5-18-00 Jacobs and Voinovich, A Team?
6-08-00 Power Corrupts
6-08-00 Avon gets big Jacobs traffic study
6-14-00 Stark stalks back into the ring
6-16-00 Did anybody we know mess this one up?
8-4-00 Jacobs again seeks new I-90 exit
ARTICLE from THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 5-11-00, By Mark Ferenchik, Dispatch Staff Reporter
[Judge refuses to dismiss defamation suit against Jacobs]
"DELAWARE, Ohio -- Developer Herbert Glimcher's defamation lawsuit against Northland Mall owner Richard E. Jacobs will continue in Delaware County Common Pleas Court.
Judge Everett H. Krueger overruled Jacobs' motion to dismiss the case.
In November, Glimcher and Glimcher Properties Limited Partnership filed suit against Jacobs over political advertisements Jacobs paid for to persuade Columbus voters to repeal the tax-increment financing district in the Polaris Centers of Commerce.
The district is where Glimcher plans to build his Polaris Fashion Place mall that Jacobs said will drive Northland Mall out of business.
The commercials suggested Glimcher will benefit personally from the $22 million tax deal for road improvements in the area, which is on the Far North Side of Columbus in Delaware County. Glimcher's attorneys also cited a radio interview on WTVN (610 AM) quoting a Jacobs representative as saying Glimcher's plan is nothing more than "legalized piracy.''
Glimcher said he has been damaged by the ads and the interview. Jacobs argued they were opinion and constitutionally protected political speech.
In his ruling, filed earlier this week, Krueger said political speech doesn't enjoy absolute immunity if it includes knowingly false statements made with reckless disregard of the truth.
Krueger said the "legalized piracy'' statement was protected opinion and struck it from the complaint.
But he ruled that it would be difficult for people to interpret the statements in the advertisements as anything but fact. One advertisement said, "A wealthy developer is getting up to $22 million of our taxpayer dollars to help him develop and build a mall.'' ...
In April , the Ohio Elections Commission ruled that statements in one television ad were false. The commission forwarded the case against the Citizens to Save Northland and the Richard E. Jacobs Group to the Franklin County prosecutor's office for possible misdemeanor criminal charges."
FEATURE ARTICLE from THE FREE TIMES, 5-18-00, by Roldo Bartimole
[Jacobs and Voinovich, A Team?]
``It may have been a little startling to some people when former Cleveland Indians owner Dick Jacobs went public in suggesting the demise of Michael White's mayoral career.
After all, Jacobs sold his baseball team and is divesting much of his real estate empire in what appears to be a planned semi-retirement.
So why get into a hassle with a mayor he doesn't get along with anyway?
Jacobs' public griping, aimed at easing White out by attempting to bring back former Mayor, now Senator, George Voinovich, may make all the business sense in the world.
You see, Jacobs -- who has dedicated his life to making money -- has a problem or two coming up.
In September , options come due on some city land he's been speculating on for ten or more years -- more on that later.
Guess who Jacobs has to ask to extend the option? Mayor Michael White and, hmm, City Council, now in full "foe" mode against White.
Jacobs holds some of the biggest real estate holes in downtown Cleveland's geography. It would seem reasonable that good relations with Mayor White couldn't hurt.
But it seems Jacobs may be aiming to have better relations with City Council by bouncing the mayor around publicly and encouraging opposition for next year's mayoral race ...
Now what's the deal here? One has to remember that Jacobs has a big open hole on historic Public Square, where 10 years ago he got a full tax abatement for a skyscraper office building and a new Hyatt hotel. The property remains a parking lot.
He also has a complex of empty buildings at the old Cleveland Trust, E. 9th and Euclid, a prime downtown corner.
Having properties just lying around can be costly. It would pay to have powerful friends at City Hall who could help develop such parcels.
Maybe just as important in this downtown real estate Monopoly game, Jacobs has control of two corner properties at E. 12th, on the north and south sides of St. Clair Avenue.
