ROLDO: Firefighters, Police, EMS – Who Is Stealing Your Pay Raises & Pensions?

joebialek
Swing
joined:10/18/12
By Roldo Bartimole

The numbers escape us. So easily. Too easily.

Yet they are scary.

On January 15, Cuyahoga County will make a big payment to bondholders. We’re still paying for Gateway! And soon they’ll be asking us for more. They want to extend the sin tax for 20 more years!

Look how Cuyahoga County and Cleveland taxpayers have been paying bondholders beyond the sin tax. Year after year. With 10 more years to go:

YEAR PAYMENT

1992 $1,569,377

1993 $5,546,406

1994 NO PAYMENT

1995 $7,700,000

1996 $8,500,000

1997 $7,010,000

1998 $8,250,000

1999 $7,850,000

2000 $7,400,000

2001 $8,500,000

2002 $7,600,000

2003 $5,978,119

2004 $6,167,849

2005 $4,958,754

2006 $5,734,149

2007 $6,344,939

2008 $3,533,992

2009 $3,691,943

2010 $2,493,427

2011 $2,925,316

2012 $5,091,820

2013 $6,250,000

And it doesn’t end there.

PAYMENTS WILL CONTINUE EACH YEAR through 2023.

Money also comes from the city of Cleveland’s general revenue.

Where are the police, fire, EMS, teacher, sheriff unions? They can’t get raises? Why? Because general fund money that could go to them go to millionaire ballplayers and their billionaire owners. They’re being suckered. This reveals just how badly they are being suckered by yesterday and today’s politicians – Democrats and Republicans alike.

You thought we were finished. No. The above is what Cuyahoga County paid from its general fund. But it has to make up for shortages to bondholders that Gateway couldn’t and never will pay.

Now let’s see where other public money shifts to bondholders.

Here’s another little list:

From 1997 through 2011 each year Cuyahoga County had to re-pay these sums to the state: $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000 and $250,000. Yes, in total $3,750,000. General fund money.

The City of Cleveland made the exact same payments.

(And our County officers are going to build the largest hotel in Cleveland. How much will it cost the ordinary taxpayer? What will the overruns be? How many police, fire, EMS, teacher, sheriff, court workers will forgo raises to make up for the losses on a hotel built by the County? Whose pensions will be jeopardized?)

When you look at the regularity of these sport facilities payments you can see how the public and government workers get screwed. Over and over again.

The County – Democrats Tim Hagan and Mary Boyle and Republican Jim Petro – also had to pay what the Cleveland Foundation loaned to the scheme. Our generous non-profit wanted the money back. So…

1999 $650,000

2000 $650,000

2001 $650,000

2002 $147,490

Another $2,097,490 in general fund County money went down the drain.

In addition, Cuyahoga County doled out $11,500,000 to contractors for other overruns at Gateway.

I’m going to ask you as citizens and taxpayers to add up those totals.

Oh, hell, I’ll help you.

We’re not through by any means. There was a category called “excess sin taxes.” Don’t ask.

But they helped provide bondholders what they had been promised on two bond issues voted solely by Hagan, Boyle and Petro. No public input sought or wanted on this deal. We’ll do it for the big guys ourselves, they said.

From 1995 through 2006, the excess sin tax money provided the following annual payments by succeeding years: $700,000, $557,900, $475,683, $550,773, $938,788, $583,033, $503,470, $377,226, $550,560, $1,444,582, $919,666 and $1,210,051.

That’s $8.8 million.

We are not finished.

To make the full bond payments another public fund had to be raided – the bed tax. That’s money provided by visitors who stay at hotels and pay a 5.5 bed tax atop the 8 percent sales tax. It’s usually said that this money are “benefits” of giving all that money to sports teams. You get visitors. They pay taxes.

Between 2000 through 2012 (don’t have 2013), the following county bed taxes were shifted to pay for Gateway:

Here are the figures for those years in sequence: $1,000,000, $186,488, $212,180, $212,180, $212,180, $212,180, $212,180, $212,180, $218,545, $0, $3,075,403, $1,425,101, and $1,431,854. It does add up, doesn’t it?

The total here: $8,610,471.

It becomes more dramatic, doesn’t it, when you see the consistency of these payoffs to benefit some of the richest people here.

Cha-Ching! Cha-Ching! Cha-Ching! Goes the cash register.

Not enough yet to satisfy the bondholders on the $75 million and $40 million bonds let by Hagan, Boyle and Petro. In a less than one minute vote.

