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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 19, 2009 11:23 PM. The previous post in this blog was Reader poll: How will Blazers-Rockets series wind up?. The next post in this blog is Another day, another pathological lie. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Guess who'll be paying for Paulson's stadiums

It appears that a fair chunk of the dough necessary to pay for the bush league baseball and soccer palaces we're going to build for the Henry Paulson Wall Street family is going to come from Blazer fans!

And taxpayers, of course.

But click on the story and scroll down a bit. It gets worse. Nobody checked the consultant's numbers -- the same consultant they hired to paper over the Convention Center hotel -- and his math and assumptions are all screwed up.

Comments (22)

If I were Randy or Sam I'd be very concerned about losing my job. Oh, not because of angry voters. No, the problem for these guys is that 2 new clowns have just hopped out of the circus car and they show some real talent.

How could Randy hope to compete with David Logsdon? Just behold his work in this paragraph below:

"We would certainly be digging into the numbers a little harder if we had more risk and exposure," said David Logsdon, manager of the city's spectator facilities. But with a personal guarantee from the Paulson family, "it's less important to the city how we scrub through all the numbers."

The Paulson family? The same family currently at the center of the fraud scheme that is costing America trillions? And yet their guarantee means you don't even bother checking the numbers?

Randy, there is much you can learn from this man. In your dreams, you're not this bold.

But then we get to the consultant from HVS, Brian Harris, who explains that his math is all screwed up because he was on an airplane and besides he was sick.
Now admittedly there's no real threat to our current Mayor in any of that. The guy sounds like a 5-year-old with the excuses, but the real problem is that he takes the wrong approach.

See, Sam would just skip the excuses and concentrate on the lies. There's no admission of incompetence that way.

But just when Brian appears out of the race as the next great city politician he lands a line so brilliant that it should be on a statue outside whatever bankruptcy court we end up in.

Here's the last sentence of the article:

The bottom line numbers are sound, he said, and reflect "what everyone was expecting."

Ahh, to be able to BS this adroitly. To say the truth at the same time as you're shoveling away - that is a real gift. Yes, everything about this deal is playing out as a typical Portland scam. The bogus numbers, the duplicity, the fake guarantees. It is exactly, "what everyone was expecting."

Sam, you're in real trouble. None of your BS comes close to this level of elegance. Time to start spreading some damning rumors or something. This guy could be a real problem for you.

Great reporting. A pity the O didn't both to do it prior to the vote on the stadium deal. Perhaps it would have put enough pressure on Saltzman to flip.

Shocking, just shocking, that a consultant would come up with the answer that the client wanted, even if the numbers didn't pan out.

Quick, Sam! you better make up a cushy job title and salary package offer for Helen Jung, she's on to you and it sounds like she's about to bust your schemes wide open!

Folks, let's keep this alive for another 71 days!!!! Then the real games can begin.

As far as a shocking choice of consultants, when you pick someone like Edlen or Ashforth to tell you if a CC hotel makes sense, I fail to be shocked further.

This is old hat.

This is what the PDC has been doing for many years.
They come up with the numbers that the city wanted, even if the numbers don't pan out.

The only reason officials don't check the math and numbers is because they don't want to discover any reasons to trip up the plan.
Going clear back to Cascade Station/AirpotMAX and the no-bid contract scheme and then mushrooming at SoWa this corrupted system of funny numbers and a fixed racket to push a project set the stage for this latest round.
The stench grew to new levels when the PDC cooked up revenue forecasts and project estimates to call the SoWa plan "feasible".
No one at city hall checked ANY of the ludicrous numbers or any other fatal flaws that scheme involved. Plenty in the public did from the Tram to the height of buildings to the promise of biotech jobs. It was ALL fixed. Katz and company not only ignored the critics but they denigrated them in public hearings. And let's not forget these officials have had their defenders providing cover all the way. Chris Smith over at Portland Transport and various other groups rally to support every scheme advanced. Themselves never scrutinizing anything at all.

Now with this latest chapter the incompetent Creepy and Randy run the stench machine with reckless and irresponsible decisions which they are confident they'll never be held accountable for.

Nice that someone finally looked at the numbers. Of course it had to be journalists rather than the City's own finance people or auditor.

Bill M. picks out the perfect quotes from an article full of them:

"We would certainly be digging into the numbers a little harder if we had more risk and exposure," said David Logsdon, manager of the city's spectator facilities. But with a personal guarantee from the Paulson family, "it's less important to the city how we scrub through all the numbers."

My jaw is on the floor.

