Surprising Stuff

Is there over a million dollars unaccounted for in the accounting done by Schenck’s Closing Audit Report for TIF #4?
The answer is yes, and the exact amount is more than that. It was $1,186,742.35 in 2010.

This all started six years ago in Resolution 10-R60 in which the City of Lake Geneva exercised its special assessment powers under section 66.0703 of the Wisconsin Statutes for the improvements on the Edwards Boulevard Extension Project and they assessed the frontage properties. The total assessment in 2010 was $2,146,341.08 of which $1,186,742.35 was shown as deferred and $959,598.73 as exempt. The problem is that the Special Assessments listed on page five of the Schenck SC Closing Audit list only $207,476 of TIF revenue which says that the $1,186,742.35 in Edwards Boulevard Extension special assessments have not been paid, and that they are therefore still owed. Which is logical, because on page two of Resolution 10-R60 it says that the assessments are interest free for 10 years (2020) unless the property is developed. Why pay an interest free assessment before it is due?

Now that the City Council has approved the Closing Audit Report from SchenckSC that does not include the $1,186,742.35 in assessments, what happens to the assessments?

  • Is there no further TIF tracking or TIF accounting of them?
  • So who gets the money or if it is not collected or paid, then who benefits?
  • Was this a simple million-dollar oversight?

For the city council it was probably just an oversight because not one of them was an alderperson in 2010, so they might easily be blindsided. But the City Attorney who wrote up Resolution 10-R60 (both versions) was Dan “Small Ball” Draper who should not have forgotten the issue after being heavily involved in the multi-year law suit over the changes to Resolution 10-R60 filed by Ed Peller, which the city lost and Ed Peller won. Oh, sorry but the details of the settlement are not currently public!

To see the switch here you have to look at the two versions of Resolution 10-R60. If you go to the city’s website and pull up Resolution 10-R60 from the Oct. 25 2010 packet and request Resolution 10-R60 from the clerk’s office and compare them, you will see that the spread sheet and the data on it in the R08-0014-101 section are not the same. The spread sheet and data were changed from 9/13/2010 to 9/23/2010, and substituted the morning of the City Council vote. The changes between the two versions were the cause of the multi-year Peller law suit filed against the City of Lake Geneva. Who benefits from closing the TIF Audit Report with $1,186,742.3, still unaccounted for, and out in limbo? Well, if paid then the city benefits, but if they are never collected or paid then an outfit called Lake Geneva Investors, LLC benefits.

Ever wonder who they are and why $1,186,742.35 was not included in the Audit? Was it Paid?
The Geneva Shore Report wonders.

Regardless of who benefits, though, all the other TIF taxing bodies lose their share of that money, and that is normally called fraud or theft. Since all members of the city council approved the Schenck’s Closing Audit Report for TIF #4, some of them might want to reconsider their vote to approve the Closing Audit Report as it stands. They can do that when the Mayor asks agenda Item #5: Re-consider business from previous meetings. Just say “I would like change my approval vote on the TIF #4 Closing Audit Report by Schenck”.

If they don’t want to reconsider, and now knowing what’s really happened, then they can sign on for a fraud or theft charge that might just roll on into the council chambers from the Walworth County D.A.’s office, not that those people read the Geneva Shore Report.

Carton of the Week
Terry O’Neill

Riviera Fountain Lake Geneva

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