Where can we get more money? We need more.

So they raid the city admission tax. The admission tax, you may know, is one of the so-called benefits of spending multi-millions of dollars to provide play yards for millionaire players and their billionaire owners. Ticket buyers pay an admission tax that goes to the city. Or so they said.

Nothing is safe.

Nobody tells you this. Not the politicians. Not the newspapers. Not the I-Teams.

So here are the “secret” raids on the city of Cleveland’s admission taxes:

From 1995 through 2012 (don’t have 2013 figure) they siphoned off the following amounts of admission taxes each successive year: $18,000, $852,165, $1,153,548, $2,047,523, $1,513,059, $1,367,472, $1,517,934, $1,375,227, $1,317,934, $1,280,430, $2,128,092, $2,323,623, $3,268,777, $3,718,398, $3,550,268, $4,218,871, $4,166,481, and $2,420,524. That’s from 1995 through 2012. Out it goes.

Remember we still have to keep raiding these outside funds until 2023 when hopefully the bond holders will be totally paid off.

The raids on public funds continue. Let’s see if any parts of our so-called news media give you ANY of this information. Certainly not the sad sack the Pee Dee has become. TV news trails not really at all. Bought and paid for by the Cleveland Tomorrow corporate crowd.

You will get the propaganda from the business community for passage of the sin tax extension, provided by the bought news media.

Now there are other sources of funds simply marked “other” in the documents given me by Cuyahoga County officials. I’m not going to list them by year but that total is $21,333,047.

Before you are totally finished, please add $240,500,000 in so-called “sin taxes” paid over the first 15 years for the baseball stadium and arena. Voters, primarily in the suburbs, did vote for these taxes.

Then you can add the additional sin taxes for the 10-year extension that went primarily to partially pay for Browns Stadium. That figure now is well above $110,000,000. You know that the city just added $30 million to help the Browns add revenue-producing improvements, after having given $5.8 million.

The lease also called for the city to pay high capital fund reserves of $850,000 each year 2010 to 2020. It jumps to $5.9 million in 2021; $6.3 million in 2022; $6.7 million in 2023, $7.1 million in 2024 and $7.5 million in 2025.

Where the city will get this money suggests bankruptcy perils.

Yet the Browns want more now, years before the high capital fund contributions are called for in the sweetheart deal.

There really should be a grand jury investigation into the city lease with the Browns and the role played by Fred Nance of Squire-Sanders, also a Browns executive now.

The Plain Dealer – supposedly the principal source of information for the public here – has never even attempted to examine these essential figures. How can one assess the public cost when columnists, editorialist and news reporters hide the facts?

They take no responsibility.

Yet I will bet a fortune, if I had one, the Plain Dealer will soon be ramping up the band to sell a 20-year extension of the sin taxes. It would cost taxpayers more than $200 million judging by collections of the tax presently. Just as the PD endorsed the city’s latest $30 million aid package to the Cleveland Browns and its billionaire owner Jimmy “The Chiseler” Haslam.

Will the public unions fight for their members?

The above are historic welfare payments to the wealthy from the poverty-riddled city.

Cleveland has the chance to tell the NFL, NBA and MLB – start paying your own way. Get off the dole.

We could put Cleveland on the map by saying NO. No more do we play the suckers. Suckers don’t live here anymore. Pay your own bills.

[Photo via Kozuch]





Roldo Bartimole has been reporting since 1959. He came to Cleveland in 1965 to report for the Plain Dealer where he worked twice in the 1960s, left for the Wall Street Journal in 1967. He started publishing his newsletter Point of View in 1968 and ended it in 2000.

In 1991 he was awarded the Second Annual Joe Callaway Award for Civic Courage in Washington, D.C. He received the Distinguished Service Award of the Society of Professional Journalists, Cleveland chapter, in 2002, and was named to the Cleveland Journalism Hall of Fame, 2004. [Photo by Todd Bartimole.]



























































































































































































































































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ROLDO: Firefighters, Police, EMS – Who Is Stealing Your Pay Raises & Pensions?






By Roldo Bartimole

The numbers escape us. So easily. Too easily.

Yet they are scary.

On January 15, Cuyahoga County will make a big payment to bondholders. We’re still paying for Gateway! And soon they’ll be asking us for more. They want to extend the sin tax for 20 more years!

