Entries Tagged 'Legacy Developments' ↓

Is Legacy giving up a lot of opportunities by hiring Ketchum?

While Legacy maintains that Ketchum will not be involved with the DT Mixed Use PPP Parking Ramp, moving forward, what does his 2-Year conflict of interest agreement mean?

I have been asking different city officials this question, and awaiting some responses.

The way I see it, since Ketchum will be VP of Operations for Legacy that essentially means he will be directly or indirectly involved with ALL of their projects (even the DT parking ramp). Moving forward, could this mean for the next two years Legacy as a development company can’t be involved with city projects such as;

Street Vacations

TIF’s

Façade Programs

Public Private Partnerships

Infrastructure upgrades

Special Rezones

Of course Legacy will probably try to play some fancy tricks with LLC’s, as they have done in the past. If I were the city planning department/mayor’s office I would send a letter immediately to Legacy informing them of the two-year moratorium while Ketchum works for them. And trust me, if the city chooses to ignore the conflict rules, the media and others will be quick to remind them, because we already got hoodwinked on the asbestos dumping, the building collapse and the parking ramp.

Legacy doesn’t get another by, not this time.

UPDATE II: These are the kind of things Grand Juries investigate

UPDATE II: Daren is sooooo awesome and cool.

The AL reported last night that Ketchum was in negotiations with Legacy since April. Should this be any surprise? Let’s look at previous employees that pulled this;

Erica Beck left the planning office of the city after being forced to write the Sanford Sports Complex Mega-Tif that had nothing to do with blight, setting a precedent moving forward with TIFs. Beck was at least smart enough to bounce around at a couple of little known non-profit agencies before landing at Lloyd Companies. She did a full circle and returned to the city.

Kendra Siemonsma who was the project manager for the Events Center and the Midco Aquatic Center suddenly quit the city and went to work for Midco right after inking the sponsorship deal with them (which included two very ugly signs in Spellerberg Park advertising a Cable Company that has a virtual monopoly in Sioux Falls). Ironically, she is no longer with Midco, and works for Sanford now.

Kevin Smith (who I believe was forced to resign from the city after taking a demotion) took a job with AE2S who does consulting for the city.

While there isn’t much the city can do legally to stop the parking ramp from being built (the bonds have already been sold). They can refuse to do anymore PPPs with Legacy over the next two years as long as Ketchum is VP.  We’ll be watching.

Well, we have known it for a long time, Developers run our city and it’s planning office and it couldn’t get more blatantly obvious;

Daren Ketcham, the former Sioux Falls city official who was paramount in picking Legacy Developments to lead a $50 million parking ramp project in downtown Sioux Falls, began his role as vice president with that same company Monday.

UPDATE: This couldn’t get any richer;

Ketcham won’t be working on one of Legacy’s largest projects, however. The company is involved in the Village on the River mixed-use development under construction along 10th Street east of Phillips Avenue.

The city’s conflict-of-interest ordinance prohibits Ketcham from representing Legacy before the city or any public body for two years involving any project he worked on while employed there.

“It shouldn’t be an issue,” said Drake

LMAO. I’m sure he won’t be asked ANY questions behind closed corporate board room doors about the project. Hey Norm, I’m pretty sure the ‘conflict of interest’ refers to employment as well.

Besides the obvious conflict of interest of going to work immediately for Legacy after just handing them a $20 million dollar parking ramp with taxpayer money, some are questioning what Mayor TenHaken was told, when he was told it, and what he told us. The story goes that when Ketchum handed in his resignation he said who he was going to work for, or at least said it was a major developer in town. After that, he was NOT allowed access to any city computers/data, etc. Big whoop. Who knows what he took on thumb drives before his announcement. But according to the mayor’s office, Ketchum said he wouldn’t go to work for his new employer until late summer/early fall, after finishing up some Guard duties. So was Ketchum completely honest with Paul and his intentions and Paul wasn’t giving it to us straight? I don’t know. My guess is that both of them stretched the truth a bit.

