Who knew what and when. It’s always the key to making a killing on Real Estate through an Insider Knowledge deal. Is there a small group of Racine City Hall Insiders who have managed to score a few buys of the century? Who had Insider knowledge of future projects that would greatly increase their sales price and commissions? Why else did Mayor John Dickert and the Redevelopment Authority violate numerous Ordinances, make deals in secret, and maintain silence behind the scenes, only to suddenly spring the results on the Common Council and Residents AFTER the Grants and Loans had been approved? Then, when honest and decent Aldermen pointed out that the process was in violation of Democratic principles as well as the law, certain other Aldermen demanded that the project go ahead anyways, AND in a rush!
Strangely enough, in the City of Racine 2014 CIP, which was adopted on November 19, 2013, there is an entry for TID 18, Machinery Row. Yet TID 18 does not officially exist, and a TID is not something which is casually approved with just a vote from the Common Council. The creation of a TID requires certain Notices being sent, the creation of a Joint Review Board, Public Hearings, an approved Project Plan, a specific Timeline, and the Wisconsin Department of Revenue must determine certain property assessment values. While Racine Exposed has heard from various sources making claims that the TID is in the approval process, that is NOT what the Wisconsin Department of Revenue claims. In fact, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue has no knowledge of ANY current activities involving the City of Racine in creating TID 18. Neither does Racine County or RUSD. So why is TID 18 there, and was placing this item in the CIP and projecting future budgeting for the TID even legal? And under what Authority was that done? Is this part of the continuing pattern, or practice of Racine City Hall ignoring proper procedures, violating due process, and exceeding the limits of authority to act? Has Racine City Hall been turned into a Realty Office? Is speculation and blowing realty bubbles the name of the game? Only time will tell.
It is the Wisconsin Department of Revenue that administers and regulates TIF’s, aka TID’s. For those who want more information on how TIF’s work, there is an entire WI DOR webpage devoted to the issue. Click HERE to access the webpage and find answers to your questions. A current list of active TID’s from the WI. DOR may be accessed by clicking HERE.
Reproduced below is page 30 of the 2014 CIP, showing an entry for TID 18:
Click on image to Enlarge
The Wisconsin DOR has no current knowledge of a TID 18 in Racine, WI.
Which really brings into question the purpose and motive of suddenly announcing a $65M project on a rushed time table, and, according to Jim Bowman, direct involvement from Governor Scott Walker in approving WEDC tax credits. From the Milwaukee Business Journal:
And not everyone understands the importance and value of the Historic Tax Credits – As Jim Bowman succinctly stated, “Without the tax credits, it would have been marginally economically viable at best”; and from WEDC:
Of course, with the sudden announcement of a potential $65M development and the approval of Historic Tax Credits, many properties that were previously undesirable and that had been on and off the market for a long period of time suddenly became salable. Some of those properties were discussed in the post, Miracle on Racine’s Water and Sixth Street. Are other long time property owners looking to sell? It appears to be so.
Retired RPD Police Officer, Shore West Realtor and Root River Council INC. Board Member Marty DeFatte is looking for $$ Top Dollar $$ for 1251 Mound Avenue, which also, coincidentally, is the business address of fellow Root River Council INC. Registered Agent and Racine County Supervisor Monte Osterman. Currently assessed by The City of Racine at $150,000, Civic Minded Marty DeFatte is only asking a premium of nearly $40,000 for the property.
Meanwhile, with only 31 days on the market, 1336 Mound Avenue is quite the bargain! Assessed at $90,000 by The City of Racine, the ad does admit that the property needs a fair amount of work and that no repairs or warranties are offered with the purchase. The Root River Project is just down the street!
Another price cut on 1101 Mound Avenue. Assessed by The City of Racine at $585,000 and with only the third floor fully leased, this property can be bought for $798,000 – was $850,000.
Meanwhile, scuttlebutt around City Hall says that an unnamed person has been hired for $15,000 to facilitate the purchase of the 1287 Mound Avenue property, whose owners may be reluctant to sell. The City has even talked about using eminent domain to take the property from the owners. That is NOT the story that Matt Sadowski told the DNR in his UNAUTHORIZED application for the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship grant. Did Matt Sadowski just get caught lying on an application to the DNR?
