Goebbels said it best.

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Or perhaps it was Goering.

No matter the source, it remains the case that the bigger and more breathtaking the lie, the more likely gullible folks are to believe it. Locally, no one fabricates them better than the 1st district’s Dan “Wizard of Westside” Coffey, who dispensed his favorite tall tale to the Tribune’s reporter in an article today about the city budget.

Coffey proposes using money owed to the city’s Economic Development Income Tax fund from the State Street parking garage tax-increment financing district, to float a bond for paying for officers.

The old “pay back the $3 million” line should be enshrined on the Urban Legends web site alongside the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. My colleague Jeff rebutted it only recently in the comments section of another blog, after which the pins could be heard dropping.

The bond for the parking garage was initially approved by the Council so that it would be paid by both EDIT and TIF, with a majority coming from EDIT.

As stated in the notes, the bank didn’t finish the top floors of its building as soon as expected. That means not as much TIF was collected as expected in the earliest years of the bond, hence the $256K shortfall mentioned.

The Council was asked to appropriate additional EDIT to cover that shortfall and the lease rental reserve. That total, according to the notes, was $580K.

The rest of the $3.6 million had already been allocated to the garage in the original bond agreement. It was neither extra nor a loan. Only the $580K was additional. The $3,696,350 mentioned was the total amount of EDIT spent on the garage including both the $3 million already pledged by the council and the additional $580K to be requested.

You’ll also note that Mr. Malaysz suggested that the money ($580K) COULD be paid back. Just because he mentioned it in a Redevelopment meeting DOES NOT mean that the Council voted to set it up that way. The notes posted mean only that it was discussed as a possibility outside of a Council meeting.

When Dan Coffey brought a bogus resolution forward to pay more than $3 million from TIF to EDIT last year based on this rumor instead of actually doing his homework (he never even requested information about the garage bond), Mr. Rosenbarger offered to provide Coffey and the entire Council with the original bond documentation showing his error. Coffey, of course, refused.

Since that time, the long disproven rumor of a $3 million loan has continued to circulate, usually from anonymous sources who, like Coffey, are more interested in political turmoil than the truth.

Note also that the same anonymous gripes continue to claim on your blog, as did Coffey at the time, that our tax dollars subsidize the operation of the parking garage.

Their own notes here prove them wrong, showing that the garage actually turns a small profit each year. They’ll no doubt purposely forget that and go back to griping about subsidizing garage operations soon.

In short, why doesn’t TIF pay back $3 million to EDIT? Because it doesn’t owe EDIT $3 million and never did.

Besides, EDIT money can be spent on anything that TIF can be used to finance. What’s the point of continuing to demand the false repayment if the money can be spent on the important projects you mention anyway?

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