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Old 06-15-2018, 04:37 PM
 
633 posts, read 370,616 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mensaguy View Post
CURA is not spending tax dollars. The only operating income they have is from the parking fees at Town Center. That's not tax money.


Except that it is,


CURA was formed under the dictates of Chapter 16 of the West Virginia code. I have included a link here but be warned, it is a long read and much of it has nothing to do with the parts that support the creation, govern the operations of and mandate the financial freedom of CURA.


WV Code Chapter 16


When an organization accepts any tax receipts towards any part of its operations, all of the expenditures are governed by tax laws relevant to the controlling governmental authority, in this case, the State of West Virginia, the County of Kanawha and the City of Charleston. Each has their own layer of due diligence but while CURA was formed under State Code it is government mostly under administration of the off ice of the Mayor of Charleston WV. The Mayor appoints all officers, which are rubber stamped by City Council and the Mayor directs when desired any direction of the organization.


Saying that CURA is not tax payer supported because it gets SOME of its revenue from parking garage fees would imply that the sity of Charleston is not tax payer supported because it gets SOME of its income from parking meters. CURA can only operate within the bounds of jurisdiction. It did much of the work in bringing CTC to a reality back in the late 1970s when the project was known as Super Block, but that was because the land had been purchased by the CITY - note, not CURA. CURA then did studies on it because it was under the direction of the Mayor - city government - to do so.


The Convention and Visitor Bureau operates in the same vein of being a City organ but tasked with its obtaining some of its budget through its discharge of cuties, chiefly the Hotel-Motel tax structure. It is a tax payer supported institution even though SOME of its income is derived from guest as various locations within its area of operation.


I could go on and on but I think everyone understands what I am saying. CURA is a tax supported operations even if SOME of its receipts are from retail services. All tax supported institutions have to go through a long process to expend finances and there are actions they cannot take. Spending money on a private commercial operation is one such limitation.
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Old 11-09-2018, 06:06 PM
 
633 posts, read 370,616 times
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It has been a long time since there was any news in this thread...

At the present time the CTC is in receivership. For those unfamiliar with the term, essentially a 3rd party is placed in legal authority over the tangible and intangible assets of the property in question. That 3rd party is tasked with managing the property in lieu of the previous owners which have either abandoned the property or have been stripped of it. Forest City abandoned Charleston Town Center.

I am pretty sure I have posted on how that happened in the past but in case I did not, I will go over it again.


When Forest City was exiting the commercial operations for malls and shopping centers it had 11 properties up for sale of which CTC was one. An interested buyer was found in QIC of Australia. QIC is Queensland Investment Corp.


QIC liked the portfolio, including CTC but was balking at the nearly 100 million in debt that Forest City was leveraging. A bit of creative accounting took place and Forest City shifted all of the debt to the CTC property, clearing the way for QIC to accept the purchase of the remaining 10 sites from Forest City. Forest City then abandoned the CTC and it fell into receivership, buried under then 93 million in debt. Thirteen million of the debt was owed to CURA which is supposed to be paid roughly $750,000 per year. If one does the math, we can see that Forest City has not made a payment to CURA since 2000.


The 93 million dollar debt and of that 13 million to CURA are in 2016 dollars, there would be 2 more years or another 1.5 million missing from CURA at this date. Interestingly, the entire four terms of Danny Jones coincides with the period of time that Forest City made no payments to CURA. CURA is a development arm of the mayor's administration.

Also interesting, it was just a couple of years later that the city would balk on giving Dillard's a tax break to take over the empty Montgomery Wards anchor. That site wallowed for several years before a Bob Evans tried to make it work and of course failed. Eventually Brickstreet got a HUGE sweetheart deal on the premise that the inclusion of their work force would inundate the mall with shoppers. Outside of a few stragglers at lunch. Brickstreet has been a monumental dud for CTC.


So, now that we are up to date, more or less, what is going to happen next? No buyer will touch a property that is losing tenants because of astronomical rent rates and one that is stifled by a 100 million dollar debt on top of the cost of purchase and the millions - MILLIONS - that would be needed to reenergize the mall. A for instance can be had in the last update.


The entire mall was supposed to have the tile that is on the first floor. But Forest City, knowing 24 months before they dumped the mall, decided to take the bulk of the budget already accrued for that work and steal it. Peel and stick tile carpet was substituted on the second level and the rest of the updating was cancelled. What was to be a 3 million dollar update cost less than $500,000.


