Play The Game! Kickbacks and Lies From Racine Director Of City Development Brian O’Connell

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From  the City of Racine Website, describing one of Brian O’Connell’s responsibilities: Development Regulation is the administration of the city’s development controls in such a manner as to maintain and increase property values….

Click on IMAGES for Large.Racine City Development

From The Journal Times, November 10, 2011:

Multi-business development picked for inner-city property

1130 Washington Ave. Plan 1

RACINE — A local businessman plans to build a $1 million gas station, convenience store, Subway restaurant and car wash on a vacant, city-owned property.

The Washington Avenue property, site of the former Schaefer Pontiac auto dealership, consists of five city parcels combined. About four years ago the Schaefer family donated the property to the city, which removed a decrepit building to create a development site. 

Other proposals had been made for the site but were either declined by the city, or the developer did not follow through.

What clinched the choice of Ajmeri over a similar proposal was that he had a firm bank financing commitment with no contingencies, City Development Director Brian O’Connell said Wednesday.

He also said the development will be given a “higher level of finish” than an ordinary gas station and have more of a retail appearance.

Ajmeri said this will be his largest project yet, estimating it will cost more than $1 million.

Pending City Council approval, O’Connell said Ajmeri will pay $1,000 for a six-month option to get his other approvals to proceed, and would then buy the land for $10,000. The agreement will hold him to building what he promised, O’Connell added.

Ajmeri said he wants to start construction in the spring and open the businesses by about next August. 

Besides an Ayra’s gas station, convenience store, Subway and car wash, the development will contain one more unit; Ajmeri has not yet decided what to put in that space.

“The agreement will  hold him to build what he promised”! So where is the car wash in this highly touted $1.2 Million Development, Director of City Development Brian O’Connell? It was NEVER built! SO when do the clawbacks begin?

It is TRUE that  the car wash was never built! Instead, the car wash is going to built by the new owner!

1130 Washington Ave. IPAS

AFTER the sale of Ayra’s for $1.5M, Harjeet S. Walia, representing Choice Petroleum LLC, asked the Racine Common Council for a major amendment to a conditional use permit to add: daily 24-hour operation of the convenient store; installation of a 25-foot pylon sign; and installation of a single-bay automatic car wash at 1130 Washington Avenue. Approved by The Racine Common Council on October 21, 2014.

Choice Petroleum Car Wash Vote

Sept 29 letter 1

In their vote to approve the Car Wash – which was not built in violation of the agreement with the original buyer, the Racine Common Council on October 21, 2014  also decided to allow the new owner to violate City of Racine Ordinances and construct a sign over 15 feet in height.

From The Journal Times, October 9, 2014:

City considers exceptions to sign height limits

RACINEThe City’s amended sign-height standard proved a tough hurdle to clear twice during Wednesday’s City Plan Commission meeting.

About a year ago, the city chopped its maximum height for exterior business signs from 25 to 15 feet, with older signs exceeding that height granted grandfathered clauses. Twice on Wednesday, the new standard proved difficult and the commission recommended exceptions.

One came with a request by Harjeet Walia, who is buying the Ayra’s gas station, convenience store and Subway restaurant at 1130 Washington Ave. from local businessman Akil Ajmeri. Walia sought what are considered major amendments to the business’ existing conditional-use permit. Those were requests for:

  • A 24-hour operation. Ayra’s currently is allowed by permit to be open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • A one-bay automatic car wash.
  • A 26-foot-tall sign for the station, which is changing to the BP brand, and the other
    tenants.

Only the last item was problematic because of the city’s signage ordinance that was amended about a year ago.

To be able to operate 24 hours, city staff said Walia should submit a security plan “to address the overnight hours, as past 24-hour operations in this area of the city have had security challenges (e.g. fights, shootings, etc.).”

AND – Not only was the car wash NOT built – The Gas Station was granted a hard liquor license in a fragile neighborhood – and in excess of caps placed on those hard liquor licenses by the Common Council!

From The Journal Times, August 22, 2012:

Gas station granted hard liquor license

RACINE — Arguing that they couldn’t stand between an economically battered Uptown and a $1.2 million development, aldermen voted 10-3 Tuesday to exceed the city’s cap on hard liquor licenses.

The city currently has 28 Class A liquor licenses issued. Ajmeri’s license would bring that number to 29 — five more than the city’s self-imposed quota of 24 licenses for that particular class.

On Tuesday, aldermen voted 10-3 to both allow the city to exceed its Class A quota, and approve Ajmeri’s application for the license.

But while the Common Council, in this taxpayer subsidized project, violated caps and  approved the Hard Liquor License, they didn’t approve the sales of “Single Servings”, or Drug Paraphernalia – in a “fragile neighborhood”!

Racine Common Council August 21 2012

But here they are! Actual pictures from Ayra’s at 1130 Washington Ave. City of Racine Taxpayers have subsidized this operation which was assisted by City of Racine Mayor John Dickert, Director Of City Development Brian O’Connell and Racine County Executive Jim Ladwig. Debra Ladwig, the wife of Racine County Executive Jim Ladwig received a job from Ayra’s in exchange. How nice.

jim-ladwig-breaks-ground-for-ayras

Hard Liquor sales. Approved, in excess of City caps. Ayras on Washington 4

Single Servings.  Sold in violation of conditions imposed by the Racine Common Council.

Ayras on Washington 1

Smoking accessories. In a fragile neighborhood! What do the children think?

Ayras on Washington 2

Ayras on Washington 3

A nice job for Debra Ladwig, the wife of very Corrupt and Kickback King Republican Racine County Executive Jim Ladwig:

Debra Ladwig 1 001

Debra Ladwig 2 001

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Does Debra Ladwig payout on the video poker gambling machines – for Amusement Only! At the Ayra’s at 4700 Washington Ave.?

