9-1-99 Graczyk declares himself for Jacobs
9-9-99 Grocery planned for Avon Commons
9-23-99 Avon Commons Approved
9-29-99 Grendell and Phillips must pay
10-11-99 Jacobs spends big in Columbus
10-15-99 Grendell & Phillips strike at Ohio Supreme Court
10-18-99 Avon Council Candidates
10-23-99 First Interstate Pledges $75,00 for Avon Students
10-25-99 Editorials From THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
11-1-99 Jacobs campaign ads blasted and referred to county prosecutor
11-2-99 9.8 million for Avon Commons land
EDITORIAL from THE CHRONICLE-TELEGRAM, 8-2-99
"... Raspberries to attorney Timothy J. Grendell for wretched and ironic exaggeration. Grendell, who is representing Akron developer Jerry Bishop in the never - ending dispute over Lorain's King's Woods, contends the city is damaging his client by insisting on 70-foot lots instead of 50-foot lots [compare with Avon's minimum lot size], even though Bishop agreed to 70-foot lots at a City Council meeting.
''Mr. Bishop cannot sit on his investment while the city rapes him,'' Grendell said. [How would this lawyer represent a developer to the City of Avon?]
After it was renegotiated earlier this year, the price Bishop paid for the 75 acres was reduced from $750,000 to $337,500. He might not be able to build the 270 houses he planned originally, but he'll have ample opportunity to recover his investment. This is rape?"
NEWS ARTICLE from The PRESS, By Bud Henderson, 9-1-99
[Graczyk declares himself for Jacobs]
"Avon - In his six years on Avon City Council, Ted Graczyk has never backed down from a tough issue ...
Avon's meteoric growth is going to cause a real problem with the road system, he said. "If you project our growth for a few years, we could have 30,000 people living here. Most of those people are going to work outside of Avon." [Really? What about the Internet and telecommunications? What about people who work at jobs located in Avon?]
"Picture 30,000 people trying to get in or out of here at rush hour. We are badly in need of another east-west thoroughfare, and another exit onto I-90," he said. Although he opposes more retail development, he [Graczyk] is in favor of Avon Vista because Dick Jacobs, the developer, has included an I-90 exit at Nagel Road as part of his plan.
"He [Jacobs] also has a minimum of retail development involved," Graczyk said. [250 acres of retail is MINIMUM? Compare this with 85 acres for Avon Commons.] "He's talking about office buildings and hotels mostly." [Another 300 acres?] ...
On his future in local politics, Graczyk smiled and said, ... "We'll see how things go. If things are going well with the city, I'll be a spectator. But if there are problems, I may jump back in ..." "
NEWS ARTICLE from THE CHRONICLE-TELEGRAM, 9-9-99, By Dan Harkins
"AVON -- ... Mitch Schneider, president of First Interstate Development Inc., said he plans to include a grocery store in his 86-acre shopping center instead of a multi-screen movie theater complex.
Schneider told the Planning Commission at a special meeting Wednesday that negotiations with Texas-based Cinemark USA Inc. have been fruitless so he is giving up.
Schneider would not disclose which grocery store chain he has spoken to about locating in his $50 million development off Detroit Road near state Route 83 and Interstate 90.
He said the grocery store will go on the western end of the development where a Target superstore was supposed to go. Target will be moved to the eastern end and take the theater's place.
The other anchor stores Schneider had planned to put in the shopping center -- Home Depot and Kohl's -- still are slated to be built.
He said 85 percent of the retail space will be leased by the groundbreaking scheduled for late October, at which time the rest of the stores will be identified.
Tom Vamospercsi, the only resident at the meeting Wednesday, said he is upset that the movie theater no longer is part of Avon Commons.
Vamospercsi said he voted in June against zoning changes needed for the project to proceed ...
Paul Burik, vice chairman of the Planning Commission, said after the meeting he had favored the theater complex too. He added that the commission can only regulate "the footprint and not the foot.''
