"That's a hefty tax break..."

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Tue, 11/20/2007 - 23:59.

I've sadly watched the better part of an important historic block, in an important historic neighborhood, fronting an important historic park, be demolished and cleared without so much as a peep of concern from anyone in NEO, other than on REALNEO. Are we really so disengaged, or are we just so dumbfounded by the rapid succession of bad plans coming from NEO leadership that we can't keep up and focus. The block I question, today's header above (full size image here), was a wonderful grouping of interesting mixed use urban landmarks, complimenting the astounding Rockefeller Park to the west, University Circle to the south, and the surrounding Wade Park neighborhood, now a massive demolition zone that looks suspiciously like a surface parking lot. In a few short weeks, "they" have done immeasurable damage, and that is exactly how leaders in this region operate... quietly destroying what they may and explaining what they must as they must, largely through their Plain Dealer. Already, I doubt there are many people who remember the buildings just demolished here, or the many mature Rockefeller Park oak trees ripped from their roots in the haste of greed (did they have a right and permit to do that)... see the earlier demolition picture here to see the beautiful setting before this eco-disaster. Seeing the trees gone made me wonder what evil "they" lurks behind this tragedy, and of course learned this is another Carney Port Authority bond deal, this time to be repaid at the expense of Cleveland taxpayers, to enrich a new character on the "developer" scene... Michael Forlani... CEO of Doan Pyramid Electric, of Bedford Heights, Ohio, and a major Republican contributor, who has formed a new company, Veterans Development, LLC, to process $ millions in federal and Cleveland taxpayer contributions to his bottom line, this time routed through the Federal Veterans Administration. This deal is an extreme example of what is wrong in Northeast Ohio and America today.

The interesting thing is that all of this is happening in plain sight of all of us, but we just don't pay attention. We don't notice when a block of historic buildings or a line of 100 year old oaks are ripped from our community. We don't notice when freeways are being planned through our parks and historic fabric. We don't notice when parks are planned to become ports. And we don't notice the politics of all of this. We don't notice when our leaders are failures. We only seem to notice planes hitting buildings... anything less is ground-clutter.

What I notice about this situation, in addition to all I don't like about how this project scarred my community, and killed my trees, and demolished my historic buildings, is I do not see proof the developer is qualified to provide an exceptional result in this important site, and in all the media-puffery I have not seen plans for the development supposed to come, and I don't like the developer's connection to the Republican Pioneer Political Action Committee, along with all the folks of Forest City and others you will recognize.

The Pioneer Political Action Committee, "operates with one goal - to maximize the impact of your organization's contributions towards keeping and strengthening the Republican majority in Congress". The Doan Pyramid Electric website announcement of their development of this VA project, written for Crain's by Jay Miller, states "Congress appropriated $170 million for the consolidation of the VA's hospitals in University Circle and Brecksville"

The Doan site goes on to explain... "the plan is for Veterans Development - likely in a joint venture with the city of Brecksville - to take a long-term lease on the Brecksville property for a redevelopment that would follow completion of the consolidation of VA programs at University Circle."

Also of interest, from Jay's article on the Doan website:

"Veterans Development would finance its project with bonds issued through the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority. However, Mr. Forlani told a Cleveland City Council committee last week that the VA's lease payments would cover only about 80% of the debt service on the project. He said he would be asking the city to approve a tax increment financing plan to bridge the financing gap once final agreements have been reached among the parties."

"When Mr. Forlani laid out his plan before City Council last week, he said he hoped the city would agree to approve the tax increment financing. If it does, taxes on 100% of the increase in the assessed value of the property would be diverted to help cover construction costs."

"That's a hefty tax break, more than the city would grant in a tax abatement, but Mr. Forlani argued that the financing structure of the deal and the nature of the project justify it."

"'The market rents wouldn't support the project without some incentives to reduce the capital cost,' Mr. Forlani said after the City Council hearing. 'And if the VA had the money to do the project itself, it would pay no taxes.'"