Ayras Washington and Ohio

 Jim and John 2

Then THIS from the Journal Times, October 8, 2013:

$100,000 in TIF funds for Uptown redevelopment project

Developer says $200,000 was spent removing undetected foundations

RACINE — The businessman behind a $1.2 million commercial development near Uptown has been awarded up to $100,000 in special project funds from the area’s tax increment finance district to help pay for unforeseen earth work.

Approved Monday night by the committee that represents the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Racine, the grant will be used to help reimburse the developer for money he spent demolishing and excavating foundations that no one knew were located on the site.

“It was filled in with dirt, and also tires, and there was an old furnace,” Sadowski said. “They did a lot of soil borings on the site and none of the soil borings ever turned up any of this … That area used to be a very prime residential area in the city.”

“They” did a lot of soil borings on this site?

Who is THEY?  Who did the soil borings?

Where is the data from the soil borings?

Why are City Taxpayers liable, and required to grant a $100,000 kickback to Ayra’s?

How incompetent is Matt Sadowski? And is he LYING? No one knows because the information concerning the alleged soil borings has never been publicly released. It’s just an unsubstantiated claim – for which the City of Racine taxpayers paid.

Oct 7 2013 RDA Meeting

RDA Meeting

So when will Director of City Development Brian O’Connell release the information proving that soil borings were done? And by Who? And why are City of Racine taxpayers liable?

But it gets worse for City of Racine Taxpayers – because this highly touted $1.2 Million Dollar development, which failed to include the negotiated car wash, was assessed at only $850,000! HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?

1130 Washington Ave 2

1130 Washington Ave

Just when City of Racine Taxpayers thought it couldn’t get any worse – Ayra’s at 1130 Washington Avenue was granted property tax exemptions  for 2014 and 2015 by  Director of City Development Brian O’Connell! KICKBACKS R US!

May 5, 2014, from the Redevelopment Authority Of The City of Racine:

May 5 2014 1

May 5 2014

So is it any wonder why the City of Racine  is facing a $6 Million + Plus Revenue Shortfall  for 2015, while Public Officials and their Employees continue to live “High on the Hog” with $100,000 PLUS salaries and Tax-Free Benefit packages of $20,000- $40,000 +?

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It’s True! This is how the City of Racine Downtown Game is played!

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LINK to the Amended Development Agreement made between Ayra’s and Brian O’Connell – HERE!

Everybody Loves Freddie! Mercury! PLAY THE GAME! LIVE!

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Between Freddie’s Singing and Piano Playing and Brian May’s Guitar – what’s not to love?  Play the GAME!

Brian O'Connell

It’s a Free World, unless you are a City Of Racine Taxpayer!

By SPECIAL REQUEST….

Alternatively…

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The City Of Racine To Finance Employees With Debt – This Will End Well!

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Broke as a Joke, The  City of Racine Mayor John Dickert refuses to face reality and instead of cutting bloated Public Officials salaries and Benefit Packages, rolls the dice and decides to finance wages with debt – with  interest! This shifts the costs to future Budgets and those who are dumb enough to remain in Racine.

flow-of-funds-5a

From The Journal Times, October23,2014:

City budget calls for shifting some wage costs to debt levy

RACINE — More than half a million dollars in engineering department wages would be transferred to the city’s annual debt levy next year under the proposed 2015 budget.

The move is just one of ways the city plans to shore up a projected $6 million budget deficit, explained City Administrator Tom Friedel during Thursday night’s budget overview.

The deficit

How the city got to a point where shifting salary costs to the debt levy is a budgeting maneuver, is another topic Friedel tackled Thursday night.

The main reason for the deficit was the city’s inability to use reserves as it had in years past, Friedel explained, but there were also increased costs. Those costs include, but are not limited to, $1.2 million in increased health care costs, $200,000 more for workmen’s compensation claims, $120,000 to fill a vacant division chief position in the Fire Department, $230,000 to do away with furlough days and $100,000 for the Belle Urban System.

Administration officials have been able to address parts of the projected deficit through healthcare and state pension savings that yielded $3.1 million in savings

The use of the $1.45 million in reserves; staff reductions equal to $750,000; the $550,000 transfer to the debt levy; and $180,000 in reduced funding for services provided the remaining $2.9 million, he explained.

One of the largest costs to City of Racine Taxpayers is the Health Insurance Fund.  The City of Racine is “self insured”, which means that it pays directly for all Health Insurance Beneficiaries it indemnifies.  And the costs are just outrageous! While the Employee contributions are next to NIL! City of Racine taxpayers need to remember that Benefits are TAX-FREE! In a City that has 100 PLUS Employees who earn over $100,000/yr in wages and salaries.

From the 2015 Proposed Budget:

Health Care 1

From the above screenshot of the 2015 Budget:  The goal of the fund is to charge all departments and areas of the City monthly premiums sufficient to cover the expenditures incurred. These premium equivalents, one for a single plan and one for a family plan, are calculated and budgeted within the departments based upon the staff makeup at the time the budget is prepared.

REALLY?

Then why are 2015 Employee contributions figured at $900,000, while the total fund revenue is figured at $20,625,348? The City of Racine Employees shortfall is $19,725,348.

Health Care 2

Even worse is that the budgeted amount always seems to be under the actual amount of costs incurred! From the 2013 Audited Financial Report:

Health care3

Which means that it’s time to stop the lies from Mayor John Dickert and City Administrator Tom Friedel and end the tax-free  ride being provided by City of Racine Taxpayers to fund Health Care!

Healthcare 4

 

Take a FREE RIDE, on The City of Racine Taxpayers and Business Owners!