Look how Cuyahoga County and Cleveland taxpayers have been paying bondholders beyond the sin tax. Year after year. With 10 more years to go:

YEAR PAYMENT

1992 $1,569,377

1993 $5,546,406

1994 NO PAYMENT

1995 $7,700,000

1996 $8,500,000

1997 $7,010,000

1998 $8,250,000

1999 $7,850,000

2000 $7,400,000

2001 $8,500,000

2002 $7,600,000

2003 $5,978,119

2004 $6,167,849

2005 $4,958,754

2006 $5,734,149

2007 $6,344,939

2008 $3,533,992

2009 $3,691,943

2010 $2,493,427

2011 $2,925,316

2012 $5,091,820

2013 $6,250,000

And it doesn’t end there.

PAYMENTS WILL CONTINUE EACH YEAR through 2023.

Money also comes from the city of Cleveland’s general revenue.

Where are the police, fire, EMS, teacher, sheriff unions? They can’t get raises? Why? Because general fund money that could go to them go to millionaire ballplayers and their billionaire owners. They’re being suckered. This reveals just how badly they are being suckered by yesterday and today’s politicians – Democrats and Republicans alike.

You thought we were finished. No. The above is what Cuyahoga County paid from its general fund. But it has to make up for shortages to bondholders that Gateway couldn’t and never will pay.

Now let’s see where other public money shifts to bondholders.

Here’s another little list:

From 1997 through 2011 each year Cuyahoga County had to re-pay these sums to the state: $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000 and $250,000. Yes, in total $3,750,000. General fund money.

The City of Cleveland made the exact same payments.

(And our County officers are going to build the largest hotel in Cleveland. How much will it cost the ordinary taxpayer? What will the overruns be? How many police, fire, EMS, teacher, sheriff, court workers will forgo raises to make up for the losses on a hotel built by the County? Whose pensions will be jeopardized?)

When you look at the regularity of these sport facilities payments you can see how the public and government workers get screwed. Over and over again.

The County – Democrats Tim Hagan and Mary Boyle and Republican Jim Petro – also had to pay what the Cleveland Foundation loaned to the scheme. Our generous non-profit wanted the money back. So…

1999 $650,000

2000 $650,000

2001 $650,000

2002 $147,490

Another $2,097,490 in general fund County money went down the drain.

In addition, Cuyahoga County doled out $11,500,000 to contractors for other overruns at Gateway.

I’m going to ask you as citizens and taxpayers to add up those totals.

Oh, hell, I’ll help you.

We’re not through by any means. There was a category called “excess sin taxes.” Don’t ask.

But they helped provide bondholders what they had been promised on two bond issues voted solely by Hagan, Boyle and Petro. No public input sought or wanted on this deal. We’ll do it for the big guys ourselves, they said.

From 1995 through 2006, the excess sin tax money provided the following annual payments by succeeding years: $700,000, $557,900, $475,683, $550,773, $938,788, $583,033, $503,470, $377,226, $550,560, $1,444,582, $919,666 and $1,210,051.

That’s $8.8 million.

We are not finished.

To make the full bond payments another public fund had to be raided – the bed tax. That’s money provided by visitors who stay at hotels and pay a 5.5 bed tax atop the 8 percent sales tax. It’s usually said that this money are “benefits” of giving all that money to sports teams. You get visitors. They pay taxes.

Between 2000 through 2012 (don’t have 2013), the following county bed taxes were shifted to pay for Gateway:

Here are the figures for those years in sequence: $1,000,000, $186,488, $212,180, $212,180, $212,180, $212,180, $212,180, $212,180, $218,545, $0, $3,075,403, $1,425,101, and $1,431,854. It does add up, doesn’t it?

The total here: $8,610,471.

It becomes more dramatic, doesn’t it, when you see the consistency of these payoffs to benefit some of the richest people here.

Cha-Ching! Cha-Ching! Cha-Ching! Goes the cash register.

Not enough yet to satisfy the bondholders on the $75 million and $40 million bonds let by Hagan, Boyle and Petro. In a less than one minute vote.

Where can we get more money? We need more.

So they raid the city admission tax. The admission tax, you may know, is one of the so-called benefits of spending multi-millions of dollars to provide play yards for millionaire players and their billionaire owners. Ticket buyers pay an admission tax that goes to the city. Or so they said.

Nothing is safe.

Nobody tells you this. Not the politicians. Not the newspapers. Not the I-Teams.

