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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22 Responses

  1. Bill Rain October 18, 2010 / 12:04 pm
    David- I want to set the record straight. The city did hold up their end of the deal for the Schwind project and was a good partner on all the other projects you mentioned.  I stopped the construction at the Schwind because I did not want to invest more capital because of what I saw as a lack of vision for the south of third street area.  I wanted the former Mayor to convene a meeting of the stake holders to create a shared vision for the area because her involvement would add credibility.  She did not want to convene the meeting because she said the City did not have any money.  I was trying to explain that vision does not cost money and she had much more power than she realized with what I call the “velvet hammer”.  When the meeting was not convened, I stopped the project.  The loan was current and I had a tenant that was paying the debt service.  The Bank called the note and everything went south from there.  Developers are the most maligned group of people but provide a necessary service by bringing vision, an executable plan, resources and tenants together to create projects.
    I think it is fair for the public to investigate any developer that is using public money but the developer should have the right to explain the circumstances of any issues in the same media that has crucified them.  Bill Rain

    Well-loved. Brilliant: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  2. Civil Servants Are People, Too October 18, 2010 / 6:23 pm
    There is a big difference between a developer who loses deals sometimes, and the developer who is committing outright fraud with no intention of doing things the right way.

    It really shouldn’t take much time to tell the difference.   If the City is walking away from a deal, there is probably a good reason.   It stinks.

    Or would you have them take MORE chances with public money?   

    I know not everyone supports the idea of investing public dollars for economic development.  So the first question is, should we do it?   So far, the answer from local leaders in Dayton (and beyond) has been yes.  

    So the second question is, are we doing it right?    I see nothing here that is out of line with what every other city probably considers best practices.    Deals come and go.    You were proved wrong on BGH.  Why continue the witchhunt?  

    I suppose if you shout “conspiracy” long enough, people will start to believe it.   Same is true when you shout FIRE in a theater.   Either way, panic ensues and somebody gets hurt.

    Well-loved. Brilliant: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 6

  3. David Esrati October 20, 2010 / 4:41 pm

    @Chuck-

    Was he convicted in 2003? Where is that document?

    Thank you for the insight- but, is it a crime to pay cash for a building now?

     

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

  4. Chuck Dayton October 20, 2010 / 5:36 pm
    No, it is not a crime to pay cash to buy a building for 1/2 million dollars!! 

    But to do that months after filing for bankruptcy in Atlanta, and with no day job should raise eyebrows.  Also, a man with 2 grand jury indictments for child molestation, with a history of 50+ lawsuits in 3 years in Atlanta against anyone who did not agree with him, 2 arrests by Gwinnett Police for 4 felony counts, 1 arrest of his chief priest Lakshmanan Viswanathan, questionable immigration status (his I-140 was revoked by US-CIS), a criminal investigation by IRS, All men in his temple in Dayton are out of status (expired visas).  – the question is “do you want this man in your backyard?”. 

    He has recently filed a multi-million lawsuit against Paul Cwalina, the lead detective in Gwinnett County Police Department, Sheriff Conway of Gwinnett County, and scores of others in the Federal Court in Atlanta – a RICO lawsuit.  His attorney Jesse Hill in Atlanta is subject of disciplinary action in the Federal Court. 

    Everything about this man stinks to high heavens.

    All this and more can be found on the web when you google “Dr Commander Selvam Siddhar Fraud”.

    All said, I have no quibbles with you about needs more real estate investors in our Dayton area. 

    Well-loved. Brilliant: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  5. Drexel Dave Sparks October 20, 2010 / 6:07 pm
    How does follow the $$ get 6 bozos?

    Smackdown!. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 5

  6. Zippy Kondracke October 20, 2010 / 8:34 pm
    Dave, about Peter Llewellyn – this isn’t a locally based hatchet job and the DDN didn’t cook up this guy’s reputation overnight. Let’s just say that ANY business deal involving this individual is to be avoided at all costs.
    See this:
    http://www.post-gazette.com/regionstate/19990430scam3.asp

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  7. David Esrati October 20, 2010 / 10:00 pm

    I’m finding this thread interesting- mostly because none of these people should be getting public tax dollars in the first place- but, also because while these two recent “investors” have really funky questionable paths- no one has cottoned onto the fact that the lawsuits against the “reputable” developers never are brought up.

    Nor are questions about their political donations- or tax breaks.

    Why is it that only wack jobs are interested in big projects in Dayton? Is it because sensible smart people look at our patchwork of fiefdoms- our crazy zoning- etc- and say- why?

    It would seem with the values available here now- we should see people moving here to save money, but we’re not. Why?

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  8. Zippy Kondracke October 21, 2010 / 12:59 am
    When you ask “Why is it that only wack jobs are interested in big projects in Dayton?” the fact is that bona fide opportunity is very hard to come by in a place like Dayton. You want to believe that someone promising milk and honey is on to something.
    Peter Llewellyn’s reputation has come about from a series of confidence scams. In every instance, he has stayed just barely on the side of the law.
    What causes a “victim” to fall for a con man? Greed, or, desperation. There’s tons of the latter in Dayton. In every instance, Llewellyn’s victim’s were attracted by outsize returns and grandiose promises. This is no different – a “mysterious, jet setting idea man” comes to Dayton and promises a huge development literally out of nowhere.
    No telling what he’s selling the Chinese investors, but it’s probably the same load of crap from a different perspective.
    Welcome to victim-hood.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  9. Allison October 21, 2010 / 11:31 am
    “a replica of an eighth-century Chinese village in another part of town as a tourist attraction. ” I can’t get past this.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  10. Chuck Dayton October 21, 2010 / 3:13 pm
    Dr Commander Selvam Siddhar has filed a massive RICO lawsuit in the Federal Court in Atlanta, GA against Detective Paul Cwalina (an investigator with the Gwinnett County Police Department), Gwinnett Sheriff “Butch” Conway, the Hindu Temple of Atlanta (seems like a real Hindu temple), and a host of others.
    http://www.ajc.com/news/gwinnett/hindu-temple-moves-to-614353.html
    Guess who is Dr Commander Selvam Siddhar’s attorney in this nutjob case?  None other than our friend John Scaccia!!  What do you think?