 

More Civic Centre Chicanery From Racine Mayor John Dickert’s 2015 Proposed Budget

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The Civic Centre – but especially Festival Hall, has been the center of attention during the dialogue in the 2015 City of Racine Budget, with  numerous lies from City of Racine Administrator Tom Friedel concerning it’s financing and operation printed in The Journal Times.  Clearly, funding Festival Hall at all costs is very important to Mayor John Dickert and City Administrator Tom Friedel, as it’s operation and funding is always mentioned. This is because Festival Hall is a conduit for transferring taxpayer $$$ to those who are politically connected without the scrutiny of the public or Racine Common Council Members who may not be “on board” with the graft and corruption that comprises a large part of Racine City/County and profit greatly from the deals made behind the scenes. Pay for Play is in full operation in Racine County! If you doubt this, just ask Ayra’s employee Debra Ladwig. But I digress…

Racine Racketeers

Straight outta Racine Mayor John Dickert’s Proposed 2015 Budget, page 236 – Detail of Revenues – NOT A PENNY OF RENTAL FEES. That is because every penny of rental fees, along with the Management Fee,  Operational Subsidy, and Depreciation is funded by TAXES! Property Taxes, Room Taxes, and Borrowed $$$ that get added to Debt Service!

Click on images to enlargeCivic Centre 2015 Funding

Versus Detail of Expenditures:

2015 Civic Centre Detail of Expenditures

Transfers from funds with a “99x” designation indicate revenue obtained from issuing (usually) General Obligation (G.O.) debt, which must be repaid with interest!    Fund 995 = Revenue generated from issuing General Obligation Bonds for 2015! Remember, rental revenues go to Venu-Works! Not a penny goes to City of Racine taxpayers. The money that pays off G.O. Debt comes from the Debt Service Fund, and as Racine Mayor John Dickert in his 2015 Budget Address stated:

The nearly 2 percent increase in the property tax levy proposed in the budget will go almost entirely toward debt service, which pays for ongoing capital projects and city debt from previous years.

And what is the “BROKE” City of Racine buying with that revenue gained from issuing General Obligation Bonds that  must be repaid with interest and will be added to the 2016 + Debt Service?

2015 Capital Outlay

$85,000 for “Bathroom Renovations”. Do you think that includes Granite and Marble?

$50,00 for  “Stage Lighting”

$25,000 for “Carpet/Drapes”

$15,000 for “Window Shades”

Is this a good investment for the working People of Racine, or is this and corruption at Racine City Hall involved in pay for play and graft and kickbacks at honest taxpayers expense?

IF Festival Hall and The Civic Centre was such a “good investment” of taxpayer dollars – why isn’t there a return that reduces taxes? Because the Civic Centre operation doesn’t reduce taxes – IT INCREASES THEM! It only transfers those tax dollars to those who practice the correct political patronage.

When has The City of Racine ever asked for BIDS on the $1,000,000+ that flows through Festival Hall and the Civic Centre? It appears that there was not ONE RFP for the Civic Centre in 2014!

City of Racine Purchasing

And once again – the numbers don’t match….

From the Proposed 2015 Budget:

2015 Budget Civic Centre

Versus the 2013 Audited Financial Statement:

2013 Civic Centre Statement

 Is it yet time to assist Mayor John Dickert is selecting a new outfit to wear?

Assist Racine Mayor John Dickert In Selecting A New Outfit to Wear

Capital Outlay

The City of Racine GameOR… You can’t win unless you are politically connected!

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The 2015 Racine City Budget – Revealing The Numbers That City Administrator Tom Friedel Discussed, But The Journal Times Refused To Print

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From The Journal Times October 20, 2014:

Dickert budget calls for ending furloughs, increasing bus funding

RACINE — The City of Racine should be able to close the $4 million to $6 million budget gap it’s facing next year but it will take staff cuts, funding reductions, and the continued use of reserves to do it.

When Dickert first began talking about the projected 2015 budget deficit this summer, he said the city would not be able to use reserves to balance its budget as it had in years past, because it had hit a limit the City Council put on the use of the funds many years ago.

To fill the rest of the budget gap, the proposed spending plan calls for using $1.45 million in reserves — $750,000 from the city’s undesignated fund balance and $700,000 from healthcare reserves

According to City Administrator Tom Friedel, the city must keep the equivalent of 20 percent of the following year’s general fund expenditures in the undesignated fund balance. After continued use of the fund balance in recent years, the city has been edging closer to that limit.

Asked why the budget calls for the use of reserve funds if that is still the situation, Friedel said Monday that the city recently learned that it used fewer reserves in 2013 than it had anticipated. That put the city further away from the 20 percent limit.

Racine City Administrator Tom Friedel refreshingly told the truth when he stated “…the city must keep the equivalent of 20 percent of the following year’s general fund expenditures in the undesignated fund balance”, but after that he went into generalities and as can be expected from The Journal Times, they refused to investigate and provide hard numbers.

Racine Exposed now looks into some of those numbers.

But first, here is the City of Racine Ordinance that Racine City Administrator Tom Friedel and Mayor John Dickert referenced:

Click on Image for large:Undesignated Fund Balances

Next is the statement from City Administrator Tom Friedel, “Friedel said Monday that the city recently learned that it used fewer reserves in 2013 than it had anticipated” which proves that Friedel has seen the 2013 Audited Financial Statement, and that he lied to The Journal Times when he discussed the Civic Centre being “financially on track” while concealing the annual $1,000,000 PLUS losses! See the post:

The Journal Times Repeats Racine City Administrator Tom Friedels Lie About The Civic Centre

Racine City Administrator Tom Friedel

 Here are the facts from The 2013 Audited Financial Report:

Undesignated Fund Balance

SO the Undesignated Fund Balance used only $1.8 Million out of a projected $2.3 Million for a savings of of almost $500,000. LOL! The City of Racine is still on track for bankruptcy!