JACOBS HAS CONTROL, BUT THE CITY OWNS THE PROPERTIES, AND IT JUST SO HAPPENS THAT THE OPTION HELD BY JACOBS COMES DUE AGAIN THIS SEPTEMBER .
Ten years ago, Jacobs missed a deadline commitment to build two office buildings on the two city parcels. At that time, White wrote to Jacobs that he was "now in default of [his] performance deadline," and that his "request for relief from [the] provisions" was "under review." ...
If you pass the two corners where buildings should be, there isn't a single brick, never mind 16 stories of office space. The deal for one of the buildings was that Jacobs would have done the excavation and had footings for a 17-story building by about the time White took office in 1990.
The defaults could have cost Jacobs $1 million in penalties, but council, with White's urging at the time, granted Jacobs an option that gave him until September 2000 to deliver. He hasn't.
You have to remember the time period of the extension. White and Jacobs were partners (if not happy ones) in the campaign for Gateway. Reports out of City Hall had White wanting to pressure Jacobs to sign the lease, committing the team to the stadium deal. Jacobs walked out of that meeting, but was keeping better relations with City Council and met at that time with its members.
In this complex game of "Power, Who's Got the Power?" it appears that Jacobs, and others find White slipping and would like, for their own purposes, to give the mayor some help on his slide ...''
Roldo Bartimole publishes the newsletter Point of View. He can be reached at 216-321-2757 or e-mail at email@example.com
LETTER TO THE EDITOR of THE CLEVELAND FREE TIMES,6-8-00, By Pedro J. Diaz
"... It is not unusual, I believe, for readers to react to Mr. Roldo Bartimole,s column with a jaded attitude ... Jaded, because, these days, it would be somewhat Panglossian to not realize that most politicians are at the beck and call of powerful lobbies ...
Yet, his column "Default Line" [5-18-00] was different ... because his allegations indirectly raise the specter of dubious journalistic practice and, once again, impress upon us the potential threat to the public well-being which comes with being, essentially (and with all due respect to the Free Times) a one-newspaper town.
It seems that in the PD we have the same chap, Brent Larkin -- who, as was widely reported, accepted an invitation to a ball game and a now infamous ride in a private plane from someone who, ... stands to benefit from certain changes in City Hall -- in the position to write an editorial front-page column last Sunday which skewers the Mayor for his attitude (the very same attitude, we note, which went unchallenged in apparently more plane ride-friendly times) as well as ostensibly giving "Editorial Direction" (or should one say, in light of the much more friendly coverage of the past, "Editorial Redirection"?) to the PD,s "new" editorial and news attitude regarding the operation of City Hall.
Could all this be merely coincidence? Of course. But still, it again raises the troubling question that, in a city with only one major print media outlet, one whose management apparently did not/does not appreciate or care about the potential for or the appearance of a conflict of interest this represents. Who, then has the role, interest and/or resources to dispel or confirm the notion that the fox is in the newsroom of the henhouse during this or any other issue of importance to the public?"
Pedro J. Diaz, Orange
FEATURE ARTICLE from THE FREE TIMES, 6-8-00, by Roldo Bartimole
"How does one explain The Plain Dealer's "bad news" blitzkrieg of the same mayor that the city's only daily newspaper so carefully protected and promoted as Cleveland's savior for 10 years?
After being on vacation for two weeks, I returned to review a barrage of heavily ladened indoctrination from the newspaper that formerly propagandized so favorably for Mayor Michael White.
One can't be certain about the motivations behind the new approach by the newspaper, to destabilize White. After all, White's been their man. He's done their heavy lifting.
However, one can be assured that the PD effort is calculated. The message is "Your time has passed."
There's a difference in critically covering the mayor, which the PD generally has avoided for 10 years, as contrasted to the present policy of heavy-handed steering of public opinion to a negative conclusion. The conclusion may be right. The method, however, is faulty.
Directing a negative opinion is what the city's only daily newspaper has been doing for about nine months (with considerable help from his honor), and particularly for the last few weeks.
