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Leitch banking on short memories for dual fleecing

According to Monday’s “Word on the Street” column, State Rep. David Leitch wants to “consider financial relief” for investors in the downtown ballpark. In case you don’t remember, the City of Peoria contributed a little over $3.5 million towards this project (mostly in land acquisition), plus a TIF district.

“Leitch said he would like to see some public relief the investors spent on relocating AT&T fiber optic lines, which he believes cost the group more than $1 million,” according to the article. “They [ballpark investors] got stuck with expenses in that project I don’t think were legitimately theirs,” Leitch said.

But wait! According to a December 5, 2001, Journal Star article by Jennifer Davis, “the city has spent $700,000 more than it expected – $1.7 million instead of the $1 million estimated – to move underground Ameritech fiber-optic lines in the stadium’s way.”

So, does Rep. Leitch not know this? Or does he want the taxpayers to pay for this expense twice now?

I can find no record of ballpark investors paying the City back for that $1.7 million. But let’s suppose they did, just for the sake of argument. So what? Why would such a scenario be “unfair”? The City paid $2.2 million for Eagle Cleaners to make way for the stadium, and a total of $3,525,175 in direct city assistance. Talk about someone getting stuck with expenses that weren’t legitimately theirs–what about the taxpayers, Rep. Leitch?

24 comments to Leitch banking on short memories for dual fleecing

  • checking for details

    Remember that ball park just got it’s taxes lowered because they were not making what they thought they should. I was amazed that is all it takes. So everyone who has been laid off, fired, or took a pay reduction apparantly all you have to do is go the city and cite this and your property taxes get reduced? what a load.
    The city is dumping millions into this area and they simply can’t even pretend to justify it if the ball park goes under, so they are working with whomever they can to keep that barge afloat to justify the money spent.

  • desert rat

    Leitch has long outlived his usefullness if it was there in the first place. Why doesn’t somone run against him? He complains ad nauseum about Democrats but has no personal charisma to build bridges and is basically a scowling cranky, ineffective legislator. He’s part of the old guard of state government and therefore part of the problem. Someone really needs to challenge this guy. He’s a lot more vulnerable then he wants everyone to think he is.

  • aaron

    glad u picked up on this story and did the legwork; always a pleasure to read your blog. i would consider paying for this blog; not that other one!

  • Anon ymous

    The entire St. James Apartments is on Fire!

    St. James Apartments
    Cambridge Property Management manages Bradley University’s newest housing development. The St. James Complex is a 15-building residential complex for Bradley University upper-class students (those having completed four semesters of study). The development offers affordable, luxury, student housing and is within easy walking distance to campus.

  • I thought the City paid more for Eagle Cleaners $2.2 million and after a settlement with the owners and legal fees, I swore it was closer to $5 million.

  • Neal

    Part of that money came from a reduction in manpower and services from the fire department at that time too.

  • The Mouse

    You must be mistaken Neal. They assure us that “capital expenditures” are a whole different wallet, that money can’t be used for police and fire. Probably a different currency.

  • Leitch never met a corporation that he didn’t want to supply welfare to.

    Not so state retirees — he voted to cut their benefits, charge them more for health care. He should be replaced.

  • David P. Jordan

    Elaine Hopkins wrote: Leitch never met a corporation that he didn’t want to supply welfare to.

    Not so state retirees — he voted to cut their benefits, charge them more for health care. He should be replaced.

    It’s not welfare until the corporation is receiving more from government than it is paying in. Corporations, after all, is where so much tax dollars originate in the first place. As for state retirees, they can cutback on luxuries and afford reduced benefits.

  • Jordan: It’s welfare when you accept it and don’t need it. I think that kind of definition is what you and the GOP call poor lazy people who refuse to work. BTW, cutting back on luxuries? Who in the hell are you to determine what is or isn’t a luxury. Electricity? Food? Doctor’s visits? Gas to get to work? Oh I forgot, maybe they could sell their yachts.

  • aaron

    The ‘welfare’ here is to a group of investors; there is no mention it is a corporation, though the group may likely be organized in some legal entity.

    Assuming this group of investors is formed as a corporation, there is no evidence whatsoever this corporation has paid a single dollar of tax that may have benefitted Peorians or anyone else.

    In short, eve under the assumption these investors did pay or repay for this expense, I am certain it was not out of charity or goodwill, but a legal obligation as part of a bargained for exchange. Leitch may not believe these were legitimately the expense of the investors, but apparently the investors believed differently. I am certain the investors would not have paid otherwise. They are investors seeking a return on investment, not a charitable organization. Investments do not always realize a return; risk-reward. (Unless one is friendly with a legislator or a too-big-to-fail bank; then the risk is shifted to taxpayers and the reward goes to cronies and carnival barkers of high finance).

