing over "of course nobody is going to be financing the stadium" and then went on to say that the press box had to be torn down because in doing so the projects would cost $250,000 less and take 7 less weeks that rehabbing the existing structure.

According to Baker, to repeat,  a savings in money and time was to be had.

What a "tragic" laugh!

$171 million or perhaps $250 million later!

Remember the cancelled 2016 annual Canton-based first of the new season exhibition football game because of turf problems?  Before the debacle, Baker undoubtedly was telling public officials that everything was going well.

As if that wasn't enough of "what turned out to be inaccurate in his answer," Baker then goes on to assure the assembled councilpersons in his confab with him in April, 2016 that the 5 star hotel and Excellence Center would start construction in September, 2016.


Now (fast forward to 2018) we are being told that there is only a "not completely finished" football stadium and precious little else in capital facilities of any significance/description, BUT WORRY NOT, it will not factor into the decision of whether or not "the third day" of a three day event is coming to Canton.

What?  Does the NFL want to be embarrassed again?

Here it is a few days from April, 2018 and no hotel underway; no Excellence Center underway and projections that the stadium (that Baker says nobody will finance and was projected early on to cost $24 million) will end up costing $250 million.

The SCPR thinks the Stark County public ought to take anything Baker says with "the proverbial 'grain of salt.'"

Local government officials who have to work with Baker et al,  pretty much universally describe the experience as being "one big helter-skelter" (the SCPR's expression) operation.

President Trump might be more believable to some than David Baker, no?

Readers ought to be sure to view this video.

A rejection of Canton as either a 2018 or 2019 NFL Draft site would be an absolute devastation to not only Baker and his colleagues at 2121 Halas Drive but also to Canton City government which has $5 million cash in the project plus countless (combined) hours of:
  • the law department's time (and incidental administrative supplies expense—note:  the law department hired an extra attorney to keep up with HOF-VP work among other work),
  • the annexation department's time and administrative supplies expense,
  • the engineering department's time and administrative supplies expense, 
  • the Canton Police Department and the Canton Fire Department/EMS which is owed anywhere (unless paid out of the $39 million bridge loan money) a range of some $300,000 to $400,000, 
  • the engineering department in fronting $120,000 for specially designed street lighting in the area of the village and downtown Canton, and
  • the mayor (Thomas Bernabei) and his office's time and administrativesupplies expense
Of course, Canton government isn't the only local government entity to have expended non-cash taxpayer provided for assets (namely the salary and benefits of various county officials and the administrative supplies factor) towards implementing Baker's unrealistic dream.

And the foregoing is added too in cash dollars being set aside in the form of TDD dollars or redirected to Ohio and Stark County sales tax revenues exempted from taxation on HOF-VP contractor purchased materials through the Stark County Port Authority.

Is the HOF-VP a private sector project and therefore not accountable to the taxpaying public in terms of ultimate viability of the project and whether or not the project is being developed prudently and wisely?

If taxpayer dollars were not at risk, the SCPR wishes the HOF-VP "God's speed" in making the project A $1 billion, $2 billion or whatever project.

The SCPR is working tirelessly to get a handle on how much public money is going into this seeming boondoggle.  Of course, The Report is not getting much cooperation from HOF-VP connected persons and those who are "uncritically" allied with them.

It is interesting how America's wealthy always want to have their "private" projects have access to public funding, no?

The SCPR thinks that we Stark Countians are getting worked over big time by Baker and friends in their trying to milk public financing for every penny the project can manage to get its hands on as the overly ambitious project limps along in "live another day mode."

Nobody expects an outright rejection of at least the third day of of the three day event, but as we all know from our common human experience:  "anything is possible!"

Think C. David Baker is not begging NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the selection site committee members for "at least one day, even if its the third and final day" of the NFL Draft in 2019 or 2020?

Of course, the HOF-VP will not be anywhere near its project ultimate cost of $1 billion plus cost (up from an estimated $448,000 million, more or less back in 2014/2015).

It is estimated that the site selection committee will be in Canton for about eight hours on Thursday.

The results from Thursday could well be "make or break" for Baker and his "joined-at-the-hip" master developer Stu Lichter in the HOF Village LLC (in multiple forms) enterprises.

It is reported that Baker is offering treats to members of the public who attend Thursday's event as thereby supporting his desperate attempt to salvage something, anything of the "pie in the sky" he was promoting two, three and four years ago.

What a incredible guy C. David Baker is, no?

And he makes at least $615,000 a year.

Where do I sign up?

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