Meanwhile, how about some numbers City Administrator Tom Friedel won’t discuss…. besides the $1,000,000 PLUS losses at the Civic Center. Like the 2013 Excess Expenditures Over Appropriations! Especially the $57,632 over expenditure in the City Administration budget and the $47,002 in the CAR 25 Budget! Where did the money go to? And did the Common Council actually approve the spending, as required by City of Racine Ordinances?  From the 2013 City of Racine Audited Financial Statement:

Expenditures over appropriation

So where did the 2013 excess expenditures of $57,632 in City Administration go to – especially since it was downsized from 4 to 3 full time positions!

2013 CA

The 2013 Budgeted Total for Mayor John Dickert, City Administrator Tom Friedel and Assistant Greg Bach was $364,074 was, according to the Audited Financial Statement,  $57,632 over budget for a total of $421,706!

2013 CA Total

SO – How is this possible in the 2015 Budget Numbers – unless Mayor John Dickert is lying in his Executive Budget numbers?

2015 CA

Alternatively, IF the excess amount is $57,632, then the total is $382,156. Either way –  Mayor John Dickert is lying. Showing a false surplus is consistent with his pattern of lying.

Is it time to assist Racine Mayor John Dickert in  selecting a new outfit to wear?

Assist Racine Mayor John Dickert In Selecting A New Outfit to Wear

 

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Ayra’s at 1130 Washington Ave. Sold For $1.5M To Choice Petroleum – Racine Taxpayers Get Ripped Off By Jim Ladwig, John Dickert and Brian O’Connell Again!

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More details will be coming this weekend concerning the special property tax arrangement and taxpayer funding provided by Racine Mayor John Dickert and  Redevelopment Authority of The City of Racine Director Brian O’Connell, and Debra Ladwig’s Employer (Racine County Executive Jim Ladwig’s wife)  that was provided for the construction of Ayra’s at 1130 Washington Avenue. This highly touted $1.2 Million Development was given a $850,000 assessment while Racine Mayor John Dickert and  Redevelopment Authority of The City of Racine Director Brian O’Connell publicly stated $1.2 Million.

1130 Washington Ave

Brian O'Connell

Now the property has been sold for $1.5M and is slated to receive more improvements. Should City of Racine Taxpayers demand a claw-back of the $100,000 that was given away and should property tax concessions be voided?

jim-ladwig-breaks-ground-for-ayras

From the City of Racine Common Council Agenda for Oct. 21,2014:

1130 Washington Request

Be sure to read the post, An Inside Look At Ayra’s On Washington – Debra Ladwig’s Most Recent Employer.

Debra Ladwig 1 001

The Car wash and 24/7 sales will go nice along with the Drug Paraphernalia and Single servings! Remember that video poker gambling amusement is available at the  4700 Washington Ave. location.

The Sale:

1130 Washington Ave. IPAS

Racine Racketeers

Was there a kick-back – and if so what was it? Besides employment for Racine County Executive Jim Ladwig’s wife, Debra Ladwig?

Interestingly enough – the Public Hearing was held on October 8, 2014, and the alleged notification letter was sent out on September 29,2014! – YET – IPAS claims that the sale was recorded on October 15, 2014! Yet another County/City of Racine anomaly! Prima Facie evidence or more corruption, collusion and racketeering in Racine County.

Sept 29 letter 1 Sept 29 Letter 2

The Official recording date – right Racine County Executive Jim Ladwig? Husband of Ayra’s employee – Debra Ladwig! Did the backdoor deals have to be made before the sale went through?

1130 Washington Ave. IPAS

The Journal Times Repeats Racine City Administrator Tom Friedels Lie About The Civic Centre

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From The Journal Times, October 18,2014:

New Civic Centre director hired

RACINE — There’s a new person in charge at Festival and Memorial halls. VenuWorks announced Friday that it has named Amanda Gain as executive director of the Civic Centre.

In a press release issued by the company on Friday, VenuWorks Founder and President Steve Peters cited Gain’s experience and as well as her relationships with Civic Centre staff, its clients and the city as a part big part of choosing her for the job.

5441952e34ac6.image

Her knowledge of the venues’ financials and her ties to the community were also factors, according to the release.

“We were pleased when Amanda agreed to serve in the interim role while we conducted a national search,” Peters said. “After we had concluded several interviews, we found that Amanda rose to the top with her institutional and community knowledge.”

City Administrator Tom Friedel said Friday that he was pleased with Gain’s selection. “Her ability to manage the facilities and work well with clients has been clearly demonstrated,” Friedel said. “Strong advance bookings for 2015 will ensure that we will stay on track financially.”

The city pays VenuWorks a management fee of $71,750 to run the center and $270,000 to pay for operating costs not covered by event fees and other revenue generated by the facilities. Its current three-year contract expires on Dec. 31. In July aldermen gave administration officials permission to negotiate a two-year extension of that contract.

SO according to The Journal Times and City Administrator Tom Friedel, The Civic Centre is run at an annual operating loss of $270,000 to provide funds “for operating costs not covered by event fees and other revenue generated by the facilities”. But does the Civic Centre even generate enough revenue from events to cover the $71,750 Management Fee? And what about other costs? Why doesn’t City Administrator Tom Friedel discuss those costs and what the City taxpayers subsidize?

What is the actual budget of The Civic Centre, and what are it’s annual losses?  Racine Exposed now takes a look at the actual numbers from the  2014 budget and  the  2013 Audited Financial Report to EXPOSE the truth for all to read.

Racine City Administrator Tom Friedel

So where do the actual Revenues from the Civic Centre originate? Those revenues are from the Room Tax, Tax Levy and transfers in from  Bond Sales, which means it’s run on property taxes, room taxes, and debt. LOTS of debt. But the City recovers this cost with depreciation! This debt comes with a built in cost – INTEREST! – AND City of Racine residents get to enjoy paying interest on this ever growing debt! And isn’t servicing Racine’s ever growing debt one of the problems leading the City to bankruptcy?

