Dec 24, 2008

Golf Course Shenanigans

According to an article by Jarrett Renshaw in today's Morning Call, the long term (more than ten years) operator of the restaurant at the golf course has been out maneuvered by Mayor Pawlowski. Although his bid was identical to the successful bidder, the winner provided better answers to a questionnaire; so much for the concept of respecting an existing tenant and his track record. The new tenant, Allentown Brew Works, also has a track record with the city and taxpayers. Jarrett Renshaw writes, "The awarding of the Brew Works contract continues a long line of public support to the Allentown Brew Works, which has enjoyed more than $4.5 million in local, state and federal loans and grants to renovation and construction. The public support includes more than $90,000 in direct taxpayers support from the city of Allentown for design and facade improvements. In addition, the Allentown restaurant sits in a Keystone Opportunity Zone, which means it's exempt from most state and local taxes until 2011."
The decision was not officially made by Pawlowski, but by his five-person committee of city officials. Rumor of this shenanigan has been circulating town for several weeks.


Bernie O'Hare said...

It's ironic. The person who introduced patronage, Andrew Jackson, claimed the installation of his cronies was actually a "reform" over a system in which the same people stayed in the little jobs, no matter who was president.

Some reform.

Allentown and King Ed clearly bends over for Dem Committeeman Fegley.

Anonymous said...

To be honest, I didn't even know the other place exists at the golf course.

It appears the Brew Works as already doing a better job of marketing the facility.

Anonymous said...

Better they bend over than be on their knees for any politician who pats them on the head and thanks them for doing character assassination on political opponents.
i don't like the way the Fegley's seem to be favored, but who else is stepping up to operate a business in Center City. Mr Molovinsky's criticism of the process is justified, Mr O'hare's comment deriding the Mayor is nothing more than him taking another opportunity to insult someone. i don't see him questioning the way Ron Angle uses State grants and other Pork opportunities to subsidize his farm, properties, and business interests, or what that require too much research?

VDSM at the Fitness Club

Anonymous said...

Mr. Molovinsky, I hate to go off topic, but it's at the point anymore where no matter what local blog i decide to browse, the first comment is always by o'Hare. It almost makes me want to turn off the computer. there is no escape. If you ignore his blogs, he starts writing on everybody elses. He's worse than Billy Givens ever was.

Volvo Driving Soccer Mom from the fitness club

michael molovinsky said...

anon 10:01, the "publicity" came from jarrett renshaw at the morning call.

volvo driving, believe me i don't relish taking issue with your comments, the last thing i want is another blog enemy. i read your comment at lvs, which i believe is only one or two from actual people out of over 120. you made a very serious accusation against o'hare concerning you and your sister -in -law. if you believe that to be true, you should go to the police, but otherwise it is slander. likewise if you know that ron angle is profiting from his position, you should at least post about it on your blog. it's one thing to dislike someone, it's another to make serious allegations

Anonymous said...


This story serves to remind us of what Allentown has become under two successive Democrat administrations. City hall looks and smells bad to many of those who actually live here but is no doubt viewed as a big success by state Democrat officials. They are getting what they want from Allentown. In the meantime city government is working better for a select few than for the greater good.

Scott Armstrong

Bernie O'Hare said...


Volvo Driving Soccer Mom was formerly known as Pissed Off Naked Blogger. Those of us who've been in Blogistan for awhile are well aware of her and her brutal encounters with those who dare disagree with her. Now she's even criticizing me for commenting on blogs before she gets to them.

My criticism of King Edwin is that he bends over regularly for Dem Committeeman Fegley. The charge of cronyism is entirely justified, given the millions the city has given ABW and its favorable KOZ status. ABW is actually given preference over the existing restaurant at the golf course, which was willing to pay the same prices, and it just so happens there were only two bids. Hmmmm.

Something stinks.

Instead of seeing this cronyism for what is is, or responding to the charge, I am attacked personally for agreeing with a blog and excellent news story that points it out.

But this is nothing. Believe me, I'll be all over Pawlowski like ham on rye next year, so PONB better get used to it. I can't wait until he finally files his expense report for last year and we see how much money he has been getting and where it is coming from. How much comes from the Fegleys? Zawarski? Last year, King Pay to Play did not even file his report on time and illegally used campaign funds to pay the late fee.

As far as Angle is concerned, most of his money comnes from wise real estate investments as well as his interest in various banks. I do check his ethics statement every year, as I do with all Northamnpton County Council members. Angle gets no grants or subsidies for his farm. Pissed Off Nakled Blogger's accusation is recklessly false, and was cynically made to divert people from the real bad boy, King Ed.

