Posts Tagged ‘citrus towers’

Two men making a deal isolated at the white background

THE GRESHAM SAVAGE DEAL: A WIN, WIN FOR GRESHAM SAVAGE, AGAIN AT TAXPAYER EXPENSE!

The taxpayers just bought a $40 million dollar building, how do we help maintain it?  Sublease some space from a partner in crime know as the legal outfit of Gresham Savage?  With that in mind, the City Attorneys office who gets paid by the taxpayer will be paying rent in their new taxpayer paid building.

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CLICK THIS TO VIEW FULL COUNCIL MEMORANDUM ON THIS ISSUE

So how does all this benefit the taxpayer?  It won’t, the fact of the matter is that it will cost an additional $411.035.00 from the taxpayer!  Currently, the City Attorneys occupation of the 5th Floor of City Hall has a yearly cost of $208,039.00.  The total annual cost in rent the City would pay to Grease-Them-Savagley would be $548,046.00.  Bad deal at a cost to the taxpayer.  Of course the other side are emphasizing that we need the space!  We are hiring more attorneys and the cubicles at City Hall do not allow for privacy for sensitive legal issues.  But why is the City Attorney’s Office anticipating hiring more lawyers?  The City of Riverside already has approximately about 13 (not sure)? But we want to hire more, not to include all the other outside legal firms we may have contracted and on retainer.  City of Moreno Valley with a population of 200K has two attorney’s.  The City of Murreta with a population of 100K has one. The question, is how many laws suits against the City are we receiving?  If that is what is happening, why is it happening?  Why is the City receiving so much liability?

This completely smells of Deja Vu with the bad deal made with Developer Mark Rubin’s building Citrus Towers.  We initially assumed Best, Best & Krieger’s lease so that they could move to his new building.  RPU taking over this lease to move into this gold plated building, cost the taxpayers a pretty penny which shouldn’t have happened, because we had plenty of taxpayer properties that could have been occupied at low  expense.  But is this culture of elitism whereby the real interest of the taxpayers doesn’t really matter?  What happened to public service and public servants?

TMC did a story on this very issue back in July 2011 called: I’LL TAKE A DOUBLE RUBIN ON A BB&K WITH RPU ON THE SIDE!

At this time the City Attorney’s Office, along with Riverside Public Utilities will now reside in the $40 million dollar Wells Fargo building.  With that in mind, the best part is that the City, in the best of interest of the taxpayer was able to negotiate a rate of $2.50 per rentable square foot to $2.25 per square foot. Along with this there will also be a one time cost of a $125, 000.00 to cover the cost of moving, new furniture, fixtures and equipment.  This at a time when City Manager John Russo is going around town to public meetings stating that we don’t have money and need tighten our belts.

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According to local residents, the City refuses to give a tour to them on this Gold Plated building.  You paid for a $40 million dollar building, but you can’t see what you bought!  Is the America you want to live in?  One was told that City Manager John Russo and even Councilman Mike Gardner said “no!”  As a result, following records request was sent by Attorney Raychele Sterling.

To: Nicole Roa <droa@riversideca.gov>, jrusso@riversideca.gov, ggeuss@riversideca.gov, Sherry Morton-Ellis <SMorton@riversideca.gov>, “Nicol, Colleen” <cnicol@riversideca.gov>, “Allen, Susan” <sallen@riversideca.gov>
Cc: Alicia Robinson <arobinson@pe.com>, cmacduff@pe.com, “Davis, Paul” <pdavis@riversideca.gov>

In light of the Public Utilities Director’s and Councilman Mike Gardner’s (with the alleged concurrence of the City Manager) refusal to permit a tour of the recently remodeled PU facility located on University Avenue by members of the community who are critical of PU’s extravagant expenditures (while allowing other  non-critical members of the public to observe the facility), please make the following available for my review:

1) Entire project file for the PU Board Room/Multi Purpose Room remodel (including all photographs).

