Chinatown

Slidell, LA

#22 Aug 10, 2008
Tommy wrote:
<quoted text>NO, S---- A--it has not taken me that long. im saying they have gotten away with being criminals taking grants and money from the federal goverment for years and they keep getting away with it.
I'll ignore your rudeness, Tommy. It solves nothing. To follow the Gem money trail, I suggest you start at the beginning. Who wrote the grant? What "federal government money" was taken for years? Whose taxes were raised for this project? I highly doubt the feds, even with all their wasteful spending, would keep pouring money into one old theatre in one small town--no matter how special it is--without getting a return back on their investment...

Or did the money instead come from a charitable organization? And is this same foundation still donating money when it appears no work is being done on the place? Have they approached the city to find out what the holdup is? What action have they taken to see the work completed or to recoup their money? Have any other grants been written since the initial one of what was it?$20,000?

If the money was raised from the good-heartedness of your citizens--who were then taken advantage of--then shame on whomever did it. Not sure they broke any laws...at least not any laws they can't get around...Not unless the citizens band together, hire a lawyer, and file a lawsuit. And with most of your townspeople just struggling to make a living, that's gonna be hard.
Missing Cairo

United States

#23 Aug 10, 2008
The grant came from Illinois First....it's supported by Illinois taxpayers. that means that if they sue, they sue themselves.

Probably letters asking for accountability on the part of the State and a few letters to television stations and newspapers about the recklessness of State in doling out taxpayer money might spark just the kind of investigation that you all are talking about. However, I still suggest a visit to City Hall first.

I really think that the best way to handle things is not to stir up a stink before one has any documentation of wrongdoing, but to do one's homework and present the facts. Just the facts, ma'am.
Chinatown

Slidell, LA

#24 Aug 10, 2008
Missing Cairo wrote:
The grant came from Illinois First....it's supported by Illinois taxpayers. that means that if they sue, they sue themselves.
Probably letters asking for accountability on the part of the State and a few letters to television stations and newspapers about the recklessness of State in doling out taxpayer money might spark just the kind of investigation that you all are talking about. However, I still suggest a visit to City Hall first.
I really think that the best way to handle things is not to stir up a stink before one has any documentation of wrongdoing, but to do one's homework and present the facts. Just the facts, ma'am.
Oh, I wasn't suggesting the townsfolk sue the foundation (didn't even know it was from tax dollars)...I was thinking they sue the city for mismanagement of the money if they donated to the renovation fund and nothing's happened. But again, I don't know all the details (just what's repeated here, and there), so I agree--get the facts straight first then move forward to remedy the situation.
Missing Cairo

United States

#25 Aug 10, 2008
China, even if they sue the city, they sue themselves. It's a no win situation. I tend to believe the only thinks that would actually make sense is to file criminal charges and/or to file a complain with the State demanding action on their part. After all, they should protect the money with which they are entrusted.
Missing Cairo

United States

#26 Aug 10, 2008
Just reading my previous post I see all sorts of typing errors. I really can only claim laziness in proofreading.
been-there

Cairo, IL

#27 Aug 11, 2008
Why would we sue the city of Cairo for the work not done on the Gem? All city work we bid out would have a contract signed. All city hall has to do is pull the contract, give it to our city attorney & have him sue the contractor. Back then Bo Purchasesí brother was getting a lot of city work. He would bid on them, and then have Bo act as foreman over the project. Think one of the foundations around here paid for the roof repair only for the city to let a tree grow through it in the back. Why didnít they have city workers cut down tree before it got to the new roof?
New Cairoite

United States

#28 Aug 11, 2008
Tommy wrote:
<quoted text>The money must have gone to those feeding at the trough. Everyone knows where Ryan is and i dont know why a lot of these people get away with more than a former governor. Something smeels fowl to me.
Tommy, thank you for taking time to join this discussion! I really appreciate your input.

These discussions on the internet are far more productive than many imagine they can be.
New Cairoite

United States

#29 Aug 11, 2008
Allright, so we know who gave Cairo the grant.

Tommy, BT, did you ever hear who got the contract to do the work? It must have been during Wilson's term.

What did Farris do with this and any other contracts that were in progress when he took office? Who was his first clerk?

Were there other contracts in progress?

Two different people told me about how certain individuals were given city contracts and paid 50% kickbacks and now owe the IRS tons of money in unpaid taxes because they were the recipients of the income and responsible for the taxes on the total since illegal kickbacks are normally not deducted.
New Cairoite

United States

#30 Aug 11, 2008
Wouldn't it be nice for some of you if I were the only person in Cairo who recognized the feeders at the public trough?

Tommy does, too.

And, that is why these discussions are taking place here in the cyber world and why they are so productive. Tommy, BT, others and I may never meet (or maybe we have and just don't know it), but this gives us an opportunity to know we are not alone.

As far as copies of anything the city has, I don't need copies, yet. I have no problem standing there in the office with Preston and Lorrie for days and reading the documents.
Chinatown

Slidell, LA

#31 Aug 11, 2008
been-there wrote:
Grunt do you know who the city hired for their general contractor? If construction materials were bought who ordered them? How much of the $90,256.00 that we know of is left? If none how was it spent? Do they know at city hall? Who wrote the checks that allocated the money & to whom? How much did we pay in labor & how much for the material? Since we are a municipality did they take bids on the project? Can we go back & sue the contractor for a job not completed?
I stand corrected. It's the contractor--not the city--who I agree would need to be sued, if in fact legal action is taken.