As of right now, Avon Commons will have a grocery story on the western end and a Target on the eastern end. Plans for a Kohl's and a Home Depot have not changed, Mitch Schneider said.
Ted Graczyk, another commission member, said he was concerned about how the change in plans would affect the accuracy of a traffic study conducted earlier.
Schneider agreed that traffic patterns may change somewhat. He said that he would present an updated letter from his traffic consultants at the regular commission meeting scheduled for next Wednesday [9-15-99].
At that meeting, Schneider will also present his final engineering plans for the development, said Gar Downing, the city's consulting engineer. "I'm not ready to recommend approval until I get a chance to review the plans,'' Downing said.
He said "if everything works and they have all their ducks in a row,'' the commission will vote on the project at another special meeting scheduled for Sept. 22."
NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, By SARAH FENSKE, 9-9-99, Morning Journal Writer
"AVON -- ... Schneider, president of First Interstate Development, informally presented the site plan for the 85-acre shopping center to commission members, seeking feedback.
While substantially the same site plan as planning commission approved in 1998, the plan did show a few differences.
The biggest is the absence of a CineMark movie theater.
Along with such names as Barnes and Noble, Home Depot, Kohl's and Dick's Sporting Goods, Schneider had listed CineMark as a prospective tenant to Avon residents in April, but now those negotiations have formally ended, Schneider said.
The problem had less to do with the project's delays and more the perspective of the movie theater chain.
'The industry has had a slowdown,' Schneider said. 'There are too many screens, and everyone became cautious. We didn't have the time to wait for them.' ...
By the time the land's sale is complete in October, Schneider said he expects to have 85 percent of the tenants confirmed and will release names -- but no sooner ...
That site plan shows a retail center that is about 10,000 square feet smaller than the earlier plan, with the space reserved for a movie theater now to house a superstore. Schneider referred to the building as the 'Target' store, but then refused to confirm if the popular Target chain was a tenant.
A supermarket was added at the former site to fill the space formerly reserved for 'Target or a supermarket,' although Schneider refuses to confirm that any specific supermarket chain has committed to the project ...
Although last night was the city's first look at the Avon Commons site plan this year, it was actually the project's second review.
Schneider had almost completed the city's approval process in 1998, receiving all but City Council's approval of the subdivider's agreement before Judge Thomas Janas ruled that the property would have to be rezoned [June 8, 1998].
Schneider began the process again this July, and since then, has received final approval to the subdivider's agreement from both Council and Planning Commission.
Only the site plan, which includes the location of buildings, parking layout and the general look of the project, remains, and unlike the subdivider's agreement, it only needs Planning Commission's approval.
Schneider will not be able to obtain formal approval for at least two more weeks.
The city has ruled that a hearing must be held to discuss plans to buffer Avon Commons from neighboring properties, as well as another public hearing for minor changes made to the subdivider's agreement.
Those public hearings are scheduled for a special meeting Sept. 22 ..."
NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, By SARAH FENSKE, 9-23-99, Morning Journal Writer
"Avon Commons Approved
AVON -- The Avon Commons shopping center received its final planning commission approval last night, ending two years of presentation and debate about the major retail development.
The 85-acre strip mall, to be located at the corner of Detroit Road and SR 83, has been discussed repeatedly at all sorts of city meetings, reviewed by the courts and voted on by Avon residents twice.
'It's been a long haul,' developer Mitch Schneider admitted.
But last night, the only objection came from local attorney Gerald Phillips, who filed a letter of objection with planning commission that failed to note any specific complaints other than dissatisfaction with the project ...
Planning Commission members, who voted unanimously for each of the six minor parcel splits that Schneider requested as well as a plat amendment before approving the site plan, voiced no objections.
Schneider presented members with a letter from his traffic consultant, verifying that the grocery store replacing a previously planned movie theater will not create enough additional traffic to require new plans.