2) All Purchase Orders and Purchase Requisitions for the past 5 years for the procurement of any furniture (module or stationary), electronics (excluding PCs, Printers, Photocopiers), art, photography or sculptures, appliances (including refrigerators, dishwashers, microwaves etc.) flooring, tile and carpet for Riverside Public Utilities.

3) A list of all participants (including the Chamber of Commerce members) in ANY tour of ANY City Facility and all accompanying releases of liability for the past 5 years. I personally have observed and participated in tours of the Sewer Treatment Plant, RERC, Orange Square and Utilities Plaza, as well as witnessed the execution of releases of liability by members of the public for such tours.

4) Any current policies and procedures regarding touring of City facilities by members of the public. 5) All releases for PU’s “Bring Your Daughter to Work Day”, as well as a list of the facilities where these individuals were permitted to be for the past five years.

6) All releases for any “Bring your Child to Work Day”, “Shadow the Mayor Day” or “Shadow a Council Member Day”, Grade School tours, or the like, and a list of any and all facilities these individuals were permitted to be in for the past five years.

7) List of any currently scheduled or proposed tours of ANY City Facility by any individuals or group. Please identify the facilities intended to be toured.

8) A List of all PU facilities (please identify specific rooms as well) that were open to the public to attend City and/or Utility meetings within the past 5 years.

9) A list of all City employees who have provided tours of ANY City facility to members of the public.

Upon review, I will determine what documents I would like to duplicated. Thank you

Raychele Sterling, Esq.

WHAT IS THE STORY ON THIS SMALL PIECE OF CITY LAND THAT A BASKETBALL COURT AND TENNIS COURT WERE BUILT ON?

No one seems to know how a Tennis Court and Basketball Court was built on City Land!  Even Development Director Emilio Ramirez didn’t have an answer for Council.  The issue (Item #14) was removed from the Consent Calender by Council.  According to Ramirez, City documents could not be found which showed a timeline of permits for building etc.

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TMC, RATED RIVERSIDE’S REGIONAL COUNTIES MOST, “NEGATIVE,” “RAUNCHY,” “LOW CLASS,” “VISIONS OF GRANDEUR,” “FULL OF B.S.,” “IGNORANT,” “MISGUIDED,” “BULLYISH,” “FILTHY,” “SICK,” “PERVERTED,” “STUPID,” “PATHETIC,” “DESPICABLE,” “DISAPPOINTING,” “BELOW THE BELT,” “A NEW LOW,” “SHOCKING,” “OFFENSIVE,” “INAPPROPRIATE,” “HURTFUL,” “MEAN SPIRITED,” “DISTASTEFUL,” “EMBARRASSING,” HORIFFIC,” “SLANDEROUS” “FIT TO BE VIEWED FROM THE REAR” AND MEZZSPELLED, “MISSPELLED” AND “OPINIONATED” BLOG SITE!  TEMPORARILY BLOCKED BY THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE AT PUBLIC ACCESS SITES WITHIN THE CITY, THEN UNBLOCKED.  I GUESS YOU CANNOT DO THAT ACCORDING TO THE ACLU.  RATED ONE TWO ONE STAR OUT OF FIVE IN TERMS OF COMMUNITY APPROVAL RATINGS..  TMC IS NOW EXCLUSIVLY EXCLUSIVELY ON FILE WITH THE COUNTY OF RIVERSIDE’S DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE (WE BELIEVE THIS WILL END SOON, SINCE THE FOCUS IS NOW ON THE IMPROPRIETIES OF MR. “Z”.  WE TRIED TO TELL YOU, BUT NOBODY LISTENED), AND DON’T FORGET WE ARE PROSSIBLY POSSIBLY ON FILE WITH THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE’S POTENTIAL SLAPP SUIT LIST… A STRATEGIC LEGAL MANEUVER THAT CAN BE DONE ONLY IN RIVERSIDE WITHOUT A CONTRACT… AGAIN, THANK YOU COMMUNITY OF RIVERSIDE AND THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE EMPLOYEE’S FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

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RPU’s Taj Majal? 

