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Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Movable scam, continued

Back in July, when the convention center hotel pushers realized they were getting nowhere with the suddenly sensible new leadership at the Portland Development Commission, they took their pitch to Metro. I noted then that this was probably because the Good Old Boys continue to rule the roost at Metro, and at many other quasi-accountable public agencies in these parts:

If the Metro angle bombs out, I'm sure the people who want to build this monstrosity will move on to the next Old Boy pork pot. Tri-Met's a stretch, but there is a light rail station nearby. Give Bernie a call. Maybe the Port? Calling Tom Imeson. Lottery Commission? Of course there will be slots in the bar, but only a hundred machines or so. Wonder what Dale Penn would say. Saif's usually good for a scam. Or hey, how about OHSU itself? The constant stream of international biotech gurus that are on their way to Portland will need a place with a spa to stay and enjoy a massage as they leaf through the Portland Monthly.
As we all found out a couple of weeks ago, the Tri-Met angle wasn't so far-fetched at all. When the harsh light of day fell on the ill-fated Goose Hollow condo tower caper (aided and abetted by the skyscraper fetishists on the city Design Commission), who was in the middle of it? Tri-Met, of course. Tri-Met's giving away property to condo developers now, on the theory that their ugly towers will build ridership.

Giving away. Public property. To condo developers. No bidding. Can you say "corruption waiting to happen"? Good thing this is Oregon, where human nature doesn't apply.

Anyway, who runs Tri-Met? Why, a board of directors appointed by the governor. Seven members. Hmmm, let's see... Bernie Giusto, the Goldschmidt chaufffeur turned sheriff; Dave Bolender, an ex-Pacific Power guy probably connected to Mrs. Goldschmidt when she worked there; George Passadore, the retired banker whose name is synonymous with the Old Boy Network; Tiffany Sweitzer, Homer Williams's daughter, on the payroll of Pearlie developers Hoyt Street Properties; Sue Van Brocklin, a well connected p.r. executive whose husband is an attorney in a big-bucks law firm; George Richardson, head lobbyist for NW Natural, the gas company, and former confidante of ex-Mayor Vera Katz... the only mildly refreshing face is the Clackamas County rep, Robert Williams, a business representative at United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555.

Tired appointments and constant greasing of the same old palms -- that seems to be Governor Ted's mode of operation most of the time. Oh, several exceptions come to mind, but for the most part he's helped to perpetuate the area's scandalous public finance climate, in which anything goes, no matter how outrageous. Tri-Met literally giving land away to condo developers -- it's the height of arrogance, right up there with the aerial tram [rim shot] and all the other bad behavior up on Pill Hill.

The saddest part of it? Ted's opponent will do the exact same thing if he's elected, because they're all part of the same club. You wonder why I'll be sitting that race out? The movable scams are a large part of it.

Comments (12)

Jack, its refreshing to see someone who isnt running with the "all or nothing" political playbook in this race. Unlike the Lars Larsons, or the Blue Oregon types, some people can actually see the true consequences for Oregon with the two idiots we have trying to run this state. (And yes, two...we all know Starret doesnt stand a snowballs chance.)

Movable Scams are everywhere, aren't they Jack?

Take for example the latest North Macadam Amendment 8 proposal before city council tomorrow at 10:00AM. (http://www.pdc.us/pdf/ura/north_macadam/8thamendment-draft/deve-agmt-w-8th-amendment-revs_06-23-06.pdf)

This Amendment will be costing the taxpayers an additional $38M out of the general fund (not even including the financing costs) beyond the $608M of taxpayer money for the NM Urban Renewal area over a 20 year UR District period.

Examine just a small part of the Amendment 8 and you can see another scam involving Homer Williams and daughter Tiffany. Page 41. 6.ll.3.l Block 49:

"PDC will buy Block 49 from NMI (Homer,etc.)...$5M cash sale with a credit against the purchase price for Tram and Streetcar LICs assessed against the site in the amount of approximately $495,000;...NMI will receive a 275 (housing) unit credit against its Additional Affordable Obligation...which credit may be used by NMI anywhere in the UR Area. ...PDC will be responsible for any and all environmental clean up of the site.

