Thursday, June 28, 2018

HOF UPDATE: CCS BOE MEETING, PORT AUTHORITY & MORE!



It is rather obvious that Professional Hall of Fame president/CEO C. David Baker thinks that he and HOF partner (i.e. HOF Village LLC) can tap into Stark County/Ohio taxpayer money with little if any accountability.

Back in 2016, Stu Lichter and several HOF officials met in executive session with the Stark County commissioners under the pretext that an open public meeting would subject them to having to reveal "proprietary information."

While the commissioners have not revealed the specific content of that discussion, The Stark County  Political Report has learned that session did not include any material which a reasonable minded person would conclude to be "proprietary."

Once it became apparent there was no justification for secrecy, what didn't the commissioners end the meeting abruptly!

A primary reason that the HOF is insulated from public scrutiny of the private sector's receipt of taxpayer dollars is due to Republican governor John Kasich's institution of his pet economic development project Jobs Ohio.

It will be interesting to see whether not Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike DeWine and Democrat Richard Cordray will be put to the test in this year's campaign on the issue of accountability for taxpayers for public monies which come into the hands of the private sector.

In the meantime there seem to be plenty of leaks of information of what the HOF-VP project folks are up to which information comes to this blogger is a steady stream.

HOF officials only have themselves to blame.  They need to tighten up whom they tell anything to  because it is a human need to share "inside" information with friends, family and close associates.

We all know The Repository management knows much more about the precariousness of the HOF-VP financing (meets with HOF officials weekly), but given it's "official" newspaper of the Professional Football Hall of Fame" status, seemingly only parcels out that news which paints a rosy picture of the project.

It is really strange that a newspaper which says each in each March (the newspaper industry's annual Sunshine Week) that it is committed to "letting the Sunshine in," appears highly protective of any information that might cast doubt on the viability of the HOF-VP.

Publisher Porter is reported to have accused certain Stark County public officials of "leaking" information about the financial difficulties the folks at 2121 George Halas Drive are undergoing.

Maybe Porter and his fellows Baker and Saunier need to hire a "on staff" plumber?

A major problem with HOF Village LLC getting funding for the rest of the village project is the LLC to sign up as a matter of attaining a formal, legal contract with the M. Klein Company.

Like everything else with the project, HOF officials say "any day now," but the days seem to be those long, dreary and dark days of winter.

And when the HOF folks think official public entity action is needed to advance the interest of HOF-VP financing, then they are highly prone to put public officials on a "firehouse" drill which, of course, might have the effect of public officials not properly vetting HOF Village LLC requests for action and thereby damaging the public interest.

The SCPR has learned that HOF Village LLC officials are promising that any future capital expansion (e.g. the proposed hotel now downgraded in terms of quality rating) will not be undertaken until the financing is in place, which, of course, if it a "real" promise, a major departure from the financial model that rebuilding Fawcett Stadium (now Benson Stadium) was undertaken.

It was really hard to hear Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce president/CEO Denny Saunier chastise Stark County political subdivision officials about their "lack of planning" over the years in the face of what he and his pals Baker and Porter with the apparent approval of the HOF Board of Trustees came up with in terms of a "hope and a prayer" to flesh out Baker's dream of Canton being the home of a Disney-esque HOF-VP.

Apparently, Saunier has no sense of shame!

There is plenty to critique Stark County political subdivisions on including lack of planning, it is just that Denny Saunier is hardly the person to do it.

Some Stark County political subdivision entities/officials appear to be so enamored of or intimidated by Baker et al that they make feeble, if any at all, attempts to make Baker and friends ("friends:" a reference to Repository publisher James Porter and Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce president/CEO Denny Saunier) accountable for taxpayer money by the millions going into the HOF-Village Project (HOF-VP).


The Stark County Political Report (SCPR, The Report) senses that there are more public officials representing entities with a direct financial stake getting nervous about the long term viability of the HOF-VP.

