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Lorain County, OH

Oberlin Council open to food trucks

On October 22, 2014, and November 5, 2014, an obstinate Oberlin Planning Commission tabled adoption of the draft mobile food truck vehicle regulations prepared by the City of Oberlin’s professional planning staff. Lacking a scintilla of supporting, empirical evidence or comparative data, Oberlin Planning Commission member Bryan Stubbs asserted the proposed nominal $500 annual food truck vehicle permit fee would pose an insuperable obstacle to prospective entrepreneurs. An explanatory covering memo from Oberlin Planning Director Gary Boyle, attached to the draft mobile food truck vehicle regulations circulated to Oberlin Planning Commission members prior to the October 22, 2014, Oberlin Planning Commission meeting, stipulated the proposed nominal $500 annual food truck vehicle permit fee was based on projected Oberlin municipal staff time invested reviewing and vetting food truck vehicle applications. Akron levies a robust annual license fee of $1,750, in addition to a $225 application fee, on food truck vehicles operating on two streets in the heart of the Rubber City’s bio-medical corridor. Akron’s adopted food truck vehicle ordinance establishes a buffer zone prohibiting food truck vehicles from operating, idling or parking within 50 feet of a residence, 200 feet of a brick and mortar restaurant, 750 feet of a park and 1,000 feet of a school. The summer food truck vehicle fee at Akron’s Lock 3 municipal amphitheater is pegged at $1,200. Akron City Council President Jeff Fusco, chair of an ad hoc, select committee tasked for nearly a year with an evaluation of the potential costs, ramifications, and alleged benefits of food trucks, told the Akron Beacon Journal (May 19, 2014), “I am proud of the investment we have made in downtown. It’s our responsibility to protect and not give away our downtown.” According to the minutes of the September 3, 2014, Oberlin Planning Commission, following attendance at the August 13, 2014, Oberlin Business Partnership forum for local businesses on the potential impact of mobile food vending operations, “[Oberlin Planning Director Gary Boyle] advised that… most businesses did not support mobile vendors during business hours for various reasons including the likelihood of impact on parking spaces, litter, etc.” Preaching to the choir at an August 2014 conclave of self-styled environmental activists in Yellow Springs, Ohio, novice Oberlin Planning Commission member Ellen Mavrich -- a vocal advocate of laissez faire municipal food truck policy -- characterized the Pyrrhic legal ploys of the anti-fracking movement as the functional equivalent of 1960’s civil rights lunch counter sit-ins (“using the law to sit at the lunch counter.”) If the hyper-caffeinated food truck operators are allowed to leech off the small town public square, the proverbial last Formica lunch counter will be consigned for posterity to the subbasement of the Smithsonian. Mark Chesler P.O. Box 342 Oberlin, Ohio 44074 http://www.topix.c om/forum/city/ober lin-oh/TSH61HMOAMS KT4910  (Mar 4, 2015 | post #1)

Education

Oberlin food truck business hits road block

Haunted by incipient public perception that, in Mr. Silverstein’s sophomoric, uncouth vernacular, he had presumptively “really fucked over those [angel, Kickstarter financial] backers,”[3] North Coast Toast surreptitiously operated an adjunct, unlicensed, unauthorized, illegal, contraband food-cart catering business in the venerable, reprobate tradition of Lorain County Health Department shuttered, stealth, recidivist, Oberlin scofflaw, Failure to Lunch. “Our vagrant food trailer…the grill[ed] cheese boys,”[4] in the delicious, pungent argot of Oberlin Fire Chief Dennis Kirin is -- pardon my graphic, colloquial French -- categorically toast. Mark Chesler P.O. Box 342 Oberlin, Ohio 44074 [1] “Grilled Cheese Truck Poised to Satiate Hungry Obies,” The Grape, October 17, 2013, p.3. [2] “Grilled Cheese Truck Poised to Satiate Hungry Obies,” The Grape, October 17, 2013, p.3. [3] “Grilled Cheese Truck Poised to Satiate Hungry Obies,” The Grape, October 17, 2013, p.3. [4] Oberlin Fire Chief Dennis Kirin e-mail to City of Oberlin Planning & Development Director Gary Boyle, September 4, 2013 (1:38 PM).  (Nov 15, 2013 | post #2)

