On the campaign trail, Commissioner Williams talks about how he brought fiscal responsibility to City Hall under his watch.
Sure, that’s why the city spent over $4 million first declaring part of Twin Towers blighted, then paying for appraisals, options and buildings in a 12 acre parcel over 5 years of his watch- with no contract from either the developer or Kroger for them to take possession of the parcel or to build a new Kroger.
We don’t talk about that.
But, now, we’re going after Matt Luongo. Who? The guy that actually delivered something- a music festival in Downtown Dayton that bombed financially- but, was a pretty good freshman shot at doing something positive in the city.
Here’s parts of the story from WDTN’s Pam Elliot, who seems to be the only real reporter in town these days:
DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – It was supposed to put Dayton in the national spotlight and generate millions for the city. Instead, it’s left some people singing the blues and chanting “show us the money.” Even taxpayers are out for now.
2 NEWS Investigates obtained a letter in which the president of the limited liability company set up to put on the music festival, “Downtown Revival” reports more than a $200,000 loss and little hope to pay those he owes….
The trail of unpaid services doesn’t stop there. 2 NEWS Investigates found out your tax dollars ended up supporting what was to be a privately funded event. That’s because Downtown Revival, LLC hasn’t paid the City of Dayton either, and the city leaders who agreed to a contract with the company don’t seem to know where your money is.
When Mayor Gary Leitzell’s assistant told us he wouldn’t be talking about it, we approached the mayor at City Hall. He said he’d talk with us when he looked at the details. A week later, there was still no word from the mayor.
City Commissioner Nan Whaley did agree to an interview. “We’ll certainly try to recoup the money paid to the city for those efforts. We recognize, too, that Matt’s trying to do something, trying to support that effort but we’ll go after the money as well,” she told 2 NEWS.
The money amounts to more than $60,000 for help from police, fire, and public works. Our public records request produced only one check to the City of Dayton, that being for $10,000 dated September 7, 2012.
The City’s public information officer was reluctant to comment.
Pam Elliot : So is it in the legal department now?
Tom Biedenharn: No. It doesn’t necessarily have to go to the legal department.
Elliot: So what is the process?
Biedenharn: We work with the vendor.
Elliot: Is Matt Luongo or Downtown Revival, LLC coming forward with money?
Biedenharn: We are working with him.
Elliot: Are you confident you’ll get the money?
Biedenharn: Sure. Sure.
But 2 NEWS Investigates doesn’t know why the city is so sure it will get paid. Rice and Nye received an identical letter this year from Matt Luongo, President, Downtown Revival, LLC, which reads, “We will not have assets sufficient to satisfy any of our remaining liabilities. On behalf of Downtown Revival, I offer my sincerest apologies.”
The letter directs them to take their questions to Tom Whalen, attorney for Downtown Revival.
We did, but got no answers….
The city says the city manager’s office has been in conversations with Luongo to work out repayment, but if that doesn’t work, they’ll send the matter to the Finance Department’s collection program.
For those who have no clue how Luongo got to do what he did, you might want to look at where he worked previous to his turn in the sun at the community’s expense. His father, former CEO of the Berry Company, opened doors for him- at the Dayton Development Coalition and then UD.
Director of Development, University Initiatives
University of Dayton
December 2009 – August 2011 (1 year 9 months)
Dayton Development Coalition
Director, Business Recruitment
2005 – 2009 (4 years)
Somehow, someone looked past the facts that he had no experience in concert promotion, wasn’t signing for anything personally, and had no personal assets on the line.
That’s fiscal responsibility Dayton Style, thanks to Commissioner Williams. As to Ms. Whaley, a local businessman told me she had no clue what an LLC was. Well, maybe now she does.
But seriously, folks, $200K is about what we pay Steve Budd at Citywide a year, it’s about what the Dayton Development Coalition spent on their annual meeting a few years ago where they brought in a Las Vegas artist to do a painting of John Lennon while spinning the canvas and giving away t-shirts in plastic tubes. This is small fry theft, but I’m sure Matt Luongo will be hung out the way Raleigh Trammell was too- while letting the big crooks walk.
(and btw- there are links that I could put all through this post- from old posts on Esrati.com talking about a lot of these things- but, that would take time- and I’ve got work to do. Wayne Ave. Kroger has its own category, search for Trammell, Luongo, Dayton Revival, etc.)