So the next step for CTC is to have a managed slide into full on bankruptcy. The mall will become insolvent and all of the leases will come to term. That means any tenant that wants to, can walk out or renegotiate. The bankruptcy court will then begin to discharge debt. CURA may see some of its money but it is likely only going to be pennies on the dollar. The same will be true for the other holders. Eventually, the mall will bleed off the red ink and become attractive for a buyer. This is a slow process. I estimate 5 more years.

Last edited by Caden Grace; 11-09-2018 at 06:56 PM..
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Old 11-09-2018, 06:28 PM
 
367 posts, read 202,089 times
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OMG this is so sad that it got to this. People should go to jail.
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Old 11-09-2018, 08:07 PM
 
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As I mentioned in another thread, Jones is leaving a huge mess for the new administration and this is a big piece in that stinking pile.
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Old 11-10-2018, 06:02 AM
 
633 posts, read 370,616 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aeros71 View Post
As I mentioned in another thread, Jones is leaving a huge mess for the new administration and this is a big piece in that stinking pile.

While I am no fan of the former mayor, I am not sure just how much of the blame falls on him in this corrupt mess. I was not here in 1990s, but from what I have been able to research, CTC took a heavy hit when the strip centers began to open on Corridor G in the mid 90s. Until that time, if a merchant wanted to sell in this area, it was at CTC or nothing. Rates in the mall were stupid and the B&O tax structure that taxes a business on its gross rather than its net meant many merchants could run a net loss but still owe massive taxes to the city.

Corridor G gave those merchants a huge break by first being taxed only by the county and eventually Charleston and South Charleston as the city limits snaked their way out there. Nevertheless, the move by the merchants from CTC had begun and Forest City and CURA, not wanting to part with profit did nothing to adapt to the drastically changing economic situation. Instead of coming up with a plan that would see steady profits even if they were smaller, they did nothing and the receipts fell into the single digits and then arrears. That blame is equally on Forest City and the Mayor's office.

I would blame City Council but a more useless group of people there is not. Not one of them is worth their paycheck and the institution is a dead weight on the city revenue.

The problem, as we all know, is that in West Virginia a name is elected, not a resume of accomplishments.

So, while I agree with you the outgoing administration left a big mess, it was not his alone. Worse, much of the thinking behind that mess is still coming out of city government. Incoming Mayor Goodwin has no ideas, no experience and no desire to do anything on the scale required to disrupt the 'system' of corruption in the city. She will be a caretaker administration that moves on once her next stepping stone opens up and the city will slide a bit further into the muck.
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Old 11-10-2018, 06:25 AM
 
1,373 posts, read 1,271,047 times
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"The 93 million dollar debt and of that 13 million to CURA are in 2016 dollars, there would be 2 more years or another 1.5 million missing from CURA at this date. Interestingly, the entire four terms of Danny Jones coincides with the period of time that Forest City made no payments to CURA. CURA is a development arm of the mayor's administration."

If what you mentioned is true, then it IS his fault that Forest City didn't make a payment to CURA. It happened on his watch so the responsibility and consequences fall on him.

If Forest City wasn't making payments he should've led the charge to either force them to make their payments or to sell. That was obvious revenue that was needed so why let it go unpaid? Was the mayor's office afraid to make the information public because they thought it would scare the merchants and businesses? Could it be a situation that someone was taking a side payment from Forest City to remain quiet? Was it just plain ineptitude by the mayor and CURA?
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Old 11-10-2018, 08:38 AM
 
367 posts, read 202,089 times
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The whole situation with the town center has never made much sense to me. It was a viable mall. It was also the central attraction of downtown Charleston, probably Charleston as a whole and it was crucial in being right next to the civic center and the two main hotels. Something has been amiss here for a very long time.



I listen almost daily to the mayor's radio show. It's painful most of the time as a listen and he spends very little time talking about Charleston itself and mainly focuses on political issues in WV. But from time-to-time I have heard him mention the town center and he always blames Amazon.


I travel a lot. Especially in a 4 to 5 hour radius of Charleston. Sure there are retail issues out there for brick and mortar but there are plenty of malls doing great. I just don't buy the quick dismissal he gives directing the mall's demise to Amazon.