Yep, if you are a Riverside ratepayer, you just bought yourself a building.  The total time from when it was placed on the agenda of the Board of Public Utilities to the day the decision was made by Council to spend $40 million of rate payer money from the Electric Fund to have a “Taj Mahal” for RPU execs? 1 week.  We got a million dollar baby which will need much more care then we know – from seismic retrofits, to new elevators, to new HVAC.  As a bonus, the City is now in the business of real estate and property management, since about 50% of the building space will be rented to private entities (Chamber businesses no doubt receiving preferential leases).

According to the Press Enterprise, Councilman Paul Davis stated, “I think that once you look at the totality of it … it is better to be an owner.”  Well, we guess Davis didn’t read the back up documents as to the 1980s structure numerous issues.  We’d be willing to be this orchestrated fiasco actually will end up costing the taxpayers more – a lot more – than if RPU had simply found a new building after its lease (already extended once) had run out in 2022.

Of course, as we’ve become accustomed to, the backup documents to the staff report did not provide the financial analysis of the deal.  “Trust us, we’re with the government!” seems to the be enough to satisfy officials like Davis.  Were upkeep and maintenance costs included?  How about the impact to city finances of taking the building off the property tax rolls?  The public was not provided the analysis, and of course the deal was rushed through the process to quickly to ask for the information via a Public Records Act request – so much for Rockstar Russo’s promise of transparency!

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Council Report June 23, 2015 (click to view full doc)

 

Back in July 2011 the City of Riverside decided it was a good idea to assume the lease of the law firm BB&K for RPU at the Wells Fargo building.  This would give BB&K an opportunity to move to the developer Mark Rubins newly built Citrus Towers, which was on the site of former Redevelopment Agency property – of course!  In 2012 the cost annually for lease payment was over $1.6 million.  We believe the move was made because Rubin couldn’t make his occupancy goals for his new building, and hence, his financiers were getting a wee bit nervous.  At the time, we asked whether the formation of this love triangle – RPU, BB&K, and Rubin – was in fact just a gift of public funds?

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07-26-2011 CC RPT 401-3 (CLICK THIS LINK TO VIEW FULL DOC)

 

More than likely former City Manager Brad Hudson thought this was a good deal, but not necessarily for the RPU ratepayer, as was often the case.  Back in 2012, we not that real estate market research advisers, Grubb & Ellis, showed that while the City was prepared to pay $2.49 per square foot per month to help its buddies out, the average asking rate for the best office space in Riverside-Corona corridor was $2.10 per square foot.  The firm stated that it was even cheaper for second tiered space (but we couldn’t have that! Only the best for public employees in Riverside!).

The issue of excess reserves has been raised by multiple members of the public at both Public Utility Board and City Council meetings during public comment since the Fall of 2014.  Neither the Board of Public Utilities nor the City Council have taken action to comply with the RPU’s Reserve Policy. The existence of excess reserves indicate that the City, through its Public Utilities Department, has substantially overcharged its ratepayers for both water and electric services in violation of Propositions 218 and 26. Is Public Utilities quickly moving forward to craft and change language in order to utilize restrictive reserve funds, so they won’t have to reimburse the ratepayers for the overage?  Or will they simply spend all the money on frivolous and project not in compliance with its Reserve Policy?  We’re betting on both.

At a recent La Sierra/Arlanza Neighborhood Alliance (LANA) meeting, City Manager John Russo stated that because of the City’s heavy debt burden and pension obligations, we simply cannot spend any more money on new projects.  We guess he wasn’t talking about RPU.  What about the other city owned buildings – we couldn’t use them, like RPU has done at Orange Square and Utilities Plaza?  Well residents are beginning to line up for a 40 cent tour of their new $40 million building.  If you have to pay for it, you might as well see it!

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This group of Riverside ratepayers don’t seem to be happy about this purchase…

 

OTHER TMC RELATED STORIES:

JULY 30, 2011: I’LL TAKE A DOUBLE RUBIN ON A BB&K WITH PU ON THE SIDE!