Depreciation

From the City of Racine 2014 Adopted Budget:

Click on Images for LARGE.Civic Centre

2014 Civic Centre Revenues

SO – Where is the MISSING REVENUE from the events that are held there? It’s clearly NOT going to the City – so it must be going directly to Venu-Works.  This hides the actual losses that are generated by the Civic Centre and where the money is actually going! Which likely means that the Civic Centre is used as a money laundering operation – and is used to transfer tax $$$$ and goods to those who are politically connected! Another part of SCAM-O-RAMA RACINE! Pay for Play! Are Kickbacks, Bribes and transfers of assets/consumables to the politically connected also involved?  It does seems likely. Only the City of Racine  taxpayers could fund a money losing operation like this!

City of Racine Debt Service

BCP

SO in a city that is so broke that it can’t pay for 911 services and has a huge budget hole of at least $4M – $6M – there is borrowed money (at interest) available for Vinyl Tent Sides, Pipe, Drapes, Tables and Carts, and Interior Re-Design! It is just a matter of PRIORITIES!

From The Journal Times, October 15,2014:

Racine owes $700K for dispatch, county says

YORKVILLE – The county’s Executive Committee unanimously voted Wednesday to file a claim demanding the city pay its share for dispatch services provided to nearly all of Racine County.

According to county Corporation Counsel Jon Lehman, the city has withheld its last two quarterly payments, which are about $350,000 each.

Racine City Administrator Tom Friedel did not return messages Wednesday afternoon. Mayor John Dickert also could not be reached.

Lehman said he believes the City of Racine’s grievance “probably relates to their budget hole,” referring to a budget deficit that has been projected between $4 million to $6 million.

Of course, the Adopted Budget  is nothing but fantasy! What does the recently released 2013 Audited Financial Report reveal? WHY – that the Civic Centre realized a loss of $1,035,924! Where did that money go to and what did it buy?

2013 AFR

Is the Civic Centre actually nothing more than a sophisticated and legal Money Laundering Operation?   It would certainly appear to be so – because instead of adding to the bottom line of the City of Racine revenues – it is operated at a loss of over $1M per year!

Money laundering is the process whereby the proceeds of crime, or taxpayers, are transformed into ostensibly legitimate money or other assets.[1] However, in a number of legal and regulatory systems the term money laundering has become conflated with other forms of financial crime, and sometimes used more generally to include misuse of the financial system (involving things such as securities, digital currencies, credit cards, and traditional currency), including terrorism financing, tax evasion and evading of international sanctions. Most anti-money laundering laws openly conflate money laundering (which is concerned with source of funds) with terrorism financing (which is concerned with destination of funds) when regulating the financial system.[2]

Money obtained from certain crimes, such as extortion, insider trading, drug trafficking, illegal gambling and tax evasion is “dirty”. It needs to be cleaned to appear to have derived from non-criminal activities so that banks and other financial institutions will deal with it without suspicion. Money can be laundered by many methods, which vary in complexity and sophistication. Just ask City of Racine Mayor John Dickert!

Assist Racine Mayor John Dickert In Selecting A New Outfit to Wear

Is it any wonder why the wives of prominent Racine Tavern Owners dominate the Civic Centre Board in John Dickert and Tom Friedel’s City of Racine Administration?

Civic Centre Commission Members

Racine Racketeers

From the City of Racine 2014 CIP: (notice that the funding is all by G.O. Bonds = General Obligation Bonds = DEBT!

CIP 1

Do Anomalous Property Assessments Evidence More Corruption and Racketeering In Racine?

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The vagaries of City of Racine property assessments are far too complex for the average person to understand, AND Racine Exposed is sure that is what The City of Racine would claim – but let’s witness some records that are anomalous at best, and may evidence corruption and racketeering at Racine City Hall.

From The Journal Times July 7, 2014:

Assessment challenges costing city

Legal fees add up to more than $204,000 since start of 2012

RACINE — Each year, Racine’s City Assessor’s Office hears from dozens of people who feel the city overvalued their property.

Some are homeowners, but the ones who typically stick around to file challenges to their assessments are with private companies that own large commercial buildings or apartment complexes in the city.

Board of Review

If the city’s Board of Review, which reviews assessment complaints, decides that the assessor’s valuation of their properties are correct, many of the companies end up filing a claim against the city and later a lawsuit. In most cases, the lawsuits demand that the city’s assessment of their property — used to determine the taxes the company will pay to all taxing bodies in the county — be lowered, and the “excessive” taxes they paid as a result of the alleged over assessment be returned.

Racine County Treasurer Jane Nikolai provides information concerning property assessments in an article, Property Assessment In a Declining Market, which attempts to clear up the confusion and it can be read by clicking HERE, while the Wisconsin Department of Revenue offers a wide variety of publications and information HERE.

Racine County Treasurer Jane Nikolai

Keep in mind that 2008 was the year when property values in Wisconsin peaked – unless you were City of Racine Mayor John Dickert’s Campaign Treasurer and Racine Cable Commissioner  Mary Jerger (wife of Racine County Supervisor Monte Osterman, and more on that later) and that values declined, until 2014, when according to the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, property values in Wisconsin increased by 2.6%.

Wis Property Tax

AND from The Journal Times, October 17,2014:

Home prices rise higher as foreclosure crisis subsides

Racine County Home Prices

The most amazing and anomalous property assessment change that  Racine Exposed has found involves 522 Sixth St – which was purchased by Mark Pocaro for $27,027 on 11/22/2013. This was a bank owned property that was foreclosed on in 2011. In six years, the property assessment declined by$584,000 – from a high of $794,000 in 2008 to a new low of $210,000 in 2014, while the buildings value declined from $705,4000 in 2008 to $91,100 in 2014, and the land value increased from $88,600 in 2008 to $118,900 in 2014! During all that time – the Building Code – 223 Commercial General remained the same. How is this possible?