So here are the “secret” raids on the city of Cleveland’s admission taxes:

From 1995 through 2012 (don’t have 2013 figure) they siphoned off the following amounts of admission taxes each successive year: $18,000, $852,165, $1,153,548, $2,047,523, $1,513,059, $1,367,472, $1,517,934, $1,375,227, $1,317,934, $1,280,430, $2,128,092, $2,323,623, $3,268,777, $3,718,398, $3,550,268, $4,218,871, $4,166,481, and $2,420,524. That’s from 1995 through 2012. Out it goes.

Remember we still have to keep raiding these outside funds until 2023 when hopefully the bond holders will be totally paid off.

The raids on public funds continue. Let’s see if any parts of our so-called news media give you ANY of this information. Certainly not the sad sack the Pee Dee has become. TV news trails not really at all. Bought and paid for by the Cleveland Tomorrow corporate crowd.

You will get the propaganda from the business community for passage of the sin tax extension, provided by the bought news media.

Now there are other sources of funds simply marked “other” in the documents given me by Cuyahoga County officials. I’m not going to list them by year but that total is $21,333,047.

Before you are totally finished, please add $240,500,000 in so-called “sin taxes” paid over the first 15 years for the baseball stadium and arena. Voters, primarily in the suburbs, did vote for these taxes.

Then you can add the additional sin taxes for the 10-year extension that went primarily to partially pay for Browns Stadium. That figure now is well above $110,000,000. You know that the city just added $30 million to help the Browns add revenue-producing improvements, after having given $5.8 million.

The lease also called for the city to pay high capital fund reserves of $850,000 each year 2010 to 2020. It jumps to $5.9 million in 2021; $6.3 million in 2022; $6.7 million in 2023, $7.1 million in 2024 and $7.5 million in 2025.

Where the city will get this money suggests bankruptcy perils.

Yet the Browns want more now, years before the high capital fund contributions are called for in the sweetheart deal.

There really should be a grand jury investigation into the city lease with the Browns and the role played by Fred Nance of Squire-Sanders, also a Browns executive now.

The Plain Dealer – supposedly the principal source of information for the public here – has never even attempted to examine these essential figures. How can one assess the public cost when columnists, editorialist and news reporters hide the facts?

They take no responsibility.

Yet I will bet a fortune, if I had one, the Plain Dealer will soon be ramping up the band to sell a 20-year extension of the sin taxes. It would cost taxpayers more than $200 million judging by collections of the tax presently. Just as the PD endorsed the city’s latest $30 million aid package to the Cleveland Browns and its billionaire owner Jimmy “The Chiseler” Haslam.

Will the public unions fight for their members?

The above are historic welfare payments to the wealthy from the poverty-riddled city.

Cleveland has the chance to tell the NFL, NBA and MLB – start paying your own way. Get off the dole.

We could put Cleveland on the map by saying NO. No more do we play the suckers. Suckers don’t live here anymore. Pay your own bills.

[Photo via Kozuch]





Roldo Bartimole has been reporting since 1959. He came to Cleveland in 1965 to report for the Plain Dealer where he worked twice in the 1960s, left for the Wall Street Journal in 1967. He started publishing his newsletter Point of View in 1968 and ended it in 2000.

In 1991 he was awarded the Second Annual Joe Callaway Award for Civic Courage in Washington, D.C. He received the Distinguished Service Award of the Society of Professional Journalists, Cleveland chapter, in 2002, and was named to the Cleveland Journalism Hall of Fame, 2004. [Photo by Todd Bartimole.]







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This entry was posted on Monday, December 30th, 2013 at 6:47 pm and is filed under Civic Affairs, Commentary, Entrepreneurialism, News, Politics, Roldo Bartimole, Sport. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.



5 Responses to “ROLDO: Firefighters, Police, EMS – Who Is Stealing Your Pay Raises & Pensions?”





mark says:

January 1, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Excellent article; sad finances.





Snarky says:

January 1, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Thank you Roldo.

I asked you for these figures six odd weeks ago , and you delivered like a champ.

Now if only the inner chump of the downtown Cleveland tomorrow gang would spit out the c
Koolaid ain’t embrace the notion that Cleveland is on a path to become Detroit Junior.





Roldo Bartimole says:

January 1, 2014 at 4:28 pm

Of course, Snarky you know this isn’t the WHOLE, WHOLE story
because you can’t get it all for obvious reasons. I didn’t mention,
though I have before, that these guys don’t pay their taxes to
the city, where they are located. That’s millions and millions of
dollars more that they benefit from.

