In the summer of 2006, Toledo City Council passed an emergency funding expenditure that was suppose to give $270,000 to the Dorr Street Brownstones Corp. to help build The Brownstones apartments at Dorr St and Smead Ave.
In August 2006, the Toledo Mayor participated in a groundbreaking ceremony. The first set of brownstone apartments was suppose to open by December 2006. As of July 2007, no construction has begun,
the developer cannot be found, and the whereabouts of the money is not known, and City officials either know nothing about this project, or they are intentionally withholding public information from the public.
- Jul 24, 2007 WNWO story - Central City Project...Nothing But A Lot of Broken Dreams?5
1 Aug 19, 2006 Blade:
Developer Jackson McDaniel, of Four Seasons Housing Corp., Birmingham, Mich., said construction of "the Brownstones on Dorr Street" would begin right away, with completion likely in early 2007. He said the dwellings would be sold at prices ranging from $87,000 to $95,000. Each unit will have a private backyard and garage, and the rear yards will be accessible only through the garage.Toledo City Council voted last week to award $270,000 in federal funds to assist the project at 1630-1638 Dorr. The total cost of the six-unit project is $816,000. Buyers must have an income that does not exceed 80 percent of the area median income, or $47,100 for a family of four. Mr. McDaniel said the homes will be within the reach of someone with at least a $30,000 income. KeyBank Community Lending Group will assist with construction financing, mortgages, assistance with down payments, and home ownership training.
2 Jun 27, 2007 Blade:
Today, the Rev. Raymond Bishop, pastor at Mount Pilgrim, said the area has been forgotten as money flows to the Dorr Street Corridor, downtown, and the Marina District in East Toledo. Mr. Bishop said the area is ripe for an urban renaissance. He said tonight's meeting, organized by the Dorr Street Coalition, can become a catalyst for attention, money, and development of the strip.
Mr. Bishop said the coalition includes 15 to 20 African-American organizations and 700 individuals interested in seeing tax dollars and private investment along Dorr. He said people in the area simply want their fair share of attention and financial resources dedicated to their end of the corridor.
Last month, Mayor Carty Finkbeiner and University of Toledo President Dr. Lloyd Jacobs talked about working together to develop a student village environment along Dorr, where the university is located. That development, called the University Town District, would include new shops, cafes, restaurants, bookstores, and other student-oriented amenities.
Councilman Wilma Brown said the part of Dorr that runs through the central city is the gateway to the university area and needs the same attention. Ms. Brown said she has championed the redevelopment of Dorr in the central city ever since she's been on council and is pleased with the coalition's commitment.Ms. Brown has supported the development of townhouses along Dorr, near Smead Avenue, called the Brownstones. She said she hopes construction will start soon, but investors are looking for the presale of two units to get the project going.
3 Here are excerpts from the missing Jul 10, 2007 Toledo Journal story, culled from Google's cache and posted in the Jul 25, 2007 Toledo Talk thread:
The Dorr Street Coalition is an outgrowth of the Toledo Urban Federal Credit Union’s plans to build its own building and vacate a rundown plaza on Dorr. Members want to see black-owned businesses and middle-income housing return to what they call “Main Street” and, more recently, “The Other Dorr Street” – the length between the downtown and Parkside Boulevard, where the University of Toledo community begins.
The task ahead is daunting, exemplified by The Brownstones on Dorr Street, a townhouse project that was supposed to have its first six-apartment building open by December of last year. A groundbreaking was held in August 2006, but white-owned banks have declined to offer development loans.One of the town hall speakers, Councilwoman Wilma Brown, openly wondered if banks would withhold their financial support if the townhouses were situated in Perrysburg or Maumee.
4 Jul 16, 2007 Glass City Jungle posting, which focused more on who in the media attended the June public meeting.
Comment by Brian Schwartz, the Public Information Officer for the Mayor:
5 Jul 24, 2007 WNWO story:
But today, there are no condos and no townhouses at the corner of Dorr and Snead. And no clear answer about when the brownstones will be built. Neighbors say, they doubt anyone will pay $87 thousand or more for condos in a neighborhood riddled with crime and drugs.
6 The initial posting in the Jul 25, 2007 thread at the old version of Toledo Talk mostly consisted of links and excerpts to the above stories with this additional piece of demographic info.
Population White: 5,882
Population Black: 19,296
Population Hispanic: 452
Avg. House Value: $48,300
Avg. House Income: $25,161
Persons Per House: 2.41
Southwyck Mall is located at one end of the 43614 zip code
Population White: 26,335
Population Black: 2,370
Population Hispanic: 951
Avg. House Value: $111,800
Avg. House Income: $42,080
Persons Per House: 2.16
Since the summer of 2005, we've known the developer for the much larger Southwyck redevelopment project.
Comment by psyche777:
When searching Brownstone Townhouses I discovered:
Obviously someone within the City has to know who Dorr Street Brownstones Corp is since they would have been the ones to get the check. I can't find any other information on them though online.