522 Sixth St Property Card

522 Sixth St. Property Card. Click on IMAGE for Large.522 Sixth St.
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Another anomaly on Sixth Street involves 505 Sixth St, owned by BID #1 Chairman and RICO Defendant Mark Levine through his Corporation, L Street Properties; and 607 Sixth St which is owned by Victor Flores and Veronica Nuno, and is the place of Business of the former Cera’s Tequila Bar, which was recently dropped as a Plaintiff in the same RICO case.

RICO Defendant Mark Levine’s property at 505 Sixth St., saw a reduction of property value of  $111,000 from a 2008 high of $556,000 to $445,000 in 2014. That’s an amazing and sudden drop of  20% in one year, in a rising real estate market, according to The Journal Times and the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance. How is this possible?

505 Sixth St. Property Card

505 Sixth St.
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Meanwhile, the former place of business for former RICO Plaintiff Cera’s Tequila Bar at 607 Sixth St. saw NO CHANGE since it’s 2008 high of $230,000! That’s 0%. How is this possible?

607 Sixth St Property Card

607 Sixth St
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While 509 Sixth St., owned by Tango Bar LLC and home to the former Place on Sixth  which was operated by RICO Plaintiff and former Alderman Keith Fair saw a reduction of $25,000 in property value from a 2009 high of $173,000 to $148,000 in 2014. That’s a drop of 15%. Both 509 Sixth St. and 607 Sixth St. have shuttered bar businesses and are Code 293 Tavern/Flats. How is this possible?

509 Sixth St Property Card

 509 SIxth St
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Meanwhile, 300 Sixth St., which was transformed from a bookstore into the failed TAOS Chili and then Dale Cooks by Dale Destiche, at great expense and with loads of troubles from The City of Racine Building Inspection Department, continues to decline in value, despite having a *NEW* Restaurant and Bar named SIP,  that also has a permit to allow serving on the sidewalk!

SIP

300 Sixth St. is right across from Porters – aka TID 17, and situated in a Downtown Racine filled with TIF’s – which are taxpayer subsidized projects that are claimed by The City of Racine Development Authority to raise property vales, add to the tax base and someday provide tax relief – GOOD GRIEF – WHEN?-  yet it’s value has declined $77,000, from a 2008 high of $242,000 to a 2014 low of $165,000! That’s a reduction of 32%! Good Grief Racine! How is this possible?

300 Sixth St. Property Card

300 Sixth St

AND – Why hasn’t Brian O’Connell been fired yet? See the post -

An Inside Look At Ayra’s On Washington – Debra Ladwig’s Most Recent Employer

Brian O'Connell

One of the most anomalous property assessments in Racine involves Racine Mayor John Dickert’s Campaign Treasurer and Racine Cable Commissioner Mary Jerger, who also happens to be the wife of Racine County Supervisor and Root River Council INC. Business owner, Monte Osterman!

Racine COunty Supervisor Monte Osterman

Below is the assessment for Mary Jerger’s (and Hubby Monte Osterman) property at 2900 N. Wisconsin Ave – notice that it’s value, unlike most any other property in Wisconsin, and contrary to real estate trends, peaked in 2006, with an assessment of $192,000.  It then dropped $10,000 in 2007, then rising to $185,000 in 2008. Can anyone show me a property record that matches this one? Because this is just ONE STRANGE ANOMALY…. in a City that sees one strange anomaly after another!

2900 Wisconsin Property Record

So today, in 2014 – the Mary Jerger Osterman property is only worth $152,000 – yet there is a similar property in the neighborhood that is worth $154,000 – yet experienced a MUCH DIFFERENT result than the Jerger-Osterman’s property from 2006 forward. That would be 2828 Wisconsin St., the Osterman’s next door neighbor! Same size lot, but a smaller house, 1.5 for the neighbors, 2 story for the Jergers!

2828 WIsconsin St.

 Isn’t that *AMAZING* and *ANOMALOUS* that in 2005 the Jerger – Osterman’s 2 story house, on the same size lot was valued at $182,000 and the neighbor’s 1.5 story was valued at $175,000 – while in 2008, the Jerger-Osterman’s 2 story house was valued at $185,000 while the neighbor’s house was valued at $208,000! A difference of $23,000! HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?

JvM Property values

Jerger- Osterman Property v. Mathson Property:

2900 Wisconsin St.

2828 WIsconsin St.

Either Racine Exposed doesn’t understand that;  The vagaries of City of Racine property assessments are far too complex for the average person to understand, OR, Frederic Bastiat had it right!

ss5271363c

Is it time yet to assist Racine Mayor John Dickert in selecting a new outfit to wear?

Assist Racine Mayor John Dickert In Selecting A New Outfit to Wear

See also this related blog from Racine Community Media:

RACINE- CITY OF RACINE NOT PAYING IT’S BILLS, NOW BEING SUED BY SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES CLAIMING CITY OF RACINE OWES OVER $700K DOLLARS FOR JOINT DISPATCH SERVICE!!!

Racine Racketeers

*BONUS*

Jerger VS. Mathson back to 1986.

Jerger to 1986 a

Racine Exposed agrees…. Is Mary Jerger-Osterman ready to choose her new outfit to wear?

Mary Jerger-Osterman

*Double Bonus*

From Zerohedge:

Because This Time Is Never Different, In 100 Year Old Cartoons

Any time you feel like all the endless crime, rigging and cronyism on Wall Street and its lobbied puppets in the Capitol is something new, look at these cartoons from about 100 years ago. You will feel better that this time is not different… and much worse that in 100 years absolutely nothing has changed.

Slaughter…

Ever The Snappy Dresser, Assist Racine Mayor John Dickert In Choosing a New Outfit To Wear!

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Racine Mayor John Dickert’s Big Day has come and gone!

jbd3

Now Mayor Dickert needs to choose a new outfit to wear! Which will it be? Will you help him decide?