TWO OF FORMER PE ARTICLES BY DAN BERSTEIN’S, AND HIS TAKE ON SWAP ISSUE:

LEASE IS MORE: JULY 26, 2011: DAN BERSTEIN

THE WINNERS? NOT NECESSARILY RIVERSIDE PUBLIC UTILITY RATEPAYERS: DECEMBER 11, 2011: DAN BERSTEIN

RIVERSIDE FORGOTTEN..

pc-riv-1961-greetings-001-A-1000TMC, RATED RIVERSIDE’S MOST, “VISIONS OF GRANDEUR,” “FULL OF B.S.,” “IGNORANT,” “MISGUIDED,” “BULLYISH,” “FILTHY,” “SICK,” “PERVERTED,” “STUPID,” “PATHETIC,” “DESPICABLE,” “DISAPPOINTING,” “BELOW THE BELT,” “A NEW LOW,” “SHOCKING,” “OFFENSIVE,” “INAPPROPRIATE,” “HURTFUL,” “MEAN SPIRITED,” “DISTASTEFUL,” “EMBARRASSING,” HORIFFIC,” “SLANDEROUS” AND MEZZSPELLED, “MISSPELLED” AND “OPINIONATED” BLOG SITE!  TEMPORARILY BLOCKED BY THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE AT PUBLIC ACCESS SITES WITHIN THE CITY, THEN UNBLOCKED.  I GUESS YOU CANNOT DO THAT ACCORDING TO THE ACLU.  RATED ONE TWO ONE STAR OUT OF FIVE IN TERMS OF COMMUNITY APPROVAL RATINGS..  TMC IS NOW EXCLUSIVLY EXCLUSIVELY ON FILE WITH THE COUNTY OF RIVERSIDE’S DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE (WE BELIEVE THIS WILL END SOON, SINCE THE FOCUS IS NOW ON THE IMPROPRIETIES OF MR. “Z”.  WE TRIED TO TELL YOU, BUT NOBODY LISTENED), AND DON’T FORGET WE ARE PROSSIBLY POSSIBLY ON FILE WITH THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE’S POTENTIAL SLAPP SUIT LIST… A STRATEGIC LEGAL MANEUVER THAT CAN BE DONE ONLY IN RIVERSIDE WITHOUT A CONTRACT… AGAIN, THANK YOU COMMUNITY OF RIVERSIDE AND THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE EMPLOYEE’S FOR YOUR SUPPORT!   COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOMED, ESPECIALLY SPELL CHECKERS!  WE JUST CAN’T SPELL!  EMAIL ANONYMOUSLY WITH YOUR DIRT BY CONTACTING US AT:  THIRTYMILESCORRUPTION@HOTMAIL.COM

Riveriside City Councilman Mike Gardner said he disagrees with the characterization of the lease as a backroom deal, but for some people, “I don’t think anything anyone will say will change that perception.”