What steps is the city taking now to rememdy this mess? Everyday the roof goes without repair is a day the Gem suffers more damage. Three things are inevitable: 1) If left alone as it is now, the Gem WILL EVENTUALLY CRUMBLE, threatening I would suppose any surrounding buildings. 2) The city will take the necessary actions to fix the building. 3) The city will have the building demolished because of the cost to either fix it or the liability if someone is hurt from the property for whatever reason and sues.
Chinatown

Slidell, LA

#32 Aug 11, 2008
been-there wrote:
Why would we sue the city of Cairo for the work not done on the Gem? All city work we bid out would have a contract signed. All city hall has to do is pull the contract, give it to our city attorney & have him sue the contractor. Back then Bo Purchasesí brother was getting a lot of city work. He would bid on them, and then have Bo act as foreman over the project. Think one of the foundations around here paid for the roof repair only for the city to let a tree grow through it in the back. Why didnít they have city workers cut down tree before it got to the new roof?
Then go to City Hall and ask to see the contract Been_There. I'd also ask the members of the board of the foundation around there (Hastings?) to investigate why a tree was allowed to grow inside the building after they paid for the roof repair.
Chinatown

Slidell, LA

#33 Aug 11, 2008
Missing Cairo wrote:
China, even if they sue the city, they sue themselves. It's a no win situation. I tend to believe the only thinks that would actually make sense is to file criminal charges and/or to file a complain with the State demanding action on their part. After all, they should protect the money with which they are entrusted.
Good point Missing Cairo. Sueing the city only digs the hole deeper for the tax payers left there. So say, criminal charges are filed with the States' Attorney General. Who would file them? Cairo's city attorney? Who is?
Missing Cairo

United States

#34 Aug 11, 2008
In the first place, one would have to ascertain whether illegal action had taken place.

I believe that the grant was given in 2001, minutes would tell to whom the bid was given. There should also be a record of other bids. If the bid was given to someone who had failed in previous obligations, then one would look askance at the wisdom of the City officials. If the money was paid out prior to the work being done, a question would also arise.

If bids were not let, then the city would be at fault for awarding the job without due process.

However, bad as it may seem, and wasteful as letting a building go to ruin is, unless someone has a clear vision of it's future use and the means with which to insure that use, is it not just a further drain on an already overtaxed citizenry?

If a grant was given to any entity and the money was not used as was stipulated, then I would imagine that the granting body would have to take whatever action was deemed proper. That is why I suggest if someone has a complaint, they do their leg-work and deal with the proper grantor.
relic

West Plains, MO

#35 Aug 19, 2008
Is anyone here living in Cairo. I don't but I will be there and would be happy to check out the Gem having some knowledge of restoration/preservation. I can say that last time I say it the condition was about a 3 on a 10 scale. I would say at this point salvagin it is almost a far gone conclusion. I think last time I viewed it I would wager repairs and restoraton would be around 10 mil...just a guess. I really hate to see that. I am afraid it might not make it. Is there a group in town devoted specifically to the GEM? Or does that fall to the historical society?

NC, Just for the sake of curriosity I have heard you talk about the condition of the house you bought. Are you restoring it or did you or was it to far gone?
been-there

Cairo, IL

#36 Aug 20, 2008
The city of Cairo owns the Gem. Not sure if anyone is working on saving it at the moment, was put on the back burner so to speak when Farris took office back in 2003.

See NC hasn't been posting lately but working in their yard landscaping. If they are working so hard on yard would say restoring must be going well.
Credit WhereCreditsDue

Cairo, IL

#37 Aug 20, 2008
The Goal had been met and the money was put on the back burner "so to speak" a LONG time before Farris took office in 2003.
relic

West Plains, MO

#38 Aug 20, 2008
Who is in charge of all the derilict buildings and houses in Cairo that the city or the county own. Is there a committee?, or one officials?? or is it just whoever? I looks like, and I am sure that there are, efforts to determine which to tear down and which to keep.
A question I always had is with the places that clearly are not restorable why don't they tear them down? I would think it would go a long way to improving the town and maybe people would be more likely to move in or bring a business.
Chinatown

Slidell, LA

#39 Aug 20, 2008
I don't know who is in charge of the Gem now (someone said the city) but it's hard to imagine it could be renovated at this late date, and for what purpose in a financially strapped town.
What activities would be held there? Movies? Plays? Fashion shows? How much of an audience would those attract?

While the idea to bring back the Gem was a noble one at first--considering how fond most of us are of it and how much history it has--I sadly don't think it can be accomplished now.

I suggested in an earlier post that a citizens watchgroup should demand to know what became of the money for its repair. To do anything less, is to just let the matter--and the money involved-go.
Willie Blues

AOL

#40 Aug 27, 2008
Why all this interest in the Gem Theater ?

Why not call somebody up in Cairo and ask them to drive down to it and take a photo with their camera telephone and send you the picture ?

Or contact the high school english department, no doubt they have a year book staff with digital camera... Those kids are going to be the benefactors of the place. They can photograph the whole town and post on photo website for all to see.

The problem with the local newspaper they have to charge for their time. Which is understandable.
Willie Blues

AOL

#41 Aug 27, 2008
West Plains, Missouri

Home of "Porter Waggoner", country music great.

I'll bet people of Cairo would be really floored if they knew how many celebrities drive thru Cairo.

Cairo is a major music town and everybody is clueless about the Gem Theater.

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