Assist Racine Mayor John Dickert In Selecting A New Outfit to Wear

Get in where you fit in!

get-in

From Racine Community Media:

RCM 1

Send emails to spread the word about sketchy behavior. Write letters to this and other newspapers. Send a few pennies to good-government groups like Citizens Union that keep an eye on things. Go to political forums and demand candidates promise to blow the whistle on corruption even if it doesn’t directly involve them.

Above all, teach your children that it’s not enough to not be a crook; in a democracy, keeping government and markets honest is everybody’s business.

Which brings us back to you, dear reader. Each time you wearily dismiss the latest indictment or corruption charge as the unchangeable, routine state of affairs in government, you’re contributing to a culture that tolerates corruption.

“It doesn’t matter how loud someone blows the whistle if the referees are wearing earplugs.”

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/errol-louis-preet-fight-fix-corrupt-culture-article-1.1968026

Root Works Ripping Off The Taxpayer Again

Jim Spodick Finally Unloads 500 Sixth St.; Pattern Or Practice To Be Shown At The East Lansing Film Festival

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Jim Spodick’s  presence at 500 Sixth St. in Downtown Racine is finally over – But the legacy lives on as The City of Racine makes it’s debut at the  The East Lansing Film Festival, in the documentary film, Pattern OR Practice.

500 Sixth

Talmer Bank of Lake Geneva reluctantly, but legally, accepted the keys and the responsibility of owning 500 Sixth St. on 09/06/2014:

500 Sixth IPAS

 From The City of Racine Property Records:

500 Sixth Property Record

And almost $150,000 in back taxes over the past seven years which were annually paid by County Taxpayers! Thanks to the failure of Racine County Executive Jim Ladwig to perform his duty and tax foreclose on the property after 3 years!

Delinquent Taxes 500 Sixth St

Smiling Jim

How come Racine County Jim Ladwig failed to perform his duty and tax-foreclose on 500 Sixth St. in 2010? Is this all part of the Downtown Racine real estate games – where assessments are unreal for those who are not politically connected, and they find themselves taxed, inspected, fined, and regulated out of business! Meanwhile, those who are politically connected get a pass?

It’s all part of SCAM-O-RAMA Racine!  Just Business As Usual!

Racine Racketeers

*UPDATED* Apparently Da Mayor was annoyed that he didn’t receive his share of the credit for destroying the Business which operated in the building which generated the revenue that paid the taxes. A commercial building doesn’t simply pay for itself and must have a client base which generates revenue. Of course, Jim and John are Tax Farmers and fail to recognize the impact of their confiscatory property taxes, abuses of legal process, and failing to enforce, and be held accountable to  The Written Rule of Law!

From Holmes V. City of Racine:

Holmes V City of Racine

WROL

For all of those who are naive enough to believe that it isn’t a game of political connections – look at this comparison of property assessments between 500 Sixth St. – now owned by Talmer Bank, and 522 Sixth St. – now owned by PC Mark Porcaro!

In 2009, 500 Sixth St. was assessed at $510,000 while 522 Sixth St. was assessed at $794,000. In 2014,  500 Sixth St. is assessed at $300,000 while 522 Sixth St. is assessed at $210,000! Even stranger is the 2014 difference between the Land and Building assessments! 500 Sixth St.’s land value has remained constant at $49,000 since 2010, while 522 Sixth St’s land value increased from $88,600 in 2009 to $118,900  while the building value decreased from $705,400 in 2009 to $91,100 in 2014! IN SPITE of Mark Porcaro having contractors there day and night, 7 days a week working on 522 Sixth St.! A property he purchased for $27,027 on 11/22/2013!

From City of Racine property assessment records:

500 Sixth St Assessments 522 Sixth St.

With the keys to 500 Sixth St. finally being passed to Talmer Bank, City of Racine Assistant Attorney Nicole Loop will likely have a lot of free time on her hands! Hey Ms. Loop! How about checking out all that peeling paint and deteriorating signage at 501 Sixth St.? Or is that just a part of Downtown Racine’s new patina? Run Down Ratty Downtown Racine? Has Mayor John Dickert seen this yet? OMG! Huge fines and Court action are in order!

Peeling Paint 1 Peeling Paint 2 Peeling Paint 3

Enough with Run Down Ratty Downtown Racine and corrupt public officials – moving onto the debut of Pattern Or Practice at the East Lansing Film Festival which will be held from Thursday, October 30th – Thursday, November 6th, 2014.

ELFF

BTW – How come Racine doesn’t have a Film Festival anymore?

Does Mary-Jerger- Osterman and her hubby Monte have any involvement with ending INDIE mass-media in Racine for a Mayor that can’t stand being scrutinized/criticized for his misdeeds, corruption, and authoritarian Third-World Tin-Pot dictatorship type rule?

Racine Mayor John Dickert Tin-Pot Dictator

The film that City of Racine Public Officials don’t want you to see will instead be shown to an enlightened and diverse audience in Michigan. Shame on Racine, WI!

Pattern Or Practice

150 years ago, Racine, Wisconsin was an important stop on the Underground Railroad. But times change, and so do cities. This is the story of change for one upper Midwest town that took away the welcome mat and hung out the “no vacancy” sign for Blacks and Hispanics.

Pattern or Practice peels the veneer off that shoddy pretense and provides a stark view of what institutionalized racism looks like. Racine, Wisconsin, once a manufacturing powerhouse, is a backsliding, post-industrial community with a race problem so pervasive that disbelief is nearly always the observer’s first reaction. By the time the final credits are rolling, that disbelief is replaced by anger, disgust, perhaps shame and hopefully a desire for change.

Laurel Original leafs

From The Journal Times, January 11, 2014:

Spodick, City Hall have been at odds before

RACINE — The fact that Jim Spodick’s name is attached to a documentary accusing city officials of unfair practices may not be surprising for some locals.

