This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 16, 2009 4:50 PM. The previous post in this blog was Stacking the deck. The next post in this blog is City Hall gets something right for a change. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Big buzz

Our e-mail inbox is being inundated with messages directing us to this story. Looks like Portland's once-bankrupt mayor may be headed that way again. Too bad he's taking the rest of the city with him. Hey, the guy's claim to fame is that he was the economic development brains behind Vera Katz -- what were you expecting?

Look on the bright side. At least he isn't racing the bank to make a payment, stinking like beer and with his pants half off.

Comments (36)

As one of the (many) people who sent that your way, Jack, I have to say that the WWeek story adds some crucial details missing in the Mercury story:


In January 2003, property records show, he bought two properties for $130,000 each:
2121 N. McClellan, which appears to be his primary residence and the property next door at 2131 N. McClellan, which the Portland Mercury reported today is in foreclosure.

So he owns several properties, and one of them is nearing foreclosure. Not quite the same as owning one modest house having THAT be at risk.

No, it's actually a lot worse. The guy thought he was going to become a real estate tycoon, and now he may not even have a decent place to live. Exactly what the City Council is doing to the city as a whole.

The Oregonian story linked says both his properties, rental and home, are in default. Nice leadership, again, Sam. Way to be a great role model, again, Sam.

True, at least he hasn't crash his truck into the bank on the way to deliver his late payments - yet.

Just heard about the second property on this evening's news.

The mayor claims that he is going to pay and does not intend to go into foreclosure. He is currently five months behind on payments for both homes and owes approximately $10,000 in payments and fees.

Given the tanking economy and legal fees, it would have made more sense to put one of the houses on the market rather than try to cling to both which may result in the loss of the properties to auction in October.

Why would anybody want two side-by-side houses on the same street anyway?

I have to give him credit for choosing Kenton. Sten had to have digs in Irvington.

It's not often that you hear of (a)an embarassing story about the Mayor breaking, then (b)him claiming it's a personal matter and that he's going to work hard to resolve it.

I mean, no more than once ever four or five months, anyway.

You wonder how he can afford trips to Belgium and bar tabs around town when he can't even pay his mortgage. What a clown.

Even if with two properties, assuming that Adams took out mortgages to buy both for the same amount with the same terms, his monthly payments on both mortgages is still under 20% of his gross salary as mayor ($118K / year). That does display some embarrassing personal finance skills.

If he wasn't tupping teenagers, lying his butt off, and buying off reporters with city jobs, he wouldn't need a high-priced criminal defense lawyer.

And we are letting him control a multi-billion dollar budget for the City of Portland.

I bet Merritt would happily pay off both mortgages and sell the properties back to the Mayor for a nominal amount.

Assuming he gets an $80 million public subsidy.

Yep, Anon. And that doesn't even take into account any other savings, investments or financial assets he might be able to bring to the table.

One would hope that he isn't living paycheck to paycheck; his legal fees, living expenses and mortgage shouldn't be coming solely out of his monthly paycheck.

And, as I understand the reports, he has made NO payments since February. Not even token payments or partial payments.

So which is it: "do as I say, not as I do" or is it "do as I do, not as I say"?

This is really confusing.

I love the commenters (not here, of course) that suggest we ought to leave him alone, this doesn't reflect on his qualifications as a mayor, a foreclosure isn't necessarily his fault, etc.

Yeah, because if some high school drop-out, chronic alcoholic, or (egad) conservative-values espousing candidate ran, we'd all ignore those "personality traits" and pretend none of them have to do with the job of running a huge city.

Samadams got the mayor's job by fleecing the voters and glossing over his personal deficiencies. In a non-partisan election, those are exactly the things that count the most.

On the Mercury comments page, "Orlon Slax" points out that most lawyers would offer a prominent client payment terms to avoid further embarrassment, and wonders if Adams isn't spending the big bucks to keep other inconvenient matters under wraps - Let the speculation roll! It couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

As 'NW Portlander' says - living paycheck to paycheck? On $118k a year? Looks like some pols can't even manage a rainy day fund for themselves.

Oh man, I just read that it's not one, not two, but three properties, all on the same street. What is this N. McClellan fetish? Is this Monopoly? Do not pass go, do not pay $10,000. From Willamette Week:

"In January 2003, property records show, he bought two properties for $130,000 each:

"2121 N. McClellan, which appears to be his primary residence and the property next door at 2131 N. McClellan, which the Portland Mercury reported today is in foreclosure.

"In August 2006, when the property market was still riding high, Adams . . . bought another nearby triplex at 2031 N. McClellan for $349,000."

most lawyers would offer a prominent client payment terms to avoid further embarrassment

Of course, that's predicated on the laughable notion that Sam has been honest about his financial situation.