The site plan also incorporated some changes that the commission had requested, including lighting along the recreational walkway and sidewalks from the parking lot to that path ...
Schneider said the project has received all of the necessary official approvals, more than two years since he first showed the city his plans.
In 1998, Schneider had cleared every level of approval save one vote from City Council when Lorain County Common Pleas Judge Thomas Janas ruled the site would have to be rezoned to allow shops 20,000 square feet or larger.
When residents rejected the zoning change by 47 votes, Schneider announced plans to build a series of smaller stores and office complexes on the site that did not require any zoning change.
But local activists, preferring the upscale Avon Commons to Schneider's 'hodge podge' alternative, collected enough signatures to take the rezoning issue to the ballot again in June 1999.
Although [Timothy Grendell and] Phillips charged that the signatures were invalid and took the battle as far as the Ohio Supreme Court, the election results indicated that about 60 percent of the town's voters approved the zoning change.
In the three months following that climactic vote, Schneider has again moved through the city approval process, getting both planning commission and council to OK his subdivider's agreements without any major alterations.
Although sources told The Morning Journal that Target has signed an official agreement with the developer, Schneider refused to confirm or deny that news.
An announcement of the center's groundbreaking will be made 'in the coming weeks,' Schneider said, reiterating his plans to announce tenants at the groundbreaking."
NEWS ARTICLE from THE CHRONICLE-TELEGRAM, 9-23-99, By Jeff Mohrman
"Final nod given to Avon Commons
AVON -- A two-year battle finally came to an end Wednesday, as the city Planning Commission gave the go-ahead for construction of the 85-acre Avon Commons shopping center ...
The vote was 4-0 with commission member Jim Piazza abstaining because he owns land adjacent to the complex.
"(Schneider) exceeded his requirements'' for the Avon Commons project, said Ted Graczyk Jr., a commission member.
Schneider, president of First Interstate Development Inc., said work on the complex is expected to begin by the end of this year and be done 18 months later. The first businesses may open in late 2000.
Schneider said previously that a grocery store chain is expected to be located in the complex along with a Target superstore, Home Depot and Kohl's.
"We're looking forward to what we think will be the finest retail center in Northeast Ohio,'' he said ...
The commission also decided Wednesday not to recommend to Council upgrading the zoning of 3.5 acres Schneider owns at Moore Road and Colorado Avenue to accommodate a gas station. The property is already zoned commercial but needed additional zoning added on to allow the gas station.
Commission members voted, 2-2, with Graczyk and Paul Burik voting against the idea. Commission members James Mallory and Thomas Wearsch voted in favor of the idea, and Piazza again abstained.
Schneider said he wanted the additional zoning because other properties surrounding his land have it. He said it would only be right to allow his property to be developed the same way.
But Graczyk said he received a number of phone calls from residents who told him they didn't want any zoning additions on that land."
NEWS ARTICLE from THE AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 9-29-99, BY JON CRAIG, Beacon Journal Columbus Bureau
"Legislator's suit dismissed
Ohio Supreme Court calls Diane Grendell's action to block state's $22.7 billion operating budget `frivolous'
COLUMBUS: A unanimous Ohio Supreme Court yesterday dismissed as frivolous a lawsuit filed by a state legislator from Geauga County.
... the court also ordered lawyers for Rep. Diane Grendell, R-Chesterland, to pay all expenses and attorney fees incurred by Attorney General Betty Montgomery's office, which defended the General Assembly and its leadership.
In her June 28 lawsuit, Grendell tried to block the state's $22.7 billion operating budget after legislative leaders removed $30,000 for a county airport authority in her Northeast Ohio legislative district ...
``It is well-settled that, in considering the validity of a statute, courts will not inquire into whether the legislature complied with its own rules in enacting the statute,'' the Supreme Court wrote in its eight-page decision.
Grendell's lawyers -- Gerald W. Phillips and her husband, Timothy J. Grendell -- were ordered to pay all fees. The state is still calculating its costs ...