Again, why? ...
There's more. Check editorial page director Brent Larkin's visceral attack of White's poor behavior in his column entitled "Mayor White's Cruelty is Out of Control" (May 14). Since when? Since long before Brent noticed.
Larkin , who has harbored an intense dislike of White , long held back. In 1993, when White could have used some deflation, Larkin wrote an ingratiating portrait entitled "It's Becoming Mike White's Town."
After quoting Lord Acton's proverb about power's corrupting influence , "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely" , Larkin wrote: "Cleveland Mayor Michael R. White has power, but there is no evidence White is corrupt. Instead, there's plenty of evidence White has been a good mayor." ...
That was when White was serving corporate interests very well, for desirable , and costly , public projects from Gateway to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and, later, to the new Browns stadium and other downtown subsidies. That was all hunky-dory with Larkin.
Now the question is whether Larkin and the PD consider White ... vulnerable to electoral defeat ... They believe he's shaky and want to invite candidates to think about opposing him next year ...
So they batter him in the news columns (this is not necessarily wrong, but is certainly opposed to their 10-year pattern) and then take a poll for certification of what they have already force-fed to the public.
"The mayor's bad. The mayor's bad. The mayor's bad," the newspaper tells readers, and then asks, "Please, public, tell us: Is the mayor bad?"
Respondents regurgitate the line and the PD runs a huge front-page piece, headline hovering over a large photo of White: "White's Eroding Support." That's what the poll said , not what the PD said. Oh, yeah.
A day later the PD poll tells us that the public wants an elected school board, rather than Cleveland schools under White's control. Can anyone remind the PD editors who shoved the proposition of mayoral control of the schools down the throats of the public and legislators? The monopoly daily newspaper, maybe?
The PD twists public opinion to fit the needs of a corporate community that wants a new City Hall. Even the corporates perceive people are getting sick of a mayor who responds so aggressively to corporate needs. They need another stooge ...
Power in the hands of one man at City Hall should be rigorously contested. Even more unacceptable would be power in the hands of appointed, not elected, powerful editors, who are subject to the undue influence of Cleveland's most potent, covetous private interests.
Lord Acton warned us that power, and particularly unchecked power, can lead to corruption. But political corruption can be corrected by an election. Publication corruption, particularly in a one-newspaper town, has no corrective medication."
Roldo Bartimole can be reached at 216-321-2757 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAl, 6-8-00, By SARAH FENSKE, Morning Journal Writer
"Avon gets big Jacobs traffic study
AVON -- Copies of a major traffic study were hand-delivered to Avon City Hall yesterday [6-7-00] setting the stage for discussion of a 500-acre project and a new highway interchange.
The study will be distributed to members of City Council and Planning Commission, with a copy kept at City Hall for interested members of the public. The traffic study was commissioned by the Jacobs Group, a Westlake development firm that owns 222 acres in Avon.
In both 1998 and 1999, the company talked about a plan for the site and the adjoining 225 acres ... called ''Vista.'' The Vista project hinges on a new I-90 interchange at Nagel Road.
... the Jacobs Group ... needs Avon to authorize a large-scale traffic study from a regional planning board [NOACA] before any such construction can take place. In March 1999, Avon City Council refused -- without even a vote.
The traffic study now submitted to city officials may be Jacobs' first step in requesting the regional study once more. To do that, the developer will have to get on a City Council agenda.
Council President Shaun Brady decides what items appear on an agenda. He said he has yet to read the Jacobs' study.
''I'm going to review the information they've provided us with and then see what the next step is,'' he said. ''A lot depends on what that information is.''
There are no guarantees a meeting will ever take place, Brady said.
''Our time is very limited because of all that's going on in Avon, and I want to make sure we have enough information to adequately review this,'' he said.
Some Avon officials have worried that authorizing the regional study will automatically lead to the 500-acre Vista. At-Large Councilwoman JoAnne Easterday disagrees ... ''I was told that nothing could be done regarding development unless the city said yes first,'' she said.