The Erica Beck deal after just working for Lloyd Companies is just as shady. Supposedly she signed some kind of ‘financial disclosure’ yet I have not seen the document, and if it exists, it needs to be for public display on the city website. It should also include at least a 24 month waiting period before she can go back to work for any developer doing business with taxpayers after she quits the city (such as TIF’s or public/private partnerships).

I think it is time a Grand Jury get involved with investigating the DT parking ramp with Legacy. I also think that if TenHaken had at least one ounce of integrity, he would use his power to put the project on HOLD until the rats can be ferreted out.

This wreaks of corruption!

What’s up with the ‘white stained’ brick on the new building downtown?

Several people have commented to me that the white stained brick on the new building downtown going in the old Copper Lounge space doesn’t look that historical. Well join the club. A lot of the new construction downtown isn’t that historical. Just look at the condos across from Sunshine or the apartments and condos across from city hall and on Phillips to the Falls. They lack historical design.

But some are wondering how this brick facade got approved. Oh, the old ‘bait and switch’. I guess when the planning department was shown a sample of the brick that was going on that building, the developer, Legacy, showed them ONE brick that was the darkest from the crop with little white stain on it.

When the planning department was questioned about the relapse in judgement and what they were going to do about it they said moving forward they would require contractors to show a bigger cross section of the brick design.

But how does that solve this current problem?

You can’t make change stick unless you stick it to the original offender. I suggest the city informs Legacy they must paint the brick to come into historical compliance or tear it off. Once again, Legacy is given a free pass. Shocker!

New Hotel Downtown to include a Residence Inn

Funny, I got a call before the parking ramp hotel was approved from a foot soldier, he said this;

“The new hotel downtown is going to be a Residence Inn and ran by Lamont.”

What’s ironic about this is that this has been kept a secret for over 6 months (or longer), for what reason? What would have been the harm in telling the public this when they knew about it? There is no good reason. Secrecy serves no one, and sometimes oddly, doesn’t serve a purpose.

Downtown Parking Ramp Bonds sold in the dark of the night

So I guess the bonds sold last week at 3.5% interest rate. While the rate isn’t bad, I’m curious why there was NO announcement of the sale. Could it be with all the controversy surrounding Legacy and the pending lawsuits they didn’t want to draw anymore attention to it?

Also remember that the 2nd Penny, CIP road fund is being used as collateral. While they ‘claim’ they will never have to dip into this fund to make payments, some would speculate that is not the case, and the specific reason why that fund is being used as collateral. The enterprise fund for parking isn’t very big, and I can’t imagine they will be able to make that big of a mortgage payment and still be able to maintain salaries and maintenance without either dipping into the CIP or raising fess drastically.

We got duped on many levels with the DT Parking Ramp.

Judge Salter cuts through the BS

I have joked you could move this trial to Iceland and a jury would still find evidence of guilt;

But Salter said it was too early in the litigation to consider moving the trials. The cases are in their infancy and there wasn’t a record to validate Legacy’s argument.

“At this stage, I’m not considering the motion any further,” Salter said, leaving open the opportunity for Legacy to file a new motion to change the venue later in the case.

Dan Fritz, a lawyer representing Emily Fodness, who was trapped in the collapse, and Vince Roche, who represents the family of Ethan McMahon, the worker who died in the collapse, objected to the change of venue motion.

Fritz said that his case would include witnesses, such as fire personnel and Fodness’ treating doctors, who would have to drive three hours each way if the case were tried in Aberdeen.

“That prejudices my client, unrightfully,” he said. “There is no good reason for that.”

Roche argued that it would be impossible to determine the impact of social media posts on a county of 200,000 people. And he argued that media coverage of the Copper Lounge collapse was equally available to residents of Aberdeen, given the internet and the nature of media coverage in South Dakota.

“It’s going to be the same regardless of where we are,” he said.

The facts are the facts, no matter who sits on the jury. Salter did the right thing. It’s just to bad our city council can’t figure it out. Maybe we should have Aberdeen’s city council voting on our public/private partnerships in Sioux Falls instead.