1287 Mound Avenue:
From The Journal Times:
The Council will not be asked to approve the acquisition and relocation plan for the five properties, Assistant Director of City Development Matt Sadowski explained Monday. By voting to support the redevelopment plan, aldermen will be voting to give the city or Redevelopment Authority permission to either purchase the properties or, if necessary, acquire them by eminent domain.
Sadowski said if the city could not come to a purchase agreement with any of the property owners, it would decide then whether to use eminent domain — based on how crucial to the overall redevelopment the property was. If the city did use eminent domain to acquire any of the parcels, Sadowski said, it couldn’t use the DNR grant money to pay for the acquisition of that particular parcel.
Why is Matt Sadowski, in a Journal Times article, threatening a potentially reluctant property owner into selling with the claim that he may use eminent domain to take what won’t be willingly sold? Why is The City of Racine allegedly employing a Negotiator for $15,000? For a bike trail? To remove 5 properties from the tax roles and shift almost $13,000 in taxes to other homeowners? Here is what Matt Sadowski told the DNR:
*UPDATED* Did Matt Sadowski also lie when he told the DNR, on his unauthorized application that the properties have been primarily residential, except for 1251 Mound Avenue? Did Matt Sadowski actually investigate the area or check the City of Racine property records?
There is also scuttlebutt around Racine City Hall that the owners of certain properties had been approached, potentially illegally, with questions about selling their properties, or if they would sell to certain individuals, prior to the announcement of the awarding of the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Grant. It was told to Racine Exposed that City of Racine Attorney Rob Weber may have advised certain individuals not to approach the owners – but they chose to do so anyway. If true, this demands an investigation.
When the evidence is examined, Root Works has the appearance of an ill-conceived and rushed plan, lacking proper planning and based upon speculation and lies. Announcements and plans are discussed, yet they have not been properly imnplemented or approved. Mayor Dickert seems to be attempting to blow a huge real estate bubble without any substance backing the plan. Lies and baseless speculation have been the foundation. The taxpayers need to watch out as the profits will be privatized while the taxpayers will pay all the costs along with the losses. There is no solid evidence anywhere that Root Works is nothing more than SCAM-O-RAMA Racine!
When reviewing the many questionable actions that have been EXPOSED in this real estate scheme, the Reader should keep in mind that many of the government officials involved in Root Works are also currently involved in a RICO lawsuit which alleges that the Defendants engaged in:
• Extortion in violation of the federal extortion statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1951(b);
• Extortion in violation of the Wisconsin extortion statute, Wis. Stat. 943.30;
• Bribery in violation of the federal bribery statute, 18 U.S.C. § 201(b);
• Bribery in violation of the Wisconsin bribery statute, Wis. Stat. 946.10;
• Receiving an unlawful gratuity in violation of federal law, 18 U.S.C. § 201(c);
• Receiving an unlawful gratuity in violation of Wisconsin law, Wis. Stat. 11.25(1);
• Official misconduct in violation of Wisconsin law, Wis. Stat. 946.12;
• False swearing in violation of Wisconsin law, Wis. Stat. 946.32(1)(a);
• Honest services fraud in violation of federal law, 18 U.S.C. § 1346; and
• Money laundering in violation of federal law, 18 U.S.C. § 1956(a)(1)(B)(i)
Further, Racine County Supervisor Monte Osterman is facing a Complaint that he, as The Registered Agent for the Root River Council INC. has fraudulently claimed it to be a Non-Profit Organization, failed to disclose his economic interests as required by law, and committed Misconduct In Office by misusing his position and authority in lobbying for Root Works and the Mound Avenue Bluff purchase.
In their Links to Other Partners and Programs, the Wisconsin Coastal Management does NOT list the Root River Council, INC. So where are the funds coming from? Below is a partial list, but Root River Council, INC. never appears on the list!
Who knew what and when? Why it is the Root River Council INC. that has employed Vanderwalle and Associates since 2012!
And did Mayor Dickert use his position to steer funds from the Costal Zone Management Act Grant #NA12NOS4190091 to Monte Osterman’s Root River Council INC., to retain Vanderwalle and Associates? From: Wisconsin Coastal Management Program:
And if the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program doesn’t recognize the Root River Council INC. as Partner or a Program that they administer, where is Monte Osterman getting the funds to retain Vanderwalle and Associates? Are Root River Council INC. employees and Board Members being paid? Where are the funds coming from?