ERIC DODEN CALLS IT QUITS AT THE IEDC-
Thank you Jim Sack; Fort Wayne Reader- for untangling the web; in easy to understand language
whenever a Politician is quote" Doden could not immediately be reached for comment. A spokeswoman for the economic development agency said that Doden wished to return to his home base in Fort Wayne to be with his family and pursue private interests.leaving to spend more time with their family- well usually it means they are caught with their hand in the cookie jar, or some other scandal about to blow up; so they fall on their sword instead..
WHO is Eric Doden?
Doden to GFW?
CHARTER SCHOOL MOGUL:
ERIC DODEN; INDIANA GOVT; THE IEDC; ETC MISC..
The Indiana Department of Economic Development had a rotten reputation in the Daniels Administration for keeping secret much of the business it did in the people’s name. So bad was its reputation that an Indy TV station won a prestigious journalism award for reporting on the stonewalling, cronyism, lying, violation of open door laws, baseless self-promotion, and the like.
So, now, years later, the Pence Administration has installed former local candidate for Fort Wayne Mayor Eric Doden as head of the organization and Doden seems to be prospering in the post. The heavily tax-subsidized Cityscape Flats is his project.
A couple years back he asked a state ethics panel for wise council, fearing the obvious conflict of interest from running a development business that would profit from public monies. Apparently, he figured corruption announced was corruption excused. One member of the ethics committee agreed, saying the committee “didn’t want to put Domo (the development company) out of business.”! Hey, what’s a little graft in the name of economic development, hmmm?
So, Doden knew he faced a conflict of interest, but wanted a higher power to bless his corruption. To wit, tried to further insulate himself from obvious charges by taking a leave of absence from Domo. Now, to be clear, that is not selling the company or giving up any profits. Simply, he is deferring profits until he moves out of government. Think 401k/Doden.
Here’s the deal: his company will be given a $7 million dollar incentive package, including free land and a parking garage. Given. In exchange, Doden promises to build 150 apartment units from which he will profit handsomely, thanks to you. Doden will also apply for a local tax abatement. That will enrich him by another million dollars. We can bet that public official Doden, who is the ultimate insider in state government, will find a way to belly up to other troughs, too. Sweet deal for the well-connected. His buddies on council have their rubber stamps at the ready.
According to one local real estate analyst, the subsidies could amount to a $50,000 subsidy (your money) per unit or nearly $10. In most other countries we would call that corruption, but here it is known as economic development.
As for the Henry Administration partnering up with Mr. Doden, the old adage applies that if you sleep with dogs you wake up with fleas.
City Councilman Russ Jehl is in real estate. In that business prospective deals are measured in ROI, return on investment. Thus, Mr. Jehl would like to hear from the Henry Administration what they project the ROI to be for Cityscape Flats, the proposed housing project next to the ballpark. It is a very generous deal. The city proposes to partner with DOMO Ventures, a two-man shop headed by Eric Doden who is also the president of the Indiana Department of Economic Development Council. Doden, on a leave of absence from this relatively new partnership, will be the beneficiary of free land, a parking garage, site improvements, and tax abatements, all of the above tax money collected from you. It is a transfer of wealth from you to a wealthy businessman who is also a government official. So, Mr. Jehl, naturally enough, wants to know what’s in it for you, the taxpayer, the source of the $10,000,000 million or so that Doden will pocket in the short term. Councilman Jehl has asked the city to send someone to the table to explain our ROI. Perhaps it will be Karl Bandamer, himself a former real estate professional. The question that needs to be answered is whether this is a good deal for the rest of us, not just politician Doden?
Tax Incremental Financing districts, TIFs, collect property tax dollars. The property tax dollars that are collected from a geographic area are to be reinvested in that area for the further improvement of that area. But, they are property dollars by any other name. The Henry Administration, however, insists on saying they are not property tax dollars for some strange reason, probably because of the fight years ago that resulted in a constitutional amendment to limit the collection of property taxes. So, when officials come to the table to explain the aspects of a deal to city council they go out of their way to say “no property tax dollars will be used” in a given project. While many of the projects are worthy of funding it would be less disingenuous if the administration called a spade a spade, rather than trying to camouflage their funding sources.
Oh, and there is one other problem with plowing property tax dollars into TIF funds: When a TIF district is set up the property tax dollars collected there are used in that district to improve that district. Those property tax dollars do not go into the general fund to support our schools, roads, airport and library, among other expenses that are normal to the operation of our city. They stay in the district. This is one reason, beside tax abatements, why many of our institutions are suffering budget cuts, despite property tax collections creeping higher and a recent increase in your income tax bill. On the surface TIFs sound great; they reinvest tax dollars in target areas for maximum impact. For example, Jefferson Pointe TIF taxes were used to build the ballpark at the very end of a suspiciously drawn boundary line. But, TIFs undermine the general tax base essential to other significant institutions.
Should council examine their policy and restrict the channeling of property tax dollars into TIF districts? Will they?