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
 .

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!

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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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Did Racine Mayor John Dickert Just Screw The Pooch Between Racine Police Officers and Local Politicians, Family and Friends?

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June 1, 2010, from the now defunct (and excellent) Racine Post, with the video now missing:

Video: Mayor Dickert stopped for speeding in December

A city police officer stopped Mayor John Dickert for speeding Dec. 12, 2009 in the 1200 block of North Main Street. Dickert was going 40 mph in a 30 mph zone at about 10 a.m. on a Saturday. He did not receive a ticket. There is no police report on the stop.

Video of the traffic stop, obtained with a records request to the police department, shows a brief, cordial encounter between Officer Bob Bojcic and Dickert near Jane Elementary School. Bojcic was conducting a speed wave near the school after the department received complaints about traffic.

Here’s transcript of the video:

Prior to exiting squad car: 

Officer Bojcic: 1200 block of North Main (indecipherable)

Talking to Dickert:  

Dickert: Hello, boss.
Officer: (indecipherable) You’re the boss, aren’t you?
Dickert: (laughs) Not always
Officer: Not always?
Dickert: What’s going on?
Officer: Not much. We had a Speed Wave back here 40 in 30
Dickert: Oh (indecipherable) Sorry … I was going to a radio show down in Kenosha
Officer: Yeah. Because of the school over there and the crossing guard always has fits over there so we come out here to do a speed wave out here to try and slow the traffic down it’s like a race track out here, you know?
Dickert: It’s actually a good idea.
Officer: Keep it down.
Dickert: You got it.

Sgt. Martin Pavilonis, spokesman for the Racine Police Department who had watched the video, said proper procedures were handled during the stop.

It’s up to the officer’s discretion on whether a driver gets a ticket, Pavilonis said. He said it was not unusual for a stop to take about 3 minutes when the officer does not issue a ticket.

There is no set policy on an officer’s actions when they pull over an elected official like the mayor, Pavilonis said. If a police officer stops another police officer there is a policy to follow, he said, but that doesn’t apply to the mayor.

As for the mayor’s conduct, Pavilonis said he acted appropriately. “I don’t think he asserted his rank as mayor,” he said. “I don’t think that’s the case at all.”

RacinePost requested video of the traffic stop after receiving a tip that the mayor was stopped. The city promptly answered a records request and provided a DVD of the stop from an in-squad video camera with audio collected from a microphone officers carry as part of their uniform.

Racine Exposed wonders how Officer Bojcic would handle the stop today, Oct 7, 2014, in light of the fact that Racine Mayor John Dickert has just ended the annual pay raises given to RPD Union Members and is now demanding that Police and Firefighters OK  a plan requiring police and firefighters hired on or before June 30, 2011 to pay health insurance deductibles of $6,450 or $12,900.

Dickert Cuts Health Benefits for Police and Firefighters

From The Journal Times, Oct 7, 2014:

Unions ask for delay in city vote on high deductible plan

RACINELeaders for the city’s police and fire unions want aldermen to hold off voting on a plan requiring police and firefighters hired on or before June 30, 2011 to pay health insurance deductibles of $6,450 or $12,900.

Slated to be considered by the City Council at 7 tonight, the plan was recommended to the council two weeks ago by its Finance and Personnel Committee.

Letteney said police and firefighters have already benefited from not having had to pay into their pensions over the past four years, while also getting raises that most non-represented employees did not receive.

“That is benefit that they got – more years of not having to pay in. Getting an offsetting pay increase at this moment would be an additional benefit,” Letteney said, adding that most police officers and firefighters didn’t have to take unpaid furlough days like other city employees did in the past two years.

Only police and firefighters hired on or before June 30, 2011 would be required to pay the high deductibles. That’s because Act 32, which became law on July 1, 2011, requires any employee hired after June 30, 2011 to pay their WRS employee share.

But HEY! The mayor is only asking that Racine Police and Firefighters pay their fair share! Meanwhile it only costs $389,333 to fund Mayor John Dickert, City Administrator Tom Friedel  and their Administrative Assistant. From the City of Racine 2014 Budget:

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From an editorial by Racine Mayor John Dickert, The Journal Times, Oct. 7, 2014:

Commentary by Mayor Dickert: Loss of revenue has led city to ask police, firefighters for help

Municipalities are in the business of providing services. Whether policing neighborhoods, plowing streets, collecting recycling, responding to fires and medical emergencies or providing recreation for our kids, a city works daily to provide for the needs and desires of its citizens. It should be no surprise there is a cost to providing those services that are paid for by your taxes.

The single greatest expenditure for a city is the cost of its employees. In fact, for 2014, the cost of employee salaries and benefits is 76 percent of the City of Racine’s General Fund Budgeted Expenditures. This is a common proportion for Wisconsin municipalities. The greatest share of Racine’s annual expenditure, by function, goes to pay for police and fire protection. For 2014, about 57 percent of Racine’s operating budget was spent on public safety functions.

