ROLDO: This is Not About Jimmy Dimora!

This is Not About Jimmy Dimora!

By Roldo Bartimole

What has been written in the past often has relevance to the present and future.

I was struck (infuriated) recently by an article on the business pages of the New York Times. It revealed that the State of New Jersey was providing the developers of a luxury hotel/casino in Atlantic City with some $260 million in tax breaks.

It prompted me to seek out the foreclosure problem in New Jersey. People really in need. The number of foreclosures from 2009 projected through 2012: 235,881. That’s a lot of families. A lot of pain.

I wonder how they feel about Republican Gov. Chris Christy’s generosity to casino hotel developers. (It seems Republican politicians are against the dole unless it goes to wealthy interests.) What is surprising is that no one ever has to prove these generous subsidies ever really work.

Equally disturbing, the Times today reveals that “Mr. Ratner… would haul in $726 million in special public benefits” from development in NYC. Indeed, Mr. Ratner (Bruce) is related to our Forest City Ratners. The article points out he is “Developer No. 1” and “Developer No. 2” in two corruption cases in the city, though he isn’t charged in either. The article notes that Bruce Ratner “walked between the legal raindrops.”

Development and Corruption seem uniquely tied so often. But, hell, money is involved so why not?

Below is something from the past. No FBI probe. No County or NYC Corruption. Just old fashioned legal corruption here.

I’ve followed certain issues intensely in the past. The material isn’t readily available. Although some material had been posted at the Free Times when the weekly was sold the new owners sadly wiped it out.

I, however, tried to save my contributions. I will try to retrieve some old columns I believe still have relevance. If nothing else, it gives me something to do.

So here is some history: A column from the Cleveland Edition of May 5, 1988. Headlined: “The Art of the Deal: Is tax abatement needed to get things built here?” It follows:

The two political sides of tax abatement lined up at City Hall this week in what promises to be the political battle of the decade in Cleveland.

In a morning public hearing and an afternoon Council committee session, the outlines of the coming conflict began to take shape.

The issue involves the tax abatement of $120-million on two hotel projects and related development on Public Square and behind Terminal Tower.

The major developments by the Jacobs brothers – David and Richard of Jacobs, Visconsi & Jacobs- would require $110-million in tax abatements for a Marriott Hotel; a 52-story office building and an underground parking garage on Mall A, a total development of $360-million.

The other would involve $10-million abatement for a 200-room Ritz-Carlton luxury hotel by developers of Tower City.

Each would involve 20-year, 100 percent abatements and each would involve UDAGs (urban development action grants) of $10-million for 20 years at zero interest.

The crux of the issue involves whether the projects would go forward without abatement.

Mayor George Voinovich has put his support behind the project as necessary to developing what he calls a “convention industry” for Cleveland. Council President George Forbes is known to be strongly supportive.

The long day of hearings started with a series of three-minute testimonies pro and con as downtown business leaders came out strongly in public to support the project, as did construction trade unionist who stand to gain jobs.

On the other side were some unionists and neighborhood and citizen groups that see the tax give-away as questionable.

The afternoon session was dominated by testimony from consultants hired by City Council to examine the deal made by the Voinovich Administration with the developers as it pertains to tax abatement.

The consultants, Pannell, Ker and Forster, concluded that the abatements were necessary for the development of a hotel in a study of the first 10 years of financial data.

Forbes, who wanted a quick decision on Monday on the $120-million in abatements, backed off after Council members indicated insufficient time and data to make a decision.

Hanging over the deliberations of Council are the political implications of tax abatements to wealth developers, particularly with most of the abated taxes from the schools.

Nowhere was that more clear than the testimony of Shari Weir, executive program director of the Ohio Public Interest Campaign.

Weir promised her organization would go to the streets for signatures for a referendum on the tax abatements in November if the abatement legislation were passed without certain limitations.

Those limitations, including some $12-million from developers for neighborhood development linked to the abatements, have already been rejected by the Voinovich administration.

That political threat was underlined by the testimony of Bob Neece, chairman of the United Auto Workers Community Action Council:

“You have an opportunity to add your names to a long list of people who held office here who decided to go for the goal and against the interests of their constituents. From time to time this body has been the best government money could buy and you have the opportunity to put the brakes on that.”

Neece named Dick Harmody, former majority leader of City Council, and David Trenton, former Council member, as two former councilmen who no longer “sit down here anymore, not by choice, but because they decided to throw away the interest of the constituents. The two were defeated after voting $14.5-million in tax abatements to National City Bank in 1977.

Neece went on to say that “it would be difficult, if not impossible, for us to support any member of this Council for re-election who voted for tax abatement today.”

Neece also took a swipe at the Ritz-Carlton proposed for the rear of Tower City. He said that Ritz-Carlton hotel rooms in Chicago cost $200 to $300 a day.