One can readily see angst in meetings with the Canton City Schools (CCS) Board of Education (BOE), the Port Authority, and with the various contractors who are torn "twixt and between" of wanting to help make the HOF-VP a success
  • (as the SCPR does so long as the project in largely done with "at risk" private sector investments and strict accountability for every Ohio/Stark County taxpayer dollar put into the project) 
and the fright they must feel at the possibility that they as public officials will be left "holding the bag!"

(Resnick/Bomberger top photo)
Luther/Simmerman bottom photo)

Eric Resnick of the CCS-BOE and Brant Luther (Port Authority  [PA] board member) deserve special mention in their attempt to do "due diligence" in protecting Canton's schools and county/state taxpayers from what the SCPR thinks is an fiscally irresponsible Professional Football Hall of Fame Board of Trustees.

Hence, recent CCS-BOE meetings and Port Authority meetings when taken in in-toto reveal an uneasiness as the HOF-VP sits idle while HOF officials desperately seek out private sector financing.

Below is a video excerpt of Luther at Monday's Stark County Port Authority meeting in which he does a "classic-due-diligence" Q&A with legal counsel (to the PA) in which he fishes out of Lawyer Simmerman (Krugliak/Wilkins) that it will be Bond legal counsel (Roetzel, Andrus of Akron) advising the Summit County Port Authority (the issuer of the bonds, which the SCPR understands are already spoken for) who determines whether or not HOF-VP infrastructure which the the bonds are being issued to pay (reimburse Stu Lichter?) for qualify under relevant Ohio Tax Increment Financing (TIF) law.

NOTE:  ORIGINALLY THE BOND(S) WERE TO TOTAL $11.6 MILLION.  HOWEVER, THE "INCREASE IN VALUE" AUDITOR APPRAISAL CAME IN AT $45 MILLION RATHER THAN A HOF VILLAGE LLC "HOPED FOR" $45 MILLION VALUE AND CONSEQUENTLY, ACCORDING TO PORT AUTHORITY OFFICIALS THE BOND(S) WILL TOTAL $10.03 MILLION ($10,000,030)

And, by the way, The Repository has published in past articles that at one time Lichter claimed an "owners' equity" of $152 million which the SCPR interprets to mean he says he is owed $152 by the project when financing resources are at a level to reimburse him.

Now, Stark County chief administrator Brant Luther in his own words on the Q&A referred to above:



Of course, the Roetzel/Andress work is private information (attorney/client protected), and, consequently the taxpaying public will not have one word on what specifically the HOF Village LLC PILOT (re:  the TIF, "payment in lieu of taxes") which is the stream of revenue for repaying the bonds.

Which (i.e. the bonds)  by the way the HOF Village folks attempted to get the CCS on the hook for if there is a default on the bonds during protracted negotiations between the CCS and the HOF Village LLC folks.

Here is Resnick in a similar exercise (as Luther) with CCS BOE legal counsel Jeff Bomberger.



Note:  Full versions of the CCS-BOE and Port Authority videos taken by the SCPR can be seen in the appendix section of this blog)
The SCPR does not think that the Plain School District BOE is being nearly as protective of its public.  The Report met with Plain LSC officials (board president John Halkias, Superintendent Brent May and Treasurer Kathy Jordan) on June 11th as consequence of having written a blog published on June 8th (LINK).

A request was made to at least do a audio recording of the meeting.  Superintendent May preliminarily agreed to an audio recording contingent on President Halkias' approval.

Halkias refused which is a strange position for the president-elect of the Ohio School Boards Association.

The SCPR has had a high regard for Halkias going back years.

But his handling of The Report's inquiry into Plain's challenge to the baseline valuation of the Benson Stadium by Stark County auditor Alan Harold left much to be desired.


The SCPR has it on highly credible and, by a person in a position to know, claim that Plain made demands on the CCS-BOE in order to settle its challenge of the baseline valuation of Benson Stadium parcel.

It now appears to The Report that Plain LSD was leveraging its minority position as a stakeholder in the property tax factor coming to the CCS-BOE and Plain LSD in the negotiation of a "compensation agreement" between the schools and HOF Village LLC.

