Independent Investigative Journalism and Commentary from New Orleans, LA
Thanks to Ms. Cohen, and to all who helped pull that together. The sidebar flowchart that explained the steps was helpful.
>Meanwhile, a similar project in eastern New Orleans near Lake Forest Plaza doubled, ballooning to $8.9 million from $4.5 million in August set aside for the city to buy up abandoned lots for redevelopment. Lake Forest Plaza is being developed by Cesar Burgos, a friend of Nagin who was appointed by the mayor to the chairmanship of the Regional Transit Authority board in 2006.<Burgos.I posted about this before.Lake Forest (already transferred to Burgos) being redeveloped and Lake Forest, and who owns the land around it?Who owns the land around the new Charity in Mid City? Well we know Burgos has the City Annex.This is not just the diversion of recovery funds without public approval and against pre-approved state and city legal procedures, this is the diversion of recovery funds FOR PRIVATE USE AND CONVERSION.
Remember the multiple NORAs?"...he initially began buying property under business names such as the NORA Group, an acronym shared by the city agency that buys and redevelops troubled property. Friedman abandoned that name once the agency issued a cease-and-desist order. He now uses PF Developers."Times-Picayune, April 19, 2009 "Brooklyn real estate investor Pincus Friedman has made a strategy out of buying up property in the city's fading neighborhoods" by Kate MoranCity Council agendas show that, beginning in the summer of 2009, tax breaks were granted to "The NORA Group" for numerous properties, many of which are located in the biomed corridor.
In July 2009 the City Council granted tax abatement to The NORA Group for a property located at 2120 Canal. This is the former Cox Cable building that 2120 Canal Street,LLC purchased in May 2006.One year later (May 22, 2007), the Times-Picayune reported that State education officials were considering converting 2120 Canal into a "welcome school," that was anticipated to open in January 2008.
In November 2007, the Nagin administration limited NORA land acquisition to the area bounded by Poydras Street (at I-10), Broad Street, Claiborne Avenue and Orleans avenue. Since Katria, how many properties within that footprint have been obtained, redeveloped or sold by the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority? How many involve other corporations with NORA in their names?
Mad love to New Orleans from out of town. Geaux Saints!
We love the Saints, too, anon, but let's stay on topic.NORAORDARECOVERY FUNDS, GRANTS AND CREDITS
We need an insider who is sickened by this shit to break ranks. Or rather, to JOIN the ranks of the ordinary people they were no doubt out hugging and crying with when the Saints won.
While biomedical development, the lives it saves and the jobs it brings, are sorely needed and long over-due, GNOBEDD remains a nebulous sacred cow peopled by development insiders.The boundaries previously noted for NORA development fall totally within GNOBEDD's footprint which extends from Loyola Avenue to Carrollton and from Orleans Avenue to the Pontchartrain Expressway and gerrymanders Xavier University. More than one NORA has operated in that zone and obtained tax incentives.It is also an area which encompassed the Tulane Avenue Corridor, in which the City's has engaged in public-private development partnerships.In May of last year, ORDA announced that the Regional Planning Commission would host the biomed website nolamedzone as a public service and run this city website from the RPC's own offsite computer servers. Why does it appear that GNOBEDD outreach, including information about development incentives within the biomedical zone, seems to be coordinated by a project principal's spouse?GNOBEDD did not grow solely out of LSU's desire for expansion. GNOBEDD is a retread of the non-profit NEW ORLEANS REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER, INC. (NORMC), a DDD-based initiative from the early 1990s which is now known as NEW ORLEANS MEDICAL COMPLEX, INC. The non-profit group has been involved in land acquisition for biomedical expansion since its establishment more than a decade before Katrina. Remember the big post-K biomed junket to St. Louis? What was learned that wasn't already decided back in 1990, when Donna Fraiche announced that firms chosen for the biomed project were Stone Marracini Patterson of St. Louis, Ernst & Young, Development Strategies Inc. of St. Louis and Hewitt-Washington and Associates of New Orleans.
We just got off a conference call with MWH and the Recovery office. City Council has put all recovery projects on hold...no new contracts, no bids, no awards, not even change orders, pending new leadership.
Wouldn't it be wise to briefly and temporarily halt the City's ongoing land acquisition within the VA hospital footprint until a new administration can review all project-related contracts and agreements with fresh eyes? Questions remain about mayoral interpretation of the City Charter and the city's agreement to sacrifice a neighborhood in exchange for the right to commercially redevelop the existing VA hospital. What ARE the City's plans for the old VA, anyway? Tell us. We're all ears.In a city suffering from crippled infrastructure, how much recovery funding and city monies have development agencies applied to downtown landscaping? Should the same development clique that brought us $10K palm trees continue to be entrusted with planning our biomedical future? NORMC was full of big talk and broken promises for 14 years BEFORE Katrina. Post-K, the same non-profit has a new name but, with the same people at its helm, it continues to run the show. Nineteen years is long enough for management to prove its competance and fiscal responsibilty. It's time for new blood.
Which "certain inspection functions and related administrative hearing actions" did Nagin, through a Spring 2008 CEA authorize Kurt Weigle and the DDD to perform? To which buildings and projects do the inspections and hearings apply? Cal. No. 26,934 - By: Councilmember Head (By Request)An ordinance authorizing the Mayor of the City of New Orleans to enter into aCooperative Endeavor Agreement with the Downtown Development District (DDD), represented by Kurt Weigle, President and CEO, relative to the performance of certain inspection functions and related administrative hearing actions within the boundaries of the DDD as set forth in LA R. S. 33:2740.3, all as more fully set forth in the Cooperative Endeavor Agreementattached hereto and made a part hereof; and otherwise to provide with respect hereto. --City Council Consent Agenda "Approval of Minutes March 6, 2008 & March 20, 2008." Cal. No. 26,946 - By: Councilmember Head (By Request)An ordinance authorizing the Mayor of the City of New Orleans to enter into a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with the Downtown Development District ("DDD"), represented by Kurt Weigle, President and CEO, relative to the performance of certain inspection functions and related administrative hearing actions within the boundaries of the DDD as set forth in LA R. S. 33:2740.3, all as more fully set forth in the Cooperative Endeavor Agreementattached hereto and made a part hereof; and otherwise to provide with respect hereto. --City Council Consent Agenda "Approval of Minutes March 6, 2008 & March 20, 2008."
In 2007, WDSU ran a piece about $50 million that got secretly reallocated to the hospital project. WDSU still has the piece up on Youtube. The title is "$50 Million Realoocated Without Discussion"Could it have been for the penthouses?"...B+W Development sought $50 million in bonds to build an office tower topped by extended-stay penthouses for executives at 2000 Tulane Ave..."Times-Picayune, 12-19-2007
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