Despite the study's urgent predictions, some officials are hoping for a breather.
''I wish it would at least hold up until Avon Commons is done,'' Easterday said, referring to the 85-acre shopping center now under construction. ''The whole town is torn up from sten to stern.''..."
NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAl, 6-6-00, By SARAH FENSKE, Morning Journal Writer
"AVON -- A draft of a traffic study commissioned by the Jacobs Group concludes I-90 interchanges at SR 83 and Crocker Road will fail to meet the traffic needs of the area by 2002, if current growth patterns continue.
The study supports the Westlake developer's premise that Avon needs another highway interchange -- an interchange at Nagel Road the Jacobs Group has offered to fund partially in exchange for the zoning it wants.
The Jacobs Group owns 222 acres in Avon and has had an option on an additional 225 acres. The site is now zoned for manufacturing and homes ...
In order to proceed with interchange plans, the Jacobs Group would need a regional traffic study done by the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA).
That five-county regional board needs Avon's authorization before beginning such a study ...
Although only a draft, the study is the Jacobs Group's first official move in Avon in more than a year.
The Jacobs Group mailed the draft to Planning Commission Chairman Jim Piazza in mid-May, asking if he felt the material was complete ...
Whether Council reviews the matter issue will be the decision of Council President Shaun Brady. Like the rest of Council, Brady has yet to see the study. He said he would have to read it before making any decisions.
Ward 4 Councilman Jack Kilroy, whose ward abuts the development, agreed.
''We can certainly say, 'Let's see the document' before deciding whether it merits being on our agenda,'' he said. ''If we want to discuss it, then let's put it on our agenda.''
Council has refused Jacobs before.
In March of 1999, the developer asked the city to commission a NOACA study for a Nagel Road interchange. Council rejected the offer without a vote."
EDITORIAL from THE MORNING JOURNAl, 6-9-00
"The Jacobs Group's proposal for a 547-acre development of homes, stores, hotels and offices in Avon isn't going to go away. The developer's latest play is a privately financed traffic study ...
The arrival of copies of that study at City Hall's door this week makes something clear. This elephant is going to lumber through town in any case, so it should be driven by public, rather than private interests.
The Jacobs-paid study by a consultant out of Akron predicts traffic at the interchange of I-90 and SR83 in the center of Avon will become intolerable in just two years, even with the lanes and signals to be added by Mitch Schneider for his new Avon Commons shopping center.
The study reportedly does not even consider The Jacobs Group's own ''Avon Vista'' project, proposed for land the developer already owns or has optioned on the east end of Avon. The Jacobs Group is ready to argue that a new interchange will be needed at I-90 and Nagel Road even without ''Vista.''
The first official reaction was cautious. Council President Shaun Brady said he'd have to read the report before deciding whether it belongs on the agenda of a busy city council ...
City officials ought to be going after the data themselves. The perspectives of such a study should be defined by Avon City Council, not a developer interested in justifying a for-profit agenda ..."
NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAl, 6-14-00, By SARAH FENSKE, Morning Journal Writer
"Talk of Nordstrom stirs storm in Westlake
WESTLAKE -- Developer Robert L. Stark made a pitch for his planned $150 million mix of homes, shops and offices at Crocker and Detroit roads in March, but the intense debate is just beginning.
The most recent discussion was triggered by the Beachwood developer's talk of negotiations with upscale retailer Nordstrom.
Stark, who brought the Promenade shopping center to Westlake eight years ago, has said the Seattle-based Nordstrom chain is interested in his Crocker Park proposal. Critics say it could be just talk.
Stark wants the city to rezone about 80 acres south of the Promenade to a ''planned unit development,'' a special classification allowing a combination of uses ...
Ward 5 Councilman Kenneth Brady is suspicious.
Brady's ward contains the area for the proposed rezoning, as well as stately single-family developments like Savannah Estates, which would border the development.