As the SCPR understands this matter, both school systems had competing considerations to think about.  Twenty-five percent (25%) of the baseline value of Alan Harold's $4.5 million tax baseline valuation of Parcel 10009054 (the site of Benson Stadium and surrounds) goes to the CCS.

The competing consideration lies in the "compensation agreement" in which the SCPR understands that  25% of any increase of Parcel 1000954 is split 67%/33% between the CCS and the Plain LSD.  As of January 1, 2018 the parcel is valued by Harold as being $40 million.  And, he says, that the $40 million valuation likely will increase.

 EXCERPTS FORM COMPENSATION AGREEMENT
SEE ENTIRE AGREEMENT IN APPENDIX

Because Harold is so much a part of the Stark County government, business and political establishment; he should not be involved in future valuations.  Rather, he should ask for commissioner authority to hire outside-government-appraisal experts to come up with reappraisals based on state-of-the-art appraisal standards.

The CCS interest clearly is in increase valuation, not the baseline.  Moreover, the Plain LSD has no interest whatsoever in the baseline valuation except, the SCPR thinks "to muddle up" things for the CCS in proposing a baseline valuation of $85 million which of course and obviously makes the "increase in value factor" far less attractive to the CCS.

The SCPR's take on Halkias, May and Jordan is that they were posturing in filing the valuation complaint in March until  Brent May was strong armed by Rep publisher James Porter.  May categorically denied that Porter "twisted" his arm to give way to the CCS preference for 67%/33 increasing value model.  Nonetheless, The Report does not believe him nor for that matter John Halkias who interestingly opened the June 11th meeting trumpeting his own integrity.

It had never occured to the SCPR to question his character?

After all, this blog is about public official public performance accountability.

Interesting that he should have at his initiative brought up the character topic, no?

One the most "pie-in-the-sky" reports on the HOF-VP is that project officials and friends are saying that the hotel and ancillary projects of the HOF-VP will be financed in "one-fell-swoop" impliedly to the tune of three-fourths-of-a-billion dollars through the efforts of The M. Klein Company.

When Klein was in Canton recently for the annual Regional Chamber of Commerce extravaganza, The Rep with great fanfare made it sound like he was "off-and-running" on the financing quest.

Now we learn that he doesn't even have a contract.  Hmm?

This story keeps shifting, no?

It appears that the HOF folks are getting sensitive about the cost of Phase I (the Benson Stadium and surrounds) as evidenced by a June 21st Repository report that the stadium cost now stands at $139 million as contrasted with the original 2015 estimate of $24 million.

Today, The Rep (probably at the direction of publisher James Porter in what appears to be a journalistic "cherry picking" and diversionary maneuver) published an article focusing on there being $15 million of public money in Benson Stadium.

It appears that the $15 million was garnered from a piecemeal examination of whatever fragmentary public records exist in effort by the HOF apologist-in-chief to put pieces of a puzzle together that some might buy as the real deal as an accurate portrayal of the extent of public money being in the project and not confirmed by an examination of HOF Village LLC accounting records.

Just let someone like the SCPR take a look at the HOF Village LLC books.

Let Baker and his financial officials field a range of incisive, probing questions.

And when is Hell going to freeze over?

In focusing on the claimed $15 million public monies input into the stadium project, The article sidesteps a much larger public monies issue which will end up in the project at whatever stage it ends on its trek towards being $1 billion, more or less.

While $15 million (if accurate) is nothing to sneeze at, there will be millions upon millions more of public money (direct, indirect and re-directed) that will find its way into the HOF-VP in the form of:
  • a Tourism Development District (TDD) sales tax,
  • a hotel (if it is ever built) bed tax,
  • a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) involving CCS/Plain LSD, 
  • in-kind public financing by federal/state and local governments on infrastructure,  and
who knows what else.

As long as Janet Creighton, Bill Smith and Richard Regula (or any two of the three) are county commissioners, Baker et al can forget an additional county sales tax for economic development that includes any part of the proceeds going to the HOF-VP.

It is tragically amusing that The Repository bigs have apparently mandated that the $139 million figure be justified in light of Baker himself is on public record saying that McKinley students should be proud to be playing high school football games in a $150 million facility.