Spodick and City Hall have been at odds before.

In 2010, he sued the city for $650,000 claiming that officials, including former Mayor Gary Becker and Brian O’Connell, the director of city development, misled him about a loan agreement he negotiated with them. He later dropped the lawsuit.

Since then, Spodick has attached himself to groups critical of city operations, including the Racine Equality Project, which filed a series of ethics complaints in March alleging that Mayor John Dickert and some Cable Commission members violated city ethics rules during their involvement in the process that led to a private contractor being selected to run the city’s cable access channel.

The complaints were later dismissed by the city’s Board of Ethics.

A few months later, Spodick was involved in an unsuccessful effort to mount a recall election against 4th District Alderman Jim Kaplan.

Among the allegations made against Kaplan was that he had unfairly pushed to keep a Hispanic-owned tavern from opening in his district.

In addition to his battles with City Hall, Spodick has faced a series of economic struggles.

Once heralded for helping revitalize Sixth Street, he lost a host of Downtown properties to foreclosure in 2010, including several properties in the 500 block of Sixth Street.

He also lost a vacation home in Lake Geneva, but was able to hold onto his primary residence on River Hills Road in Caledonia.

Today, Spodick owes the county more than $136,000 in back taxes, according to the Racine County Treasurer’s Office. Most of that money is owed on 500 Sixth St. Now vacant, the property is where the bar Park 6 was once located.

Thomas Holmes, the one-time owner of the bar, is among the bar owners in the documentary alleging unfair treatment.

Asked about the film, Dickert said he hopes Spodick “takes the proceeds from the movie to pay his taxes.”

Without Jim Spodick to kick around anymore, looks like City of Racine Assistant Attorney Nicole Loop, City of Racine Assessor Bill Bowers, and Mayor John Dickert will need to find a new villain in Downtown Racine! Who will be next?

*UPDATED*

From The Political Environment:

The Political Environment

From a  Renegade and Lawless Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to a Renegade and Lawless Racine County District Attorney Rich Chiapete! Public Official Corruption runs rampant and the Written Rule of Law is Dead! Businesses and honest, hardworking People  continue to flee Wisconsin!

jason-read1

Racine County Crony Capitalism

IF only, Trouble was money! And not dirty, lying, corrupt Racketeers who fancy themselves Statesmen!

Scott Walker Failed

City of Racine BUS Pension Funding Falls To 47.6% In 2013 – Are Bond Rating Downgrades Next? OR Bankruptcy?

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Previously, Racine Exposed reviewed the BUS Pension funding in the post, Are City of Racine BUS Pensions and OPEB Headed Towards Bankruptcy?; where it was revealed that:

On page 83 of the 2012 Audited  Financial Statements, it is revealed that the funding of BUS Pensions, in only three years, has fallen from 63.41% in 2010, to 53.9% in 2012. 80% is the generally accepted minimum funding for pension plans, according to the National Association of State Retirement Administrators.  That alone indicates that The City of Racine is approaching severe financial distress and will likely be headed towards a future Bankruptcy, unless BUS Pensions are renegotiated and reduced, or funding monies suddenly become available. It is unlikely that any monies to properly fund the BUS Pensions will become available.

With the recent addition of the 2013 Audited Financial Statement indicating that City of Racine BUS pension funding has fallen to 47.6% – Racine Exposed is confident in claiming that the BUS Pension Fund is actuarially bankrupt and unsound which will lead to litigation and re-organization. It’s likely that current employees might only collect pennies on the dollar – if anything – in the future. From Page 82.

2013 City of Racine Audit- BUS Pensions

Racine Mayor John Dickert destroyed $4,206,100, 094 in pension value of assets in 3 short years – from 2011 to 2013!

Dickert Undermines BUS Pensions

But The Dickert Disaster only continues to get worse! The OPEB (Other Post Employment Benefits) amount from 2012 to 2013 grew from  $115,787,911 to $133,869,014 and was underfunded to the tune of  $99,410,820, an increase of almost $20M from 2012! From page 7:

2013 City Of Racine OPEB Deficit

Is it Racine Mayor John Dickert – or GODZILLA!!!!!? One Monster destroys Racine – the other Monster destroys Tokyo! Property taxes MUST increase – or services are cut! Family and Friends FIRST! Screw the People!

 

*UPDATED* FOR THOSE FROM THE 80’s – When the Stay-Puft Marshmallow man replaced Godzilla!

 

But the People of Racine were warned!

DSCN3697

IN the meantime, Oct 9, 2014,  from The JT:

60 more Manitowoc Ice employees facing layoffs

MANITOWOC, Wis. (AP) — A second round of layoffs at a Manitowoc-based company that specializes in ice products will affect about 60 employees, according to the state Department of Workforce Development.

The upcoming Manitowoc Ice layoffs will happen in early December, HTR Media (http://htrne.ws/1oVezz7 ) reported. An official at the department said 50 workers were laid off in August and 50 more are expected to face layoffs next March.

Manitowoc Ice officials announced in March its popular “Indigo” line of ice machines would be outsourced to Mexico. They said the change would cause a majority of some 235 local machinist union members to eventually lose their jobs.

The company cited global competitive factors.

Global competitive factors! What might those be, because clearly, IT IS NOT WORKING! Just ask Racine County Executive Jim Ladwig…

Jim Ladwig on Global Competition

So as Racine County Executive Jim Ladwig and Racine Mayor John Dickert lead Racine County to *Economic Disaster* –  Jim Ladwig BLOWS HIS OWN HORN – because no one else will do it for him!

The Journal Times releases a couple of pages of propaganda from Jim Ladwig – a press release – and no hard budget numbers!

We are waiting for the ACTUAL BUDGET numbers Jim! Until then – it is all talk – and NO ACTION! In a County that is headed for Wisconsin’s first bankruptcy action since the depression!

??????????

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