6.ll.3.2 In addition to the Block 49 Purchase Agreement, PDC and NMI will enter into a disposition and development agreement whereby PDC will make NMI, Williams & Dame Development, Inc. or an affiliate thereof the sole source owner and developer of the affordable housing project to be built on Block 49. ...The DDA will also provide that following construction of the affordable housing project on Block 49, NMI or an affiliated entity will own: (a) 50 parking spaces... (b)all of the ground floor not associated with the residential components of the building; and (c)all office space..." and it continues with more "gimmies".

Block 49 is a case where Homer buys property for $1.5M, a year later sells it to PDC for $5M with additional $.5M credit; doesn't have to pay for the toxic site cleanup-taxpayers do; gets housing credits to use anywhere he wants; gets exclusive development rights WITHOUT public bidding for affordable housing; gets affordable housing financing, tax credits, etc.; gets free, exlusive parking; rights to ground floor space and office space; and who knows what else PDC will give Homer.

If you examine page 39 concerning OHSU Parking Structure to be built you will see that OHSU joins in the scam like getting rent income off of parking spaces that are reserved for future affordable housing to be built sometime later but the taxpayers are giving OHSU $3M dollars now to hold those 100 parking spaces in reserve. There are more gimmies in this portion of Amendment 8 too.

Concerning NM/Homer/PDC scam. There never was an appraisal for Block 49 before the agreed upon $5M dollar sale price.

Holy cow...looks like someone (Homer) is getting a payoff here, eh? Sounds like a deal only the Corleones could be proud of.
Arent there regulatory agencies that watch this kind of stuff?

Why is it that almost every city in the country has these kinds of schemes going on. Just think that this all has it roots in the Housing Act of 1937. For three generations now the taxayers nationwide have been paying for these schemes. Just recycling urban property for wealthy landowners.

There's only one thing wrong with this scam: I don't know whose ass I need to kiss to get in on it.

Please advise.

Dear The Donald,
Thank you sincerely. Your comment was the best laugh I've had in months.

Why more money to the SoWhat? How about this for a theory:

Here are some campaign donations from developers that may have an interest in the North Macadam project. It is not all inclusive. (We found more Randy Leonard donations because we had more of his reports.)

To Sam Adams________ Amount___Report_Page-line
Gerding/Edlen Develop, LLC_$5,000.00__7/20/2004_10-5
Homer Williams____________ $4,000.00__9/02/2004_28-4
Hoyt Street Properties,LLC_$1,000.00__7/27/2004_13-5
Homer Williams_____________$2,500.00__4/21/2004_43-5
Homer Williams_____________$2,500.00__5/12/2004_24-2
Harsch Investment Properti_$2,500.00__5/12/2004_23-3

To Randy Leonard
Gerding Investments________$2,500.00__11/2/2002_14-4
Mark C. Edlen______________$2,500.00__11/2/2002_14-5
Schnitzer Investment Corp_$10,000.00__7/30/2002_43-1
Schnitzer Investment Corp__$7,500.00__9/26/2002__1-4
Schnitzer Investment Corp__$1,000.00___5/7/2004__3-2
Gerding/Edlen Develop, LLC_$3,000.00___4/6/2004__2-5
Schnitzer Investment Corp_ $5,000.00_10/30/2003__1-4
Harsch Investment Properti_$5,000.00_12/12/2004__4-1
Homer G. Williams__________$2,000.00_12/12/2003__5-3
Gerding/Edlen Develop._Co._$5,000.00_12/16/2003__5-5
Schnitzer Investment Corp__$5,000.00__3/25/2004_16-2

