East Lansing City Bond Attorney // Eliot Singer

I see in ELi that some members of Council are (finally) questioning the continued use of the bond attorney. I would add, they also need to get rid of Baird as the city’s bond agent.

Better yet, time to stop allowing DDA/BRA to issue bonds and to stop allowing the city to issue bonds unless approved by voters. Just a reminder, the DPW building was built without voter-approved bonds (with cost overrun) after voters were promised, in approving sale of the old building, there would be no bonds. We need a state-wide ballot initiative to require voter approval of all bonds, with some exception for emergency repairs, and the legislation enabling bonds issued by development authorities must be thrown into the dumpster, and development authorities abolished, along with MEDC. There is absolutely no reason economic development cannot be done through democratic institutions, except, of course, fascistic development authorities, as Zoltan Ferency had the foresight to call them long ago, serve powerful special interests and foster cronyism, unfortunately something of which the Democratic Party establishment is culpable.

Anyway, for those who missed it or have forgotten, this is the same bond attorney who ran shotgun for the City Center II $30 million bond authorization, when responsible citizens were petitioning to put it on the ballot. People who think government does more good than bad are the ones who should be advocating for firing employees or consultants who make government look bad.

A couple of points I don’t think were in the ELi story concerning doing a private placement refunding of the Lotto 1 project bond (remember the lease was for a small fraction of what Lot 1 would have brought in a sale). Pa Bell, as I like to call him, the current bond holder is getting 5% interest. In the current COVID-depression interest rate environment that is very high, especially since the higher assessment than anticipated, makes the calculations of a shortfall moot. Why would he want to invoke his right to seek refunding of the bond, now?

Also, a concern with secret deals like a private placement in this context is always someone doing money-laundering.

-Eliot Singer

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