Education

Oberlin food truck business hits road block

North Coast Toast’s assiduous, brazen efforts to flout, eschew and circumvent codified Oberlin Planning Commission regulations have been facilitated, enabled and orchestrated by senior Oberlin College administrators. Responding to an obsequious, fawning, saccharine, September 6, 2013 (2:33 PM) e-mail from Tita Reed, Special Assistant to Oberlin College President Marvin Krislov, concerning the [fictitive] legal status of North Coast Toast’s proposed mobile food cart, City of Oberlin Planning & Development Director Gary Boyle admonished, in a trenchant, September 9, 2013 (2:21 PM) directive: "Mr. Silverstein has been advised by staff as well as the Health Department that permits must be obtained before North Coast Toast starts operation. In this regard, it is my understanding that over the Labor Day weekend both the Police and Fire Departments received complaints concerning North Coast Toast’s food trailer. Needless to say, any comment to them that you may want to make to remind them that they cannot operate absent approvals would be appreciated." Although cognizant that, under current City of Oberlin Planning Commission regulations, absent a municipally sanctioned Conditional Use permit, food carts and food trucks are legislatively prohibited -- “Technically we aren’t supposed to be on college property,” Casey Silverstein conceded in a fractionally candid interview with the scatological student tabloid, The Grape (October 17, 2013) -- Mr. Silverstein operated North Coast Toast’s unlicensed, unauthorized, illegal food cart in Oberlin College’s tax-exempt Wilder Bowl on September 27, 2013, with, according to Mr. Silverstein, “permission from Chris Baymiller, the [associate] head of the Oberlin College Student Union.”[1] Mr. Silverstein moonlights as the Oberlin College Student Union’s official Dionysus disco webmaster under the ostensible supervision of Mr. Baymiller. Shortly after providing Tita Reed, Special Assistant to Oberlin College President Marvin Krislov, with incriminating, photographic evidence -- posted on North Coast Toast’s Facebook home page -- of flagrant, municipal, mobile vending cart violations committed by North Coast Toast and Oberlin College, Oberlin City Manager Eric Norenberg sardonically noted, in a dead-pan, diplomatic, October 11, 2013 (3:31 PM) dispatch to Tita Reed, “I expect they plan/planned to park near Mudd or Wilder for today’s TGIF. Maybe you can see it from [Oberlin College Presidential Chief of Staff] Jane [Mathison]’s window?” Ms. Reed replied to Mr. Norenberg in serial, October 11, 2013 (3:33 PM), (3:53 PM) -- and, burning the midnight oil attempting to grease, hector and manipulate the bureaucratic, municipal skids, 11:10 PM -- finagling e-mails: “If they are on private property and ask for donations rather than set prices, does it make a difference?” Appropriating an impolitic expedient suggested by Mr. Norenberg, the indefatigable Ms. Reed myopically opted to accompany a stymied, fiscally “hemorrhaging”[2] Mr. Silverstein to a prospective meeting with City of Oberlin Planning & Development Director Gary Boyle. Characterizing Mr. Silverstein as “a very confused person” in a scathing, October 11, 2013 (4:38 PM) e-mail, addressed to senior municipal department heads, following a blistering, 5-alarm, riot act, withering rebuke of Mr. Silverstein, Oberlin Fire Chief Dennis Kirin concluded, “His conversation suggested that he has been operating around the city.”  (Nov 15, 2013 | post #1)

