Feb 28, 2023

The Morning Call Can't Spell Molovinsky

Out of frustration, J.B. and Kathleen Reilly have stopped reading the political blogs that snidely refer to downtown Allentown as Reillyville or Reillytown,
 so writes Scott Kraus and Matt Assad in today's feature story. Although a large portion of the article defends against criticism from this blog, including the phrases Reillyville and Reillytown, reporters and editors have once again chosen to not give attribution to molovinsky on allentown. Although perhaps J.B. has stopped reading this blog, I know that Kraus and Assad are reading these words: So boys, here's the biggie you missed today. You forgot to mention that the City gave Reilly $20 million (loaned from National Penn) in seed money, with no specifications, which he used to buy those 32 properties for $15.1 million. I say the City, because the loan was made even before the NIZ Authority was formed. You forgot to mention that some of the owners displaced by Reilly's buying spree felt intimidated, supposedly even including the possibility of eminent domain. Although you keep parroting Pawlowski's premise of risk on Reilly's part, the only real risk was ours. Although you have presented a defense against all the apparent connections, the fact remains that we now have Reillyville.

UPDATE: Kraus and Assad write; records show he(Reilly) didn't buy his first new property until March 2011 — three months after the new downtown NIZ map was adopted, and a week after the city publicly announced it was shifting the arena downtown. Public records refer to deed transfers, but when were the Agreements of Sale signed? Reilly wonders why other developers are not taking advantage of the NIZ.  Perhaps because Reilly has already purchased all the adjoining blocks? Perhaps because they are not assured that their project will be granted the same NIZ Authority approval, necessary for  the tax debt funding, being enjoyed by Reilly?  

above reprinted from February of 2013

ADDENDUM FEBRUARY 28, 2023: A decade has passed and not much has changed about the Morning Call's reportage on Reilly and the NIZ.  Ironically, Reilly now owns the former Morning Call building, and the city is now covered by reporters who never heard of Allentown in 2013. Of course Allentown is much more Reillytown now than it was ten years ago. This past weekend even fellow blogger Bernie O'Hare seemed to pitch Reilly a soft ball. He wondered if the town seems dead, it could be because residents are at home, like most of us. Needless to say, young professionals don't move to center city, tolerate parking in deck a block away, to stay in at night.  O'Hare goes on to explain... The NIZ is controversial, but this post [O'Hare's post]  is NOT about the wisdom of this redevelopment tool, It's here. It's whether Reilly's vision can be seen as putting Allentown in a better position than other downtowns. 

O'Hare and I agree that Hamilton Street is almost 100% Reilly.  IMO, that alone demonstrates the moral dilemma of the NIZ. I have little doubt that it was a boutique legislation for a friend, a quintessential insider deal. Reilly can keep building without corresponding occupancy, because diverted state taxes are paying his debt service. While this arrangement may be legal by the boutique NIZ state law, it is a profound conflict of interest against the taxpayers. 

Scrutiny of the NIZ  remains limited to this blog, and for my reward I remain a persona non grata.


  1. First, concerning the failing Morning Call. As a more than 50 year daily home subscriber we have been notified of another huge rate increase. To continue on will now cost roughly $750 per year. This amount is now nearly TWICE the amount paid in 2021! Sounds outrageous to me.

    Yes, the NIZ arrangement is a massive misuse of State Tax dollars. Amazing how this is allowed to continue on. It was clear after just a couple years taxpayers will never be out of that money pit. Can there be no end?

    1. Wow...that is outrageous! We can't even get a subscription delivered in our area. I refuse to pay the equally outrageous $4.00 newstand price. However, I can buy the Sunday edition, such as it is, for $1.25 at the local dollar store.

    2. Also notice the full ‘year’ subscription rate only buys you 48 weeks, not 52. Beyond people just giving up their home delivery subscriptions because of the paper’s unequal political bias, I expect many more will now also cancel due to the steep price increases.

  2. anon@6:07: Actually, it might become worse from a taxpayer view. Shapiro appointed Browne director of Revenue. Reilly may well be now assisted in both downtown and at the state hospital parcel, by new regulations coming down from the executive branch.

    1. This is where legitimate news media used to intervene, to guard the public’s interest. A full investigation and analysis required, not just publishing press releases as prepared by the parties involved.

      You know, the tolerance of the continued NIZ folly is a microcosm of what we see nationally with many federal operations.

      You know, treat citizens as we grow mushrooms. In the dark, fed with (the brown stuff).

  3. MM (6:16 AM) wrote: "Actually, it might become worse from a taxpayer view. Shapiro appointed Browne director of Revenue. Reilly may well be now assisted in both downtown and at the state hospital parcel, by new regulations coming down from the executive branch."

    Anon (8:19 am) wrote: "This is where legitimate news media used to intervene, to guard the public’s interest."

    MM (in the original post) wrote: "Scrutiny of the NIZ remains limited to this blog..."

    Sorry for the three comments that I cut and pasted, but I think they are pertinent and highlight the need for continued discussion of the NIZ.

    Quite honestly, I was somewhat surprised that comments about the NIZ weren't allowed on the recent LVR Allentown post. I shouldn't have been (surprised), as the moderator of that site has become increasingly partisan and unwilling to allow honest discussion of many issues.

    I would have thought that wouldn't happen, given that the same lax scrutiny by the local press is what helped Pawlowski's corruption to fester and spread. While I commend LVR for eventually helping to expose Pawlowski, I would have thought that a lesson would have been learned there. Apparently not.

    That said, thank you MM, for your continued coverage of what actually happened in the NIZ in the not-so-distant past. More important, thank you for reminding us of why it still remains relevant today and allowing us to add to the conversation. It's truly a story - and discussion - that we won't see anywhere else.