Economic Development gone wrong…

When I was still in college I worked at Multi-Service for a short stint to help them with marketing and sales. Mel Tatman hired me, his father, Ford, a crusty old man, fired me (for eating lunch at 3pm- because I was working through the normal lunch time).

The industrial laundry business was tough; a lot of EPA regulations, changing technologies, and environmental issues- plus Multi-Service had grown in a bunch of old buildings in the middle of the Huffman Historic District- not the ideal location for a business with lots of trucks and deliveries.

Thanks to constant pressure from Mike Osborne and Mike Turner, Multi-Service was forced/aided in a move to Radio Road by the City- with a sizeable grant. Once again, public money invested in a private business instead of in infrastructure. All intended to “keep jobs” in the city- instead of to provide real platforms for economic growth.

Unfortunately- here is the result:

Businessman could face jail time for environmental crimes

DAYTON — The president of an industrial laundry business pleaded himself and his company, Multi-Service, Inc., guilty Wednesday to federal environmental felony and misdemeanor charges, leaving him facing the possibility of up to three years in prison.Melvin L. Tatman, 61, will be sentenced Dec. 8 by U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Rose. Federal guidelines recommend a prison sentence of between six months and a year.

Tatman’s company faces a fine of up to $1.2 million.

Tatman, president of the company since 1990 and its sole stockholder, pleaded guilty to knowingly violating a pretreatment standard of the Clean Water Act, a felony. He also pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors of negligently violating pretreatment standards.

Although the evidence must have been compelling, I find it hard to believe that Melvin Tatman was doing something that he knew would harm the environment. But I do know, that local government really shouldn’t be investing our tax dollars in businesses- in the long run, it doesn’t seem to payoff.

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