Feb 24, 2016

Allentown's Arena District, A License To Steal


The owners of PPL Plaza, who are losing Talen Energy to Jaindl's waterfront NIZ, have sued the NIZ for the unfair playing field that the NIZ has created.  Attorneys for the NIZ say that the Plaza owners made a bad business decision in 2006, and overpaid for the building.  Of course the Plaza owners are correct,  an unlevel playing field is an understatement.  To add insult to actual injury, the NIZ board has decreed that Jaindl can apply a percentage of the taxes paid by the Talen workers for his debt service.   The Plaza owners were not the only owners hurt by the NIZ.  Among losses by other owners, Doug Frederick is losing Morgan Stanley, Boyertown lost Penn National, and the Masonic Temple lost Buckno Lisicky.

Although Pawlowski and The Morning Call like to say that Allentown has been revitalized,  in truth the revitalization has mostly centered on the wallets of J.B. Reilly, and a few other chosen individuals.  While the pre-opening arena hype spoke of 140 events a year, the white elephant stands idle, all but for a few dozen nights.

I have heard speculation that Pawlowski's overdue indictment might be related to pending charges against some principles involved in the NIZ,  but I don't believe that they are the fish to be fried.  Unfortunately, the NIZ was given a license to steal, from your elected midgets in Harrisburg.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

The hollowing out of the Masonic Temple is a crime. If the region had a functioning newspaper it would be the subject of a protracted investigative piece.'
Alas...

michael molovinsky said...

@6:05, indeed, two years ago i did a blog post on that

Jamie Kelton said...

I still don't understand how moving down to Front Street is a good business decision. Ninth and Hamilton is a much more desirable location than down in the Ward.

Someone must be bribing someone to make a decision like that.

doug_b said...

Michael, get some local entrepreneur, and make a board game - sorta like monopoly.

There are big similarities: go to jail, you don't get paid - you get a kick back, land on a square - that says "talk to FBI", etc. I'm not a local - but I bet you it will sell.

Anonymous said...

right now ,there are people from out of the area who know how to prey on this type of pipe dream the mayor has created. a new breed of honest investors will purchase the hockey rink and everything related to it.the mayor will do hard time.i feel sorry for he knew what he was doing.the feds are going deep and slow, in the end rico charges will filed. I was speaking to some of my retired f b I friends. they knod yes he will relocate to the newist of 5 fed pens in the rocky mountains of Colorado for a long time. I spent my life giving real advice to white collar thugs. my advice would be stop your foolishness and come clean and cooperate with the feds.you are not going to beat several rico raps. I will stay neutral in my reply to you

michael molovinsky said...

@11:05, the hockey arena is owned by a public authority, and cannot be "sold". the NIZ was not created by the mayor, but occurred his watch. so far, all accusations concern normal city hall contracts, none of which have to do with the NIZ. i don't know what the mayor will be charged with, and no more such speculative comments will be hosted.

Anonymous said...

Watch the cigarettes. More taxes more money, more gas/conv. Stores more money. KaChing.

Dave said...

Smoke, smoke, smoke them cigarettes.....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbKQklwNScA

Anonymous said...

What is immensely disappointing is that this is another fight between rich people getting press.

I think it's stunning that the Call has this and crap food on the front page but doesn't seem to care about the shootings, the homeless man found dead or the two young people found dead in a house. Nobody seems to get that the precious NIZ is a small boat in an ocean of decay and suffering while your so-called leaders have failed everybody. Mayors under federal investigation. Non-profits spend more time writing editorials and attending lunches. An inept City Council.

Perhaps the Call is sending a message in a way - food and shopping are the best thing we've got going in reality, and that's saying a lot. Just stay distracted. This is as good as it gets.


Anonymous said...

"I have heard speculation that Pawlowski's overdue indictment might be related to pending charges against some principles involved in the NIZ, but I don't believe that they are the fish to be fried. Unfortunately, the NIZ was given a license to steal, from your elected midgets in Harrisburg."

While I understand your disdain for those in Harrisburg, I have to disagree. The NIZ is one thing, but pay-to-play for contracts and campaign finance abuse is another. One only has to look at the subpoena list to realize that the FBI is at least LOOKING at a possible connection.

If you want to do a little investigating, I suggest that you look at the Citizens for Urban Renewal campaign reports in 2015 prior to the primary (and the FBI raid). Several contributions are listed for "Pawlowski-approved" candidates, with the addresses listed as "c/o H Street Strategies".

That was Fleck's company, and one has to wonder if the contributions were made to the candidates, or simply to Fleck to divvy up (or keep, or report) as he saw fit.

Who is behind Citizens for Urban Renewal? I leave it to you to decide to reveal whose PAC that is.

michael molovinsky said...

@1:54, supposedly, on the mike fleck email to pawlowski listing uncollected pledges, j. b. reilly is listed for $50K. although that is a lot of contribution, all facts on the ground, thus far, only deal with city hall and the tax collection agency. as for any other misdeeds, concerning the NIZ or any PAC, i neither investigate or indict, but trust that the FBI will eventually conclude its case. in the meantime, there are plenty of improprieties in allentown to keep this keyboard busy.

Anonymous said...

Mike, I think the lease agreement leaves the taxpayers footing the bill. Brooks will owe $1.00 a month through years 11-29. Does the public really own this or is it another parking authority? So, the taxpayers took all the risk then gave the arena away for $1.00 a month. When or if they regain controll it will need a ton of repairs again at taxpayers expense. Also, there are no opportunities for a small vendor to sell a hotdog anywhere near this so called Neighborhood Improvement Zone because no neighbors will be included in this improvement. CG