In order to pay for the services, a city must have an income. The city’s revenues come from a number of places, including property taxes, licenses and permits, forfeitures and charges for services. In addition, a city may receive a portion of the taxes you send to the state and federal governments. We call these revenues intergovernmental revenue funds. Taxes that you paid that are supposed to come back to your local municipality.

Governing is about making choices. We cannot always please everyone. We make the best decisions based on what is the “right” thing to do and what is fair!

Racine Police Officer Bob Bojcic – how do you feel about that now? And how many other crimes have Racine Police Officers overlooked when those crimes – Municipal, Misdemeanor, and Felony, have been committed by Local Politicians and their Friends and Family? Can you continue to afford to turn a blind eye?

Racine Mayor John Dickert just ended the incentive – pay and benefit increases to public employees for looking the other way when certain privileged people are involved……

Now, how do you feel about how you handled that traffic stop when Mayor John Dickert was speeding 10MPH over in a Speed Wave Zone?

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Racine Mayor john Dickert just left Racine Police Officers and Firefighters with NOTHING BUT THE TAILLIGHTS! Yeah, you just  got hit with a left and a right! And he’s laughing about how he brought you to your knees! Mayor John Dickert just left you… in the Middle of NOWHERE!

Root River Council Continues In It’s Cover-up – Racine Zoo Is a Hateful Jail – Racine County Is Still #1 in Corruption!

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Root River Council INC. still continues in it’s cover-up mode. Where are the form 990’s? Ms. Mason – Will you be allowed to backfile? Note that the Ruling Year is STILL 2014!

Rebecca and Cory Mason

Previous IRS Record:

RRC

New IRS Record on Oct 6, 2014 – NOTHING!

Oct 6, 2014 EO Select Check

And… NOTHING:

IRS Revocations Oct 6 2014

Previous Guidestar Record:

Guidestar Exempt Status

Guidestar Exempt Status 2

New Guidestar Record on Oct 6, 2014:

Form 990's Oct 6 2014

Guidestar Oct 6 2014 RRC

Keep working on it Monte! The day when you are deposed, under oath, approaches, you corrupt liar!

Monte Osterman RICO and Civil Rights Defendant

From Racine Community Media - and it’s too true! Imprison corrupt, lying, and cheating  Racine Politicians – not innocent animals!

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It’s these two corrupt animals who should be locked away in a jail!

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 Perhaps Jim and John are just plain old parasites!

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Time marches on! Nothings changed!

Racine's 4 Horsemen

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

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Racine Exposed takes an inside look at Ayra’s – a highly touted $1.2 million dollar development on Washington Ave. that also received taxpayer funds of at least $100,000 and that also employs Racine County Executive Jim Ladwig’s wife, Debra Ladwig.

Jim Ladwig Breaks Ground for Ayras

On May 8, 2013, The Journal Times published this article:

Construction underway on $1.2 million project on Washington Avenue

RACINE — A $1.2 million commercial project between Uptown and Downtown is now underway.

The Washington Avenue property, site of the former Schaefer Pontiac auto dealership, consists of five city parcels combined. Five to six years ago, the Schaefer family donated the property to the city, which removed a decrepit building to create a redevelopment site which is sold to Ajmeri for $10,000.

Other proposals had been made for the site, but either the city declined them or the developers did not follow through.

A $1.2 Million Dollar Development? Is that what Director of City Development and 2012 Downtown Champion Brian O’Connell claimed?

The claim that it was a $1.2M development was also repeated in this October 8, 2013 Journal Times story:

$100,000 in TIF funds for Uptown redevelopment project

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.

Five to six years ago, the Schaefer family donated the property to the city, which removed a decrepit building to create a redevelopment site which officials in turn sold to developer Akil Ajmeri for $10,000.

Not in a position to hand over the full $200,000, Sadowski told the committee that city development staff brought forward the proposal to use special project dollars available in the TIF fund. The funds, he said, are earmarked to pay for cost overruns or other projects.

Under the “development assistance agreement” approved by the committee on Monday, Ajmeri would have to submit an accounting of what was spent to demolish, remove and fill the foundations before getting any funds, Sadowski said. The most he could receive would be $100,000.

From the October 7, 2013 Official Redevelopment Authority of The City of Racine Meeting Minutes – with Commissioner Nicholson presiding:

Click on Images to Enlarge:Oct 7 2013 RDA Meeting

RDA Meeting

But before the City of Racine, under Mayor John Dickert, gave this $1.2M Development $100,000 in taxpayer money, they made the hard decision to forgo the fragility of the neighborhood and EXCEED liquor license quotas – just because this $1.2M Development was too important to the community!

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.

Approval of the project has been a long process, officials said during Tuesday’s City Council meeting. In addition to winning support for the development itself, Ajmeri has been seeking approval from the City Council for a Class A intoxicating liquor license permitting the sale of packaged beer, as well as wine and spirits.

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.

Aldermen spent the better part of an hour discussing the two items.

Those voting in favor of granting the license said that Ajmeri’s project fit perfectly within the guidelines the council had established for exceeding its quota. They argued that the development would have an economic impact greater than what would come from the addition of just another liquor store.