The news people, however, are too busy these days, as in the past,
talking about the Browns, as if they mattered to most of us.





Allen Freeman says:

January 2, 2014 at 9:48 am

Keep pounding on this Roldo!

People need to see it and hear it over and over before the sin tax extension vote, an initiative that common sense says needs to go down in flames with resounding ‘no’ numbers.

This political/personal financial collusion is no different than the thefts made by Demora and Russo.

Will our city prosecutor step up? The mayor? Any of the other high-rhetoric Dems in town?





Roldo Bartimole says:

January 2, 2014 at 11:56 am

Thanks Allen. We know this legal corruption is much more
costly than the political pikers looking to fill their pockets
with petty bribery. Don’t expect much from prosecutors
or compliant news media.








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© 2014 Cool Networks LLC
By Roldo Bartimole

The numbers escape us. So easily. Too easily.

Yet they are scary.

On January 15, Cuyahoga County will make a big payment to bondholders. We’re still paying for Gateway! And soon they’ll be asking us for more. They want to extend the sin tax for 20 more years!

Look how Cuyahoga County and Cleveland taxpayers have been paying bondholders beyond the sin tax. Year after year. With 10 more years to go:

YEAR PAYMENT

1992 $1,569,377

1993 $5,546,406

1994 NO PAYMENT

1995 $7,700,000

1996 $8,500,000

1997 $7,010,000

1998 $8,250,000

1999 $7,850,000

2000 $7,400,000

2001 $8,500,000

2002 $7,600,000

2003 $5,978,119

2004 $6,167,849

2005 $4,958,754

2006 $5,734,149

2007 $6,344,939

2008 $3,533,992

2009 $3,691,943

2010 $2,493,427

2011 $2,925,316

2012 $5,091,820

2013 $6,250,000

And it doesn’t end there.

PAYMENTS WILL CONTINUE EACH YEAR through 2023.

Money also comes from the city of Cleveland’s general revenue.

Where are the police, fire, EMS, teacher, sheriff unions? They can’t get raises? Why? Because general fund money that could go to them go to millionaire ballplayers and their billionaire owners. They’re being suckered. This reveals just how badly they are being suckered by yesterday and today’s politicians – Democrats and Republicans alike.

You thought we were finished. No. The above is what Cuyahoga County paid from its general fund. But it has to make up for shortages to bondholders that Gateway couldn’t and never will pay.

Now let’s see where other public money shifts to bondholders.

Here’s another little list:

From 1997 through 2011 each year Cuyahoga County had to re-pay these sums to the state: $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000 and $250,000. Yes, in total $3,750,000. General fund money.

The City of Cleveland made the exact same payments.

(And our County officers are going to build the largest hotel in Cleveland. How much will it cost the ordinary taxpayer? What will the overruns be? How many police, fire, EMS, teacher, sheriff, court workers will forgo raises to make up for the losses on a hotel built by the County? Whose pensions will be jeopardized?)

When you look at the regularity of these sport facilities payments you can see how the public and government workers get screwed. Over and over again.

The County – Democrats Tim Hagan and Mary Boyle and Republican Jim Petro – also had to pay what the Cleveland Foundation loaned to the scheme. Our generous non-profit wanted the money back. So…

1999 $650,000

2000 $650,000

2001 $650,000

2002 $147,490

Another $2,097,490 in general fund County money went down the drain.

In addition, Cuyahoga County doled out $11,500,000 to contractors for other overruns at Gateway.

I’m going to ask you as citizens and taxpayers to add up those totals.

Oh, hell, I’ll help you.

We’re not through by any means. There was a category called “excess sin taxes.” Don’t ask.

But they helped provide bondholders what they had been promised on two bond issues voted solely by Hagan, Boyle and Petro. No public input sought or wanted on this deal. We’ll do it for the big guys ourselves, they said.

From 1995 through 2006, the excess sin tax money provided the following annual payments by succeeding years: $700,000, $557,900, $475,683, $550,773, $938,788, $583,033, $503,470, $377,226, $550,560, $1,444,582, $919,666 and $1,210,051.

That’s $8.8 million.

We are not finished.

To make the full bond payments another public fund had to be raided – the bed tax. That’s money provided by visitors who stay at hotels and pay a 5.5 bed tax atop the 8 percent sales tax. It’s usually said that this money are “benefits” of giving all that money to sports teams. You get visitors. They pay taxes.

