I view recording the deed as the finalization of course of negotiation, to shift to course of performance of this ongoing debt obligation of the Flaherty interests to our City, with Colin McGlone, to the best of my knowledge continuing as HRA head in ongoing Flaherty debt satisfaction dealings, and with wife Emily McGlone taking a regular Flaherty paycheck of undisclosed magnitude now and into the future for an undisclosed length of time while the HRA oversees what bona fide effort is forthcoming in the future from Flaherty people, in repaying the city its millions of risk capital dollars tied up in this risk-prone adventure.
Because of the potential for mischief in arrangements such as where personal family pecuniary interests intersect official performance of duties, Minn Stat Sect 469.009 governing HRA conflicts of interest (as explained in a 1994 AGO) requires a written notice be given the public, so that things go to the court of public opinion. It is the law, to protect and foster the public's right to know and then knowing, to judge.
This statute was not complied with in our case, or I have found no evidence of HRA chairman McGlone following that clear statutory requirement regarding the McGlone family's benefit of Flaherty employment.
Because the statute demands written notice within five days of the conflict arising, had the statute been complied with and notice been duly and properly put into HRA minutes we would not have to speculate when exactly the McGlone employment negotiations started, as is now the case due to willful McGlone silence.
And where the evidence is exclusively in the possession of those not disclosing it, we citizens are entitled to reasonably presume it would be unfavorable to those withholding it.
The McGlone employment seems to have been navigated with a hope of staying under the public's radar, vs there being suitable, reasonably detailed, and prompt public disclosure. One major question is where was the genesis of employment discussion, the date of the very fist discussion and among whom, in the course of dealing in this entire complex multi-million dollar thing where apparently closing statements are still being prepared so that the employment clearly predates full resolution of the land transfer out of City ownership. In that context, a rerun,
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Wow, running in 2008, seeking the public's trust, Colin McGlone wrote, "In today's economical climate, residents have enough to worry about without adding the burden of the city's past mistakes. [...] In addition to attracting business to Ramsey, we must also look at creative ways to develop income streams. [...] We already have plenty of parking."
That was in the context of the past decision, made during boom times, that building a new City Hall in an overopulent way would "catalyze" the entirety of Town Center happening to yield us a tax base Nirvana.
In office, McGlone has played in concert with Darren Lazan of Landform, the "tune" that cramming down the Flaherty thing would "catalyze" booming possibilities of "the COR."
Deja vu? Unexpectedly so?
Then there is: creative cash flow, and already then having enough parking:
McGlone was decisive in decision making to build more parking paid for with public funds, to give it away to a developer; to give free SAC and WAC to that developer; and to get a spousal job with that developer.
That is cash flow but outward and not inward to our city. Cash flowed out on the ramp expansion and the free utilities waiver to developer Flaherty; and really not all that "creative." The key fact is a cash flow from not to the city. Plus turning the city into a land speculator and a developers' bank. Plus a spousal hiring.
If you had known back then the kind of creative cash flowing the man would play a key role in instituting, including Flaherty cash flowing to the McGlone household, would you have voted for the man? I am glad I endorsed Andre Champagne, McGlone's only opponent back then. I endorsed Ramsey and Wise then, expecting fiscal conservatism, not massive million dollar money flowing out from the City to Landform; and not the firing of staff and then issuance of lucretive contracts to outsiders (who coincidentally had Michael Jungbauer on the Landfrom payroll at the time of first insertion of the Landform foot into the City door - these politicians on payroll antics are something, aren't they).
My expectations were not met. I expected fiscal conservatives to do things differently, if being fiscal conservatives at all. There's no money now to do roadway upkeep. But there's bonding for Flaherty.
There were reserves at perhaps too high a level, (I think the level four years ago was unnecessarily high), and the reserves were spent down to purchase the distressed Town Center's remaining vacant land. The logical expectation was that the land would be held and available for a developer to approach the city and to negotiate terms and conditions to transfer the land, in bulk to such a private sector risk taker. Instead, we have three council members up for reelection now who played "fantasy developer" games because it was a kick to them I guess, or because in their judgment, it seemed the thing to do. I think that extremely bad judgment. In a punk market worse than anything since the Great Depression, these guys are married to paying ongoing regula five-figure money to Darren Lazan of Landform with what, one big sign on Highway 10 to show for it, while Jim Deal has brought the community two clinics as a private entrepreneur, and shown how savvy and experienced private sector risk takers can operate and accomplish things.
The Governor's bonding bill brought a Northstar stop, like it or love it, but do not let this pack of local politicians and their $1.18 million dollar consultant take credit for what others have done.
Darren's only scalp on the tent pole is the Flaherty deal, and that only happened with gross levels of subsidy unprecedented in our City's history; and with the city in the hole for bonded millions loaned to Flaherty which, luck being as good as possible, may be paid back.
McGlone in that campaign web screen capture promised creative cash flows, and the most creative cash flow yet seen is the Flaherty to McGlone family cash flow. Colin McGlone and nobody else but the other undisclosed folks on the Flaherty side of things were instrumental in engineering that little hummer.
