Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Lack of information about Harrison Square

There is still a lack of information available about the Harrison Square Project. A couple of people have recently told me that "all of the relevant information is available."

They are wrong and their comments are both insulting and inaccurate.

Lets start at the beginning. When this project was first announced the public was told that it would be a Public/Private "partnership" and that about 60% of the financing would be private and 40% would be public once the project was completed.

Editors Note, after I posted this Kevin and Brian correctly pointed out that the 60%/40% ratio is for the entire project phases 1, 2 and 3.

Yesterday in the JG they reported that 63 million would be public and 67 million would be private. If the numbers the JG reported yesterday are true then the financing has shifted to 48.5% public and 51.5% private. If the project is a 130 million dollar project then that means since December we have shifted 11 million dollars AWAY from private investors and the public (taxpayers) is picking up this 11 million dollars. I consider this a significant development.

Editors Note, after I posted this Kevin and Brian correctly pointed out that this ratio is just for Phase 1 AND they have said for sometime that the Public Financing is 50/50 for Phase 1.

We have to take it on faith that phases 2 and 3 will come in lower...

I still have not been able to calculate the private/public percentage myself. For example, do the above figures include the two new public subsidies that I learned about last night? I have no idea and neither does anyone reading this blog. Do they include the legal fees incurred to seize Belmont Beverages? Do they include City overhead? How many years and what percentage of the Innkeepers tax was included in the JG's percentages? Once again, no one reading this blog knows.

Editors note: I have no idea where the JG got their numbers yesterday. I STILL do not have enough financial data to calculate these percentages with any degree of accuracy myself, and this is going to be introduced to City Council in less then EIGHT hours.

So we still do not know what percentage of the funding is public and what percent is private. If you do not know something as simple as what percentage of the funding the public is providing how can you say that all of the information has been made available to the public?

Obviously you cannot...

We are being asked to take their "word" for it even though the numbers keep changing.

I have been asking for the financial projections regarding the Harrison Square Project for two months. I have yet to see them.

I have asked for copies of forms A1, A2, A3, and A4. These financing forms were provided by the hotel developer to the City a couple of months ago. They still have not been made public.

I have asked for a report that the "Crowe" report repeatedly mentions, and no one even knows what that report is... It is called "City of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Downtown Community Revitalization Enhancement District, Consultant's Report." If you know what this report is or where I can find it please tell me.

I am very angry that the Mayor's Office and their cronies are trying to "ram this project" down the taxpayers throats without providing basic financial information and without keeping one of the Mayor's personal promises.

This is disgusting and it is wrong.

Open Government does not exist in regards to The Harrison Square Project.

I still do NOT have enough information to analyze the public/private financing split; however, I think it is going to end up closer to 40% private/60% public then it is to the Mayor's initial estimate of 60% private/40% public.

I am beginning to see why The Mayor's office is deathly afraid of having an independent accountant review their financial projections.

They cannot afford it before the City Council vote!

Fort Wayne obviously will comply with my Freedom of Information Request. That will allow me to make some BASIC financial projections myself.

I will not be able to analyze the entire plan until the final agreements are in place at the end of May assuming this "farce" gets passed by our Republican City Council.

You can rest assured that I will pursue this and that I will analyze the financials when I pry them from the Mayor's Office with however Freedom of Infomration Requests it requires.

Editors note, I posted a couple of corrections that were pointed out by Kevin and Brian. Thanks for pointing them out Kevin and Brian!

I think that these correction make my point even further. We still have no idea what the public/private percentage will be for ANY of the phases. I really am looking forward to figuring these percentages myself.

Mike Sylvester

7 comments:

Jeff Pruitt said...

Mike,

I no longer believe the city was having trouble negotiating these MOU's as they are ridiculously vague to begin with. I think they were simply buying time to try and gain more support from the council and the public. The JG has been a propaganda outlet for the administration since the beginning of the HS discussion, and they were obviously a big part of this.

When the government puts together a vague plan and doesn't release all the relevant information to the citizenry then there's only one option:

Kill the Project

See you at tonight's meeting...

Kevin Knuth said...

Mike,

I believe you are somewhat mistaken-

It was originally announced that the TOTAL development would be 40% public and 60 Private investment.

It was also announced that PHASE ONE would be about 50/50. Total development will be with the additional condos.

brian said...

Mike the numbers you are quoting are for the total proposed project with phases 2 and 3 included.

Phase 1 is what is being discussed right now. If it doesn't happen, phases 2 and 3 never will.

LP Mike Sylvester said...

Brian and Kevin:

You are both correct. I have changed my main post due to your points!

Thanks for taking the time to let me know about my mistake!

I appreciate it.

Mike Sylvester

brian said...

"If the numbers the JG reported yesterday are true then the financing has shifted to 48.5% public and 51.5% private."

This is what I've read all along about phase 1.

Anonymous said...

Mike - Haven't you been reading about how CPA's nationwide have been critical of "Lean Accounting" (al la Enron). Now our mayor is exposing us to "Lean Government"( don't tell them anything) and "Lean Law"( Apply only those laws in favor of your position). This last has been around for a long time. See you tonight (see post on AWB) John K.

Anonymous said...

John K, I think it is shameful of you to compare Mayor Richard's Lean Six Sigma efforts with Enron's accounting.

Cynical conspiracy comments like that are ridiculous and serve no purpose.

Jeff, I am surprised that you believe the Hardball MOU was vague. It is frankly, one of the more flushed out MOUs I have ever seen.

Sam T.