Between 2000 through 2012 (don’t have 2013), the following county bed taxes were shifted to pay for Gateway:

Here are the figures for those years in sequence: $1,000,000, $186,488, $212,180, $212,180, $212,180, $212,180, $212,180, $212,180, $218,545, $0, $3,075,403, $1,425,101, and $1,431,854. It does add up, doesn’t it?

The total here: $8,610,471.

It becomes more dramatic, doesn’t it, when you see the consistency of these payoffs to benefit some of the richest people here.

Cha-Ching! Cha-Ching! Cha-Ching! Goes the cash register.

Not enough yet to satisfy the bondholders on the $75 million and $40 million bonds let by Hagan, Boyle and Petro. In a less than one minute vote.

Where can we get more money? We need more.

So they raid the city admission tax. The admission tax, you may know, is one of the so-called benefits of spending multi-millions of dollars to provide play yards for millionaire players and their billionaire owners. Ticket buyers pay an admission tax that goes to the city. Or so they said.

Nothing is safe.

Nobody tells you this. Not the politicians. Not the newspapers. Not the I-Teams.

So here are the “secret” raids on the city of Cleveland’s admission taxes:

From 1995 through 2012 (don’t have 2013 figure) they siphoned off the following amounts of admission taxes each successive year: $18,000, $852,165, $1,153,548, $2,047,523, $1,513,059, $1,367,472, $1,517,934, $1,375,227, $1,317,934, $1,280,430, $2,128,092, $2,323,623, $3,268,777, $3,718,398, $3,550,268, $4,218,871, $4,166,481, and $2,420,524. That’s from 1995 through 2012. Out it goes.

Remember we still have to keep raiding these outside funds until 2023 when hopefully the bond holders will be totally paid off.

The raids on public funds continue. Let’s see if any parts of our so-called news media give you ANY of this information. Certainly not the sad sack the Pee Dee has become. TV news trails not really at all. Bought and paid for by the Cleveland Tomorrow corporate crowd.

You will get the propaganda from the business community for passage of the sin tax extension, provided by the bought news media.

Now there are other sources of funds simply marked “other” in the documents given me by Cuyahoga County officials. I’m not going to list them by year but that total is $21,333,047.

Before you are totally finished, please add $240,500,000 in so-called “sin taxes” paid over the first 15 years for the baseball stadium and arena. Voters, primarily in the suburbs, did vote for these taxes.

Then you can add the additional sin taxes for the 10-year extension that went primarily to partially pay for Browns Stadium. That figure now is well above $110,000,000. You know that the city just added $30 million to help the Browns add revenue-producing improvements, after having given $5.8 million.

The lease also called for the city to pay high capital fund reserves of $850,000 each year 2010 to 2020. It jumps to $5.9 million in 2021; $6.3 million in 2022; $6.7 million in 2023, $7.1 million in 2024 and $7.5 million in 2025.

Where the city will get this money suggests bankruptcy perils.

Yet the Browns want more now, years before the high capital fund contributions are called for in the sweetheart deal.

There really should be a grand jury investigation into the city lease with the Browns and the role played by Fred Nance of Squire-Sanders, also a Browns executive now.

The Plain Dealer – supposedly the principal source of information for the public here – has never even attempted to examine these essential figures. How can one assess the public cost when columnists, editorialist and news reporters hide the facts?

They take no responsibility.

Yet I will bet a fortune, if I had one, the Plain Dealer will soon be ramping up the band to sell a 20-year extension of the sin taxes. It would cost taxpayers more than $200 million judging by collections of the tax presently. Just as the PD endorsed the city’s latest $30 million aid package to the Cleveland Browns and its billionaire owner Jimmy “The Chiseler” Haslam.

Will the public unions fight for their members?

The above are historic welfare payments to the wealthy from the poverty-riddled city.

Cleveland has the chance to tell the NFL, NBA and MLB – start paying your own way. Get off the dole.

We could put Cleveland on the map by saying NO. No more do we play the suckers. Suckers don’t live here anymore. Pay your own bills.

[Photo via Kozuch]





Roldo Bartimole has been reporting since 1959. He came to Cleveland in 1965 to report for the Plain Dealer where he worked twice in the 1960s, left for the Wall Street Journal in 1967. He started publishing his newsletter Point of View in 1968 and ended it in 2000.