“We have an empty lot that is going to become a full lot. We have a lot that is generating zero dollars in tax revenue, that is now going to be generating taxes,” Helding said.

So, if Mayor John Dickert, Director of City Development Brian O’Connell, Alderman Greg Helding and The Journal Times all claim it is a $1.2 million dollar development, why did the City assess it at only $850,000? That’s $350,000 less than claimed in a city that is famous for over-assessing other properties by tens of thousands of $$$! Aren’t property values supposed to double every ten years?

1130 Washington Ave

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 Brian O'Connell

So taking an inside look at $1.2 million  $850,000 dollar development, in a fragile neighborhood where hard liquor and single servings are prohibited, what do we find?

A Large selection of DRUG PARAPHERNALIA FOR SALE! Because…. well, it’s only legal for tobacco use….. where is anti-tobacco crusader Alderman Jim Kaplan when you need him? Only the best for Racine’s ghetto dwellers and slumdoggs!

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Alderman Jim Kaplan Anti-tobacco crusader

 A nice selection of hard liquor – competitively priced, or course!

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And a nice selection of the INFAMOUS… Single Servings!

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Building on success, Ayra’s opened a new location at Washington and Ohio!

From the Journal Times, November 7 , 2013:

Another Ayra’s coming — this time liquor, cigars

RACINE — A local businessman will soon open a large new, centrally located liquor and cigar store here.

Akil Ajmeri is building his Ayra’s Liquor and Cigar store at 4700 Washington Ave. in 4,800 square feet of space formerly occupied by a Hollywood Video store.

Ajmeri is the owner and developer of several Ayra’s gas stations, convenience stores and Subway restaurants in the area, starting in Caledonia and stretching from Oak Creek to Kenosha.

The new Ayra’s Liquor and Cigar should open by Thanksgiving, Ajmeri said Wednesday. But it’s not his only development on the verge of opening; this month he also hopes to open a new, $1.2 million Ayra’s gas station, convenience store and Subway at 1130 Washington Ave. That project also has another retail space not yet leased out.

What The Journal Times forgot to add – is that this Ayra’s location would feature a selection of video poker gambling machines! Remember kids, gambling at establishments like a liquor store is illegal in Wisconsin – these are FOR AMUSEMENT ONLY! Like, who’s going to hang around and gamble in a liquor and cigar store? Especially when you can’t smoke or drink  inside either…. right? Imagine if Alderman Jim Kaplan suddenly showed up! Goddamnit! WWJD? Whips and Chains? Overturning Tables?

Ayras Washington and Ohio

But Ayra’s also has additional stores – in Kenosha and one at Racine County Executive Jim Ladwig’s County-owned Reefpoint Marina! From the City of Racine Common Council Meeting Minutes of May 6, 2014:

Ayras on the Lake

reefpoint

2 Christopher Columbus way – the exact same addresses shared by Ayra’s on the Lake and Racine County Executive Jim Ladwig’s Reefpoint Marina. What does Ayra’s on the Lake pay in rent to reimburse County Taxpayers for providing the facility? From the 2014 Racine County Budget:

Reefpoint Marina Revenues

Looks to be about $0.

So what’s in it for Racine County Executive Jim Ladwig? WHY! Nothing less but a cushy job for his latest wife – Debra Ladwig! Is that not nice of Ayra’s to offer Racine County Executive Jim Ladwig’s wife Debra, a position in one of the stores that is located in Racine. Thank God it’s not at that 1130 Washington Ave. ghetto location – where there are large concentrations of Colored People! Safety first! And Racine County Taxpayers get screwed once again by Jim Ladwig!

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Friends take care of friends – that’s what they do. Especially when taxpayer dollars are at stake! From City of Racine Mayor John Dickert’s speech on the State of the City – April 15, 2014!

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Liquor, Lottery, Tobacco,  Drug Paraphernalia, Nepotism, Graft and Corruption! Just who is the Mafia of the 21st. Century?

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An astute reader sent in additional information, from the City of Racine Common Council Meeting of August 21, 2012:

Racine Common Council August 21 2012

Another Astute Reader provided these pictures taken at Reefpoint Marina. While it is great that local businesses are being promoted in an area that has been set aside – it this opportunity available to all, and is there a cost? What is the role of government? To provide basic services and maintain a level playing field where the written rule of law is enforced – or to tilt the tables, pick winners and losers and provide public officials with free favors? Why not taxpayer funded “free” business space for everybody?

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These are photos taken Labor Day weekend at the taxpayer subsidized Reef Point Gift Shop where they sell beer, liquor and cigars from Ayra’s and hats from Mary Osterman’s store, Copacetic, right next to brochures promoting her business in Racine and Waukesha. These are also right next to the Journal Times newspapers for sale, the Downtown Racine brochures, and the Great Lakes Waterway Guide. They also sell O&H Kringles there. What an advantage it must be to have the City and County paying for and promoting your business?

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See also, from Racine In Ruins:

Dumpster Diving Terrorism and Jim Latwig

 

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