Yale University

Yale Balks At 9th Square Bailout

Council Questions Developer's Request To Wipe Out Debt (WLKY 4/22/2009, 9:12 PM, updated 10:06 PM) Investors Want $7 Million Forgiven In Real Estate Deal By Mike Petchenik LOUISVILLE, Ky.-- Some Louisville Metro Council members are questioning a mayor's administration proposal to forgive millions of dollars in loans to an out-of-town developer whose project is losing money. In 1983, the city loaned St. Louis-based McCormack-Baron nearly $8 million to build Phoenix Place apartments on the corner of Muhammed Ali Boulevard and Clay Street. Back then, city officials said the project cost about $25 million to build, but today, they said it is only worth $9 million, so the investors are trying to get out. "The tax credits on it have expired and they said they've not made money," said Bruce Traughber, director of the Metro Louisville Economic Development Department. "The project is upside down in that they can't sell it for the amount of money that they have in it to satisfy our mortgages and the debt that's outstanding on the property." Traughber said the McCormack-Baron is planning to sell the Phoenix Place land to the University of Louisville Foundation and the apartments to local developer Brown Noltemeyer so that the complex can be turned into affordable medical student housing. But, he said, in order to make the deal work, McCormack-Baron has asked the city to forgive all but $1 million of its debts to the city. "Twenty-five years from now, we're still gonna be owed $8 million on the mortgage," said Traughber. "So, if we don't move the property today, who knows what the future holds and who knows what happens to that housing in the interim." Traughber said the deal would also ensure that the downtown medical center could expand if needed. "The hospital complex is a major driver of our downtown economy," he said. "So anything we can do to help that complex to ensure that complex is here in the future is important to us." But some Metro Council Republicans said Wednesday they feel the administration is moving to quickly without necessary information, such as the financial impact it could have on Metro Government. "To just wipe out this debt with no strings attached seems to many of us to be a big mistake," said Hal Heiner. Heiner said the initial loan was made in an effort to ensure housing for low-income families on the eastern fringes of downtown. He said forgiving the loan could take away the city's control over the project's future. "It's not only poor business practices," he said. "It's poor government."  (Jun 10, 2013 | post #1)

New Haven, CT

Harp Casts Doubt On 9th Square Bailout Plea

Council Questions Developer's Request To Wipe Out Debt (WLKY 4/22/2009, 9:12 PM, updated 10:06 PM) Investors Want $7 Million Forgiven In Real Estate Deal By Mike Petchenik LOUISVILLE, Ky.-- Some Louisville Metro Council members are questioning a mayor's administration proposal to forgive millions of dollars in loans to an out-of-town developer whose project is losing money. In 1983, the city loaned St. Louis-based McCormack-Baron nearly $8 million to build Phoenix Place apartments on the corner of Muhammed Ali Boulevard and Clay Street. Back then, city officials said the project cost about $25 million to build, but today, they said it is only worth $9 million, so the investors are trying to get out. "The tax credits on it have expired and they said they've not made money," said Bruce Traughber, director of the Metro Louisville Economic Development Department. "The project is upside down in that they can't sell it for the amount of money that they have in it to satisfy our mortgages and the debt that's outstanding on the property." Traughber said the McCormack-Baron is planning to sell the Phoenix Place land to the University of Louisville Foundation and the apartments to local developer Brown Noltemeyer so that the complex can be turned into affordable medical student housing. But, he said, in order to make the deal work, McCormack-Baron has asked the city to forgive all but $1 million of its debts to the city. "Twenty-five years from now, we're still gonna be owed $8 million on the mortgage," said Traughber. "So, if we don't move the property today, who knows what the future holds and who knows what happens to that housing in the interim." Traughber said the deal would also ensure that the downtown medical center could expand if needed. "The hospital complex is a major driver of our downtown economy," he said. "So anything we can do to help that complex to ensure that complex is here in the future is important to us." But some Metro Council Republicans said Wednesday they feel the administration is moving to quickly without necessary information, such as the financial impact it could have on Metro Government. "To just wipe out this debt with no strings attached seems to many of us to be a big mistake," said Hal Heiner. Heiner said the initial loan was made in an effort to ensure housing for low-income families on the eastern fringes of downtown. He said forgiving the loan could take away the city's control over the project's future. "It's not only poor business practices," he said. "It's poor government."  (May 17, 2013 | post #1)