In 1991 he was awarded the Second Annual Joe Callaway Award for Civic Courage in Washington, D.C. He received the Distinguished Service Award of the Society of Professional Journalists, Cleveland chapter, in 2002, and was named to the Cleveland Journalism Hall of Fame, 2004. [Photo by Todd Bartimole.]































































































































































































































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« DURSTIN: 2014 Predictions for the Browns, Kucinich, the Skywalk & More

KIDS: Play & Learn @LakewoodLibrary’s Lego League »



ROLDO: Firefighters, Police, EMS – Who Is Stealing Your Pay Raises & Pensions?






By Roldo Bartimole

The numbers escape us. So easily. Too easily.

Yet they are scary.

On January 15, Cuyahoga County will make a big payment to bondholders. We’re still paying for Gateway! And soon they’ll be asking us for more. They want to extend the sin tax for 20 more years!

Look how Cuyahoga County and Cleveland taxpayers have been paying bondholders beyond the sin tax. Year after year. With 10 more years to go:

YEAR PAYMENT

1992 $1,569,377

1993 $5,546,406

1994 NO PAYMENT

1995 $7,700,000

1996 $8,500,000

1997 $7,010,000

1998 $8,250,000

1999 $7,850,000

2000 $7,400,000

2001 $8,500,000

2002 $7,600,000

2003 $5,978,119

2004 $6,167,849

2005 $4,958,754

2006 $5,734,149

2007 $6,344,939

2008 $3,533,992

2009 $3,691,943

2010 $2,493,427

2011 $2,925,316

2012 $5,091,820

2013 $6,250,000

And it doesn’t end there.

PAYMENTS WILL CONTINUE EACH YEAR through 2023.

Money also comes from the city of Cleveland’s general revenue.

Where are the police, fire, EMS, teacher, sheriff unions? They can’t get raises? Why? Because general fund money that could go to them go to millionaire ballplayers and their billionaire owners. They’re being suckered. This reveals just how badly they are being suckered by yesterday and today’s politicians – Democrats and Republicans alike.

You thought we were finished. No. The above is what Cuyahoga County paid from its general fund. But it has to make up for shortages to bondholders that Gateway couldn’t and never will pay.

Now let’s see where other public money shifts to bondholders.

Here’s another little list:

From 1997 through 2011 each year Cuyahoga County had to re-pay these sums to the state: $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000, $250,000 and $250,000. Yes, in total $3,750,000. General fund money.

The City of Cleveland made the exact same payments.

(And our County officers are going to build the largest hotel in Cleveland. How much will it cost the ordinary taxpayer? What will the overruns be? How many police, fire, EMS, teacher, sheriff, court workers will forgo raises to make up for the losses on a hotel built by the County? Whose pensions will be jeopardized?)

When you look at the regularity of these sport facilities payments you can see how the public and government workers get screwed. Over and over again.

The County – Democrats Tim Hagan and Mary Boyle and Republican Jim Petro – also had to pay what the Cleveland Foundation loaned to the scheme. Our generous non-profit wanted the money back. So…

1999 $650,000

2000 $650,000

2001 $650,000

2002 $147,490

Another $2,097,490 in general fund County money went down the drain.

In addition, Cuyahoga County doled out $11,500,000 to contractors for other overruns at Gateway.

I’m going to ask you as citizens and taxpayers to add up those totals.

Oh, hell, I’ll help you.

We’re not through by any means. There was a category called “excess sin taxes.” Don’t ask.

But they helped provide bondholders what they had been promised on two bond issues voted solely by Hagan, Boyle and Petro. No public input sought or wanted on this deal. We’ll do it for the big guys ourselves, they said.

From 1995 through 2006, the excess sin tax money provided the following annual payments by succeeding years: $700,000, $557,900, $475,683, $550,773, $938,788, $583,033, $503,470, $377,226, $550,560, $1,444,582, $919,666 and $1,210,051.

That’s $8.8 million.

We are not finished.

To make the full bond payments another public fund had to be raided – the bed tax. That’s money provided by visitors who stay at hotels and pay a 5.5 bed tax atop the 8 percent sales tax. It’s usually said that this money are “benefits” of giving all that money to sports teams. You get visitors. They pay taxes.

Between 2000 through 2012 (don’t have 2013), the following county bed taxes were shifted to pay for Gateway:

Here are the figures for those years in sequence: $1,000,000, $186,488, $212,180, $212,180, $212,180, $212,180, $212,180, $212,180, $218,545, $0, $3,075,403, $1,425,101, and $1,431,854. It does add up, doesn’t it?