Accordingly, The Report places very little stock in what Porter or Porter directed and likely edited assignments as well as those of his Repository special projects man Todd Porter have to say about the financial realities of the HOF-VP.

It is not the reporters who are responsible for The Repository's "ignoring" of the obvious.  Rather. to repeat the oft-stated opinion of this blogger, it isis all on James Porter and his minion editors.

But the real cost when one counts interconnected infrastructure costs and the like, some say, is more realistically about $171 million.  Others project that the cost for a "complete" Benson Stadium complex could balloon to about $250 million.


C. David Baker is said to have insisted on grandiose materials and "overbuilt" construction techniques using a high, high, high volume of union wage "overtime" labor hours which constitute the heart and soul of the mushrooming of the stadium cost from its original $24 million estimate to the much higher numbers (take your pick).

Obviously Baker is not an effective fiscal/financial guy himself and  appears to have heaped one phantasmagorical notion after another on his corporate-bureaucratic managers thereby undoubtedly (if they could speak candidly) make them feel they are chasing "an 'fiscally' impossible dream."

Nearly everybody credits Baker with being a visionary whose primary way of motivating those he desperately needs to pull off completing the HOF-VP  through a Dale Carnegie approach.

But some say he can be and cite instances in which he is a bully who can, as an example of his bullying forte,  face-to-face tell a public official (who told the truth) that the official should resign from office.

Ohio/Stark County taxpayers should be thankful for the likes of Resnick, Luther and others who do their jobs in protecting the public interest.

All eyes should be on the likes of Baker, Porter, Saunier who seem to be looking out professional football's interest (the millionaires and multi-millionaires they are) too much at the expense of the taxpaying public WITHOUT much if any credible accountability "to the taxpaying public."

APPENDIX

ENTIRE "ORIGINAL" COMPENSATION AGREEMENT





ENTIRE PORT AUTHORITY VIDEO - JUNE 25, 2018 "SPECIAL MEETING"
(15 minutes)



ENTIRE CCS BOE MEETING - JUNE 18, 2018
(42 minutes, 29 seconds)

Monday, June 25, 2018

HARBAUGH OUT IN FRONT OF GIBBS ON PELOSI SPEAKERSHIP ISSUE!

UPDATED:  9:00 AM

 GIBBS CAMPAIGN STRATEGY:
TO AVOID THE TOUGH QUESTIONS & INCISIVE REPORTING?

EXTRACT FROM POLITICO 06/0/2018 & HARBAUGH CAMPAIGN WEBSITE

In the Trump era, as Republican vulnerability has mounted, the GOP has targeted Pelosi yet again. Last summer, when the Democrat Jon Ossoff showed surprising strength in a special election for a House seat in Georgia, Republicans responded with millions of dollars in ads tying him to Pelosi. “Say No to Pelosi’s Yes Man,” a GOP commercial instructed.  (Peter Binart, The Atlantic, April 2018)
As The Stark County Political Report (SCPR, The Report) sees it, Ohio 7th Congressional District
  •  (which includes "most" of Stark County and is the most populous part of the district) 

Republican incumbent Bob Gibbs is vulnerable to being unseated in November.

A look at the 2016 numbers for the 7th Congressional District show that a Harbaugh campaign focus on Stark, Lorain (Harbaugh's home county). Medina and Tuscarawas County (63% of the 2016 election vote in the 7th) offers an opportunity for the Democratic candidate to flip the district from Republican to Democratic in 2018.


CLICK ON ABOVE IMAGE TO MAKE LARGER

Undoubtedly incumbent Gibbs would like to tar and feather his Democratic opponent Ken Harbaugh as being a Yes Man supportive of former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi becoming speaker once again in the next Congress as many political pundits believe that the Democrats will win a majority in November.

A Ken Harbaugh victory early in national election results on November 6, 2018 would be a clear signal that there the election will produce a Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.