He didn’t blame the developers, he said, for seeking the abatements.

“If they think the city’s a soft touch and they can pick the pockets of the taxpayer, then why not? That’s their business. But that’s not your business. Your business is representing the people of your wards,” Neece concluded.

But organized labor wasn’t united. Unionist with the building trades supported the abatement for the constructing, citing jobs.

“Jobs are what we’re talking about, and whether it’s 10 percent (profit for the developer) or 12 percent or 22 percent, God bless them. They’re spending it here in Cleveland. I’m proud of the Jacobses,” said Mickey Donahue, a business rep of the Pipefitters Union.

“When my workers aren’t’ working they go to bed hungry. They don’t care if that guy’s (Jacobs) worth $13-milion, $18-million or $22-million. The guy’s main concern is a job so he can provide for his family.”

Donahue said that “this is a chance to build up this city as we’ve been pulling out of the doldrums.”

A number of downtown-related business people also spoke in favor of the abatements, including Thomas Stauffer of the Stouffer Hotel Company, the recipient of tax abatement in 1977.

“It was about to go dark,” he said of the Stouffer Tower City Plaza Hotel. “Tax abatement saved that hotel and tax abatement saved the hotel industry.”

Stuart Robinson, a Cleveland State University professor whose wife, Valerie, is a Cleveland school teacher, put the abatement cost to the schools into some perspective in his testimony.

Most of the abated taxes – $75 million – would go to the Cleveland school system if paid. Ironically, neither a member of the administration or the school board testified at the hearings.

Robinson said that the $75-millin could pay for 3,500 teachers in one year or 350 teachers for 10 years. With 30 pupils to a class, said Robinson, the money could provide for the education of 100,000 pupils for one year or 10,000 pupils for 10 years.

“You are being asked to sacrifice a generation of our children,” said Robinson, “and their futures in order to secure the profits of two wealthy developers who are certainly able to pay their fair share of taxes.

Gloria Aron, representing some 40 social-welfare groups within the Citizen for a Fair Budget, spoke for a delay of a Council abatement vote until more data are available.

Her testimony reflected the concerns of neighborhood groups toward abatements.

“We all talk about slum and blight downtown,” said Aron, “Come out and look at our neighborhoods where there’s real slum and blight.”

“Yes, jobs are needed. Yes, we need a school system we can be proud of… but what area the effects of not dealing with those (slum and blight) issues. I’m tired as a parent of continuing to be told that the reason this city is going to hell is because of our school system.

“Let’s start supporting our children so that they have a future. Downtown is part of Cleveland but Cleveland is all over. We in the neighborhoods have a right to make sure that every family has adequate housing and jobs,” said Aron.

The afternoon session became an esoteric discussion of the economics of development financing that left Council members with more questions than answers.

The accounting firm hired by Council to examine the financial data presented them by the Voinovich administration concluded that financially the abatements were necessary.

Politically, that isn’t the answer a number of Council members wanted to hear. But from an accounting firm that usually represents hotel interests and reflects the conservative view of development financing it’s the answer they might have expected.

The question of how much money the developers would be allowed to make each year before paying any property taxes may be a question that cannot be answered.

To expect the developers to give you those answers in any form other than to prove that they need abatements seems foolhardy.

Further, the developers aren’t simply investors in the project but make profit along the way. For instance, in the Public Square development of the Jacobs brothers, they are the developers for which they receive a fee (In the case of the Galleria it was $1.1 million.)

And in the case of the 52-story building the Jacobses will manage the building, receiving income from that source.

The Council consultants said that the method to be used by the administration to put a cap on income for the developers and receive taxes over that cap was foreign to them.

The method – return on costs – means that taxes would be collected after the developers received 12 percent over the total costs of $363-million or $43.5 million minus debt service.

A financial advisor to the Cleveland school board last week told board members that the developer would never pay a penny in taxes under that formula.

That is the thorny political use facing both Council members, who will have to vote on the issue, and school board members.

If developers who are multi-millionaires can avoid taxes, why should homeowners in the neighborhoods pay full taxes and, more important, what’s the incentive to add to their burden by voting for a school levy?

With an election year for Council members coming up next year a long debate on tax abatements is about the last issue they they’d want to face this year.


After George Voinovich left office and Michael White became mayor, White tried to finesse the abatement policies of the city. He created a commission with only advisory powers. In other words, it had no real power and abatements could still flow.

Here is a January 24, 1991 Edition column that reports on a Council meeting to examine White’s policy.


A Cleveland State University professor – critiquing the city’s new tax abatement program – warned that “a large and uncontrolled use of abatement financing could endanger” the bond ratings of the Cleveland schools, library system and the city itself.