THIS WEEKS CITY COUNCIL AGENDA WAS THE GIFT THAT KEPT GIVING, AND ONE OF THOSE GIFTS WAS ITEM 40 OF THE CITY COUNCIL AGENDA.   THE “ASSIGNMENT AND ASSUMPTION” OF A LEASE BETWEEN PUBLIC UTILITIES AND BEST, BEST & KRIEGER.  THIS MEANS THAT THE CITY WILL TAKE OVER BB&K’S VERY EXPENSIVE LEASE, SO THEY CAN GO TO A NEW LOCATION THAT IS CURRENTLY IN CONSTRUCTION.  SOUNDS LIKE DEVELOPER MARK RUBIN’S PROJECT, THE CITRUS TOWER BUILDING.  QUESTION IS WHY DOESN’T PUBLIC UTILITIES JUST GO THERE, WITHOUT ASSUMING A BAD DEAL SUCH AS AN EXPENSIVE LEASE? PRIVATE SECTOR PEOPLE WILL TELL YOU IT MAKES NO BUSINESS SENSE!  THEN IT VERY WELL MUST BE POLITICAL.  MARK RUBIN’S RAINCROSS PROMENADE HAS NOT PANNED OUT AS THE CITY EXPECTED EITHER, WITH THE MAJORITY OF UNITS REMAINING EMPTY.  COUNCILMAN MIKE GARDNER STATES,”IT’S A GOOD OPPORTUNITY THAT FELL IN OUR LAPS, SO WE TOOK IT.”  LET’S SEE HOW GOOD OF OPPORTUNITY THIS IS.   FIRST, IT APPEARS THAT BB&K’S LANDLORD STILL HAS BB&K’S SECURITY DEPOSIT, SO IT LOOKS AS RPU/CITY WILL GIVE THEIR SECURITY DEPOSITY DIRECTLY TO BB&K IN THE AMOUNT OF $151,104.00.   THEN BB&K CAN LEAVE AND RPU/CITY MOVE IN AT LOAN SHARK PRICES REGARDING SQ. FOOTAGE.  YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER THE MARKET IS DROPPING, BUT THE COUNCIL IS CONSIDERING PAYING $1.00/ SQ.FT. OVER THE CITY AVERAGE AND RIVERSIDE MARKET TRENDS, WHICH BEGINS AT $2.49/SQ.FT. IN 2012 AND ENDS WITH  $2.75/SQ.FT. BY YEAR 2016!  MONTHLY RENT IN 2012 WOULD BE $175,234.00.  IF YOU GO AROUND TOWN THERE ARE MANY SPACES AVAILABLE AT HALF THAT RATE WITH A BOTTOM LINE SAVINGS TO THE TAXPAYER.  MIKE GARDNER STATES, “WE HAVE TO FIND SOMEPLACE TO PUT RPD”.  SOUNDS LIKE RPD WILL BE HOMELESS AND ELGIBLE FOR FOOD STAMPS SOON!   BUT THE CURRENT BUILDING RPD RESIDES IN IS CURRENTLY OWNED BY THE COUNTY OF RIVERSIDE, AND LEASES THE SPACE AT A LOWER THAN REASONABLE RATES, AS IN $1.00/ YEAR.  WHY MOVE AT ALL?  BUT NEWLY ELECTED SECOND TERM COUNCILMAN MIKE GARDNER, WHO INCIDENTLY  CHANGED HIS MIND MONTHS LATER TO RUN FOR MAYOR,  DOESN’T THINK THERE IS ANYTHING WRONG OR SINISTER IN THIS CHANGE.   I CAN GET A WAREHOUSE FOR $0.65/ SQ.FT TO HOUSE RPD OR PUBLIC UTILITIES IN THESE TIMES, WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL?  SWEET DEAL FOR BB&K, I’M SURE THERE IS NOTHING MORE THAN THAT OR EVEN A CONFLICT OF INTEREST, EVEN THOUGH WE ARE USING THEM FOR DIFFICULT CASES SUCH AS UNLAWFUL DETAINERS TO CLEANSE MAIN STREET OF MERCHANTS…. AND IT MUST BE WORKING BECAUSE ACCORDING TO ASSISTANT CITY MANAGER DEANNA LORSON WHAT THE CITY SEEMS TO OWN THE MOST, STOREFRONTS ON DOWNTOWN MAINSTREET.   AND I GUESS IT DOESN’T HURT TO GREASE THE GLUTEOUS MAXIMUS OF THE LIKES OF DEVELOPER MARK RUBIN.   WHY DID RDA UNDERWRITE CITRUS TOWERS IF IT COULDN’T MEET IT’S OCCUPANCY GOALS?  WHY WOULD ANYONE GIVE UP A $1.00/YEAR IN A RECESSION?  BUT IT MAKES YOU WONDER WHY THE CITY CONTINUES TO TERRORIZE THE TAX PAYER, AND THE MORE REASON THAT REDEVELOPMENT SHOULD BE ABOLISHED. 

It’s possible Ex Costa Mesa Chief Steven Stavely said it best regarding his city- They act as if they are owners of the business that is the municipal government of the City of Costa Mesa, but they are not, they are merely trustees of these public assets both human and physical and they fail in that role completely. They are in my opinion incompetent, unskilled and unethical.”