New Haven, CT

9th Square Developer Seeks A Bail-Out

Council Questions Developer's Request To Wipe Out Debt (WLKY 4/22/2009, 9:12 PM, updated 10:06 PM) Investors Want $7 Million Forgiven In Real Estate Deal By Mike Petchenik LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Some Louisville Metro Council members are questioning a mayor's administration proposal to forgive millions of dollars in loans to an out-of-town developer whose project is losing money. In 1983, the city loaned St. Louis-based McCormack-Baron nearly $8 million to build Phoenix Place apartments on the corner of Muhammed Ali Boulevard and Clay Street. Back then, city officials said the project cost about $25 million to build, but today, they said it is only worth $9 million, so the investors are trying to get out. "The tax credits on it have expired and they said they've not made money," said Bruce Traughber, director of the Metro Louisville Economic Development Department. "The project is upside down in that they can't sell it for the amount of money that they have in it to satisfy our mortgages and the debt that's outstanding on the property." Traughber said the McCormack-Baron is planning to sell the Phoenix Place land to the University of Louisville Foundation and the apartments to local developer Brown Noltemeyer so that the complex can be turned into affordable medical student housing. But, he said, in order to make the deal work, McCormack-Baron has asked the city to forgive all but $1 million of its debts to the city. "Twenty-five years from now, we're still gonna be owed $8 million on the mortgage," said Traughber. "So, if we don't move the property today, who knows what the future holds and who knows what happens to that housing in the interim." Traughber said the deal would also ensure that the downtown medical center could expand if needed. "The hospital complex is a major driver of our downtown economy," he said. "So anything we can do to help that complex to ensure that complex is here in the future is important to us." But some Metro Council Republicans said Wednesday they feel the administration is moving to quickly without necessary information, such as the financial impact it could have on Metro Government. "To just wipe out this debt with no strings attached seems to many of us to be a big mistake," said Hal Heiner. Heiner said the initial loan was made in an effort to ensure housing for low-income families on the eastern fringes of downtown. He said forgiving the loan could take away the city's control over the project's future. "It's not only poor business practices," he said. "It's poor government."  (May 12, 2013 | post #1)

Beachwood, OH

Phil the Fire Closes

Although Phil Davis’ initial capital contribution to the Gateway Phil the Fire restaurant was a nominal $100, as set forth in the operating agreement, Mr. Davis retained a 60% ownership stake. On March 31, 2004, as the downtown Phil the Fire hemorrhaged cash and the chickens came home to roost, Mr. Davis borrowed $20,000, via a promissory note, from Phil the Fire’s talented chef, Alexander Daniels. Despite receiving $50,000 from Mr. Wright on April 26, 2004, in an impetuous, global out-of-court settlement, Mr. Davis defaulted on the bulk ($15,000) of Mr. Daniels’ unsecured loan and a contracted $11,000 culinary consultant’s fee... http://ouch.blog-c ity.net/sustainabl e_community_associ ates_stone_soup_1. htm  (Oct 3, 2012 | post #2)

Beachwood, OH

Phil the Fire Closes

...On March 14 and March 29, 2003, Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Jerry Greenfield, Oberlin College class of ‘73, executed two $20,000 promissory notes to Phil B. Davis, Phil the Fire’s flamboyant proprietor, at prime plus 200 basis points, collateralized by an equity stake in Phil the Fire. Mr. Davis, a former deodorant salesman, failed to make a single payment on the bargain-rate loans. On October 31, 2003, the well-heeled ice cream czar and the wannabe waffle king consummated a Halloween wing-and-a-prayer loan consolidation through a $100,000 line of credit issued by Shore Bank. Mr. Davis subsequently defaulted on every facet of the original loans. According to Cuyahoga County Court records, Phil the Fire’s tax returns, prepared by leading public accounting firm SS & G, show a loss of nearly $50,000 in 2002. In an amended July 19, 2004, brief attached to the extensive litigation spawned by Phil the Fire’s demise, Phil B. Davis declares on line #93, "Defendant never claimed that the operations of Phil the Fire on Shaker Square had yielded a profit after its first year of operations." The Ohio Department of Taxation affixed eight liens totaling $69,555.63 to Phil the Fire’s Shaker Square carcass. The Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation weighed in with unpaid claims of $7,265.37. Mr. Davis’ Shaker Square operation inherited the retail storefront formerly occupied by Hungarian strudel purveyor Lucy’s Sweet Surrender, a 49-year Buckeye neighborhood fixture employing a bevy of elderly, veteran strudel kneaders. On assuming the balance of Lucy’s ten-year lease, Mr. Davis seized $75,000 in specialized bakery equipment belonging to Lucy’s proprietor Michael Feigenbaum. Lucy’s never fully recovered and, according to Mr. Feigenbaum’s Hotel Bruce web posting, is "living on fumes." On Sunday, March 26, 2006, the Cleveland Plain Dealer ran a front-page expose detailing the implosion of both the Shaker Square and downtown Phil the Fire and Waterhouse Restaurants, established with the financial backing of fugitive Atlanta hedge fund manager Kirk Wright. I, not any member of this body [Oberlin City Council], was the original source for that story. Wanted on state and federal mail and securities fraud warrants for allegedly absconding with $185 million in investor assets, Wright targeted novice minority investors, particularly professional athletes with significant discretionary income. Equipped, according to the New York Post, with "a materialistic streak that would make Madonna blush," Wright’s illicitly acquired auto collection included a Bentley, a Jaguar, an Aston Martin, a BMW and a Lamborghini. A March 9, 2006, Wall Street Journal article reported Mr. Wright’s financial seductions occurred in "suites he rented at Atlanta Falcon football games." Since February 2002, SCA’s financial patron, Home Depot co-founder Arthur Blank, has owned the Atlanta Falcons. According to Phil B. Davis’ Cuyahoga County court filings, Davis "met twice with Wright in Plaintiff’s Atlanta office." In a short, tumultuous five-month life-span, Phil the Fire’s illiquid downtown Cleveland gravy train racked up well in excess of a million dollars in unpaid debts and forfeitures — including over $15,000 in Ohio workers compensation liens — was on a C.O.D. basis with vendors and, according to Phil Davis’ July 28, 2004, court filings, had a chronic negative cash flow. Channel 19 reporter Scott Taylor ran an investigative piece broadcast March 14, 2004, on Phil the Fire Gateway’s imminent meltdown. On March 23, 2004, the IRS slapped a $226,259 tax lien on Phil the Fire for failure to pay federal withholding taxes. On April 15, 2004, Phil the Fire employees picketed outside the swank downtown eatery to protest their untendered paychecks.  (Oct 3, 2012 | post #1)