Professor Ned Hill (now Dean of CSU’s Urban Affairs Department) testifying before a subcommittee of the Community Development Committee, cautioned that too many abatements “could endanger the bond ratings of the schools, library and other institutions that depend on property tax revenues, and eventually could hurt the city’s own bond rating.”

The new abatement policy has been established by the White Administration and while its housing section appears legitimate, other parts appear more to be products of public relations and politics.

For example, the Tax Abatement Commission, which has advisory powers only, completely ducked the issue of Tax Incremental Financing (TIF), the most likely form of tax abatement to be used for downtown office structures.

This allows Mayor Mike White to claim that he has outlawed tax abatement for downtown when he actually has left future abatements for downtown office buildings wide open.

Further, Hill notes that “the new policy does not address abating office space in mixed use projects such as these (Society (Key) and Ameritrust).

Hill also says that the preamble of the policy states that “these guidelines are not intended to preclude the city’s full use of the authority granted to it under State law. Where the merits of a proposal… weigh heavily in favor of a project not contemplated by this policy, common sense and benefit to the community should prevail.”

That would appear to be a wide enough loophole to get just about any tax abatement through City Hall.

Hill urged legislators to record tax abatements in the city budget.

“It is the only way to keep track of the cost of abatements and to keep taxpayers aware of the fiscal impact of previous abatements. These are formally known as tax expenditures and similar expenditures are recorded as part of the federal budget,”

This would be a tough political move for most Council members who then would have a trail to their tax giveaways that could be tracked. As of now there is no recording of the cost of past tax abatement that could prove embarrassing.

For example, the contrast of two downtown buildings – one originally given a tax abatement that was then built without an abatement – shows the impact of taxes on the city, or more truthfully, on the school system, which lost the majority of the funds.

The BP America Building, which at first got a tax abatement but then lost the abatement when it moved its site, in the last five years paid $17.7 million in property taxes, none of which would have been paid if it had received abatement.

In contrast, the National City Center, which did receive a tax abatement, has escaped $10.6 million in taxes. (The old, pre-Dick Jacobs tax abatement were on the basis of a declining rate of 100 percent tax forgiveness in the first five years, 75 percent the next five; and so on with 25 percent reduction of the gift each five years). Hill would want that revealed in the city budget.

Although Hill was positive about the city’s housing abatement program, even this, he said, had dangers.

One possible danger was the movement of Cleveland residents from non-tax-abated homes or apartments into tax-abated homes or apartment, leaving the city with essentially the same residents but decreased property taxes to provide necessary services.

“If the residents come from within the city of Cleveland, a shell game, where the city is the loser, will be paid.”

Indeed, in testimony last year, Forest City Development executive Sam Miller essentially said that’s about what had happened with the massive downtown abatements, they merely shifted major office tenants from older to new buildings, a form of “cannibalism.”

Community Development Director Chris Warren felt that even that movement has hopeful effects within the city by keeping residents who might move out, and he supported the plan as a method to show Cleveland residents that the city cares about them.

Hill also warned that abatements kept “in force for a long period of time” too often “became a matter of right,” and called for the city to put a sunset clause in the legislation so that the city could study its impact after two to five years.

He also warned that tax abatements may not achieve the aims sought but actually resulted in windfall profits for the landowners. “If the land is in private hands the owner will incorporate the value of an expected abatement into its sales or rental price.”

He felt that “in these cases the landowner receives a windfall profit and no new economic activity is created. The value of the abatement, therefore, is neither economic nor financial, it becomes psychological.”

Hill also recommended that a ceiling be put on the amount of tax abatement to be given in any year and suggested that the limits be on each category of abatement in the policy which includes hotel, housing, historic, commercial and industrial.

Generally, Hill felt that the city’s policy had not provided safeguards against non-performance (You will notice that no penalties have been assessed by the city on Dick Jacobs for his non-performance on the tax abatement for the Ameritrust Building on Public Square (The land remains a parking lot to this day, some 20 years later). He recommended stronger “clawbacks,” penalties for non-performance.

Hill recommended that if “there is a violation of any agreement a penalty of up to the value of all the abated taxes be assessed, plus financing charges assessed at the city’s long term (borrowing) costs of funds plus 200 basis points (2 percent).”

The policy calls for various and increasing abatements for single homes from seven to 10 years; and 15 years for larger projects; 600-room hotels 20 years; retail-commercial 20 years; industrial 10 years; historic buildings, 20 years.

Hill also had a warning that neighborhood commercial retail abatements might bolster one shopping area at the expense of another a short distance away.

“The combination of the Mayor’s statement (on abatement) and the Commission’s Policy Statement indicates that the entire city, with the exception of downtown, may become eligible for retail abatements. There are parts of the city – such as Kamm’s Corner and Pearl Road and I-480 – which appear to be competitive retail sites that do not require abatement finances. If all, or most, neighborhood retail is abated and existing (commercial) strips, they would eventually require abatement to remain competitive.”