Montgomery called yesterday's decision ``good news.'' She had argued that Grendell's lawsuit challenged the constitutional separation of powers between the courts and the General Assembly. ``It ignored the realities of the legislative process,'' she said.
Diane Grendell had not seen the court's decision but said she might pursue the matter further, perhaps through a lawsuit in common pleas court ..."
NEWS ARTICLE from THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 9-29-99, By Catherine Candisky, Dispatch Statehouse Reporter
"Suit against GOP brass tossed out
Ohio Supreme Court
The Ohio Supreme Court yesterday threw out a lawsuit by a Republican state lawmaker who sued GOP leaders over a budget dispute.
Rep. Diane V. Grendell of Chesterland filed the suit after a $30,000 grant for her district was stripped from the $22.6 billion state budget. She said leaders were punishing her for refusing to support the budget bill.
In a unanimous decision, the court said it had no authority over the case because Grendell's claim was based on the General Assembly's alleged violation of its procedural rules.
Calling the lawsuit frivolous, justices also voted 4-3 to order Grendell's Cleveland lawyers -- her husband, Timothy J. Grendell, and Gerald W. Phillips -- to pay the legal fees incurred by Attorney General Betty D. Montgomery. She represented Senate President Richard H. Finan of Cincinnati, House Speaker Jo Ann Davidson of Reynoldsburg, House Finance Chairman E.J. Thomas of Columbus and other state officials ...
Davidson and Finan yesterday applauded the decision.
"I think it should be thrown out,'' Finan said.
Grendell said she may refile the case in state court, possibly the Franklin County Common Pleas Court ..."
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH, Saturday, October 23, 1999
By Doug Caruso, Dispatch City Hall Reporter
"Issue 33 pitch has cost $807,072
For about the salary of Cleveland Indians pitcher Jaret Wright, Richard E. Jacobs is fighting a political campaign against tax incentives for the Polaris Centers of Commerce.
Jacobs owns the Indians and Northland Mall. He put up all the money -- $807,072 -- for Citizens to Save Northland, which is seeking passage of Issue 33 on Nov. 2 ..."
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
By Lee Leonard, Dispatch Statehouse Reporter
Friday, October 15, 1999
"2 lawyers fight sanctions over lawsuit
*The suit they filed against the legislature was deemed frivolous.
Two attorneys asked a federal court yesterday to block about $6,500 in fines levied against them for filing what the Ohio Supreme Court deemed a frivolous lawsuit against the state legislature.
Timothy J. Grendell of Independence, Ohio, and Gerald W. Phillips of Avon, Ohio, asked the U.S. District Court in Columbus for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction, saying sanctions cannot be imposed without a hearing.
A spokesman for the Supreme Court said the court cannot comment on pending litigation.
The state's highest court imposed the sanctions Sept. 28 in dismissing a lawsuit filed on behalf of Grendell's wife, state Rep. Diane V. Grendell, R- Chesterland.
Rep. Grendell claimed the June passage of House Bill 283, the state budget, violated the Ohio Constitution and legislative rules ...
The high court held unanimously that no constitutional provision was violated and that the legislature is responsible for enforcing its own rules. It asked Attorney General Betty D. Montgomery to calculate the attorney fees and expense of the state in defending against the lawsuit.
Montgomery earlier this week submitted a document showing 63.6 hours spent by five attorneys, including her, for $6,115.10. Computer research and copying cost $379.71, the attorney general said, for a total of $6,494.81.
Chris Davey, a spokesman for the attorney general, said his office would respond to the latest Grendell motion in federal court.
"We will continue to work to uphold the Supreme Court decision that this case had no merit,'' he said. "It was frivolous.'' ..."
NEWS ARTICLE from THE PLAIN DEALER, 10-18-99, By RICH EXNER
"AVON ... if voters want a wide range of opinions on what could become the biggest issue to face Avon officials in the coming months, they won't get it. None of the candidates is supporting a proposal by the Richard E. Jacobs Group for a 500-acre retail, office and housing development ...