7 Jul 31, 2007 Swamp Bubbles posting by WSPD morning talk show host Fred LeFebvre that details his recent e-mail conversations with city officials during Fred's attempt to determine who is the developer for the Brownstones project.
Can you please explain why after a full year no work has been done on the project at Dorr and Smead? Why the measure was passed as an emergency since it's obviously not a priority, and where is the $270,000 council approved.
Your quick response to these questions is appreciated and will be reported on during the WSPD morning news show.Fred LeFebvre
Councilperson Brown answered:
In regard to the 270K being passed as an "emergency"....the vast majority of legislation passed by Council is passed as an emergency. This simply means that the legislation is effective upon the Mayor's signature. The money has been appropriated and earmarked for this project and will be available as soon as the project begins.
Should you have any further inquiries regarding the Brownstones on Dorr Street Project, please contact Mike Badik in the Dept of Neighborhoods. He has worked with the developer on a regular basis. He can be reached at 419-245-1400.Office of Councilwoman Wilma D. Brown
You’ll notice there are no names for the developer, local partner, bank, or real estate agent referred to in this letter.
I followed this letter with two phone calls and messages to Mr. Badik. Since I received no response after five days I sent the following letter.
Operating on the theory that you answer e-mails more quickly than you answer your messages, let me try once again to get some answers on the Brownstone Development on Dorr at Smead.
Can you please tell me the name of the developer, their new local partner, and the local bank with which they now have an agreement. Also please include the local real estate agent who has interested buyers. All of these people have been referenced in a letter I received from Councilperson Wilma Brown who suggested you would have the answers
I appreciate your quick responseFred LeFebvre
Now I’m not sure why Mr. Badik would inform Mr. Schwartz of my request instead of answering it himself but apparently he did just that, as I received this e-mail from the Mayor’s spokesman.
Mike Badik will not be calling you back on this issue.Brian
No need for Mr. Badik to return a call. I wrote an e-mail and like any citizen of the city of Toledo expect a reply with the information requested.
Yours from Toledo, a city of the futureFred LeFebvre
Mr. Schwartz responded once again to me and copied Mr. Badik it appears.
Mike, Please forward Fred's questions to me and we'll see if he has requested any documents.
Again I point out that I did not edit out a salutation or closing signature. The common rules of letter writing must be lost on the 22nd floor. And there it stands. I will be writing to my district councilperson Rob Ludeman, as well as the at-large councilpeople. It seems odd that the names of the people handling $270,000 of my tax dollars can’t be named. Unless of course there is a reason for not naming them because they either don’t exist, are friends of the administration, or the money isn’t there any longer. I can think of no other options.
Aug 1, 2007 Maggie Thurber comment in the Swamp Bubbles thread:
Second, ORC says that members of the public have the right to view and inspect any public record during normal business hours - and that records must be kept in such a way to allow a member of the public to view them accordingly. ... Since the administration doesn't want to answer questions, I'd show up at the office and ask to view any and all letters, memos, emails, contracts, notes relating to the development which mention the name of the developer, the new partner, the bank or the real estate agent. I'd then request copies of any specific communication that I wanted...Since it's known that there is a new partner, there must be something in writing to the city which explains this. Since it's known that there is a bank, there must be something in writing which names the bank. Since it's known that there is a real estate agent, there must be something in writing which names the agent.
8 Jul 31, 2007 Glass City Jungle posting that points to the Fred LeFebvre posting at Swamp Bubbles.
A couple comments from the blog posting:
Brian Schwartz occasionally posts comments at Swamp Bubbles and Glass City Jungle, but he has not commented in either of these Jul 31, 2007 postings.
Aug 1 Schwartz
Update: 11:25 p.m. Aug 1, 2007 - Schwartz has commented in the Swamp Bubbles thread but has not provided any information related to the Brownstones development. Schwartz talked about open records requests, and then he launched into a tirade about how WSPD does not permit conversation and debate.
First, Schwartz works for the taxpayers. He's paid with taxpayer money. WSPD is a not taxpayer-funded. The rules about openness don't apply equally here.
Comment by Schwartz on Aug 1, 2007 in the Swamp Bubbles thread:
You asked questions. I choose whose questions I answer and whose I do not. I don't answer your questions. I don't answer Brian's questions either. Open up your phone lines and perhaps I'll start.Had you come in and asked for documents, if they were at my disposal, I'd have made them available. I received the document request you had Kevin Milliken deliver for you today and I put one of the documents in his hand on the spot. I've assembled the documents in my possession that respond to your request except for one which I have to find tomorrow. Badik and the mayor will take a little longer.
Remember, Schwartz is the Public Information Officer of Toledo.
Fred lives in Toledo. Schwartz works for Fred. Fred does not work for Schwartz. Fred does not have to give Schwartz a platform, but Schwartz, it seems, should respond to the request of information from a citizen of Toledo. What gives Schwartz the right to pick and choose which citizens to respond to? Maybe Fred should pick and choose which city taxes to pay.