The total here: $8,610,471.

It becomes more dramatic, doesn’t it, when you see the consistency of these payoffs to benefit some of the richest people here.

Cha-Ching! Cha-Ching! Cha-Ching! Goes the cash register.

Not enough yet to satisfy the bondholders on the $75 million and $40 million bonds let by Hagan, Boyle and Petro. In a less than one minute vote.

Where can we get more money? We need more.

So they raid the city admission tax. The admission tax, you may know, is one of the so-called benefits of spending multi-millions of dollars to provide play yards for millionaire players and their billionaire owners. Ticket buyers pay an admission tax that goes to the city. Or so they said.

Nothing is safe.

Nobody tells you this. Not the politicians. Not the newspapers. Not the I-Teams.

So here are the “secret” raids on the city of Cleveland’s admission taxes:

From 1995 through 2012 (don’t have 2013 figure) they siphoned off the following amounts of admission taxes each successive year: $18,000, $852,165, $1,153,548, $2,047,523, $1,513,059, $1,367,472, $1,517,934, $1,375,227, $1,317,934, $1,280,430, $2,128,092, $2,323,623, $3,268,777, $3,718,398, $3,550,268, $4,218,871, $4,166,481, and $2,420,524. That’s from 1995 through 2012. Out it goes.

Remember we still have to keep raiding these outside funds until 2023 when hopefully the bond holders will be totally paid off.

The raids on public funds continue. Let’s see if any parts of our so-called news media give you ANY of this information. Certainly not the sad sack the Pee Dee has become. TV news trails not really at all. Bought and paid for by the Cleveland Tomorrow corporate crowd.

You will get the propaganda from the business community for passage of the sin tax extension, provided by the bought news media.

Now there are other sources of funds simply marked “other” in the documents given me by Cuyahoga County officials. I’m not going to list them by year but that total is $21,333,047.

Before you are totally finished, please add $240,500,000 in so-called “sin taxes” paid over the first 15 years for the baseball stadium and arena. Voters, primarily in the suburbs, did vote for these taxes.

Then you can add the additional sin taxes for the 10-year extension that went primarily to partially pay for Browns Stadium. That figure now is well above $110,000,000. You know that the city just added $30 million to help the Browns add revenue-producing improvements, after having given $5.8 million.

The lease also called for the city to pay high capital fund reserves of $850,000 each year 2010 to 2020. It jumps to $5.9 million in 2021; $6.3 million in 2022; $6.7 million in 2023, $7.1 million in 2024 and $7.5 million in 2025.

Where the city will get this money suggests bankruptcy perils.

Yet the Browns want more now, years before the high capital fund contributions are called for in the sweetheart deal.

There really should be a grand jury investigation into the city lease with the Browns and the role played by Fred Nance of Squire-Sanders, also a Browns executive now.

The Plain Dealer – supposedly the principal source of information for the public here – has never even attempted to examine these essential figures. How can one assess the public cost when columnists, editorialist and news reporters hide the facts?

They take no responsibility.

Yet I will bet a fortune, if I had one, the Plain Dealer will soon be ramping up the band to sell a 20-year extension of the sin taxes. It would cost taxpayers more than $200 million judging by collections of the tax presently. Just as the PD endorsed the city’s latest $30 million aid package to the Cleveland Browns and its billionaire owner Jimmy “The Chiseler” Haslam.

Will the public unions fight for their members?

The above are historic welfare payments to the wealthy from the poverty-riddled city.

Cleveland has the chance to tell the NFL, NBA and MLB – start paying your own way. Get off the dole.

We could put Cleveland on the map by saying NO. No more do we play the suckers. Suckers don’t live here anymore. Pay your own bills.

[Photo via Kozuch]





Roldo Bartimole has been reporting since 1959. He came to Cleveland in 1965 to report for the Plain Dealer where he worked twice in the 1960s, left for the Wall Street Journal in 1967. He started publishing his newsletter Point of View in 1968 and ended it in 2000.

In 1991 he was awarded the Second Annual Joe Callaway Award for Civic Courage in Washington, D.C. He received the Distinguished Service Award of the Society of Professional Journalists, Cleveland chapter, in 2002, and was named to the Cleveland Journalism Hall of Fame, 2004. [Photo by Todd Bartimole.]



 
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