  • checking for details

    I don’t think that we should support people that are too lazy to work. If people are unable to work due to some disability, if people have lost their jobs and are actively looking and/or educating/training themselves to get a potential new career, than I don’t have a problem, but simply too damn lazy to get off their butts and provide for themselves and/or their families, that’s a load of crap and those people don’t have the rights they believe they do to keep reaching into my back pocket. I don’t believe we should be supporting corporate welfare. I have no problems with state retirees having to chip into their own health care. The private sector either has to chip in or pay it for themselves entirely. One would think that the 99%’s would jump on that, since state wages are very high in Illinois and would make them much wealthier than many not working for the state. They make about twice what I do.

  • checking for details: What is it you do…exactly? I too agree that lazy people shouldn’t be supported but to dump social safety net programs just because of lazy people is wrong too. I mean a lot of us walk a fine line from being able to pay the bills to needing some of those programs. Here’s another catch 22. Say you lose your job, need that welfare, want to go to school and get educated or skilled in a another job, you can’t because you don’t have the money. Yes, they have even cut those programs.

  • Dennis in Peoria

    Here’s a good example of “walk a fine line”.
    Between 2009 and 2010, PCCEO’s Energy Assistance program saw an influx of Caterpillar Middle Managers, who have been laid off, not been able to find another job, used up their savings…and were eligible for one-time help on their Cilco Bill. I don’t think these folks would be considered lazy, do you?

    And yet there are proposals in Congress to cut programs like this, including Weatherization, which helps reduce energy costs up to 30% in the homes. Doesn’t seem to make a difference to some right-wingers that we have a lot of elderly and disabled that need help.

  • Excellent Dennis. That is a great example of how things can change in one’s life. Yet, many see a few on welfare and stereotype the whole welfare system. None of those great GOPers want to cut defense even a little bit, but they have no problem with making the poor, poorer. Never mind that we need government in our lives, some people think there shouldn’t be any government. These same people then bitch about the condition of the roads while driving their gas hogging SUVs. They are the same class that can retire, seek Medicare and even apply for a HooverRound which if they qualify, the government picks up the tab. Which brings me back to this post and that no good kiss ass republican politician who never met a business he didn’t like or wanted to help with our money. Like his buds who own the warehouses on our Riverfront. People like Sullivan who took his own money and bought these places for a dime on the dollar and now want the public to fund his enterprises. What ever happened to Capitalism? Do it on your dime, succeed, Great! Fail, you go out of business. Since when does the taxpayer have to help rich people with their businesses?

  • Emtronics says: “People like Sullivan who took his own money and bought these places for a dime on the dollar and now want the public to fund his enterprises.”

    What public funding is Sullivan asking for? I’m only aware of requests for public investment in public infrastructure, not public investment in private enterprises.

  • It wants money spent on streets, lighting, relaxing of code so warehouses can be converted into lofts or apartments, street closures for his business and others. And I think tax breaks. They city has in effect taken over Washington Street from the State and now has to maintain this street. They want to put in a round a bout. That’s all good but I don’t think the added taxpayer expense is needed at this time. In other words let me put it this way. You buy a dump, it’s in a dumpy part of town, you want to make money on your dump so you invest in your dump and turn it into a neat bar. You still have a lot of dump property around so now you want the taxpayer to pony up and improve the area so your property makes money. That is all good but not at a time when the same city has a crime problem, lays off police, loaned out a ton of money to another private developer for a hotel. If all was good, then yes, it pays to fix an area.

  • checking for details

    I have no problems helping out the elderly and the poor. But if they are poor by circumstance. If you had any idea how much fraud there is in social security and welfare benefits from people that are quite able to work, but chose not to and by chose not to, I clearly mean DO NOT LOOK FOR EMPLOYMENT. I see able bodied men hanging on thier porches day in and day out, standing in yards, wandering around the neighborhood, congregrating on corners and in parking lots of businesses. I don’t know of any employers that go around to groups of people loitering around and hand out job applications and do interviews in the streets. I don’t think they should be living off parents welfare or their many baby mommas checks each month, and if you don’ think that isn’t happening by the bucket loads in town, you too have turned a blind eye. Child support is a joke. Hearing men working for cash under the table so that they don’t have to declare income and therefore don’t pay child support. Apparantly their children are amazing and don’t eat, ever get sick or have magic clothing that stays new and grows with the child.