Excerpts from another bizarre comment by Schwartz:
You want to meet a first class coward? Try to find Brian Wilson. He does not appear in public because he's afraid to have his views challenged. Listen to what happens to callers who start to disagree with him. He would never venture onto a blog for fear of being intellectually overmatched.Listeners are figuring it out. Both Brian and Fred have trended downward in the Arbitron ratings. Unfortunately, Andy Stuart gave Brian big money and has to sink or swim with him. Unfortunately for Andy, it is the consensus of Toledo media that he will eventually sink.
Speaking of sinking, has Schwartz seen the population numbers of Toledo?
Clearly, Schwartz does not realize that WSPD is a business. Wilson and whoever at WSPD are not under any obligation to permit freedom of speech on their airways, just like a newspaper is not obligated to print every letter to the editor. A business can pick and choose, but a public official should not.
And what do WSPD Arbitron ratings have to do with 270,000 missing taxpayer dollars related to the Brownstones development? Nothing. And that's the point. Schwartz is engaging in a classic DEFLECTION technique by attempting to take the conversation away from the City and the missing $270,000 and trying to put the spotlight on WSPD's method of putting callers on the air.
WSPD has nothing to do with the missing $270,000. Schwartz is attempting to discredit WSPD because Fred is digging into this Brownstones development while the rest of Toledo's media are missing in action.
And I wonder what business owners and officials in other communities are thinking about all this? They must be shaking their heads in disbelief, once again. Why would other communities or business owners want to have anything to do with Toledo? Would this kind of City attitude and ineptitude cause Fed Ex to move to Wood County or Michigan? If so, at least Fed Ex would remain in the region, and that's what is really important.
Another comment from the Public Information Officer for Toledo, Ohio also known as the City of the Future:
You can try to get us all to sing kumbaya, but it aint' going to happen. Brian is an egomaniac with delusions of grandeur. Fred is a lemming. Their ratings are low and sinking lower. What do we have to gain by answering their inane questions?I'd rather go on a real show with a real host who knows something about Toledo government and knows how to host a show like Troy Neff on AM 1230 or Tom Watkins at 1560 WTOD. Want to hear the truth? Listen to them.
The rest of Lake Erie West must be having another good laugh at Toledo's expense. It's hard to imagine city officials in other Lake Erie West communities acting like this. Schwartz is having a public pissing match with a radio station.
It was Mayor Carty Finkbeiner who slandered Fred LeFebvre in the spring of 2006 that started all this. In a public meeting, Carty accused Fred of telling lies, but Carty has never provided evidence to support his claim, and Carty never apologized for his lie.
And what are the ratings of those "real" shows that Schwartz wants people to listen to? Excerpts from the latest ratings from the Jul 27, 2007 Toledo Free Press article
12 years and older are:
4. Clear Channel's WSPD 6.3, down from a 6.6
In the different dayparts, the top five in each were as follows:
Mornings 6-10 a.m.:
[4.] The Morning News with Fred Lefebrve on 1370 WSPD, 7.5, down from a 7.9 and
In Afternoon Drive, measured from 3 to 7 p.m., the top five were:
5. Brian Wilson, NewsTalk 1370 WSPD 6.1, down from 6.6
Chuck Matthews, program director of SuperTalk 1560 WTOD observed that the station's evening syndicated talk show host Michael Savage “had a nice bump up in the ratings.”Over at Clear Channel, Operation's Director Bill Michaels said, “Great spring book for the CC cluster. WIOT is No. 1 Men 18-34 with a 17.9 share. River is No. 2 12 plus and No. 2 women 25-54. WSPD is No. 3 Men 18-49. Great numbers to hand off to the sales staff. We're very happy."
I don't see Schwartz's "real" shows in the ratings. Naturally, Schwartz prefers to go on shows that have fewer listeners than WSPD.
Back to the ratings for second. In the Top 10 overall ratings, 6 of the 10 were down for the spring compared to winter. Four of the top 5 were down.
2. Clear Channel's 101.5, The River, 7.7, down from an 8.7
3. Cumulus' 93.5 WRQN 7.1 up from a 6.0
4. Clear Channel's WSPD 6.3, down from a 6.6
5. Clear Channel's WIOT 104.7 6.1, down from 7.0
Aug 1 Fred update
A comment by Fred LeFebvre in the Swamp Bubbles thread:
Fred posted the same thing in the Glass City Jungle thread, and Schwartz responded with:
I got a new Grand Cherokee with a satellite radio. Between the excellent classic rock stations and the endless number of MP3 files that fit in the six CD changer, I no longer listen to AM radio. Judging by Fred and Brian’s Arbitrons, fewer and fewer people are.I answer almost all questions put to me. I was asked all of the same questions by another reporter this morning and answered them. Kevin Milliken showed up today with a document request and I put the information in his hands.
Did Schwartz pay for his Cherokee with money from his taxpayer-funded salary? If so, then Fred helped Schwartz buy his vehicle, yet Schwartz, the public information officer, does not provide a Toledoan with public information.
And the question still remains: What's the status of the $270,000?