Energy

Future looks bright for energy-saving Oberlin home: Full ...

Green Guru Gone Wrong (Fast Company.com 10/13/2008) ...Then there is McDonough's "great story" about Oberlin College and his "building like a tree." McDonough's stunning Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies facility was completed in 2000; by the next year, actress Susan Sarandon, in a voice-over for The Next Industrial Revolution, a documentary on McDonough, was describing how "the building produces more energy than it consumes," a claim echoed later that year in a Metropolis magazine profile on the architect. Four years later, in a 2005 TED conference speech, McDonough was still highlighting his own achievement, telling conferees, "Here's a building at Oberlin College we designed that makes more energy than it needs to operate." However, John H. Scofield, an Oberlin physics professor who has taught in the building, began monitoring its energy use when it was completed in 2000. He calculated that it was consuming more than twice the energy projected and drawing 84% of its power from local power plants, rather than renewable sources. "We should sue William McDonough + Partners," Scofield told The Oberlin Review in 2002 (he is not a spokesperson for the university). The ambitious design McDonough had proposed for Oberlin was significantly over budget -- and had a number of engineering flaws -- and had to be scaled back. In a 2002 Environmental Building News article about the controversy, Scofield is quoted as saying, "Even after changed plans went into construction, McDonough and others were using 1997 modeling data in their claims about the project. It won awards based on those claims!" David Orr, former chair of Oberlin's environmental-stud ies program, concedes that the award-winning building didn't become a "net energy exporter" until 2006, after the school funded a $1 million upgrade of the solar-power supply. Orr says Oberlin never claimed the building would achieve its goals immediately -- "You have to avoid overpromising what you can't deliver" -- but that didn't prevent McDonough from inserting the story into his globe-trotting sermons. The Oberlin case is part of a larger pattern, some of his former colleagues say. "McDonough doesn't care if the facts are wrong," one told me, "because he's a self-mythologizer. His job in the world is to convince people that a positive future is possible, and it doesn't help his cause to admit there are hiccups and failures along the way." http://www.fastcom pany.com/magazine/ 130/the-mortal-mes siah.html  (Aug 3, 2012 | post #1)

Cleveland Heights, OH

Phil the Fire restaurant in Beachwood sports some terrifi...

Although Phil Davis’ initial capital contribution to the Gateway Phil the Fire restaurant was a nominal $100, as set forth in the operating agreement, Mr. Davis retained a 60% ownership stake. On March 31, 2004, as the downtown Phil the Fire hemorrhaged cash and the chickens came home to roost, Mr. Davis borrowed $20,000, via a promissory note, from Phil the Fire’s talented chef, Alexander Daniels. Despite receiving $50,000 from Mr. Wright on April 26, 2004, in an impetuous, global out-of-court settlement, Mr. Davis defaulted on the bulk ($15,000) of Mr. Daniels’ unsecured loan and a contracted $11,000 culinary consultant’s fee... http://ouch.blog-c ity.net/sustainabl e_community_associ ates_stone_soup_1. htm  (Jun 15, 2012 | post #2)

Cleveland Heights, OH

Phil the Fire restaurant in Beachwood sports some terrifi...