Easterday comes as close as any of the candidates to leaving the door open, saying she does not endorse the project but is not against it either. And she said she would be open to a study of the interchange proposal.
Mast wants the Jacobs Group to drop its plan ... The 200 acres the Jacobs Group already owns is zoned industrial. Mast said he does not see a need for more retail beyond what is already approved for Avon.
Voters on June 1  approved zoning changes for ... the proposed Avon Commons shopping center ... Brady and Wearsch showed their support by appearing on a campaign videotape in the spring to ask residents to vote yes for Avon Commons.
That support, however, should not be mistaken as support for still more retail in Avon. Both Brady and Wearsch said they were against a large shopping center as part of the Jacobs project ...
The only other contested council race in Avon is in Ward 3, where Timothy Nickum is challenging incumbent Shirley Doss."
NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 10-23-99
"AVON -- Avon students will receive some extra career guidance, thanks to a five-year, $75,000 pledge by the company developing Avon Commons.
First Interstate Development Co. pledged the funds to The Access Program, a Lorain County non-profit group that promotes post - secondary education.
The funds will be used for career planning presentations to seventh- and eighth - graders at Avon Middle School, post - secondary advising for high school students and their parents, and a $4,000 need-based scholarship for a graduating senior for the next five years.
This summer, eighth- and ninth-grade students will also be eligible to attend Summer Camp at Oberlin, conducted jointly by The Access Program and Oberlin College, and designed to give prospective first- generation college students a first-hand look at college life."
Editorial from THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
Saturday, October 30, 1999
Ad nauseum -- Truth is casualty of Issue 33 campaign
As almost anyone in business knows, remaining competitive can be costly. Upgrading buildings and keeping them safe and attractive to shoppers take big bucks.
At Northland Mall, owner Richard Jacobs knows such an upgrade is needed. He's talked about a new entrance facing Morse Road and a renovated interior featuring skylights, a stone floor and a generally open, brighter appearance.
But these changes would not come cheap. The overhaul he has pledged for this 35-year-old mall would cost about $70 million.
Potentially easier and cheaper is to fight ruthlessly to keep any competitors out. And so Jacobs has turned his attention away from making Northland better to making a mall at Polaris Centers of Commerce nonexistent.
Unfortunately, he's resorting to lies in his effort to kill this mall, and he threatens to drag all of Columbus down with him in this selfish effort ...
Jacobs has spent a pretty penny, no doubt. But $800,000 is a drop in the bucket compared with the many millions of dollars that would have to be spent to make Northland into a competitive shopping center.
Misleading advertising is a much cheaper way to beat the competition ...
Jacobs wants to sacrifice the city's word -- the bond upon which it must rely in negotiations to attract business to the city -- for his own benefit. An absentee landlord acting in self-interest shouldn't be allowed to compromise a city's future.
To add insult to injury, Jacobs is relying upon outright lies to make his case. You only have to look to the Ohio Elections Commission to see that ...
Jacobs apparently doesn't want to spend money to correct problems at Northland; better to sell Columbus' trustworthiness down the river ..."
The COLUMBUS DISPATCH
Monday, November 1, 1999
By Doug Caruso, Dispatch City Hall Reporter
"The six-member commission blasted the ads and referred the matter to the county prosecutor.
The Ohio Elections Commission yesterday blasted two ads promoting Issue 33, ruled that nearly every statement in them is a lie and took the rare step of referring the matter to Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien.
"I am appalled at the falsehoods,'' said Norton Webster, one of six elections commissioners who unanimously voted that the ads promoting the repeal of a tax-increment-financing district at Polaris Centers of Commerce are untrue.
"It's reprehensible,'' commission Chairman William M. Connelly said ...
This is the fifth time the commission has referred a truth-in-advertising matter to a prosecutor. One case has resulted in a conviction.
