Thursday, February 15, 2007

Mayor Frank Jackson's Betrayal of Trust

Plain Dealer columnist Sam Fulwood, continues to dig into Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson's broken promises & betrayal of trust regarding the development of the "Forgotten Triangle" area around E.80th & Kinsman.

Mayor Jackson claims he remembers nothing about bringing developer, Todd Davis of Kinbess LLC, to block club meetings with promises of new jobs and to talk about the new Industrial/Office Park with four industrial flex/space buildings totaling 352,000 square feet they had planned for this area.

In a Sept. 2001 article, " Putting The Forgotten Triangle Back On The Map" in, Properties Magazine, Davis credits a proactive city economic development team led by Director Chris Warren, Councilman Frank Jackson and of course Mayor Mike White for making this difficult project possible. He talks about revitalizing the area and the creation of jobs to stop urban sprawl.

Did Jackson play on the emotions of longtime residents who watched the neighborhood deteriorate and were looking for anything positive to rebuild the neighborhood?

Mary Nelson a long time resident, who Jackson invited to the ground breaking, tells Fulwood -

"This was a big deal," Nelson said, recalling her glee at sitting in meetings with the developers and architects. "We had been meeting and planning this with the developers for a long time before the groundbreaking."

The men that Jackson brought to community meetings and introduced to Nelson were smooth talkers and slick salesmen.

"They showed us pictures of what they wanted to do," Nelson said. They promised to restore the long-faded luster to the community. But most of all, they pledged to bring jobs back.

I told the developer I'd like to see Kinsman come back in my lifetime, and he promised me that the jobs he would create would do it."

With the City of Cleveland's help, Davis received $4.7 million in public money to clean up the 25 acres. Then instead of keeping his promise of creating an industrial park and creating 100 new jobs, he decided to sell the property to Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority for $4.2 million dollars.

Mayor Jackson also forgot about the sale of the developed property to CMHA, even though he was co-sponsor on the legislation approving the sale. Jackson, who was then council president, claims he was to busy campaigning for mayor at the time to remember.

The 25 acres was purchased by Davis for $350,000, who in turn after developing the property with taxpayer money, sold it to CMHA for $150,000 per acre.

Remembering we are in Cuyahoga County and ass backwards is the norm, I ask did CMHA get an appraisal of the land before they purchased it? NOPE!

Three months after the purchase, CMHA Executive Director George Phillips, had an appraisal done on the property, which he immediately dismissed as inaccurate. The appraisal showed the property to only be worth $46,000 per acre - oops!

In October of 2006, Sen. George Voinovich, wrote letters to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development asking for an investigation into the possible misuse of federal dollars.

In an editorial at this time, The Plain Dealer requested, U.S. District Attorney Greg White and Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason, to also look into the possibility of criminal wrongdoing.

So far - Nothing!

All Mary Nelson got was broken promises and no answers. She hasn't asked the mayor why he betrayed her trust, because she feels he's to busy doing mayor stuff.

Let's see how long this takes. Any bets?


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