Friday, July 03, 2009

DTP Likely to Score TIF Trough

Downtown Tucson Partnership’s Clothmeister Glen Lyons has been conniving to get his organization a hefty slice of the TIF kitty for months. The $Kaching! occurs when the corruption lands him a sweet contract to "manage" Rio Nuevo. I speculated in Conniving Cloth last April that some acronym was gunning for the TIF trough. It’s just too much money to resist. A few weeks later at Conniving Cloth II it was clear that the DTP was indeed the front runner in obtaining a most lucrative gig, probably multiple millions per year, to make a few presentations and attend some meetings.

Not long after city manager Mike Hein’s departure and the announcement of Shelko’s ouster from Rio Nuevo, the city dispatched Jaret Barr and Fran Lasala to the DTP, each drawing about $100K salaries although, as in most cloth gigs, they actually don’t have any responsibilities. Lasala is just running out the clock, now within a few years of retirement, or perhaps as is often the case with these characters, the double dipping scam where they retire at almost full salary, but then take back their job and essentially make double pay. Kendall Bert raked in a fortune doing this with TREO.

Framer and the tea party group including Rep. Frank Antenori, the only elected official who appears to see the Cloth for what it is, confronted the Rio Nuevo board when it tried to have a closed door session to give the TIF trough to the DTP, causing the cancellation of the session. Perhaps they have only delayed the inevitable. Trying to keep the Cloth off TIF money is like trying to keep stink off a turd, and sure enough, today Andrea Kelly has a article in the Star telling us about city manager Letcher’s plan for a "new team" that will run Rio Nuevo. Who is the new team?

The Downtown Tucson Partnership, of course. The piece concludes with the sentence: The council is tentatively set to review the contract with the partnership in August.



Anonymous Scarlett Letter said...

The Star has this promo today on the Tucson metro news page:

Coming Sunday
Learn more about the Downtown Tucson Parternship.

Should be riveting reading.

7/03/2009 9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can't keep the swine away from the truffles. Lyons has been salivating over the TIF faucet ever since he got here.

O'Dell has been working on a DTP article for awhile, so Sunday must be it. It will be interesting to see what the Star allows him to publish. I wonder what BS Lyons will come up with if asked to name any results produced with all the money he burns.

I doubt the cronyism will make it past the filter.

7/03/2009 11:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will the state still try to put a TIF over-sight board in place? If so, how will this affect this new plan to have DTP in charge?

7/03/2009 12:42 PM  
Anonymous Observer said...

I don't know what they can do about it, but this is likely to infuriate Antenori and Paton, not to mention some of the reps in Phoenix that pay attention to Rio Nuevo. If Lyons has his way, he will be the oversight board. Nice, huh?

The cloth will no doubt heap praise on Lyons and broadcast all sorts of cloth speak about "world class" and "public/private partnership" and a "working model for progress" and so on.

Why limit the cash disbursement to DTP? Maybe they should hire TREO as well to be a Rio Nuevo consultant. TREO could take a few million and then pay consultants $500 grand or so to conduct studies on downtown economic development in other cities.

Once DTP is in charge, it can insure that the developers who want to play will write fat checks to Hecker, Eckstrom, and the rest.

7/03/2009 1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anon2 said...

You have to make the distinction x4mr between official TIF money and money the city draws from another source. If Lyons and the pushovers that serve him are so arrogant and greedy that DTP gorges directly on TIF money (as you tend to imply), Phoenix will go primeval. In their arrogance, I don't think the cloth realize how fragile the TIF really is.

What Nina CAN do is take other city money by cutting city services or additional layoffs of city workers to get more money for Lyons.

Of course, they could play some game where TIF money goes to builders or other contractors, and those contractors pay DTP (and Hecker and Eckstrom and ..)as consultants.

NO WAY TIF goes straight to DTP. The crony "$KaChing!" has to work another way.

7/03/2009 6:25 PM  
Anonymous Robish said...

Anon2 is right about the TIF. The bill that will eventually get signed by the governor prohibits the use of TIF money for salaries.

The City of Tucson actually stopped paying Greg Shelko and his staff from the Rio Nuevo fund a couple years ago to conserve TIF, and started charging his $125K and whatever they paid his secretary to the city directly. One might argue that charging the city for Rio Nuevo's expenses is a disservice to the taxpayers of the city, and that it is simply hiding the true cost of Rio Nuevo.

The city has already found other ways to pay Lyons, and has been looking high and low for other sources to steer the DTP's way. They gave DTP a management contract for ParkWise without an RFP, awarding that just a couple weeks ago. Free staff is another example.

Also, they have given DTP management fees for specific projects, like the facade program and the sale of the MacArthur Building to Madden Media.

7/03/2009 6:46 PM  
Anonymous Thomas said...

Let me add to Robish and Anon2 that there is no way Lyons can directly access TIF monies. That would not only be illegal, but it would give those in Phoenix (actually, Tucson too (Paton, Antenori, Melvin)) a slam dunk green light to sweep the funds and terminate RN.

I'd like to see the evidence supporting the assertion that the DTP will improve RN progress. Is there anything, anything at all, that suggests the DTP has any capability? Is there an example of something it has accomplished? The last thing Rio Nuevo needs is another "Clothmeister."

7/03/2009 8:29 PM  
Anonymous Robish said...

Trasoff and Hecker brought Glenn Lyons in from Calgary last year, assuming that he knew what he was doing in the development arena. He's got 30 years of experience in the field, they say, so hopefully he is capable.

The problem is that no matter how competent Lyons is technically, he must still answer to Trasoff and Hecker and Lynn, and whoever else Hecker and Lynn answer to.

Since most of the funding or access to funding comes from the City of Tucson, the Downtown Tucson Partnership will never truly be "private", or even close to being "independent".

It is basically a department of the city government, but without the restrictions of open meeting laws, procurement laws, and such the like.

A perfect arrangement for Trasoff and Hein, and now Letcher.

7/03/2009 9:19 PM  
Anonymous Another Anon said...

O'Dell's Sunday story is weak, weak, weak.

Obviously the publisher intervened.

7/05/2009 7:49 AM  
Anonymous Anon4 said...

John Humenik, the publisher and editor of the Arizona Daily Star, sits on the Downtown Tucson Partnership Board of Directors.

There you go.

7/05/2009 8:16 AM  
Blogger Liza said...

I guess you can write off the Arizona Daily Star as a channel for the dissemination of truth, at least as far as the DTP is concerned.

7/05/2009 1:57 PM  
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7/17/2009 11:57 PM  

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