Land Banking: Helping Blighted Neighborhoods Prosper - Jim Rokakis, Cuyahoga Country Treasurer, at City Club

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 04/19/2010 - 19:37.
04/23/2010 - 12:00
04/23/2010 - 13:30

Land banking is an idea that originated in Ohio, and with the passing of enabling legislation for Ohio, has now become a practice that will help significantly in blighted neighborhoods. There are still many, many foreclosures and walk-aways. Neighborhoods are being decimated, especially inner-city neighborhoods. This policy is being looked at in other parts of the country, and Rokakis has recently made presentations to national groups on the idea.

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Ask about tax lien sales in East Cleveland?  From former Mayor Eric Brewer via

Gus Frangoes never called me. I do, however, understand Jim Rokakis' oft-handed comments.
I wrote him a letter in 2006 asking that he not sell anymore properties through third-party tax lien sales to GLS Capital and Plymouth Park Investments out of East Cleveland. Mayor Frank Jackson had also asked him not to sell tax liens from Cleveland.
I was critical of Rokakis pushing this blight-causing deal in 1999 when I hosted a radio show on WERE. I think it's absolutely horrible how he, as an elected official, pushed for a tax lien sale state law that created blight in East Cleveland by letting third party investors sit on vacant properties without cutting the grass, boarding them up, maintaining or rehabilitating them. If Steve Litt wants to write a real story, investigate Rokakis' third party tax lien sales and the impact they've had on school district budgets. He claimed it helps the schools but empty houses don't generate property taxes. Rokakis' policies have done much to decimate the East Cleveland school district's budget and that of every other community in Cuyahoga County where he's been selling tax liens to third party investors.
I had some blocks with 37 properties and 25 delapidated vacancies. Every year we had to divert general fund and HUD dollars from other purposes just to take care of abandoned properties. Go to Rokakis' website. He won't update the "tax lien certificate sales" information past 2006 because it will show just how his policies have devasted the county. Through 2006 it shows he sold the tax liens to 22912 properties from East Cleveland, Cleveland and other cities throughout the county. How many tax liens has Rokakis sold over the past four years? That's the number he's hiding from the public. He has refused to allow the individual tax delinquent homeowner to buy their own tax lien at up to a 30 percent discount, but he sells their tax lien to a third-party for that amount. Steve Litt. This is the real story.

Ask about the priority list for demolitions--demos for developers along commercial corridors in Brooklyn Centre and, especially, in the Opportunity Corridor.

Ask about properties in "lock down" for future development and not available to adjacent property owners in Glenville, Hough and Fairfax?

Ask whether folks who "reimagine" properties with farms and flowers get to own those properties? 

Ask about Slavic Village racketeering and the same straw buyer scheme used elsewhere throughout NEO and recent mortgage fraud prosecutions in Beachwood and Strongsville.

Ask about HUD deal on near west side to purchase inflated properties for scattered site housing.

Ask about Safeguard Properties and the issue of government takings of real property from individuals like Frank Giglio, Fred Finley, Desiree Schmitt, Tom Bell, et al.

Ask about role of CDBG funded CDCs using code enforcement to duplicate city inspectors process to expedite demolitions and land acquisition and transfer of foreclosed properties from HUD to CDC employees and their family and friends.

Ask how the land bank generates tax revenue and accountability in NEO to provide basic services like schools, libraries, safety services, public health, street and infrastructure repairs???


I'll go down and hear what Rokakis has to say

I don't have a clue what is the strategy for the landbank so I'll go down and hear what Rokakis has to say. As for problems in EC, I certainly don't blame Rokakis - the County provides lots of help here but does no obvious harm.

Our problem in EC is the invisible hand of private greed... not government greed, if there may be such a thing.

I'll report back on the City Club talk tomorrow...

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Land Bank concept

Wow--and now, Rokakis takes credit for the land bank concept--assuming he fed the description to the City Club.  If not, then they don't do much research on their hard is it to Google?

The enemy on the loose

  If the Plain Dealer runs a story--in two places--it is a suspect story:

Gambling, the shell game and the blame's been perfected...well, since ancient times.

Who killed Slavic Village?

Who killed Slavic Village? Polluters, duh!

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Who killed the entire City?

pollution, corruption, incompetent leaders, screwed up schools, demolishing historic homes, taking from the poor to give to the rich,greed, abuse of power, etc..........................

Smart and able people have left the pollution

Smart and able people have left the pollution... pollution caused the rest of the problems too.

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The truth will prevail

It's only a matter of time--the town's "not-quite-so-white" ethnic crowd will all come tumbling down...Jews, Greeks, Italians, African, Arab, Celtic, Slavic, Eastern European...all vying for that coveted WASP Blue Blood Country Club validation...too bad.


Maybe that will be some of the crooks' defense,"we were poisoned by all of the pollution and we used to chew on pencils."


Considering a high %age of our jail population was lead poisoned

Considering a high %age of our jail population was lead poisoned, lead poisoning is the first place we should look to explain many of our problems here, from the failure of lead poisoned children in schools to the school failures becoming self-medicating addicts to them becoming criminals - blue or white collar - and voila... jail. Hard for them to keep up the family homestead under those conditions... hard on their moms and dads too. Hard on their wives... hard on their children.

Of course, we could be like Phillip Morris, living and writing in denial, blaming WALL STREET.

Pencil chewer?

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The only reason not to consider pollution as a root cause

The only reason not to consider pollution as a root cause of MANY of America's core problems is if you are too stupid or corrupt to care about pollution, and pollution may cause citizens to not care... pollution places citizens in a viscous circle leading to citizens accepting being poisoned.

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Morris lead-poisoned or paid to deflect attention??

  My guess would be the latter...paid to deflect attention from the real crooks.

If he is real urban Cleveland and over 40 he is lead poisoned

If he is real urban Cleveland and over 40 he is lead poisoned... he is an attention deficit disorder for the community as well

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Maybe both...  A former pencil chewer paid to deflect attention from the real crooks.

Growing up in urban Cleveland, you didn't need to chew pencils

Growing up in the urban Cleveland-area, before lead gas and paint were outlawed, and still today, you never needed to chew pencils - we were all lead poisoned and contaminated by all sorts of other evil shit, and the closer to point sources and the more surrounded by freeeways and decaying older real estate the worse.

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