To Dan Saltzman
H. Williams Advisors, Inc__$2,500.00__4/11/2002__1-4

To Eric Sten
H. Williams Advisors, Inc__$3,000.00__4/10/2002__2-4
Kennith Novack (Schnitzer)_$5,000.00___1/7/2002_15-2
Bob Gerding________________$2,500.00___4/3/2002__9-1


I hope there are many questions by each city commissioner in tomorrows Amendment 8 hearing. Then at the end of the scam hearings there should be followup with a no vote on many of it's aspects. Be advised that North Macadam Investors include Mr. Gerdling and Mr. Edlen, and Mr. Williams and Mr. Dames who give large sums to the Commissioners, besides their attorneys, architects, planners, traffic consultants, construction companies donations that are not listed in the above contribution list.

Saltzman’s listing looked a little lonely, so I found some more Saltzman contributions:
____Name_____________ Amount__,Election,Report,Page,Line#
Andrew A.Wiederhorn__$7,500.00_1998 G,1P,15,3
Andrew A.Wiederhorn__$5,000.00_1998 P,1P,27,4
Schnitzer Investment_$2,500.00_1998 G,1P,11,1
H. Williams Advisors_$2,500.00_2002 P,2P,1,4
Russell Development__$2,000.00_2002 P,1P,24,1
Gray & Associates____$1,500.00_1998 G,2P,14,2
Harsch Investment Co_$1,250.00_1998 G,1P,38,2
A. Paul,Brenneke_____$1,000.00_2002 P,1P,4,3
John F.,Carroll______$1,000.00_1998 P,2P,12,2
Richard L.,Garfinkle_$1,000.00_1998 P,1P,7,5
Kenneth,Novack_______$1,000.00_1998 P,2P,24,1
Chester L.F.,Paulson_$1,000.00_2002 P,1P,21,5
Weston Investment Co_$1,000.00_1998 G,1P,7,2
Robert S.,Walsh______$1,000.00_1998 G,1P,20,4

The above names are believed to be associated in some way with property development and/or construction in the SoWhat area. I apologize for any mistakes that mat have crept in.


Jacks perception might change over to match that of the O's -- cheerleader -- if he had to answer to the team of advertisers of Food, Homes and Cars. Lord knows the "economy" would tank if a box of Kraft Macaroni would sell at 10 for a buck rather than 3 for 2 bucks or a 3 bedroom 1,200 square foot home could be paid off in ten years time by a private sector median wage earner or car lenders were limited to repossession as the sole remedy for non-payment of their purchase money security interests. (The "market" has no business being responsive to the bottom half, in a monopoly-supportive business and legal environment.)

Hey, even Fred Meyers, an intimate with the OIC, has elected to advertise for schools with a dollar donation for each sale of Jockey underwear. I too have my vision of how I might use a dollar donation from each sale of a set of items from Fred Meyers. Would their legal counsel respond favorably to my alternative Foundation to support the kids that attend Portland Public Schools? Under the compulsion of a court order? Such advertising is clearly incompatible with representations in court on matters related to signature gathering on matters of public interest.

I would not need to submit a letter to the editor of the O because I could instead demand that it be carried directly in the adds. It would be a cute role reversal now play by the editorial staff to support their PAC supporters via the placement of adds.

Target the statutory exemption for the press, however it may be defined, to the compulsory demand for transparency, down to the receipt of 100 bucks cumulatively from any given entity. Now that would make for one huge filing of campaign receipts and expenditures.

WW's adds for personals would make them the PAC for what cause?

What are you "selling?" Accountability or something. Haven't you been told that if you are not paid for it you must move on to something that does? There are no advertises for accountability.

Jon, Jack is running with an all or nothing playbook. The sole issue, or value, is credibility; all alone, almost.

So, Jim K., are you basically saying that all the people above you've branded with a scarlet letter are guilty of corruption until they somehow prove otherwise?

I thought it worked the other way in the U.S.A. How can you prove a negative?


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