You must be crazy- to invest in Dayton

It seems that there is a court that isn’t recognized publicly in Dayton, Ohio, “Development Court.”

All who wish to buy or sell property must come before this secret tribunal and kiss someone’s ring, before being allowed to be a “developer” in Dayton- or you will mocked in the pages of the Dayton Daily.

Midland Atlantic was the “preferred developer” for the Wayne and Wyoming street Kroger- being given millions of dollars of tax support in pursuit of a project that Midland didn’t have to commit a single promissory penny to. When they pulled out, leaving the city holding the bag with millions in options, appraisals and wasted time- no one crawled up their arse with a microscope- nor was Kroger asked to pay up for the goose chase.

Now we have a local (Yellow Springs- which of course makes him a suspected barefoot hippie commie lover) investor who has a grand vision of something that doesn’t fit inside the very small box drawn by the very small minds at City Hall.

Immediately the Dayton Daily News does a hatchet job on Mr. Llewellyn, pulling up every lawsuit that he’s ever been involved in (which it would seem he was never on the losing end of):

Earlier this year, Llewellyn, who still lives in Yellow Springs, incorporated another company, East Success Property and Entertainment LLC, with two Chinese investors in Las Vegas. Since July, he has purchased two foreclosed homes in Dayton’s Wright-Dunbar Village for the investors, and has hopes of building a replica of an eighth-century Chinese village in another part of town as a tourist attraction. Llewellyn and Carmine Anastasio, an adjunct religion professor at Wright State University, presented the Chinese village concept to Dayton city officials July 7, said city spokesman Bryan Taulbee.“It lacked a sufficient business plan and a case for the project, including funding, and wasn’t considered any further,” Taulbee said. “It simply wasn’t viable.”The partners wanted to build it at Wayne Avenue and Wyoming Street, but are looking at other locations, Anastasio said. He said Llewellyn is traveling in China and could not be reached for comment. Llewellyn, 62, has a long track record for outsized dreams and extravagant claims. He also has been the target of a long string of fraud allegations. He has denied any wrongdoing, although he noted in legal papers that he has been referred to in news reports as an international con man.

via Accusations, lawsuits have followed investor from Australia to Ohio.

See also: “I call him the international man of mystery,” said Cherise Hairston, who lives near one of the homes.

via Mysterious investor proposes $20M Chinese cultural center in Dayton.

A quick look at the Montgomery County Pro system (which won’t let you link to results of searches) shows Synergy Building Systems has 11 cases and Mills Morgan Development (same people) has 3 for a total of 14 cases. RG Properties has 5, and Randall Gunlock has 16 more- bringing his total to 21. Donald Trump, by the way, probably gets more lawsuits the same way he gets hairspray- by the truckload.

Development isn’t for the shy. There was a guy named Michael Kerr back in the early eighties who wanted to develop McPherson Town properties with help from the city. He ended up doing jail time on some trumped-up zoning charges. My friend Bill Rain was gored on the front page of the Dayton Daily for getting a job in Tampa with DeBartolo Development and leaving the stalled Schwind project (where the city didn’t hold up its end of a deal)- yet, forgetting to mention the multiple successful projects he had a hand in: The Job Center, The Lofts on St. Clair, The Cannery, Ice Avenue Lofts etc.

When Dr. Commander  Selvam bought the former Key Bank Building- for pennies on the dollar, the Dayton Daily News did a similar hatchet job:

A controversial and self-proclaimed Hindu guru who recently lost his Georgia temple through bankruptcy has established a temple here and purchased a key piece of real estate downtown….

Annamalai’s purchases come less than a year after his Hindu Temple of Georgia entered bankruptcy. Meanwhile, Annamalai has filed at least 20 defamation lawsuits against former devotees and media outlets that raised questions about his religious practices.

via Controversial ‘guru’ buys former KeyBank building.

Again, we’re treated to a level of scrutiny that seems to differ compared to local developers who are allowed to play both sides of the game- working for a municipality and doing side deals that profit them handsomely, yet get zero coverage. Or congressmen with a wife getting no-bid contracts and working for PACs and the government on a GSA schedule for the Army Corps of Engineers while her husband is sitting on the Defense Appropriations Committee.

Yep, there is some sort of “Development Court” where projects and people are judged- before the court’s crony rag ousts the losers by their petards- we just won’t admit it. It seems that there is a Catch-22 in Dayton- you must be crazy to want to invest in this city, and if you are crazy, we don’t want you.

Why is government involved in these deals at all? Why isn’t it focused on delivering high-quality, low-cost public services? Why do some developers get the “golden ticket” and others get shown the door? Are these crazy questions? Or is this just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to local government corruption?

Am I crazy to ask these questions- well, of course I am- I won 5 court cases in defense of the First Amendment, and challenged the city commission to stop having secret illegal meetings- and somehow I got painted as the lunatic bad ninja, but- that’s another story.

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