''They're talking about Nordstrom's now,'' Brady said. ''Well, if you go back to 1998 when he was talking about the Promenade, he promised stores like Laura Ashley and Eddie Bauer and Williams Sonoma.'' The Promenade has none of those three ...
''Stark promised all those things, and after voters said yes, he said he couldn't get them to locate here,'' Brady said. ''I'm very skeptical. He doesn't have a contract with anyone -- he's just throwing those names out to attract people.'' ...
Brady believes there are still more concerns for Westlake.
The project features a three-story parking garage and 610,00 square feet of retail space, which is more than Westgate Mall, Brady said.
And that means additional traffic. Stark's own traffic study says that Crocker Road will need seven lanes by 2002, an addition of two lanes. The project isn't supposed to be complete until 2007.
''The biggest impact will be on the immediate area,'' Brady said. ''But a major area will be affected. With shopping the size of Westgate Mall, it's going to affect the surrounding areas.'' "
NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAl, 6-16-00, By SARAH FENSKE, Morning Journal Writer
[Did anybody we know mess this one up?]
NORTH RIDGEVILLE -- ... The topic of the meeting was ''planned community developments,'' or PCDs ...
In a PCD, parcels of at least 200 acres can mix different types of uses, from homes to apartments to SHOPPING CENTERS, under one plan.
... Rather than obtain a series of zoning changes for each small parcel, developers present -- and obtain approval for -- the development as a whole.
The idea hasn't gone over well in parts of North Ridgeville. Citizens gathered petitions to stop the first proposal, the 202-acre Kingston Place plan for a site just south of Mills Road.
Only through a technicality -- the citizens collected signatures to repeal the WRONG ORDINANCE -- has the plan survived ... "
NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAl, 8-4-00, By SARAH FENSKE, Morning Journal Writer
"Jacobs again seeks new I-90 exit
AVON -- The Jacobs Group, which wants a new I-90 interchange at Nagel Road, will present a traffic study at the City Council meeting Monday. Council's reaction could determine the fate of a 500-acre retail-based complex the Westlake developer wants to build along Nagel on both sides of the freeway.
Although the company would pay for at least part of the $15 million interchange, it first needs a large-scale traffic study by the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, NOACA, which the agency will not start without a nod from Avon.
This will be Jacobs' second attempt to get Avon's backing. In March 1999, council soundly rejected the company's request without even taking a vote.
Council members are greeting the developer's return with a mixture of curiosity and concern.
Council President Shaun Brady said he is ''very hesitant'' about the proposal.
''With something of this magnitude, it's so difficult to weigh out the ramifications,'' Brady said. ''I don't know if City Council and Planning Commission have the ability to do that. We might need some outside help here.''
The study predicts that under current growth levels the traffic at the SR 83 interchange will be graded as failing by 2002. An earlier study commissioned by a rival firm, Avon Commons' developer First Interstate, had predicted such a failure in 10 years, said Planning Commission Chairman Jim Piazza.
That study was later approved by URS Greiner, the same firm that performed Jacobs' latest study, Piazza said.
''They're using different national standards for the ratio of traffic to development,'' Piazza said. ''Both standards are acceptable, but I think we're going to have to establish what standard we want to use.''
More is at stake in council's debate than roads. The Jacobs Group owns 225 acres north of I-90 and has an option to purchase 250 acres to the south.
Ward 4 Councilman Jack Kilroy said Jacobs representatives told him they were planning a development that included big box stores, restaurants, hotels, offices and multi-family housing.
The land is now zoned for industrial use and single-family homes.
''What they're proposing will not at all alleviate traffic, but will make it much, much worse,'' Kilroy said. ''They say the decision over an additional interchange exit should be taken in isolation of their long-range plans. That's absurd. Nothing happens in isolation.'' ...
Ward 3 Councilman Tim Nickum lives on SR 83 and represents many of its residents. He worries that the opening of the 85-acre Avon Commons shopping mall on SR 254 next year will make his street even busier.