Hill feels that the abatement for retail is too long at 20 years, and suggest a 10-year abatement with the next 10 years on a sliding 10 percent scale.

Further, he suggests that the Abatement Commission should designate specific areas for the abatements and offer them for a limited time with a sunset provision.

All in all, the tax abatement policy had the aim of taking the heat off White on downtown abatements and extending help to some housing projects in the neighborhoods.

As it gets going, however, it may have the effect on taking resources and attention from small neighborhood projects to what the downtown Establishment really wants: downtown higher income housing.

Further, the policy continues to allow the city to loot funds from the school system with no representation in the decision-making and no method of recouping any of the funds.

For a mayor who wants to be known for his educational policy, that’s more than a mere oversight.


Twenty-one years after the first article above I wrote the following for various web sites. It gives results of the prior decision of abatement in real dollar terms. The headline: “How much $$$ does Cleveland lose to abatement”:

Civic corruption comes in many forms.

We have been hearing a lot about corruption these days. However, the focus is very narrow. Unnecessarily so.

The Plain Dealer simply ignores the corruption that makes today’s hyper County sleaze activity look minor league. Even little league. We’re going to talk about multi-million dollar corruption. Nothing petty. And all legal.

The fact is that the PD actually promotes this BIG kind of corruption. It’s they’re kind of corruption. They push for it editorially. Always have; always will.

I’ll show you how it works and a review of what the actual consequences are – for taxpayers and for those receiving the bounty.

We’re talking about tax abatements. You will read about a number of cases in which huge amounts of money have been given to very special people. Very special Rich people.

Much of this largess was given under the Republican/Democratic rule at Cleveland City Hall and Cuyahoga County Government. Major culprits: Mayor George Voinovich, Council President George Forbes and County Commissioners Tim Hagan, Jim Petro and Mary Boyle.

Most of the abatements are for 20 years or are tax exempted properties, meaning they will never ever pay any taxes. These cases represent large abated properties. They are only a small number of abatements given since 1977 when the program began in Ohio.

Yet over the years they will cost HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of lost tax dollars.

The lost revenue ordinarily would go to four levels of government. Presently, property tax revenue is shared by the following entities with the percentage of the total in parenthesis: Cleveland schools (55.13 percent rounded), Cuyahoga County (21.24 percent), City of Cleveland (15.68 percent) and Cleveland libraries (7.96 percent).

Rather than guard the public’s resources, slated for the common good, city and county officials – typically backed by the Plain Dealer’s editorials and lack of critical coverage – cater to the self-interests of Cleveland’s Establishment. Their actions have and are shameful.

I requested information from Joann Jackson of the County Auditor’s office about how much abatements cost us. I limited the search to a few big properties.

Here’s what I found in examining certain property tax revenue for the last two years:


The amount paid to Cuyahoga County this year and last year for property taxes on the Browns Stadium: ZERO.

Browns Stadium should have paid property taxes of $8,081,230 this year and $7,973,804 last year on the physical structure alone. That’s $16,055,034 over the two most recent years. Total value of the Browns stadium, including land, is slightly more than $300 million (Market value with taxes on 35 percent of that figure.)

That is a gift of $16 million in ONLY the last two years to the billionaire Lerner family, owners and users of the Browns. (This property will NEVER pay a penny in taxes on the structure as it has been tax exempted by state law, passed under pressure of local politicians – mainly Commissioner Tim Hagan and former Mayor Michael White – and the Plain Dealer.)

I reported recently that the city also has paid $102.8 million on stadium bonds, owes $160.3 million more in payments due and has to come up with $44.55 million in capital improvements now and in future years. The State of Ohio chipped in $37 million more; RTA $3 million; City Water Dept. $2 million; Northeast Sewer District $2.24 million; and the city’s water pollution control division another $500,000. Lerner’s annual rent: $250,000 with no increase over 30 years. How hard is it to become a multi-millionaire?

Having given so much, why burden the Lerner family with having to pay property taxes. Shameful to ask that. The city, by the way, also pays the property taxes due on the land beneath the stadium. This year that bill was $452,724.


The amount paid to Cuyahoga County in property taxes this year and last year for Quicken Arena: ZERO.

Quicken (formerly Gund) Arena should have paid property taxes of $3,816,609 this year and $3,765,873 last year. That’s $7,582,482 over the two most recent years. Total value of the Quicken Arena, including land, is slightly more than $50 million.

This is a gift of some $7.5 million to the billionaire Dan Gilbert, Cavs owner. (This property also will NEVER pay taxes on the structure because of the actions of Hagan and White in passing legislation to EXEMPT forever all new stadia and arenas in Ohio.)

