Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cloth Ousts Rio Nuevo Treasurer

Dan Eckstrom was on the Rio Nuevo board at the time various builders were paying Larry/Dan Consulting fees (one figure tossed around was $6000 / month from Garfield Traub) for "consulting." I don't have documents, but word is that many wannabee builders/developers (including GT rival Lopez) pay Larry/Dan in the hopes of securing lucrative deals. Last I heard, GT is stuffing the coffers of other local Cloth Aficionados as well. Whether Larry/Dan can deliver remains unknown now that the state has mandated a new board with members committed to transparency and integrity.

One of those the Governor specifically appointed was Alan Willenbrock, to be the board's treasurer. After comparing the projected costs for the hotel to similar projects elsewhere, Willenbrock wrote an opinion piece published in Inside Tucson Business. He showed how the current proposal has Tucson paying Garfield Traub significantly more than the costs of comparable hotels in other cities. His article concludes:

Many suggest that Rio Nuevo is where it is partly because no one has ever asked tough questions. I am here to ask some of these critical questions before we spend another $200 million.

Why is the Tucson Sheraton hotel 39 percent more expensive than the Phoenix Sheraton?

Why did Portland terminate its project in 2009 as not financially feasible despite the fact that it was at least 17 percent less expensive than Tucson's hotel?

Why should Tucson pay twice what HVS' survey says is the median cost per room?

That was August 9th. On August 11th, guess who resigned from the Rio Nuevo board?

Apparently the Rio Nuevo board can do whatever it wants so long as it builds the hotel using Garfield Traub and pays them whatever they want.

By the way, the Rio Nuevo $820,000 video will be shown at the Fox Theater on August 21. Even if I had an easy commute, watching 27 minutes of Cloth propaganda sounds about as appealing as surgery without anesthetic.


Anonymous Robish said...

Other paid consultants for Garfield Traub include:

Fred Ronstadt
Brent Davis
Michael Guymon
Rick Kaneen

8/12/2010 7:57 PM  
Anonymous Observer said...

Well, this is terrible news.

It just goes to show that the Cloth will do whatever it takes to get its way. The corruption and fraud has deep roots, and as Robish suggests with the additional names, Garfield Traub has been weaving Cloth for quite some time.

This just reinforces what x4mr, Cigar Man, Robish, and others have been saying for years. The Cloth will do what it wants to do without the slightest regard for real results, real feasibility, or any respect for the millions of taxpayer dollars they spend on themselves and each other.

They're gonna build this thing, no matter what.

8/12/2010 9:36 PM  
Blogger Cigar Man said...

Not a surprising development. Accusing people of a potential conflict of interest in this crowd is like accusing people of speeding at the Indy 500. It's a joke.

Willenbrock was against the hotel, so they got rid of him. Hecker & Co. will persist until they can get a board to do what they want.

8/13/2010 7:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is insane. Who is paying whom for what?

Robish has shown himself to be an excellent source of information, so if he says Garfield Traub is paying Fred Ronstadt, Brent Davis, Michael Guymon, and Rick Kaneen, I believe it. Who are these guys (I know Ronstadt was once a councilman) and what are they being paid for?

I have also heard they were paying either Hecker or Eckstrom or both. What for?

Doesn't information like this have to be disclosed? Isn't it illegal for these people to accept money from competing parties?!!

This town is as corrupt as a three dollar bill. Both Rio Nuevo and RTA warrant full blown criminal investigations.

Garfield Traub is paying people in this community to give them the hotel job. I want to see the list of who and how much.

8/13/2010 7:19 PM  
Anonymous Robish said...

Brent Davis was a city councilman from the east side in the 80s and is now an association manager. He manages multiple professional associations, AIA, that sort of thing.

Fred Ronstadt was the Ward 6 city councilman for eight years, before Nina Trasoff beat him. Fred was on the council during the early Rio Nuevo years, so his hands are filthy.

Michael Guymon was Fred's aide. Now he and Fred also head up their own membership associations. Guymon is the director of the Metropolitan Pima Alliance and Fred is head of a utility contractors association. Guymon is a Cloth Up-and-Comer.

Rick Kaneen owns a public relations firm that has the city and county as its primary clients.

They are all being paid to do PR and/or lobby Rio Nuevo and the city council to approve Garfield Traub's hotel.

If Garfield Traub is also paying Hecker and/or Eckstrom, it's for the same thing, to peddle their influence.

It is not a pretty picture.

8/13/2010 9:35 PM  
Anonymous Anon said...

I love the image used here. It really does capture this "cloth" concept.

I wonder how much money is spent trying to bribe people into making sure money goes a certain way.

They spend and take a fortune out doing each other to score deals.

Then when something finally at long last happens, like a solar company, TREO, Inc. has a $35,000 circle jerk to claim it is responsible for the solar industry expansion in Arizona.

I agree with the earlier Anon. Criminal investigations are warranted, and I love what Cigar Man said. Talking about conflicts of interest in this town is like talking about speeding at the Indianapolis 500.

This whole town is infested with conflicts of interest.

8/14/2010 9:34 AM  
Blogger The Navigator said...

Years ago, I thought that people becoming aware of corruption or fraud would result in the outrage and protest necessary to stamp it out and punish those responsible.

Well, as has been shown very clearly by this blog, knowing about the Cloth and its circus is a long way from doing anything about it.

Everyone knows that TREO stole money from other agencies. So what? Everyone knows that contractors paid "Larry/Dan" to get construction contracts. Eckstrom raked in a fortune with road construction paybacks, and all that work in South Tucson?

Of course GT is greasing the palms of the entire Tucson slime / Cloth parasites. That is how its done.

They are going to build this hotel no matter what. GT is probably besting the other bribers, so we know what is going to happen.

8/14/2010 12:41 PM  
Anonymous Warlock said...

Leaving aside any concerns about Cloth, what makes you believe that the new Rio Nuevo Board "members committed to transparency and integrity"?

These are people appointed by Gov. Brewer and the leadership of the GOP Legislature. Given what you've written in the past, I have a hard time believing you have faith in that gang's ability to wash windows, much less run a state or make good judgments.

Don't be surprised to discover that this group just a different shade of cloth. We still do not know what is happening behind closed doors.

Transparency? Look at how many discussions they are having in executive session.

You would be wise to withhold judgment until you learn more about the new board.

8/14/2010 8:59 PM  
Blogger x4mr said...


Your name is new to this blog. Not sure how long you've been around.

Are you really interpreting my language at this post as confidence in the new RN board and it's commitment to transparency and integrity? If so, you misunderstand. I merely repeat the intent put forward in replacing the prior board.

I lack the background to discuss those put in place. From my view, Willenbrock occurred as a sound choice given his area of expertise. It's not surprising he criticized the new hotel's numbers and projections. Sadly, it is also not surprising he was ejected at once.

Unfortunately, I think the comments here are accurate. They will pay GT not $200 M, but $300+ M (just watch) to build this thing. Then it will not only fail to generate a return on investment, but will require an ongoing taxpayer subsidy to stay afloat.

And yes, transparency is a farce.

8/14/2010 9:50 PM  

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