UPDATE on Unresponsive Bidders

On the Sioux Falls City Council agenda, Item#2 for Tuesday’s meeting has more details on what disqualifies bidders. Here is the full Doc; BID-Dis

I highlighted the items that ‘could’ apply to Legacy and Hultgren;

Who isn’t suing Legacy?

The hits keep coming;

In the lawsuit, IJK, LLC, a limited liability company managed by Kant, alleges that he was forced out of Eastwold in violation of the terms of the lease. The lease agreement that Kant signed with CLP Investments, the company that bought the Copper Lounge, allowed the building owner to terminate the lease in the event Eastwold was damaged, but only if 75 percent of the premises was untenantable.

I wondered when this suit was coming. As I understand it there was little damage to the Eastwold building after the collapse. The Eastwold building is actually a separate building from the building that collapsed.

The news coverage of Legacy has been ‘Negative and Inaccurate’?

Wow, it doesn’t get more RICH than this;

“Despite these facts, the media coverage gave the public a false impression that Legacy owned the property, hired the contractor, was culpable in the collapse and at fault for the death and injuries that followed, and should be punished for the same.”

Really? Legacy owned the property right up until the building collapse;

Minnehaha County records show that an entity called Boomerang Investments bought the Copper Lounge from CLP Investments. The transfer fee was recorded one day before the building collapsed.

Both entities share addresses at 101 S. Main Ave., Suite 400 in Sioux Falls, which is the same address of Legacy Development. Both also listed Norm Drake as their sole manager and president. Drake is also Legacy’s CEO.

Hultgren Construction, which was remodeling the Copper Lounge at the time of the collapse, was run by Aaron Hultgren. He was Legacy’s director of development and operations.

If I were a judge, I would MAKE SURE the trial was held in Sioux Falls. There are false allegations, and than there are facts. It seems the ‘facts’ in this case are pretty clear. And if so many ‘false allegations’ were made, why didn’t Legacy sue for libel?

If it Smells Bad and Looks Bad, it is probably Bad.

This is exactly what I told the city council last week in reference to doing business with Legacy Development for the Downtown Parking Ramp PPP.

Today it was announced that the piling on continues;

A lawsuit was filed on behalf of Emily, Mike and Chris Fodness on Tuesday.  The defendants named in the court filing include Legacy Development & Consulting Company, LLC; Aaron Hultgren; Hultgren Construction, LLC.; Boomerang Investments, LLC; CLP Investments, LLC; Olympia Real Estate Holdings, LLC; and RISE Structural Associates, Inc.

Besides the McMahon and Fodness families suing, the Federal Government and OSHA are still investigating, those charges could be coming very soon.

Many in the public continue to ask the question; Why would a majority of the council support this project? What do they know? Many feel there is some kind of underlying corruption going on. Makes you wonder, and if there is what could it be?

Let’s look at what we know for sure;

We know that for some strange reason the city agreed to pay for ALL of the foundation costs which basically doubled the price of the parking ramp.

We also know that the hotel got one heck of a deal on the lease without a proper appraisal.

So what would happen if the bonds (around $21 million) are taken out in April and the deal with Legacy or Lamont falls through before a shovel goes in the ground? This means the city would have this money sitting in an account to use for almost anything. Why? Because the bonds will be taken out with the 2nd Penny as collateral. Like the $9.1 million mortgage payment on the Denty per year and the $1.1 million mortgage we pay on the administration building we would have to pay an additional $1 million out of this fund, which is supposed to be for road repair.

When this deal was struck many directors and councilors claimed that we would never have to worry about that because the parking department’s enterprise fund produces enough revenue to make the mortgage payment. No way. The revenue basically covers wages and maintenance now, and not much left over for bond payments. Those fees will have to be raised significantly to cover that payment. Let’s face it, it was no accident that the 2nd penny was used as collateral, because it will have to make this payment. No getting around it.

So is this just a scam to get our hands on $21 million for something else? Not sure. But the whole deal stinks really, really bad. I guess we will have to wait, once again, on the courts to open the books.