Citizens of Cuyahoga County built the arena for some $157 million but Gilbert controls it. Having given him the arena, why should we even suggest that he pay property taxes. Let’s not get greedy, citizens.


The amount paid to Cuyahoga County in property taxes this year and last year for Progressive Field: ZERO.

Progressive Field (formerly Jacobs Field) should have paid property taxes of $4,882,764 this year and $4,817,856 last year. That’s $9,700,620 over the two most recent years. Total value of the baseball stadium, including land, is slightly more than $69 million. (This property will NEVER pay taxes on the structure because state legislation pushed by Hagan, White and the Plain Dealer was passed to EXEMPT all new sports facilities in Ohio FOREVER.)

The amount paid to Cuyahoga County in property taxes this year and last year for the Gateway Garage: ZERO.

The Gateway Garage, built by the City of Cleveland for the new sports facilities should have paid taxes of $652,963 this year and $644,283 last year. That’s near $1.3 million. The value of the garage is $10.5 million.

This is a gift of some $11 million to the billionaire Dolan family, owners of the Cleveland Indians.

Cuyahoga County citizens paid most of the some $180 million for the stadium but the Dolan family controls it. Why bother to ask them to pay property taxes? It might be seen as pushy.

We also note that the citizens of Cleveland alone built two parking facilities, one tax abated, at a cost of more than $40 million.

Are you seeing a pattern here?


The amount of property taxes paid to Cuyahoga County on Key Center, Cleveland’s tallest office building: ZERO

Key Center, built by multi-millionaire Dick Jacobs, should have paid $5,399,922.84 this year and $5,328,139 last year. That’s more than $10.7 million. Total value of the 57-story Key Center building, including land, is $72.4 million. (This property, in addition to $10-million, zero interest loan, was given a 20-year tax abatement, 100 percent tax abatement by Mayor George Voinovich and Council President George Forbes.)

This was a gift given by Voinovich and Forbes in 1988. Jacobs was yet to get a stadium built for him. The new stadium gave him an advantage to sell it to the Dolans for a pricy $320 million.

Oh, there’s more that Dick got.

The Marriott Hotel, attached to Key Center, should have paid $1,123,027 last year and $1,208,098 the previous year. That’s slightly more than $2.3 million. Total value of the 25-story Marriott Hotel, including land, is $15,594,500. (This property, in addition to another $7.9-million, zero interest loan, was provided a 20-year, 100 percent tax abatement by Voinovich and Forbes.)

As if that were not enough, Voinovich and Forbes gave Jacobs the ability to build a parking garage beneath the city’s Mall A, which is located in front of the Marriott Hotel. It’s called Memorial Park Garage.

Memorial Park Garage should have paid property taxes of $230,835 this year and $227,767 in property taxes last year. That’s some $457,000. Total value of the parking garage under Mall A is $5.2 million. (Voinovich and Forbes cancelled a contract with a top bidder to deliver the parking garage contract to Jacobs for 65 years. Jacobs hired Forbes’ favorite parking lot operator for the facility; Voinovich’s old law firm, Calfee & Halter, made $443,000 (paid by Jacobs) representing the city in the law suit resulting from the city’s action to give the deal to Jacobs. Jacobs offered to increase parking places from 600 to 1,200 but it was cut to 900 in the final plan. Revenue payments also were reduced down under the Jacobs plan.)

Forbes and Voinovich didn’t stop there. They were even more eager to fill Jacobs’s pockets.

The two – Voinovich and Forbes – offered the same sweet deal as Key Center to Jacobs for the west side of Public Square. It was to be another office building and hotel. You may notice that the west side of Public Square – which in 1989 had working office buildings that Jacobs then knocked down – remains a parking lot. Has been a parking lot since the early 1990s.

Further, other downtown buildings, damaged as tenants moved to Key Center, sought and got tax reductions. Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, for example, moved into Key Center from the Huntington Building. The law firm wrote the state legislation for tax abatement in the 1970s. (As an example, Jacobs’s E. 9th corner, left vacant for years. He was rescued, however, by the County Commissioners, who bought the complex of buildings for new County offices. It remains vacant, of course.)

The absurdity of these abatements hasn’t penetrated the minds of politicians or editors, however.


The amount paid in property taxes on the luxury Wyndham Hotel for this year and last year: ZERO.