Under a rarely invoked state law, Citizens to Save Northland, the pro-Issue 33 committee, could face up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Though Northland Mall owner Richard E. Jacobs paid for the ads, only the campaign committee was named in the complaint by the Polaris Owners Association ...
The bipartisan commission heard testimony and ruled yesterday on a TV ad and a radio spot aired by Citizens to Save Northland ...
"I don't think there has been any testimony here that any developer or group of developers is going to get $22 million,'' said Webster, who went through each of the charges for the panel. "I think they had to know that a developer wasn't going to get $22 million.''
Webster said testimony also failed to show how Columbus Public Schools would lose $640,000 in revenues. "That is a flat-out false statement,'' he said ...
Donald Brey, attorney for Polaris Owners Association, said he hopes the commission's decision has enough time to reach voters.
"We hope people will reject Mr. Jacobs' lies and reject Issue 33,'' Brey said.
He said he never expected the commission to submit the case to the county prosecutor.
"It's very rare and very unusual,'' Brey said. "You can say a lot of misleading things in campaign advertisements and get away with it. You've got to flat-out lie and know you were doing it.''
Brey has a second complaint before the commission alleging that another TV ad with a similar theme is untrue. The commission has yet to schedule a hearing but has ruled there is cause to think the ad is untrue.
The second complaint names Jacobs, the Richard E. Jacobs Group and officers in the company ..."
NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, By SARAH FENSKE, 11-2-99, Morning Journal Writer
"$9.8 million for land for Avon Commons
AVON -- A family of lifelong Avon residents received $7.4 million for a transaction that transferred a total of 116 acres of vacant land sold for the construction of the Avon Commons shopping center.
The total amount of the eight separate sales that will comprise the shopping center was $9.8 million -- making it the second largest land sale ever in Lorain County, city officials said.
The land purchase was the latest step on a long road for First Interstate Development, the Pepper Pike company that spent two years working through the city's planning and zoning regulations, not to mention the Ohio Supreme Court and two city-wide elections.
The shopping center, complete with a gazebo, walking trail and amphitheater, will be the first major strip mall in Avon.
One local family, lifelong Avon residents who live in a Detroit Road home down the street from the project, was the biggest seller in the deal, with 78.29 acres sold for $7.4 million, according to records filed with the county auditor.
The acreage was partly family-held land and partly an investment project dating back to 1962, said Jack Smith, a 65-year-old retired schoolteacher who is one of six family members splitting a $7.4 million windfall.
Even with the family's newfound millions, life will go on, Smith said.
'I'm going to keep doing what I've been doing,' he said. 'I'm going to keep working in my garden and on my Web site.'
Although the family bought the land to make money, they didn't sell to the first developer who came along, Smith said.
'We wanted something of the highest quality,' he said. 'I feel Avon Commons will be of the highest quality. I think it will be the nicest shopping center in Ohio.'
Seven other pieces of land comprised the remainder of the sale, each smaller than 10 acres, with no single piece generating more than $750,000, according to county records.
Planning Commission Chairman Jim Piazza, who abstained on voting throughout the Avon Commons ordeal with the city planners, sold 3.75 acres to the developer for $275,000, according to records.
The massive transaction is the latest indication that property values in Avon are rising very quickly, said Mayor Jim Smith, who was not a member of the Smith family involved in the land sale ...
Another example that proves the mayor's claims is the just completed transfer by CVS Pharmacies who purchased 1.7 acres just west of the Avon Commons site on Detroit's north side yesterday, paying $525,000, according to records filed with the county auditor.
CVS plans to build a 10,125-square-foot building on the site.
That land was purchased June 30 for $440,000, giving KPK Development Ltd. of Lorain a profit of $85,000 in just four months, according to auditor's records."
Newspaper Record of XXXXX/Jacobs in Avon
More Documents Relating to the June 8, 1998, Decision Against Avon