In recent edition of POLITICO, this headline:


As shown in the lead graphic in this blog, Ken Harbaugh is among the 21 Democratic general election 2018 candidates hopefuls, who are on the record as saying that there will be NO on Nancy Pelosi should the Dems capture the House and should she be a candidate for the speakership.

The Politico article credits Connor Lamb winner of a Pennsylvania special election over a bankrolled Republican candidate supported by Donald Trump with a campaign appearance as starting a trend among aspirant Democratic candidates to come out "in-advance" saying, if elected, they will not vote to reinstall Pelosi as speaker.

However, it might be that the attribution to Lamb is incorrect.

This in a communication from the Harbaugh campaign:

"Ken has consistently said that it is time for a new generation of leadership for over a year now."  

As evidence of Harbaugh's early stance of "No on Pelosi for speaker," go to this Wall Street Journal LINK.



Moveover, here is a LINK to a CNN piece in March, 2018 a confirming evidence of Harbaugh's "No on Pelosi for speaker" stance.

It could be that Bob Gibbs will ignore the documented stance of Ken Harbaugh on Pelosi and buy into the Republican Party attack line no matter what the evidence is.

If he does so, to the SCPR, such will be evidence that he knows he is in political trouble and is reacting out of desperation.

Hopefully, Gibbs will not engage in political tripe and will vie with Harbaugh face-to-face in joint Town Hall meetings on "real" issues that everyday 7th Congressional District constituents care about.

The SCPR sees Harbaugh about as political centrist of a candidate that Democrats can field.

And in committing to bipartisan if not nonpartisan representation in Congress (i.e. "Country over Party" campaign theme), he makes himself more attractive (than merely being a political centrist) as a new wave type of congressperson.

Here is his statement to The Report:
What I am hearing all across Ohio is that people are tired of a broken Congress that will not work for them. 
They want representatives who will reach across the aisle and solve problems for workers and families. 
We need a new generation of leadership in Washington, people who have put their lives on the line to serve. That’s what I did in the United States military. And that is the kind of courage we need in Congress today. 
We need fighters who will have the tough conversations, who will knock on thousands of doors, who will hold Town Halls, and look voters in the eye. That is the way forward for our country. That is the way forward for Ohio.
Readers of this blog owe it to themselves in the name of getting to know this guy and become a more informed voter,  to go to a SCPR blog of March 15, 2018 to see and hear Harbaugh on the many issues he was peppered with at a Town Hall meeting held at the VFW located in Canton.  (LINK to second blog on Harbaugh Town Hall)




The Harbaugh campaign readily agreed to allow the SCPR videotape Ken's Canton Town Hall meeting of March 15th.

The Gibbs campaign denied The Report access to his Town Hall meeting in Shelby, Ohio, on April 3, 2108, to wit:  




The SCPR's request:

From: Martin Olson [mailto:tramols@att.net] Sent: Thursday, March 29, 2018 10:19 AM

To: Sroka, Will 

Subject: Gibbs' Shelby Ohio Town Hall meeting - request for press credentials  

Attention Campaign Manager,  

The Stark County Political Report (SCPR, The Report has interest in covering the Gibbs' campaign Shelby, Ohio Town Hall meeting scheduled for April 3, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. Here is a LINK1 and LINK2 to the SCPR's coverage of the Harbaugh Town Hall meeting held in Canton on March 23rd for the Gibbs' campaign to get an idea of how The Report covers/reports on events such as political town halls.  

If permitted by the Gibbs' campaign, the SCPR is considering covering the Shelby event though (a one hour and one-half hour trip, one way) of course, the preference is to cover a future Stark County sited town hall. The SCPR's videotapes the entire proceeding but does ask for a post-event (after Congressman Gibbs has talked with all his well-wishers) to do about a 5 to 10 [minute] interview, one-on-one.  

Is there any plan to have a Gibbs' Town Hall Stark County sited event? If so, an approximate date please? If not, why no inasmuch as Stark County is the largest population locale within the 7th congressional district?  