The Wyndham Hotel, built public subsidy upon public subsidy, should have paid property taxes of $339,500 this year and $334,987 last year. That’s some $674,000 over the two most recent years. Total value for tax purposes of the 200-plus luxury hotel at Playhouse Square is $4.7 million, including land. That’s very low.-

The luxury Wyndham was soaked with government subsidies in addition to the tax abatement, including a $5.5 million zero interest loan; a low interest state loan of $4 million; a tax incremental financing deal worth several million dollars over 20 years; the city helped purchase part of the land for $2 million then invest $1.5 million to improve the site and sold it to Playhouse Square Foundation for less than $1 million. The subsidies came to some $136,000 per room. “Credit” this rotten deal to Mayor White and then Council President Jay Westbrook.


The amount paid in property taxes this year and last year for the luxury Ritz-Carlton: ZERO.

The Ritz-Carlton, a luxury hotel at Tower City, should have paid a total of $1,718,020 for this year and the last year on four parcels tax abated for Sam Miller interests. The market value of the properties is $31.1 million.

This amounts to a generous gift of $1.7 million to the multi-millionaire Miller. The hotel piggybacked on the Marriott for an abatement. The city also gave a $7.9 million, zero interest loan for the 207-room hotel built into Tower City. Why not help a multi-millionaire if you can?

That covers only 9 tax abatement projects in the city of Cleveland. There are many, many more. Admittedly, these are among the largest.

In any case, the total cost of these abatements for ONLY TWO YEARS totals some $50 million in lost tax revenue. Two years remember. Tax revenue sliced away from Cuyahoga County’s tax collections. Taxes that you – if you are a property tax payer in Cuyahoga County (or even a renter for that matter) – have to make up.

You won’t see this on the front page of the Plain Dealer. They avoid such information as if it were the plague. Indeed, the paper and its editors will fight to keep the public from being informed about this issue. In future, I’ll try to show how they have done this and flesh out the issue of abatements.

There someday will be more buildings built in downtown Cleveland. The issue of tax abatement will arise again. So I hope you will print out this information and keep it handy.

Of course, developers today are getting tax abatements on new housing development, especially in downtown Cleveland. It helps to offer a tax abatement to buyers. You can get a better price if you tell a prospect that they will be saving thousands of dollars by not paying taxes.

The wealthy love NOT PAYING TAXES. It’s a major ingredient of wealth. Believe it.

Roldo Bartimole celebrates 50 years of news reporting this year. He published and wrote Point of View, a newsletter about Cleveland, for 32 years. He worked for the Plain Dealer and Wall Street Journal in the 1960s.

He was a 2004 Cleveland Journalism Hall of Fame recipient and won the national Joe Callaway Award for Civic Courage in 1991. [Photo by Todd Bartimole.]

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20 Responses to “ROLDO: This is Not About Jimmy Dimora!”

  1. bob w.

    NOT aware of it ALL but ENOUGH…CAN UNDERsTAND SOME OF IT…but..CAN UNDERSTAND SOME who HAVE THE $, want X..n get NEW FANCY DIGS…BUT…HOW MANY left EVEN WITH abatements who can afford those pricey digs…SERIOUSLY,…OTHER AREAS OF COUNTRY ARE hot…I CANT believe SOMEHOW SOMEWERE we are this hot luv khild demanding it all n soo demand for it all….SURE SOME OUR ‘esteemed’ lawyers, biz for Names…STIiilll…MAYBE MORE IMPORTANTLY…SPORTS THING…would THINK GUYZ n galz would be alll *$*@ bout THATttt…maybe price OF I GUESS…ME…*$*@ off…NEVER WENT to any of the sports stuff…ONE thing watchin a tv game..but the *$*@ bs…WHY…parking to hassled w/whutever to paying THOSE TICKET,concession prices to traffic to..EXCUSE me pardon mee sooo SOorry bout THAT..Ouchh,crash,bang,Sooo soorry…MAJOR whutever MOVING THOUSANdS THRU STADIUM…ONLY to watch em lose…SOMEHOW I DONT see the whutever…NEARLY 20 YRS since OUR teams won squat…

  2. bob w.

    SEE ENOUGH $*@* done in supposed wannabe Yuppie hoods n all THAT entails…THAT deal just doin X cuz rest of poo slobs getting blasted by it all n WHUTEVER are hangin onto coattails of WHUTEVER OUT there TO keep bldgs maintained,etc.or mortgages,taxes paid or WHUTEVER…

    OFFICE bldgs…bout it…SHUTTLE shuffle game…NOT fun…MEGA move and THEN some…to save relatively little…BIG QUESTION..HOW viable..HOW many Names,firms,etc.lost..yeahhh THAT game OF if we pander to n all THAT but hey…

  3. bob w.