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. Dayton Chick October 21, 2010 / 3:39 pm
    What’s up with his name? Dr Commander? Haven’t heard a weirder name than that. Seems he is neither Dr nor Commander. Why would a real Hindi HolyMan call himself that? Stay away from him.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  12. David Esrati October 21, 2010 / 7:21 pm

    @Allison- I too look at “a replica of an eighth-century Chinese village in another part of town as a tourist attraction.” and wonder- but PT Barnum said “There is a sucker born every minute”-

    But- was it any less crazy than the City doing all the legwork for Midland Atlantic and Kroger – investing millions of your money- without a signed performance bond by either- that they would take possession if the lots were consolidated- and an investment would be made?

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  13. truddick October 25, 2010 / 5:43 pm
    Drexel Dave, I think you’re getting six bozos b/c “follow the money” quit being a catch-phrase around 1982?  And in any case, it isn’t a reasoned exploration of issues, is it?
    Reading all of these comments, I think Estrati’s bottom line rings true; these recent developers have lots of red flags, but so have other developers–the safest course would be to stop investing public money on any of them.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. Drexel Dave Sparks October 25, 2010 / 6:34 pm
    some advice never goes out of style.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. Donald Phillips October 26, 2010 / 1:10 pm
    Dr. Commander and Mr. Llewellyn obviously noticed Dayton’s susceptability to rain makers. Their frosty reception, however, is a hopeful sign of new-found critical scrutiny. Even those chastised Metroids are keeping their distance.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  16. Paul Sricklin November 11, 2010 / 12:15 am
    UK Businessman Booted Off Mir
    Polly Sprenger 05.26.99
    The Russian Space Station Mir has seen its financial troubles splashed across newspapers from Washington to Moscow, but thought things were looking up when a Welsh-born businessman allegedly offered to pay US$100 million for a ride on Mir.
    Little did they know that Peter Llewellyn had an arrest record in the United States, and allegations of fraud on three continents.
    Llewellyn has denied that he offered the contribution. Russian space officials have said that $100 million would cover their operating costs for a year.
    Llewellyn claimed he was riding on Mir as part of an effort to raise money for a children’s hospital in Russia, but space agency officials doggedly stuck to their claim that he had promised to pay for the trip.
    He was even profiled in Time magazine as the great white hope for the Russian space agency.
    Llewellyn began training for the trip on 21 May, but on 25 May the head of the training center announced that he had been dropped from the program, since financial arrangements hadn’t yet been resolved.
    Born in Wales, Llewellyn has left business partners in the United States and Australia bitter.
    Many of those who have complained publicly now refuse to discuss Llewellyn on the record, saying he uses litigation to silence any opponents.
    “There’s this whole history of people he’s left damaged,” said one former business partner. “He never stops lying.”
    Llewellyn was arrested in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on 10 December 1996. James Conn, the arresting officer, paints him as a slippery character, who bullies his way into business deals.
    “He defrauded a local businessman with alleged offshore investments,” Conn said. “He’s such a great confidence man … understandable that they were taken in by him.”
    Conn said that in addition to the arrest in Pittsburgh on five counts of theft by deception, the FBI’s Ohio field office was investigating Llewellyn. An FBI spokesman said he could not comment on open investigations.
    Llewellyn avoided a conviction in Pittsburgh by paying off the man bringing the charges, Conn said.
    Llewellyn, whose primary business is in waste composting both in the United States and now in Russia, has been dubbed by the Russian press “The Garbage King.”
    The Aussies’ name for him is less nice: “Lord of the Loo.”
    While the allegations appear to follow Llewellyn wherever he goes, from Pittsburgh to Perth to Moscow, he has managed to keep his profile clean enough to attract the goodwill of Energia, the Russian company responsible for maintaining Mir.
    He was even granted a position as vice president of one of Energia’s subsidiaries.
    In light of Llewellyn’s failure to come up with the $100 million, Russian authorities are acknowledging what others have reported all along: “He’s a profiteer with whom it’s better to not have contact,” one official told the BBC.
    Many of those who claim to have been injured by Llewellyn hope that such a high-profile exposure will bring an end to his alleged dirty dealings.
    “His world is crumbling around him,” said the former business partner. “Mir was his last con in the sky.”

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  17. raza January 7, 2012 / 8:27 pm
    he tells me that black people ar NI****** and Asians superior. why no NAACP is not taking him to court ? Should Annamalai Annamalai not be sued for his racial utters ?

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  18. Eiwdy May 20, 2012 / 10:33 am
    Annamalai has again fooled daytonians by claiming he does not own 32 north main street. Rion was shown a gun by annamalai alias selvam alias commander selvam alias selvam siddhar , etc and this illegal sob is out there fooling all including the SClc. Did he pay off the police sheriff ?

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