Thank you, 

Martin Olson:  Stark County Political Report

The Gibbs' campaign denial of SCPR request:

----- Forwarded Message -----From: "Gerber, Dallas" <Dallas.Gerber@mail.house.gov>To: "tramols@att.net" <tramols@att.net> Sent: Tuesday, April 3, 2018 10:16 AM 

Subject: Fwd: Gibbs' Shelby Ohio Town Hall meeting - request for press credentials 

Martin, this is an official event, not a campaign event. If you would like to be notified of future campaign events in stark, I will forward you your info to campaign staff for that. 


Dallas Gerber

Post Shelby appearance local (Shelby media) coverage and SCPR response thereto:

Martin Olson <tramols@att.net>  Apr 12 at 9:21 

To:  Victoria.VanBuskirk@mail.house.gov

[SCPR} Comment:  Whatever Mr. Gerber want to call it, the Shelby event dealt with issues/matters that will bear on the question of whether or not Congressman Gibbs gets re-elected. 

I have seen the Shelby newspaper's account of the meeting. 

I daresay that most 7th Congressional District voters would not agree with Mr. Gerber's characterization of the event not being relevant to Congressman Gibbs effort to remain in office.


His characterization amounts to a "distinction without a difference."

VanBuskirk's response to SCPR:  

As promised, forwarding of exchange between SCPR and Gibbs.

(Note:  SCPR buttonholed VanBuskirk at a Stark County commissioners meeting she attended about a month ago, more or less) representing the office of Congressman Gibbs which has a seemingly "never open to the Stark County public" presence in the Stark County office building in which, of course, the commissioners' office is located)

Hopefully, Bob Gibbs will hold "joint' Town Hall meetings with Harbaugh across the 7th in which they engage unfiltered questions from "first come, first serve" attendees  and "open" to "all" media coverage.

If he runs away and hides from Harbaugh as the SCPR thinks he will do based on his early indication:
  • that he cannot abide the candid coverage of the likes of the SCPR, and 
  • that he decides to adopt an apparent GOP mid-term congressional election plan to launch Pelosi-esque attacks, 
then readers should read the tea leaves as possibly saying that Bob Gibbs will likely become Ex-congressman Bob Gibbs come November 6, 2018.


Thursday, June 21, 2018

CANTON CITY SCHOOLS PREPARE FOR WHAT ONE STARK COUNTY POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OFFICIAL SAYS WILL BE "IMPLOSION" OF "HOF-VP" SOON AFTER JULY, 2018 ENSHRINEMENT WEEKEND?

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


CCS BOE VOTES 5 - 0 TO APPROVE HOF-VP "STADIUM" RESOLUTION & DECLARATIONS

ENTIRE "UNEDITED" VIDEO OF MEETING



UPDATED WEDNESDAY:  9:50 AM     SHORT VIDEO CLIPS ADDED


AUDITOR HAROLD 
HELPFUL IN RESTRUCTURE TO PROTECT CCS

--------------------

DECLARATIONS ON CCS PROPERTY

---------------------

CCS MEMBER Q&A

---------------------


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."  

Huh?  

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!

APPENDIX

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

THE ENTIRE VIDEO



DECLARATION: TOM BENSON STADIUM (11 PAGES)



DECLARATION: YOUTH FIELDS (11 PAGES)



PROPOSED RESOLUTION (4 PAGES)



HOLDING "ORGANIZED" ELECTED/APPOINTED TO PUBLIC POSITIONS DEMOCRATS & REPUBLICANS ACCOUNTABLE!

UPDATED: 6:08 PM


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.

NOTE:  STARK DEM PARTY SUBSEQUENTLY  DROPPED OUT OF SUIT

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

SCPR SERIES ON HOF VILLAGE PROJECT: BLACK CONTRACTORS WALK OFF "PARKING LOT" JOB ON FRIDAY!

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

NEW BLOG LATER THIS WEEK - DISCUSSES DETAILS OF FUTURE

COULD THE 2018 ENSHRINEMENT BE IN JEOPARDY
BECAUSE OF
NO PARKING LOT?

AN EVOLVING STORY:  CHECK BACK FOR UPDATES

UPDATES WILL APPEAR IN THIS TEXT/COLOR SCHEME
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.