Also - do the other two properties (one a triplex, for chrissakes) not have renters? Isn't rent supposed to cover mortgage and taxes? Hmmm, speaking of property taxes - wonder if those are current!

Go Dumbass!

So the mayor is in arrears, what's new?

(Sorry...horrible lack of taste and judgement there. Just following my leaders.)

Don't worry. Sam now realizes that not paying his mortgage is bad and he's working hard to regain his banker's trust.

^^^^Hmmm, speaking of property taxes - wonder if those are current!^^^

Oh yeah the poor clerk(s) who chases the rest of us for delinquent property taxes is going to be equally zealous about the Mayor.
Do you want to buy the Sellwood bridge ?

Upon consideration wouldn't chasing past due prop taxes be a Multco responsibility?

Paging Mr. Wheeler please pick up the white courtesy phone

Wow. The hits just keep coming for Mr. Adams. He's a regular Phil Spector.

If you did nothing wrong why do you need a high priced criminal attorney especially before any investigatory findings or charges have been announced?

If you are a skilled planner how do you let a modest mortgage get months in arrears while earning $118k a year?

From website, property taxes seem current - Banks are pretty good about that; but for the 2 single-family properties, no permits have been issued since 2003 - I'm SURE the Mayor wouldn't do anything requiring a permit without pulling one (unlike, say, Diane Linn, or Serena Cruz (married to a big contractor)...)

As Sam has lobbied the State Legislature, he should have started a "rainy day fund" for himself.

I find it hard to buy Sam's claim that he has enormous attorney bills when no charges have been made and he claims he's innocent of any charges. Most of his present attorney bills have been paid by us taxpayers, even the recent claim that is being made by his former senior advisor who has only filed an intent claim. Is he stretching the truth again?

does anybody even believe this?
could this be a new take on the homophobic spin used to gain office?
could this be a ploy to give the appearance of being a "regular guy" ?
(sym)pathetic manipulation?

Any banker who demands that Sam Adams actually make his mortgage payments on time is an obvious homophobe.

Mark Mason was on KATU and he used the word "sad" about this situation, and you know what? He's right.

There's something here that isn't as much fun to kid around about. I sense a recklessness that could end in tragedy.

Sam, get the help you need. If it's a drug thing, fine. That happens. If it's a booze thing. That happens too.

This upfront attorney fees business doesn't sound truthful to me. It has the ring of BS to it.

I've been around a lot of musicians in trouble and they seem to crank out the drama at a regular rate. This is starting to remind me of one of my musician friends.

It usually involves lying to yourself. Get help. There's something very wrong here.

I've said that for many years, Bill. If Adams has any friends, they need to get him help, and I mean yesterday. The guy doesn't deserve to hold public office, but he deserves a shot at a sane life. Time is running out on that one.

It appears to be a personal ethics problem.
Creepy Dude has none.
He's never heard of dignity or the system the rest of the public is supposed to follow.
Two system Sam has his own system to follow.
And the dude sometimes keeps his fly down and pants unbottoned as he follows it.

Perhaps the "significant up-front legal fees" are in relation to an anticipated grand jury investigation at the behest of AG Kroger?

Ha ha-

Real estate tax arrearages are the purvue of Multnomah County, not the City of Portland.

Somehow, giiven the Mayor's insatiable appetite for rapimg the County revenue stream with PDC tax deferral schemes, I don't see the County bureaucracy exercising any restraint or discretion with respect to the Mayor of PDX for real estate tax arrearages

Two homes are in "pre-foreclosure", Adams personal residence and the adjacent property. I would guess that Adams has the adjacent home rented.

If Adamas has been collecting rent on the adjacent home, but not paying the mortgage, he's actually coming out ahead on the back of his renter.

Collecting rent on a property but not paying for it is...um...unethical and pretty much makes Adams a "slumlord".

He needs to go.

I think Bill McD nailed it. It's too pathetic to even enjoy making fun of at this point. (Although the imagery in the last sentence of Jack's initial post still makes me laugh, even on day 2...)

Seriously, though, this is clearly a drowning, dysfunctional person who needs to leave the public eye immediately and do the difficult, slow work of healing. He sounds ripe for a 12-step program. Of course, the light bulb has to want to change...

Or he might be trying to get in on those loan modifications. Most lenders, including Wells Fargo, only talk to people who are 2+ payments behind.

KATU rocks. They're the only station that seems to be reporting on Adams' shenanigans.

This alone has made me watch them and not the other stations.

The high attorney fees could support the "other person" theory mentioned in a comment a while ago. We shall see.

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