...in a front page story in this morning’s paper. We’re looking at the project known as "360 Market Square," with the text of the story extended through pages 3, 4 and 6, and running to a total of more than one full page.
The original cost estimate of the project was $81 million, and we’re told it has now increased by 50 percent to $121 million. Toward which the city has already donated $23 million. We’re guessing that a few millions more of TIF funds will also find their way into this project before its completion.
A Mr. Collins, identified as the deputy mayor of economic development, tells us, "We didn’t invest on just a hunch and a desire." A following paragraph, a grand total of 6 lines and 36 words, pretty well verifies this statement.
"Collins took the job last year, succeeding Deron Kintner, who left government to take a job as general counsel of Flaherty & Collins...," which, completely coincidentally, is the real estate development company building this project.
The paper’s investigative procedures allowed it to add to the above quote, "...- a move that raised ethical questions about the relationship between City Hall and developers." There was no further mention of, and certainly no questions asked about, that situation.
Much of the last part of the story covers the use of a little known federal program - EB-5 - involving the acquisition of foreign investment funds. The developer has been dickering with an organization called CMB, "...an EB-5 regional center based in Rock Island, Ill., to get its project included. CMB took on the project and issued fliers that touted...strong support from the city as key reasons that it would succeed."
Raised ethical questions??? We wonder why the reporter bothered to include this phrase, then ignore any of the very obvious questions that should have been - and still should be - asked.
A typical downtown abuse of public funds - and an odorous attack on a taxpayer’s sense of smell. With an abetting media.