UPDATE: 08/03/2011: Back in June 18, 2008 City Council approved the purchase to the Gateway Building at a cost to the tax payer of 3 million.  Public Utilities was then housed within the Gateway Building  and the Orange Square Building.  Once Public Utilities moves to take possession of the current building BB&K resides, the Gateway Building will become empty.  Even though the city mentions the Federal Courts have expressed interest, there is still no current commitment.  This musical chairs  of alleged favoritism will cost and continue to terrorize the taxpayer in higher taxes, waisted money and more wasted unoccupied city owned buildings.

If you haven’t received your  Brad Hudson Farewell Invitation, here it is.  It appears that the City’s restaurant, The Grier Pavillion will be providing the food in order to support Rodney Couch, and at what cost to the taxpayer? Is this even legal in this public arena?  In the past, employee’s would contribute food and drink to such events.  Currently the Community and City of Riverside has yet to receive City Manager Brad Hudson’s official resignation letter.  Does this mean that the taxpayer is obligated to pay the remaining two years of his contract, especially with days left before he leaves?

UPDATE: THE PARTY HARDY WITH BRADLEY PARTY BRINGS ABOUT SOME DISTURBING REVELATIONS WITH REGARDS TO CITY BUSINESS. THE JOKES OR THE ROASTING JOKES ARE A  CLEAR  PROCLAMATION OR A REVELATION OF THE DYSFUNCTIONAL CULTURE OF CITY HALL AND THEIR ABILITY TO CONTINUE  TO CREATE AN ECONOMIC SUBTERFUGE OF DISCEPTION, WHICH IN TURN REFLECTS ON THEIR ABILITIES TO PERFORM AS EXPECTED BY THE COMMUNITY WHICH HAS ENDOWED  THEM WITH THE POWERS  TO GO FORWARD AS INDICATED….

UPDATE: 08/22/2011: Councilman Paul Davis asked that the issue be revisited after questions were raised about the total cost of the move, which entails relocating owntown police and public utilities workers.

UPDATE: 08/23/2011: Councilman Paul Davis first told colleagues he’d heard concerns about “the general perception of the gift of public funds and creating a monopoly”to benefit a private developer, but he ended by saying it was a moot point because the city already has signed a lease.  There is no doubt as to brazen display of conflict of interest displayed perpetrated by the City of Riverside in approving this deal between Best, Best & Krieger, Developer Mark Rubin and the City of Riverside.  “Three peas in a pod.”  How long will the City of Riverside continue to terrorize the taxpayer with shear imcompetance and their breach of fiduciary duty to protect the coffers of hard earned taxpayer monies?  It is not a secret of the contractual agreements between BB&K and the City of Riverside;  even though hard copies don’t exist.  Our we to believe that as taxpayers that we should expect anything less than a written contract?  While the city implies to the community that “we don’t need no stinkin contracts”?  If anyone has dealt with lawyers there is always a contract, but it appears that the City is the only entity that is allowed to perform this “verbally”, or should we try to request a rational answer from our Chief Financial Officer, Paul Sundeen, which would be the same.  Is Best Best & Krieger therefore dictating carte blanche on their legal fees to the taxpayer?   Then there is developer Mark Rubin’s connected liason with the City of Riverside and the City’s alter ego, the Redevelopment Agency.  Is is at all possible that BB&K deal was orchestrated and designed to provide a lease revenue stream for the bonds held on the Citrus Tower project?  Paul Chiang are you hearing the Raincross Bells?

UPDATE: 08/25/2011: One source of criticism has been the $20 million loan the city provided the Hyatt through a special federal bond program; the deal leaves the city on the hook if the developer defaults on debt payments.  The timing of the hotel, as far as the expansion of our convention center, is good. Having the hotel is a key to being able to do the expansion,” Gardner said Wednesday. But has Gardner asked the Marriott and Mission Inn of their current already dismal occupancy statistics?