So, did he perform as promised; just in a sort of unexpected way? What?
In closing, McGlone opined in 2008, "In today's economical climate, residents have enough to worry about without adding the burden of the city's past mistakes." What he should have paid attention to then, is not adding to any burden of past mistakes.
Just as the new town hall in past years was not anybody's "catalyst" as James Norman had promised during the boom years; this Flaherty thing in our depressed times will not catalyze shops and restaurants. And Flaherty's knowledge of exactly that is mirrored in the history of dealings and discussions over the meager 3000 square feet of commercial space the man did not want to include in his adventure, knowing what he knows from his experience in developing real estate of the kind he is inserting into Ramsey. Flaherty had problems moving first floor retail in his downtown Indianapolis "Cosmopolitan by the Canal" thing; and that is in a vibrant downtown climate; not some experimental thing in the hinterlands of the Twin City metro area.
The McGlones added to the burden of past mistakes. Risk to taxpayers was multiplied. The McGlones feathered their own nest. At the same time this council has thrown good money after bad in a market that was depressed when they started their wastefulness, is depressed still, and will be depressed on election day.
And all the time this council has been paying regular money to Lazan/Landform in exchange for little to nothing with the money spent on that as of our August 14 primary being equal to or in excess of:
city dollars given Lazan/Landform since August of 2009 with not one single penny of that expense predating those serving before this present council aside from Matt Look who supported the Landform expense, but left, and David Jeffrey and John Dehen, who opposed it, but left.
Consider who on our present council has voted most responsibly, since Jeffrey left and there was a special election. That is the time frame in which bonding for Flaherty was put through; and in which the McGlone employment took root; with the Flaherty adventure done as it has been not being an ongoing unanimous decision.
Back to normal size font. After reviewing the file of ongoing contract papers two things were apparent. First, the City Clerk was checking vote talley machinery for the primary and I was in the way. Second, the thing still has not closed, the lawyers and title company dancing and the lawyers' meter running, as it will. There were a bunch of extra signed but not notarized papers in the Clerk's working file, and I needed to file a follow-up data request form, hoping that CFO Lund could provide a payout history on the bonding cash proceeds to Flaherty. As I understand things title has not been transferred yet and all the Flaherty work going on is per an intervening easement. There apparently was a sense of urgency to capitalize on the remaining good construction season as well as to get the supervisory workforce in place and performing out of the project trailers. (A commonality of goals, not a conflict?)
Yet, if the paperwork is held up in escrow, getting to where the title company will cut a policy, I expect the Flaherty LLC shells' note(s) are in escrow and the David Flaherty personal guarantee too; so the question is whether the city is doling out cash without holding actual physical possession of the note(s) and guarantee.
So, you tell me, did the McGlone employment await and follow the transaction, or did it jump into being while loose ends were yet to be tied? Colin McGlone had to sign those multiple papers that required HRA signatures, signing as HRA Chair along with Ulrich as HRA staff head. EDA had to sign stuff. The mayor had to sign for the CITY.
At least our little town, Ramsey, proliferating itself into multiple personalities via HRA and EDA budded clones, has fewer "entities" than Flaherty folks, who have two LLC shells, one to take title and one to run the rental day-to-day, David himself to sign, and general and sub contractors along with Ms. McGlone as a payroll entitiy, one of several to run construction at the site.
How all that Flaherty shell stuff affects Ramsey's HRA and council decision to be the Flaherty bank of last resort will matter, if the thing goes splat. [FURTHER UPDATE - Text of notes and guarantees are not universal boiler plate, but instead there can be much weasel-wording at play. I believe that unless/until the council members sitting as HRA and as Council separately approve note and guarantee text there is no meeting of minds on both sides. A note should specifiy the full principal becomes due and owing upon any default. Late payment penalties can be specified, or not. The guarantee should waive all defenses, including pursuit of all available legal remedies against the primary obligor before asserting rights against the guarantor of the obligation. Etc., etc. And so forth. It's a thicket of ways that David Flaherty can obfuscate and delay, if his guarantee does not waive all defenses so that on a belly-up defalut/failure the city can quickly and effectively reach into David Flaherty's own deep pocket for redress. The contract is not fully final until it is final in all material details, just as Yogi Berra said that the Ring operas are not over until Brunhilde's last aria in Götterdämmerung.]
If it works, the ton of paperwork will remain stuck in some file cabinet storage area. Modern technology has reached law offices even. Bray's firm will truck out to the city the ton of paper, along with a CD of it. I have a request pending for a CD copy when the truck arrives.
Bottom line, Emily McGlone started drawing Flaherty paychecks before the entire deal was formal and final in all detail. Does that matter? Others should review the entire situation and hopefully that may happen. Meanwhile, we have a primary half a month away -
ALL READERS SHOULD VOTE -
OR EARLIER BY ABSENTEE BALLOT.