    LUV HOW THESE NEWBIE ANNOINTED Knights waltzed into town and….Casino..NOT much beyond THAT…least chance for X to LEVEL wha left of old wrecks,etc.n MAYBE FIX up WOODLAND before turns into Ontario…BE CLEANEST ever been in yrs..or FIXED…LETS SEE HOW long RTA improvements,etc.”last” w/Name parking interests..A REAL QUANDARY there..personally..THINK PLACE for both..could debate $s,%s,etc. IF ANY consolation….DONE WITH sports crew..IN SENSE OF THEY got their palaces,toyz,etc. NO idea if crappy performance helps,hurts or not…speaking which..Lebron..ANYONE EVER send HIM pcs of “CAKEGATE” aka that $3M cake..LOOKED like LOT of work..maybe tasted like *$@*…WAS THAT pic of HIM making THAT grimace….PROBABLY some pic taken of him at some game and something happened and had squat to do w/cake…DONT even know WE ARE STILL *$@* around w/HIM…or REST OF THIS stuff…

  4. bob w.

    VOINIVICH..bye bye….maybe as auditor..NEVER MIND…aka “RUSSO”…SEEMS LIKE bad track record…IN A SAD SICK bizarre way…MAYBE THIS crappo is good…FORCE X to realize..or OUT or ONTO SOMETHING…or cops to whutever else deal w/X or….SOMETHING to be said for semi slummy..OTHER THEN OCCASIONAL Aholes IN SAID….

    Speakin which..Leboob…PIXIE DUST?! Wha think this witchdoctor…

  5. bob w.

    AMERITRUSTTOWER….weelll…BETTER TO UNLOAD THEN hang onto that *$*@ …or pray NOT dumped BACK ON….a real whutever..which is cheaper..partial demo, complete or Yo bit*h got a deal for U for $28 MIL…YOUR call…$ on barrelhead….STILL TRYING to get over idea of X areas as being desireable…Yeahh if triallawyer on expense acct n daterapecentral time over in fave watering holes but Hey…MeatmarketmaniaMidniteMadness…think BUDDHA room….least spares OTHER gals….

  6. bob w.

    BURBS THANK U….Tooo bad doin SAME *$*@ stuff…RT.18..rt across from TOPPS/FINAST/PICKNPAY/MEDINA ANTIQUE/whutever else it is or was now…MEGA MIL $ deal..FANCY..NEW..built circa 2008…MAY do fine in time..THOUSANDS of SQ.ft…ONE lone storefront.. some cellphone company…guess still chasin those Yups…TOooo much concrete,dead concrete,construction firms and relatively little else…Sooo lopsided NOT even funny…

  7. bob w.

    LETS see how long FLATS THING FLIES B4 FLATTENS….SURREAL in a bizarre sense…CAN play tax n legal codes til whutever…WHA discovered bizarre form of physics that defies it allll… this O$@ out of my system..but wha do I know….IRONWORKERS n feeling gonna giggle off to SHALE OIL n other projects….or vo ed in time…

  8. bob w.

    OUTTA TOSS ALL THIS $*@* at VOINIVICH n let HIM figure out END RESULT…get this vacant stare or say fault of X or..Orrr…get this gotta pull self up by bootstraps…or j*ckstrap or SOMETHING….IM THINKING poo *$*@ gonna clean stuff up by selves…IN OWN way…ohhh welll hey…ALWAYS SUGGESTED THAT as real REALITY SHOW….if X could figure out HOW to tax said..actually DO…sales tax to…if just *$*@ enough THEN whutever steps in…EMT to….

  9. bob w.

    TOSS WHA I SAID out there n see wha response get….THANKS ROLDO for Expose..U TRIED….alll can ask..SURE U ARE WUNDERING WHAZ iz On…WISH WAS….the other interests LEFT in city..or area….goood thing got artificial bodyparts,blood,or el cheapo foreign…Yeahhh…ponder THOSE THOUGHTS…barf that burger up….

  10. bob w.

    LEAST HON.Mr.GILBERT&CO. MAY in time get SAME Oh my *$*@ look Sam M had ON HIS face during all the $*@…..but SOMEHOW I DOUBT THAT…HE aint set up THAT way…jus saying…SUBPRIMECOUNTRYWIDEWASTE peddled onto welll hey Yeahh n WE KNOW HOW ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL that turned out….LEAST I AINT buyin THIS…MAY stop some day…buy a burger,coffee fling $5 n then make some crappy comment n leave…n sure X HAPPY to see THAT (me) goooo….SOMEHOW I DONT think GilbertGang gonna be all that concerned….SURE ENOUGH OTHERS gonna fling $ doooownnn n LEAST ONE LESS bldg flung BACK on county…Yeahh THAT arguement…

  11. bob w.

    FUNNY as H…AL L dressed n acted like some ol uncle or used car salesman or something….hey…guess when reach X age its like *($*@…BEAUTY OF AGE…*$*@ it…jus soo long as can get to knife,gun or able to *$*@ the dude…

  12. bob w.

