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Latest News on Lotto 1 Project // Eliot Singer

Center City Blueprint

In response to “ Fire Marshal Review Missing …”:

Failing to follow proper procedure is same-old, same-old, for East Lansing development projects. Council, city manager, city attorney, and planning department have long been way in over their heads trying to tackle big projects, especially since their number one objective is to get new buildings up, not to protect the public interest. Obviously, failing to check fire safety is incredibly irresponsible, but these are basically the same people (minus Triplett) who fast-tracked approval of St. … Read more →

Selling Lot 4 and Dublin Square // Eliot Singer

Previous development plans involving the city’s foolishly purchased Evergreen properties (City Center II, Park District RFP) have also included Lot 4, adjacent to Dublin Square. Voters said no to the attempt to sell Lot 4 for the DTN/Strathmore project, because of anger over City Center II and suspicion Strathmore shell companies were still involved (which documents from the Cuyahoga trial confirmed).

It is too late to put selling Lot 4 on this November’s ballot.

 

– Eliot Singer

More on serial tax delinquencies // Eliot Singer

Because it sounds like this Dublin Square thing is another hurry-up, no-scrutiny deal, I thought I’d better get the facts out faster than ELi can do a story.

For those who have forgotten or missed earlier episodes: No, not everybody does it. In my many years of perusing records, I am only aware of three would-be developers who use tax delinquencies as a cash flow strategy. One in Lansing, exposed by MLive if I remember correctly, admitted he used not … Read more →

Refinancing the Evergreen Bonds // Eliot Singer

Something else that was mentioned in the ELi story about the Dublin Square project was the DDA wanting to refinance the bonds for the Evergreen properties.

We went round and round about this for years and years. City officials, with DDA approval, did something incredibly stupid issuing those bonds in 2009 to buy properties at 3 times market value when the economy was in collapse and with a developer who should never have been allowed within a million miles of … Read more →

Another Developer with Persistent History of Tax Delinquencies Is Seeking a Major East Lansing Project // Eliot Singer

At the top of the list of reforms to make public-private development credible is preventing anyone with a history of fraud, tax delinquencies, mortgage defaults and foreclosures, etc. from receiving tax incentives or otherwise engaging in partnerships or dealings with government. This not only limits moral risk—remember East Lansing has done brownfield projects with developers who have committed fraud and had terrible tax payment records, a major reason for the city’s reputation for corruption and cronyism—business people with these factors … Read more →

Meadows “just as surprised as everyone” // Eliot Singer

Mayor Mark Meadows wrote on July 24, “I was just as surprised as everyone to see that the developer was advertising the Grand River property as ‘student housing.’ The Grand River housing was approved as market rate housing and was to be advertised as available to anyone.”

https://eastlansinginfo.org/content/downtown-businesses-panicking-over-construction-related-downturn

Another wonderful example of an excuse-making professional politician having to choose between admitting he was in the know from the beginning or coming across as a moron.

Ruth Beier knew, she … Read more →

Income Tax Proposal and Election Results // Matt Kazmierski

The City of East Lansing’s income tax proposal on yesterday’s ballot passed with around 58% of voters voting “yes” (some other sources say as high as 61%). East Lansing Info was on top of the outcome late last night . ELi also has a short survey asking voters to explain their vote of “yes” or “no” on the income tax proposal.

Other general results include:

– A passing of the Ingham County ballot proposal for a new jail millage

– Gretchen Whitmer winning the Democratic Party’s nomination for Governor … Read more →

Please Vote Today // Matt Kazmierski

This is a friendly reminder to be a responsible citizen, and vote in today’s primary election. In addition to the races, there are a couple of important ballot proposals for those in the East Lansing area.

Here are some helpful resources to prepare you for voting:

https://www.vote411.org/ – A very helpful voter guide, with information on candidates, ballot proposals, and polling place locations. Just enter your address in the left side bar, and go from there.

https://webapps.sos.state.mi.us/MVIC/ – Preview your … Read more →

Fiscal Options for East Lansing // Ron Fisher

I have already commented about the East Lansing tax proposal arguing that the imposition of a City income tax or an increase in the property tax are inherently limited as a solution to the City’s fiscal issues. The main point is that the City is relatively small and surrounded by similar suburban communities with essentially equivalent access to major employers, making it relatively easy for individuals and businesses to select locations outside the City.

The point of this comment … Read more →

Influence peddling and tax vote // Eliot Singer

Even after years of investigative reporting on East Lansing, I am amused by the report in ELi about big contributors to the yes campaign with reasons to influence city hall, including what is now hotter than development tax giveaways, peddling dope. (I’ve favored legalization since my hippie days, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t big players trying to get in to a profitable industry by greasing the skids. )

Normally business interests don’t like taxes, witness Chamber sayin no, but this is the … Read more →

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