...On March 14 and March 29, 2003, Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Jerry Greenfield, Oberlin College class of ‘73, executed two $20,000 promissory notes to Phil B. Davis, Phil the Fire’s flamboyant proprietor, at prime plus 200 basis points, collateralized by an equity stake in Phil the Fire. Mr. Davis, a former deodorant salesman, failed to make a single payment on the bargain-rate loans. On October 31, 2003, the well-heeled ice cream czar and the wannabe waffle king consummated a Halloween wing-and-a-prayer loan consolidation through a $100,000 line of credit issued by Shore Bank. Mr. Davis subsequently defaulted on every facet of the original loans. According to Cuyahoga County Court records, Phil the Fire’s tax returns, prepared by leading public accounting firm SS & G, show a loss of nearly $50,000 in 2002. In an amended July 19, 2004, brief attached to the extensive litigation spawned by Phil the Fire’s demise, Phil B. Davis declares on line #93, "Defendant never claimed that the operations of Phil the Fire on Shaker Square had yielded a profit after its first year of operations." The Ohio Department of Taxation affixed eight liens totaling $69,555.63 to Phil the Fire’s Shaker Square carcass. The Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation weighed in with unpaid claims of $7,265.37. Mr. Davis’ Shaker Square operation inherited the retail storefront formerly occupied by Hungarian strudel purveyor Lucy’s Sweet Surrender, a 49-year Buckeye neighborhood fixture employing a bevy of elderly, veteran strudel kneaders. On assuming the balance of Lucy’s ten-year lease, Mr. Davis seized $75,000 in specialized bakery equipment belonging to Lucy’s proprietor Michael Feigenbaum. Lucy’s never fully recovered and, according to Mr. Feigenbaum’s Hotel Bruce web posting, is "living on fumes." On Sunday, March 26, 2006, the Cleveland Plain Dealer ran a front-page expose detailing the implosion of both the Shaker Square and downtown Phil the Fire and Waterhouse Restaurants, established with the financial backing of fugitive Atlanta hedge fund manager Kirk Wright. I, not any member of this body [Oberlin City Council], was the original source for that story. Wanted on state and federal mail and securities fraud warrants for allegedly absconding with $185 million in investor assets, Wright targeted novice minority investors, particularly professional athletes with significant discretionary income. Equipped, according to the New York Post, with "a materialistic streak that would make Madonna blush," Wright’s illicitly acquired auto collection included a Bentley, a Jaguar, an Aston Martin, a BMW and a Lamborghini. A March 9, 2006, Wall Street Journal article reported Mr. Wright’s financial seductions occurred in "suites he rented at Atlanta Falcon football games." Since February 2002, SCA’s financial patron, Home Depot co-founder Arthur Blank, has owned the Atlanta Falcons. According to Phil B. Davis’ Cuyahoga County court filings, Davis "met twice with Wright in Plaintiff’s Atlanta office." In a short, tumultuous five-month life-span, Phil the Fire’s illiquid downtown Cleveland gravy train racked up well in excess of a million dollars in unpaid debts and forfeitures — including over $15,000 in Ohio workers compensation liens — was on a C.O.D. basis with vendors and, according to Phil Davis’ July 28, 2004, court filings, had a chronic negative cash flow. Channel 19 reporter Scott Taylor ran an investigative piece broadcast March 14, 2004, on Phil the Fire Gateway’s imminent meltdown. On March 23, 2004, the IRS slapped a $226,259 tax lien on Phil the Fire for failure to pay federal withholding taxes. On April 15, 2004, Phil the Fire employees picketed outside the swank downtown eatery to protest their untendered paychecks.  (Jun 15, 2012 | post #1)