    TAKE CARE..BE SAFE ROLDO…ENOUGH $*@ out there..or HERE…WONT be ME doin U harm…IF ANY CONSOLATION..I THINK THIS STUFF HAS or SOON will run its course….least clean out wha left of ol rentawrecks,etc.etc.n all THAT jazz….

  13. bob w.

    Let FRANK J explain WHY got all these poo *$*@ pathetic slobs hiding,scampering around n all THAT…wha poo hands to do X..SERIOUSLY…or paperwork/computer systems THAT *$*@ up n lost track til some horror n THEN BIG CALLS to do X…….or poo slob hasnt decided to call bluff n go for it n go alll the way n let CPD or other *$*@ them away…see THESE WHUTEVER HAPPENED TO type articles..and over here children on THIS street corner we had X who WHUTEVER n decided to grab the poo cops gun WHILE X WAS BEING “FREED”…A FIRST….HAD ENOUGH time to get ‘the stuff’ out of His ‘system’…..

    MAYBE ALL THIS was inevitable in current society AND DEINDUSTRIALIZATION,DISinvestment,etc.ALWAYS FELT windturbine thing a crock OF *$*@*….

  14. bob w.

    WAS n STILL SHOCKED SHARKEY&Co. checked OUT site…Hoow long gone..maybe still concerned..U tell me…BLAST FROM PAST…GONE HOW long…Gotta be near as ol as now decease Dorothy Fuldheim…80s,90s? ?? OTHERS? PROBABLY SILENT treatment pray go away n alll THAT…WHICH sorta works…MAYBE best whutever of the day…IS AN ACTUAL street address for SnailMail to OccupyCleveland….99 1/2 or 99% Public square…SOMETHING like THAT…DID SOME NICE decorating on the canvas….ALLLLLLLLLLLL these games…WHY NEVER go into town during BIG events,other…GOTTA watch those traf signs and rest of it…NAIL YOUR tail to wall lookin for $,etc. HAD one cop get all *$*@ cuz pulled WRONG way BUT OUT OF WAY of traffic..writing phone #,etc.down..way acted HE PROB.thought sizing place up for ‘scrapping’….as one wag said once..BURN IT ALllllllllllllllllllll the way to ground…

  15. bob w.

    Dimora..or rest..hey…GOT NAILED..least RUSSO did…n a PICKER..Okk soo a Mil $s or MORE SPEAKS..still…CAUGHT…MAYBE JUST not able to run…MENTALLY,socially,physically…whutever it is or was…maybe THINK or thought serve X time n THEN partyhearty…sure X gonna track HIM til gets out..wellll IF ANYTHING like past usua.mid of nite n out the side or OUT of town or SOMETHING….

    GOT one ON DIMORA…left one message..SoooIIIIEeeeeEEE !!! HE or someone called back and said F me…..if not careful HE will get *$*@ in priz…OR PLUMMER will…LONG *$*@ for HIM….WUNDER if well EH hey n Mz.VINCI….YESTERYEAR GILDED AGE was *$@* but least SOME SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT,etc.

    JURY N TIME STILL OUT on MEDMART….. OUR NEW GreatLakesSCI ctr…. tonites show is some robo doin surgery RealSlimePrimeGhastlyTime….STAY tuned…

  16. bob w.

    WHO wants to or can support NEXT go around of….

  17. bob w.

    WHY GOSH WHY would MARRIOT,Jacobs etc.get tied into some ’52 story’ hotel,office deal NEARLY 20 YRS B4 MMPI or anything similar n THEN CRY CRY bout no biz….THAT alone would soak up X markets for said…tax code to rest must be soo whacked out of but wha do i know..

  18. bob w.

    ALL THIS STUFF got built,done BEFORE RISE OF WEB n REST OF IT…IS A ROYAL pain to predict future…BUT…I AM just as guilty of THAT little bugaboo as anyone..

  19. bob w.

    Wha poision pill time…if have this HUGE whutever on books way to *$*@ raiders or what…?? WHUTEVER else say bout sports stadiums ARE SPECIFIC uses,users,X markets,MORE ‘general support’ (IF in TODAYS world have to ask..WOULD BROWNS stadium have been built…IF ROLES reversed and it was BROWNIE time Vs. MMPI time….)…

    IN CONTEXT of IT ALLLLLL THAT HAS gone doooown I SERIOUSLYYyyy EVER DOUBT EVER see ANOTHER MAJOR whutever AGAIN…take a REAL ECON RECOVERY…right now stuff all ‘colored’ by it all…politico to…BUT….

    CLOUDCOMPUTING anyone…OFFICE is YOUR SUV n cellphone n other telcom

  20. […] Quicken Arena, and the Progressive Field/Gateway Garage, all outlined by investigative reporter Roldo Bartimole, who has detailed tax abatement scandals for […]

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