"Under a tax increment financing arrangement, the county auditor would bill the project for its full tax payments. However, the bulk of the tax money collected would be diverted to pay off the port authority bonds rather than be sent to the city or to the Cleveland Municipal School District. "

"Mr. Forlani told City Council he is negotiating with the Cleveland schools to make payments in lieu of taxes and would give the school district a portion of the tax revenue. An analysis of the project by the city's Economic Development Department describes the entire VA expansion as bringing 1,200 jobs to the neighborhood, in large part by creating a hospital complex that employs 2,700 people. The analysis estimates the new jobs will bring in $1.6 million a year in city income taxes at current salary and tax levels, and it projects a total of nearly $80 million over 30 years."

"Mr. Montague of the VA said he's optimistic that ground will be broken for the projects on both sides of East 105th by early summer. Completion is not anticipated until 2009."

Of course, this deal has already broken ground, trees, the public trust and more of the spirit of the community.



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Norm--we are being attacked by demolition and destruction on both sides of town.  There are vacant buildings all over Northeast Ohio, including the suburbs.  Why are we being targeted for destruction?  Why is no one stopping the strip, vandalize, condemn process at the scrap metal yards?  Why are certain neighborhoods targeted for demolitions and others not?  Is this a war?

Mad land grab

Living in a place that Europeans went to such great effort to steal from the native Americans, which our nation celebrates tomorrow, it is easy to realize many people will do anything to claim others' properties... most people are happy just to have a roof over their heads, but for some that is not enough  It isn't war but a new era of capitalism where very few people have any property and the other 99.99% have not and are slaves to the haves... kind of a re-run of many past totalitarian eras, except this one ends with the extermination of all human life, and the haves and have nots all lose together.

Disrupt IT

Mad Woman of Chaillot

It is a good time to  revisit the absurdist writings of Jean Giraudoux.  Especially, as any one who speaks out will be labelled mad, hysterical, and blinded by moral outrage. 

Best literature for these NEO Times?

You raise for me an interesting question... what is the best literature for the people of NEO to read to help us understand, survive and better these troubling times... for all ages and personal tastes. This offers an interesting focus of a REALNEO reading list and discussions... can apply for movies as well. We can each make recommendations and have virtual discussions, at least... this would be a good nudge for me to read more, besides on-line.

So what one book do you recommend NEO read, for what reasons, for these times? I'd love a childrens suggestion and one for adults... keep it simple.

Disrupt IT

Literature for NEO times

For the holiday season--

This book, The Dangerous Book for Boys, teaches self-sufficiency and encourages any one--be it boy or girl, man or woman--to look for the joy that can be found in a learning life. 

Not nice to fool with Mother Nature

I am very pleased to see Doan Pyramid is being investigated by the FBI and IRS (along with a bunch of corrupt Cuyahoga County officials) - Doan is the type of bullshit developer that has ruined Northeast Ohio... being part of a club of shity developers around here. And they are enabled by corrupt politicians and a sellout media. Now we can start adding up the tab... start with what was uncovered here, then add $100s millions more down the drain.

FBI hauls away more evidence in corruption probe

Posted by estarzyk [at] plaind [dot] com July 28, 2008 17:08PM

The FBI continues to seize evidence in its Cuyahoga County corruption investigation, boxes of personnel files and two large file cabinets were loaded into a U-Haul at the county administration building.

And about 15 to 20 agents were at the Bedford Heights complex occupied by Doan Pyramid Electric. Some employees appeared to still be on site.

