This is a taxpayer test. You pay. You can play. Your council has three who consistently supported money for Darren, for his Landform firm, to the tune of a grand total figure presented to me by a disclosure email from Ramsey's CFO Lund, current as of July 24, 2012, the disclosed total being:
The three consistent pro-Landform individuals on council and now bidding to be reelected are Wise seeking reelection, McGlone seeking reelection, and Ramsey seeking reelection. They during their term socialized a major land risk for a sick remaining half-of-a-failed-town-center, for millions.
This socialized land speculation decision was made back in the summer of 2009 (before Look quit on the council to chase a bigger county paycheck so Look was a part of things). Our elected representatives since engineering that multi-million dollar expenditure out of reserves have proceeded to provide that million plus figure, to Landform.
For that expenditure, taxpayers were rewarded by a growth of public debt to subsidize a gamble of a Mr. Flaherty of Indiana, to the tune of yet more millions, this being the story - in part a story reaching years into Ramsey's future,
The city issued Tax Increment Bonds on April 24, 2012 and they were bought by Northland Securities. The Principal amount of the bond issue was $7,420,000 (F&C was authorized $6,825,000 for construction) The remainder was to cover issuance costs (which F&C has reimbursed the city HRA $91,000 per loan agreement) and capitalized interest (the first bond payment is June 2015 as this is when F&C is required to take the city out). The bonds debt schedule is June 2015 - June 2024.
What a deal.
That quoted bonding summary is from an earlier disclosure request response of Ramsey's CFO. In you mind, the taxpayer test is, do you reelect Wise, McGlone, or Ramsey?
Details of that opening over-a-million dollar number will be posted. In the next few days I intend to put up on the web the spreadsheet provided days ago by Ramsey's CFO in response to a data disclosure request; making it available on the web in a way you and other citizens can download.
That way if Wise, or Ramsey, or McGlone show up at your door politicking for four more years, and blowing fine smoke about how great they've been for you, you can pull out the spreadsheet you've printed out, and ask, "What's this, fella?" Expect fine explanations.
For now just let the numbers themselves speak. The cash drain, and the gamble. Let their message sink in.
Ask yourself, has Flaherety put as much of his own wealth up front in real hard cash into his adventure, as our City of Ramsey has? Ask Wise. Ask McGlone. Ask Ramsey. If they show up at your door politicking. Ask them to show you the proof of Flaherty's own starting capital if any gambled in Flaherty's adventurous risks for Ramsey. Not Flaherty borrowing millions more from a Pittsburgh bank. His own starting capital. Not Flaherty promising now he will guarantee this or that with the test of any such guarantee being in the future, well past November's election.
Hard real cash up front Flaherty capital is the question. He is called a "capitalist" isn't he? Does he hold himself out as a "subsidy seeker?" Is that the image he occasionally comes to town to project to us? Look past the fine watch and suit. Ask the question. An easy question; "If you're a capitalist, what of your present hard-real-dollar capital are you putting at risk up front in your rental thing, in Ramsey?"
Ask our hoping-for-reelection people to show you the numbers. You may be told of potentialities. Things that might come true. You may be told one or more of the three gentlemen cannot see how the Flaherty adventure can fail. You may be told a bank stands ready to risk even more than your city on the adventure.
Indeed, a bank has pledged over twenty million, but unlike you and your city, it gets a mortgage security interest against the Flaherty adventure property. Whatever any of the three reelection gentlemen may tell you, ask, how much real money Flaherty has spent while the city already has cut bonds in his behalf obligating the city to repay millions to bondholders, regardless of whether the Flaherty adventure succeeds or fails. Ask yourself, if you had that million plus, would you have kept spending it on Darren, with only a big debt sinkhole to show for it many months after cash flows to Landform began? After all, it is your public money that has gone to Landform. Given to Landform. Gambled on Darren. Gambled on his capabilities.
Earlier I linked to Sakry's thorough report from a over year ago, when numbers were lower and no special bonding (to play at being Flaherty's public funds banker) had happened. Sakry reported in March of 2011:
Suite Living is expected to close in April or May on a 1.85-acre site also west of the existing parking ramp on Sunwood Drive.
The White Bear Lake company plans on building a three-story facility and will have 84 of living/memory care units.
There are also nine to 10 other businesses that he is actively working on deals with, said Lazan.
Lazan said he is also actively talking to 20 entities that are interested in The COR.
Yes, by the tens and twenties. And the check is in the mail and the fish spit the hook.
With the city at risk, it is fair to note that this Strib report is encouraging in suggesting the City may end up being paid back its money in this bankrolling situation. If Flaherty's thing fails in this market, however, nobody can then say it was a sound risk. Moreover, if the hope of a short-term success and payback is met, there is still the long term to worry over. As rental buildings age, they can become problematic, particularly when the current rental vs owned housing situation returns to normal. Then what? Condo conversion? Downhill worries met by changing it from "market rate" to low income housing, the use that Feges-Nedegaard had thought the site merited? With town money already having been put at risk we can only hope the Strib's metrowide reporting works for Ramsey. The reporting gives hope, but does not really lessen it being a gamble.