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Thursday, March 27, 2008

MMF, A Former Frisch's and Some Terse Emails

In case you haven't heard, there's been somewhat of a battle brewing at City Hall over what to do with the former Frisch's restaurant at Fourth and Race streets downtown.

Council's economic development committee, led by Chris Bortz, passed a motion Tuesday to allow MMF Realty LLC to buy the building for $250,000. The full council agreed to the same deal Wednesday. Holly Childs, economic development director, indicated the city had another offer of $750,000.

Councilman Jeff Berding -- he said Bortz asked him to shepherd the legislation -- said it doesn't really work to claim the building could be sold for more since MMF has a 99-year lease, agreed to in 2004. That, he said, would be like saying your house is worth $500,000, but keeping it from being inhabited because someone else already leased it. In that situation, he said, the house isn't really worth much of anything.

In emails Tuesday and Wednesday, Bortz and Childs traded some harsh words. Childs said the city got an appraisal that said the building is worth $780,000. She said council's deal would only continue to subsidize a developer who has done a month's worth of demolition in the past 3 1/2 years.

Bortz said council's action avoided costly, risky and acrimonious litigation. Plus, he said, MMF has a vested interest in redeveloping the property because it already has invested in the next-door former McAlpin's store, which is now condos.

Bortz ended his last email with this: "In the future, when I extend an olive branch in a respectful disagreement, I expect that you would offer me the same kind of respect."

This could go on another week, since Mayor Mark Mallory put the issue on hold for more negotiations before next Wednesday's council meeting.


at 9:17 AM, March 27, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...


What we have here is the formula of how to bilk the city out of prime real estate for a fraction of the price.

Everyone get on board and sign 99 year leases, do nothing with the property and then offer to take it off the city's hands for a song.

I think the city should divest itself of the Banks for the very same reason it is looking to divest itself of this property - it's sitting idle.

The city should obviously not be in the real estate buisiness. It always seems to work to the taxpayers' disadvantage.

at 9:17 AM, March 27, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Berding was being used as Bortz's tool in this matter? Wonder why Towne Pro- er, Bortz, wouldn't want to get on Economic Development's bad side.

at 10:36 AM, March 27, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to Bortz's email to Childs, Bortz did not ask Berding to shepherd the legislation. Berding approached Bortz with an ordinance three months ago. Bortz encouraged Berding to slow down, get all of the facts, and try to work with Holly.

Two weeks ago, Berding had a motion with five signatures that he wanted to bring into Economic Development. Bortz again tried to slow things down and give Holly more time.

Obviously you have the emails, so why would you tell half the story? Print them and let people make their own determinations.

Besides, it's well known on the third floor that Bortz is always cleaning up Berding's messes.

at 11:01 AM, March 27, 2008 Blogger The Great Stephen Dapper said...

Went to auditors site, http://www.hamiltoncountyauditor.org/realestate/rover30.asp we’re discussing property identified as PARCEL ID 083-0001-0039-00 cut and paste this number into link provided.

MMF Realty is already recorded as receiving all information from auditor for this parcel, why sell this asset? MMF Realty has been granted TIF abatement, did Bortz arrange that? Now he wants to sell the building to same group for less than market value? How long will the oppressed peasants allow these absurdities to continue? Tyrants care nothing for discussion, our discussion does not interfere with their looting but are idle wind to them.

I’d like to hear from Ed Rothenberg on this!

at 11:33 AM, March 27, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...


By the way:

How much income does the current lease generate ?

What is the current value of that income stream ?

That should give a clear determination on any special deals !

This sounds like the former Drake snake-oil salesmen are involved ?


at 11:42 AM, March 27, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stephen Dapper,
The whole MMF deal was well before Bortz's time. But kudos for figuring out how to use the Auditor's site.

at 1:44 PM, March 27, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

We want a Chipotle!

at 3:53 PM, March 27, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Bortz,

Please resign from Economic Development. Your chairmanship looks suspect. Your friends and campaign donors seem to be well taken care of. Take the sword.

at 6:17 PM, March 27, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is Dapper chiming in on whay happens in Cincinnati? this guy lives in Mt Carmel.

Hey Dapper, let those of us who actually live in Cincinnati worry about what happens here. Perhaps you should spend some of your free time focusing on paying your bills and staying out of jail. How many noghts have you and the Mrs. spent at the Greybar Hotel anyway?

at 8:43 PM, March 27, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why are the 8th and 9th place finishers getting so much press?

at 9:26 PM, March 27, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

City Beat's Porkopolis blog has the emails posted. It also sniffed out that Towne (Bortz) is a partner with Madison Marquette (MMF)in a some other major downtown properties. Probably why Bortz had Berding do the deed and pathetic ole Jeff was too dumb to know he was being played for a chump...yet again. After MMF gets the property from the City wait and see who they flip it to.

at 1:17 AM, March 28, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who cares what the City does with this vacant property, as long as it Gets developed, occupied and starts generating tax revenue.

at 9:41 AM, March 28, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

And what forces are behind the pushing for the streetcar. And who will benefit from this at taxpayer expense (with the label of "we need" public transportation)?

at 10:03 AM, March 29, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the days when we had real newspapers and independent broadcasters in Cincinnat, this story would get much more public scrutiny...not relegated to random snipings across the blogoshpere.

at 12:35 PM, March 29, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with anon 10:03. I would think that the "agreement" with MMF would have a clause regarding increased valuation.

If it has a TIF, where is the money on top of the original valuation going?

I would think that Bortz has to basically abstain/recuse himself from discussion and voting, considering that anything positive that happens in the downtown core would have an effect on Towne Prop. What does his Ethics Commission filing say about his relationship to Towne?

at 8:53 PM, March 30, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everything Bortz does in the development area is suspect. He and his family are friends with ALL of these developers and he is simply using his position to help his friends.

It is the greatest conflict of interest to have him involved in development for the city.

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