    CJ, the warehouse district is a TIF which as you know prevent school districts and other governmental bodies from collecting taxes. Much like the East Bluff TiF the cost of the cops, fire department, and code enforcement such as it is left will continue to exist. As those costs go up the rest of us have to bear the difference in what those areas would have paid. They are getting tax rebates for improving the warehouses, something a good business would do anyway. The Tiger Grant money was never intended for the warehouse district, it was robbed from Averyville and Detweiller Marina areas.
    The ball park had it’s taxes reduced simply because they weren’t making as much money. Wonder if that works on our house?
    I could go on, but needless to say there is a significant amount of tax money going into an area designed like the hotel, to produce low wage service jobs, which are not going to stimulate our econonmy any more than adding homeless people on the corners selling pencils. This is Heartland Partnerships/ Spain and company’s magic of making tax dollars disappear and then trying to market the smoke it makes
    There still has not been any plans released which outline any private investment committment in this area. It will profit a few and cost the taxpayers money.

    Just like the OSF deal taking that huge chunk of the TIF money promised to be generated in the EB TIF and the roundabout that is designed solely for OSF, the neighbors don’t want it because it will inconviences acess for them.

    The road projects out north, tax dollars on what might be. yet the rest of us that have roads already that we are paying taxes for, enjoy bone jarring potholes and erosion.

    I am ranting and I apologize, just been a BS kinda day.

  • aaron

    methinks em is addressing public funds being used to improve infrastructure, create TIFs, hire consultants for studies such as the one recommending reconnecting with Peoria’s distillery past and other ostensibly public improvements that coincidentally or causally benefit developers/property owners with land or property that needs such improvement (or at least the prospect of it) in order to be profitable, given that the developer/proprty owner cannot or will not provide such improvements.

  • Mahkno

    Emtronics, fixing up public infrastructure IS the city’s responsibility. They are working to fix up a dumpy area. Why are you opposed to this? For years you have complained that the city doesn’t do enough to fix public infrastructure in dumpy areas. Fixing up dumpy areas helps attract investors like Sullivan. We need more people to redevelop in the older parts of town rather than periphery. Where is the problem?

    I don’t agree with the method of using a TIF for funding but that is a different matter.

    The hotel is a case of the city lending money to a specific business enterprise, rather than the infrastructure around it. Very different from the warehouse district.

    Crime is a multi-fold problem. Yes we need police, I think that is the highest priority but we can’t be dismissive about area redevelopment efforts either. Jobs, better infrastructure help deter crime too albeit in a different way. Crime gravitates to dumpy areas… eliminate the dumpy and the area becomes less attractive to crooks. Schools also need attention but that isn’t the city council. TIFs however directly hurt schools. It is the city robbing the school district for extra revenues.

    I get that you don’t like the idea of a single investor… I don’t either but someone has to be able to do enough to make things possible for the smaller guys. If not Sullivan who? If you had $100,000 to invest in your life savings to invest in a start up in the warehouse district without a Sullivan there, would you? It would be much easier and safer to invest out north, I would think.

  • I oppose because for one it is in a TIF. I haven’t seen a TIF work yet here. Second, like the politicians and the council always tell us, there is no money for police, fire, and public works, yet there is money to fix certain areas when they want to. I no more approve of this than that damn road out north the city keeps pumping money into. It seems to me that when we have a handle on crime (yes there will always be crime) that seems to happen in broad daylight anywhere these days. But marvel at what Sullivan has done with his properties and I even enjoy his business. I just don’t trust our leaders to make the right decision on where taxpayer money will be spent. Look at Water Street. Millions spent and it is the nicest alleyway in Peoria. Look at the hotel. Why is the City of Peoria in the hotel business? Because of a failing (over 25 years) of the Civic Center, a walkway is going to save it. Museum? That according to our dear leaders is going to bring in millions. Good if it does, let’s tap those dollars for improvements into that area instead of robbing the schools with TIFs. If the museum fails, then what? I just think we need to take care of what we have first. Then take care of the crime we have. Once this community is more stabilized, private investors will flock here. As it stands now, no privet money invests here and why should they, the city hands them everything. Look at Big Al’s.

  • mortified

    The crowd is chanting, “C J!!!! C J!! C J!!! ” Where did you go, Buddy? The Peorians are getting restless.

  • […] Adler is apparently unaware of these developments. (Or else he subscribes to Rep. Leitch’s funding-things-that-are-already-funded school of […]

  • Peoria. City of Boondoggles. Where taxpayer money is stolen (legally) by corrupt and inept people.