As for the consultant, coming up with the "right" answer is often part of the game. But putting the wrong numbers in your final product and having that stand unscrutinized as the "financing plan" is beyond the usual sleeze into incompetence on the part of the consultant and the city.

One thing that isn't mentioned as far as I could tell. Paulson's guarantee covers one sixth of the costs BEFORE INTEREST on the bonds. They're going to cost a lot more than face value.

A pity the O didn't both[er] to do it prior to the vote on the stadium deal.

It's never too late, except in the minds of those who promoted and voted for it.

I am shocked, SHOCKED I tell you, that the O is actually producing what might be considered investigative reporting.

Why or why can't these people take the same care that they would if they were handling their own personal finances?

Now that I think of it, at least one of them has already been through bankruptcy which might explain the incompetence, negligence or whatever.

My favorite quote:

""Harris said he transposed some of the figures while keyboarding them from a spreadsheet into the presentation. He was on an airplane at the time, he said, and was rushing to prepare the presentation. Later, he added that he was also sick at the time...""

Last time I tried BS like that was the 11th grade. Hey...anyone see the mayor's bong?

. . . and the dog ate his Blackberry.

An obvious question here: what is the legal value of Paulson's "personal guarantee"? I mean, is it a binding contract? Can it be enforced if he suddenly decides that he doesn't like something about the circumstances, and just bails out completely?

'what is the legal value of Paulson's "personal guarantee"? I mean, is it a binding contract?'

Don't worry, it's all well-documented in a hastily prepared Powerpoint presentation. That ought to hold up in court right?

...I am shocked, SHOCKED I tell you, that the O is actually producing what might be considered investigative reporting...

...and the dog ate his Blackberry...


Really. D'ya s'pose the paper sent out someone to get Lolita's take on all this? Grr! Woof!


"why can't these people take the same care that they would if they were handling their own personal finances"

Hey, I'd prefer that, I thin Randy and Sam are bnth pretty cheap with their own monies.

"'what is the legal value of Paulson's "personal guarantee"? I mean, is it a binding contract?'"

What guarantee? Nothing's been signed yeat and Randy says it will get done. SO now that Randy is motivated, all Paulson has to wait is for him to commit himself, then he can play hardball with the genius.

Portland desperately needs something like this:

http://www.chicagoinspectorgeneral.org/

If you're shocked by what The O is reporting, then you should find and read:

'"A Lot of Hooey": Heywood Sanders on Convention Center Economics.' (Google will guide you) It's an interview that took place in 2004. Heywood Sanders is a nationally recognized expert on convention center developments.

Note to Oregon legislature: NO TIF!

Harris defended the report, saying it led to the decision to secure Paulson's guarantee. The bottom line numbers are sound, he said, and reflect "what everyone was expecting."

I bet they do...my guess is the numbers were handed to him from the beginning.

You gotta wonder how much money the city paid Harris's company for the PowerPoint thingie he whacked together on the plane on his way here while he was "sick". Couldn't be more than $20-25K, could it?

And you'd think they could have found someone a little closer than Chicago who knew PowerPoint.

Lessee, the flight from Chicago to Portland's about four hours...minus some time on the ascent and descent...maybe three-and-a-half hours working time.

Oh, here's the link to the Powerpoint

Let me go one step further than Mr. Plant. If you'd like to tell Brian Harris what you think about paying $39,000 for a report that isn't "smarter than a 5th grader" you can contact him here:

Email: bharris@hvs.com
Address: 205 West Randolph
Suite 1650
Chicago, IL, 60606
Phone: +1 727 347-1428 (Work)

This is the contact info from the above link.

Wow, Mr. Farley, that is more than $25K! Where'd you pick up that number? I wasn't sure where to even start.

Probably flew first class on that kind of money. $10K/hr. Gotta get me one of them consulting jobs.

Hey Jack, I was grading some papers on a plane and I had a cold. Do you ever do that?

Sorry that I gave a student an F rather than an A, and "transposed" a D into a B+.

I'd better be careful the next time I work on the plane ...

Wow. 39,000 bucks??

The Powerpoint provides some interesting numbers that do not bode well for the assumptions Sam, Randy, the Advisory Committee, and Paulsons make.

Over two thirds of the 30 teams listed for AAA teams had higher attendance than Portland. But Portland population numbers in another list is over two times the average of all the other teams. Maybe the popularity of baseball isn't so great in Portland that warrants the many assumptions that the Powerpoint makes that Sam and Randy hang their hats on.

When are CoP Advisory Committees going to start really examining these kinds of PR presentations for what they are? PDC is famous for this practice. Sam is notorious in his Townhall meetings for his Powerpoint deceptions. Where's the responsibility?


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