Harrison Square Financial Update
I generally do not respond to letters to the editor; however, Tim Manges, in his role as Fort Wayne City Attorney, had a letter published by the News Sentinel on July 25th that requires a response due to its blatant inaccuracy.
In his letter Mr. Manges writes that I “never sent the city a list of 58 questions.” In this response I have decided to only use items that I can prove with hard evidence, in a court of law if necessary.
On April 16th I filed a written Information Request with Mr. Manges. One of the items I requested was answers to the 58 questions I previously submitted. On May 16th I received a written reply to my information request from Mr. Manges. His official reply was “none exist.” I am not an attorney; however, I can read and this response clearly told me that “The City” elected not to provide the answers to my questions. If Mr. Manges did not have a copy of the 58 questions I submitted he obviously would have informed me of that in his written response.
I have recently communicated with City Councilman Didier, Pape, and Talarico. All three acknowledge receiving my list of 58 questions back in March and April of this year. In fact Councilman Pape told me by email back on March 16th that he would “forward my list of questions to the Mayor’s office.” I spoke with Councilman Talarico in person on July 27th. Councilman Talarico told me that he forwarded my questions to “The City” and that he encouraged them to answer my questions back in March.
The first time I heard that Mr. Manges was claiming “The City” had not received a copy of my questions was by email on July 3rd from Mr. Manges. On both July 3rd and July 5th I emailed my list of 58 questions to Mr. Manges, Pat Roller, Greg Leatherman, and Mark Becker.
On July 3rd I received an email from Pat Roller in which she acknowledged seeing my list of 58 questions on July 3rd.
On July 26th I received an email from Greg Leatherman in which he stated that he received my list of 58 questions by email on July 3rd and 5th.
I asked to have my questions answered by filing a formal information request, in various public forums, at City Council meetings, in the media, online on blogs, by email, on the phone with several city councilmen, and in the News Sentinel. In fact I have asked my questions in so many public forums that many people correctly refer to me as a “Harrison Square critic.”
For the record, I still do not have the answers to my questions nor do I have any of the detailed information that I have requested. I encourage anyone interested to look at the summary financial information posted on the City website. This posted information provides summary totals and does not show how these figures were derived. A detailed financial analysis of the project cannot be performed with the summary information provided by the Mayor’s office.
I have been forced to file additional Information Requests in an attempt to see how these “totals” were calculated. Next week I will update my list of 58 questions and I will submit a new Information Request.
Did the City include the legal costs of seizing Belmont Beverages with eminent domain? Did the City include the costs of hiring all of the consultants used on the project to date? How much overhead did the City include for the time spent by City employees working on this project? I have asked several City Councilmen these questions and they also do not know the answers.
My special thanks go out to Councilman Didier; he has tried to ensure that my questions are answered and I appreciate it.
Mike Sylvester, CPA