On one show he did indicate that he thought maybe something criminal had taken place with the ownership. If true that should have made the local news and charges being filed should be looked into.
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Old 11-10-2018, 09:09 AM
 
633 posts, read 370,616 times
Reputation: 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by aeros71 View Post
"The 93 million dollar debt and of that 13 million to CURA are in 2016 dollars, there would be 2 more years or another 1.5 million missing from CURA at this date. Interestingly, the entire four terms of Danny Jones coincides with the period of time that Forest City made no payments to CURA. CURA is a development arm of the mayor's administration."

If what you mentioned is true, then it IS his fault that Forest City didn't make a payment to CURA. It happened on his watch so the responsibility and consequences fall on him.

If Forest City wasn't making payments he should've led the charge to either force them to make their payments or to sell. That was obvious revenue that was needed so why let it go unpaid? Was the mayor's office afraid to make the information public because they thought it would scare the merchants and businesses? Could it be a situation that someone was taking a side payment from Forest City to remain quiet? Was it just plain ineptitude by the mayor and CURA?

I know you wrote this with deep concern and well-meaning angst, but side payments are the MAIN PAYMENTS in West Virginia. As much as I love this state and the wonders within it, the people in our government from our school teachers to our governor and everyone in between at various levels and in the hundreds of department are corrupt down to their toenails. I am not sure if there is a more corrupt state, Louisiana or Illinois perhaps, but probably only on their worst days.

A lot of the problem is found in the boards that oversee various institutions we hold dear. These board members are not elected and most are not known to the people without some serious digging because most institutions highlight their official command structure and at most, the president and perhaps vice president of their boards. The information is not hidden per se, merely put some where that one must use some effort to reveal.


A case in point is the South Charleston Public Library. It has a director, a man who means well and is doing his best, but over him is a board that favors their friends, one of whom works under that director. The corrupt relationship circumvents the intentions of the director to the betterment of that underling.


Mayor Mullins, far from being out of the loop is well aware of these shenanigans because he has 'friends' spread all over city government that have been lifelong leeches on the city coffers. This sort of old boy (even when women are involved) sort of network is not only common it is openly acknowledge for anyone that cares to look. Most do not and those that do, either have a cavalier attitude of, "Well, who are they hurting? I am sure they are doing some good."


In the end our institutions are hollowed out, good people move on instead of fighting the 'clannish' mentality of West Virginians that have spent their life alongside their family and friends in one job.


Was Mayor Jones at fault? Yes, but who was more at fault? The people who voted for him. We just elected another mistake. We never learn.
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Old 11-10-2018, 08:37 PM
 
1,373 posts, read 1,271,047 times
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I'm not saying you're wrong about corruption being a major, if not the biggest reason, holding the state back but not all of us public servants are corrupt. Especially my wife, a school teacher by the way, who goes above and beyond for her kids, fighting for them and giving her personal time to attend their out of school functions.

Perhaps I'm taking your comments to literal, and if so feel free to correct me, but I've worked for and with some great people in the public sector. Genuine, honest and caring people who want the best for the citizens. So please don't lump us together with the true villains in the state.
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Old 11-10-2018, 09:09 PM
 
633 posts, read 370,616 times
Reputation: 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by aeros71 View Post
I'm not saying you're wrong about corruption being a major, if not the biggest reason, holding the state back but not all of us public servants are corrupt. Especially my wife, a school teacher by the way, who goes above and beyond for her kids, fighting for them and giving her personal time to attend their out of school functions.

Perhaps I'm taking your comments to literal, and if so feel free to correct me, but I've worked for and with some great people in the public sector. Genuine, honest and caring people who want the best for the citizens. So please don't lump us together with the true villains in the state.



You are right to rebuke me, I did generalize. But I do so for emphasis. While there are wonderful people in government positions such as school teachers, most of them are not. Even those that are good and worthy often turn the other way when they see injustice because they will not rock the boat. I too have known incredible people in the public sector but they all kept their head down and did their wonderful jobs without being the nail that stuck up.

I am not sure how to voice my opinion of the public education system for fear of offending your wife, you or both. Suffice it to say, I think it is a disaster of horrendous proportions and while there may be some good in it, it is rotten to the core. Like our government the small percentage of good to be found in it are not enough even if they wanted to play Norma Rae.
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