Speaking of reckless charges, her false claim that I have ever "stalked" anyone is just plain silly. I agree w/ MM. If PONB thinks I am or was stalking her, she should report me to the police immediately. Same for her sister in law, Aphrodite's Daughter. Stalking is a serious matter, just like rape. People who make wild accusations with absolutely no evidence just make things more difficult for real criminal victims. It is easy to fabricate bullshit claims, and that's exactly what has been done.

michael molovinsky said...

although it has not exactly been my pleasure, i have hosted an exchange of criticism between two bloggers. i do request that if either feels compelled to continue that exchange, they do so on their own blog.
in regard to bernie's comments about fegley being rewarded for his democratic ties, i have another take. i believe, especially after the failure of Johnny's Manana's, Pawlowski will do everything necessary to keep the brew pub viable until at least after next november, even by providing a remote location. remember Pawlowski explained the crime problem by claiming he concentrated on community development for the first two years, and the brew pub is one of the few feathers left in that cap.

Anonymous said...

Could it be that the Fegley's are given support because the are concerned and active citizens?

After all, Mike Fegley move his family from the West End into a home at 8th & Gorden which they have renovated. That seems like a rather genuine gesture to me.

Why do you guys want to see this city fail?

Anonymous said...

Someone above stated there were only 2 bids? Was this an actual bidding process? If so, isn't it odd both bids came in at $35,000? If it was not a bidding process, why wasn't it?
Also odd, that the MC didn't or couldn't reach the "losing" bidder for comment for today's paper. Sometimes silence says a lot.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 4:50, your remark in unbelievable, you believe someone should be rewarded because they moved from the west end to center city? reward them with your money, not my tax dollars. i wish the fegleys, the brew pub and allentown well. i want to see the city adopt a fair and level playing field, instead of putting all our eggs in one basket.


merry christmas - the city is fortunate and blessed to have baseball, not just for fans but for local economy, too

merry christmas to all

Anonymous said...

We can only hope that all the cronyism ends next year and the carpetbagger can go back to Chicago.
It is interesting to note that Sir Edwin did not make the announcement and passed it over to a select committee of his employees and/or friends.
However I missed his picture, standing on the first tee with the brew works bosses. bowing down and saying thank you.

Anonymous said...

Jarrett Renshaw writes, "The awarding of the Brew Works contract continues a long line of public support to the Allentown Brew Works, which has enjoyed more than $4.5 million in local, state and federal loans and grants to renovation and construction. The public support includes more than $90,000 in direct taxpayers support from the city of Allentown for design and facade improvements. In addition, the Allentown restaurant sits in a Keystone Opportunity Zone, which means it's exempt from most state and local taxes until 2011."

MM - I am assuming you are being sarcastic about this being written by Jarrett. If not, it has been sanitized from the on-line article that I just read today (12/26).

michael molovinsky said...

anon 1:26, that is word for word as it appeared in the hard-print, however, it was the last paragraph. the headline, and first portion of the article on the front of the local section, had a much more positive spin.

Anonymous said...

The vast majority of that $4.5 million was in the form of loans which are now being paid back.

michael molovinsky said...

i do not play golf, nor have i ever been to the restaurant at the course. this morning, an occasional golf player told me he considered the current grill there nice. the article mentions the hope that a revised restaurant would attract more golfers; that premise seems unrealistic. a second hope cited that the new facility could become an end destination in itself; that result doesn't seem in the best interests of the primary function as a municipal golf course.

Chris Casey said...

If Fegley's are paying back loans, that is good, but appearance of impropriety and favoritism does no one any good. The Public is owed a better golf course explanation.

Anonymous said...

I had an opportunity to see both bids, which included menu and pricing, tournament food pricing, and required a minimum bid of $35000 per year in rent. The current vendor actually bid slightly more than ABW in the rent category. The food and tournament pricing difference was, in most cases, at least 50% higher and close to double for some basic golf course food. As an avid golfer who frequents Allentown MUNICIPAL Golf Course, I can assure you that ABW will quickly realize that the golfing public has no interest in having yet another sports bar/theme restaurant on their course. They will have to make up their supposed $200,000 in improvements
with all the weddings and corporate events they say will flock to their facility. Fat chance.

EX-Season ticket golfer said...

I found out that there was no questionairre given to the two bidders. A series of questions was asked of each, with not one of the five person committee writing anything down at all. They then came up with a numerical score for each. For example, qualifications of key personnel- Sand Trap Grille 7.9/10 ABW 10/10. Are they kidding, the guy has been there for over ten years and has never had a complaint from a customer, yet he only gets 7.9 and ABW gets a 10.

This is an obvious setup for ABW. I believe that Mayor ED is trying to help ABW which everyone knows is in financial trouble. They are draining the more successful Bethlehem Brew Works to keep their heads above water.
I agree with anon that ABW will be shocked by the lack of customers at their new restaurant. Most of the leagues that usually spent their post round time at the Sand Trap have already made alternate plans. The weekend groups have joined local fire companies for their 19th hole.

Mr Fegley, you should have done a little market research before you got involved with the "little people". The golfers will vote with their feet. I envision another White Elephant similar to Johnny Mananas. Spend your $200,000 wisely. I suggest a CD rather than hoping to lure people to your new restaurant.