''Somewhere down the path, there MAY be a great need for another interchange,'' Nickum said ...
Residents in the shadow of the proposed interchange disagree, Kilroy said. ''People in my ward are very fearful of an interchange there,'' Kilroy said. ''To put that kind of traffic on Nagel with all those schools and the narrow road -- people are fearful their roads would be torn up, it would be a safety hazard and add more cars.''
Council is unlikely to make a decision on Jacobs' request Monday.
''This isn't something that will happen in one meeting or five meetings,'' Brady said. ''This is going to be a long process.''
Jacobs Group Vice President Tom Henneberry could not be reached for comment yesterday, and other company officials did not return calls."
NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAl, 8-8-00, By SARAH FENSKE, Morning Journal Writer
"Avon wary of new exit off I-90
AVON -- Jacobs Group representatives asked Avon City Council last night [8-7-00] to consider a ''public/private partnership'' to address traffic issues, the latest step in the developer's quest to put a new I-90 interchange at Nagel Road.
... the developer needs Avon to authorize a regional [NOACA] study to even begin the process. Last March, City Council rejected the idea without even taking a vote.
At the time, council members cited concerns over ''Vista,'' the 500-acre shopping and office complex the Jacobs Group proposed to build north and south of the new interchange.
Last night, Jacobs' associate Jeffrey LeBarron briefly referenced Vista. But instead of treating it as a proposal, LeBarron called it a ''conceptual development scheme'' and focused on the company's role as a landowner in Avon.
The Jacobs Group owns 225 acres north of I-90 near Nagel Road. That makes it a ''shareholder'' in the community, LeBarron said.
''Looking only at projects that are already approved, there is going to be a need for additional I-90 access,'' LeBarron said.
''What we would like to do is sit down and work with officials in the city for a public/private partnership, to find out what alternatives are available, evaluate those alternatives to determine what makes the most sense and develop those into a new master plan,'' LeBarron said.
After quietly conferring with council members, Council President Shaun Brady decided there wouldn't be enough time to discuss the request last night.
''We have questions upon questions upon questions,'' Brady said. ''Out of respect to those who have other items on the agenda, we need to schedule a special meeting to address those questions.''
At-Large Councilman Tom Wearsch suggested the majority of those questions should be asked by Avon's planners.
''Planning Commission will have to do a complete and exhaustive study of what this study will mean to the city,'' Wearsch said. ''We have to be careful we don't try to overpower the work of the commission. Let's question it, but let's not predetermine what we want them to say.''
Ward 4 Councilman Jack Kilroy disagreed.
''We've come back with a recommendation from the Planning Commission that everything was fine and would be better for the foreseeable future,'' he said. ''I don't think we should tell them what to say, but we need to tell them what to look for.'' ... "
NEWS ARTICLE from THE CHRONICLE-TELEGRAM, 8-8-00, By Rachel Zinn
"AVON -- An evaluation of the city's master thoroughfare plan commissioned by the Richard E. Jacobs Group states additional Interstate 90 access is needed to support development already approved by the city ...
Council President Shaun Brady said Council will schedule another meeting to further discuss the study.
The Jacobs Group, run by the former Cleveland Indians owner, commissioned URS Corp. to conduct the study. URS has several offices in Ohio and also conducted a traffic study on Avon Commons for the city.
Last year, the Jacobs Group proposed constructing Vista off I-90 between Jaycox and Lear-Nagle roads ...
In other business, Brady said Council plans to reject a city Equalization Board report on Kinzel Road sewer improvements at a meeting next Monday. Council will reject the report because of legal issues, Brady said.
The board, made up of three members appointed by Council, was charged with deciding how much individual residents should pay for a proposed sewer line along Kinzel Road.
The board's report lowered assessments for seven households along Kinzel because they would not receive the full benefits of the sewer.
Brady said Council will schedule a meeting to further discuss the project with residents."
More Documents Relating to the June 8, 1998, Decision Against Avon
Newspaper Record of XXXXX/Jacobs in Avon