Disrupt IT

Forlani comments archived

Based on this statement you would think that Doan Pyramid was bought from the previous owners outright. You could also conclude that Forlani holds no owner financed loans so the previous employees could buy the company..right. You would figure a giant electrical firm like this would be worth 25 to 50 million dollars...right? You could also assume their were investors or banks involved with the sale that helped finance such a large business...right? You would also have to assume that there is easily accessible documentation that shows this transaction...right? and you would think Applebaum, county, bond holders, financial bond sellers and Turner would request a detailed copy of these transaction IN ADDITION to signed affidavits...Right? You would would think that the PD would have did an article on this when the information was available to them around 3 months ago...right? and also you would think that Turner and Applebaum would have wanted a very open bidding process especially if you were going to do a design build project with the company formerly associated and owned by the same person the entire investigation is tied to????????? Right.
"Michael Forlani does not own, control, or manage Zenith Systems," McCaffrey said in an e-mail. "He does not have the ability to exercise any management authority or control over Zenith Systems as he has no current relationship with the Company.

I had to think about this one for awhile but it is starting to slowly make sense. I have been befuddled since Frank took his plea. Why would the prosecutors allow him to make such wild demands as listed in this story while they had him dead to right on every count? I think his kidS (not just Vince), Marous and friends should have been part of the prosecution but I think I know the reason now. The one name left out of the protected ones on Russo's list is Michael Forlani of Doan Pyramid (now Zenith Systems). A lot of people think that I have been on a witch hunt for old Mike but as the evidence shows he is one of the main targets and has always been. Here is a brief run down.
Mike Forlani is now connected in court documents to Vince Russo, Frank Russo, Jimmy DiMora, Bill Neiheiser, Klimkowski, Maple Heights schools, Metro, Greco, Carroll, CMHA, Juvenile Justice Center, The Port Authority, Cleveland Council, Sweeney, Siemens, Mason, DiPiero, Kelley, Rattlesnake Island, Marous, Solon, Med MArt, The Louis stokes facility, federal courthouse, federal building, airport contracts, free work just to name a few.
Mike Forlani and Frank Russo lived doors away from each other, played together and orchestrated all sorts of fun together. Frank is the corner stone of the feds investigation.
It is the only scenario that makes sense, that is also why Frank is not being sentenced until the spring so he can testify against Mike. The feds are triangulating Carroll, Patel, Greco, Klimkowski and now Russo to make an airtight case stick once and for all.

Is the PD married to the MOB??


Still don't get it? - Land Bank and Federal $$$

Classic REALNEO - note that Norm Roulet called out the VA-Forlani-Cuyahoga County TIF scam before any one else - KNOW too that Jackson-Sweeney-Sabra Scott Pierce (and by extension GCP-Foundations - Sabra Scott Pierce's sister is India Pierce Lee) KNEW that what they were doing was ILLEGAL.
Folks - are you going to put Frank Jackson back in office just because he nominally wears a big, bright sign that says "Democrat?"

In Cuyahoga County - as we communicate here - well connected friends of the Democratic Party (and Republican Party-  afterall,what's the difference??) and Land Bank are getting their hefty tax liens cleansed by the Land Bank - so they can turn around and assume the properties (minus tax lien) again using LLCs and other shell mechanisms (preferably non-profit) as land holding strategy for "future" tax-abated development (think East Cleveland condos)... 


City Council members say that neither of the two companies' bids met the city's requirements.
    Laura McShane Consider any one endorsed by Frank Jackson and friends...
    Laura McShane In my ward...I will not support any one who continues to serve the machine...
    Garry Kanter Something ain't right. This sure smells bad.
    Laura McShane I know Garry Kanter - what does it take? You know that there are zombie vacant properties sucking the life out of Cleveland Heights. Susan Miller knows too - and in Shaker...well....we can all thank two fine upstanding former Cuyahoga County execs..(one still on the payroll) for their shenanigans while they controlled BOR and then the legislation crafted to sell tax lien sales and then the legislation for the Land Bank. All hatched while they served as City of Cleveland council reps....
    Laura McShane Oh and it gets better if you look at the other jobs created and agencies spawned by these fine fellows....like Housing Court...CDCs and numerous other non-profits created to camouflage land holding strategies like in ethnically cleansed "Slavic" village. Read Zookeeper's Wife...
    Laura McShane What to do with all of those folks who don't measure up to the "standard" ....???
    Laura McShane CMHA!!! FHA!