Beachwood, OH

Phil Davis: My Biggest Mistake

Although Phil Davis’ initial capital contribution to the Gateway Phil the Fire restaurant was a nominal $100, as set forth in the operating agreement, Mr. Davis retained a 60% ownership stake. On March 31, 2004, as the downtown Phil the Fire hemorrhaged cash and the chickens came home to roost, Mr. Davis borrowed $20,000, via a promissory note, from Phil the Fire’s talented chef, Alexander Daniels. Despite receiving $50,000 from Mr. Wright on April 26, 2004, in an impetuous, global out-of-court settlement, Mr. Davis defaulted on the bulk ($15,000) of Mr. Daniels’ unsecured loan and a contracted $11,000 culinary consultant’s fee... http://ouch.blog-c ity.net/sustainabl e_community_associ ates_stone_soup_1. htm  (Jun 3, 2012 | post #2)

Beachwood, OH

Phil Davis: My Biggest Mistake

...On March 14 and March 29, 2003, Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Jerry Greenfield, Oberlin College class of ‘73, executed two $20,000 promissory notes to Phil B. Davis, Phil the Fire’s flamboyant proprietor, at prime plus 200 basis points, collateralized by an equity stake in Phil the Fire. Mr. Davis, a former deodorant salesman, failed to make a single payment on the bargain-rate loans. On October 31, 2003, the well-heeled ice cream czar and the wannabe waffle king consummated a Halloween wing-and-a-prayer loan consolidation through a $100,000 line of credit issued by Shore Bank. Mr. Davis subsequently defaulted on every facet of the original loans. According to Cuyahoga County Court records, Phil the Fire’s tax returns, prepared by leading public accounting firm SS & G, show a loss of nearly $50,000 in 2002. In an amended July 19, 2004, brief attached to the extensive litigation spawned by Phil the Fire’s demise, Phil B. Davis declares on line #93, "Defendant never claimed that the operations of Phil the Fire on Shaker Square had yielded a profit after its first year of operations." The Ohio Department of Taxation affixed eight liens totaling $69,555.63 to Phil the Fire’s Shaker Square carcass. The Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation weighed in with unpaid claims of $7,265.37. Mr. Davis’ Shaker Square operation inherited the retail storefront formerly occupied by Hungarian strudel purveyor Lucy’s Sweet Surrender, a 49-year Buckeye neighborhood fixture employing a bevy of elderly, veteran strudel kneaders. On assuming the balance of Lucy’s ten-year lease, Mr. Davis seized $75,000 in specialized bakery equipment belonging to Lucy’s proprietor Michael Feigenbaum. Lucy’s never fully recovered and, according to Mr. Feigenbaum’s Hotel Bruce web posting, is "living on fumes." On Sunday, March 26, 2006, the Cleveland Plain Dealer ran a front-page expose detailing the implosion of both the Shaker Square and downtown Phil the Fire and Waterhouse Restaurants, established with the financial backing of fugitive Atlanta hedge fund manager Kirk Wright. I, not any member of this body [Oberlin City Council], was the original source for that story. Wanted on state and federal mail and securities fraud warrants for allegedly absconding with $185 million in investor assets, Wright targeted novice minority investors, particularly professional athletes with significant discretionary income. Equipped, according to the New York Post, with "a materialistic streak that would make Madonna blush," Wright’s illicitly acquired auto collection included a Bentley, a Jaguar, an Aston Martin, a BMW and a Lamborghini. A March 9, 2006, Wall Street Journal article reported Mr. Wright’s financial seductions occurred in "suites he rented at Atlanta Falcon football games." Since February 2002, SCA’s financial patron, Home Depot co-founder Arthur Blank, has owned the Atlanta Falcons. According to Phil B. Davis’ Cuyahoga County court filings, Davis "met twice with Wright in Plaintiff’s Atlanta office." In a short, tumultuous five-month life-span, Phil the Fire’s illiquid downtown Cleveland gravy train racked up well in excess of a million dollars in unpaid debts and forfeitures — including over $15,000 in Ohio workers compensation liens — was on a C.O.D. basis with vendors and, according to Phil Davis’ July 28, 2004, court filings, had a chronic negative cash flow. Channel 19 reporter Scott Taylor ran an investigative piece broadcast March 14, 2004, on Phil the Fire Gateway’s imminent meltdown. On March 23, 2004, the IRS slapped a $226,259 tax lien on Phil the Fire for failure to pay federal withholding taxes. On April 15, 2004, Phil the Fire employees picketed outside the swank downtown eatery to protest their untendered paychecks.  (Jun 3, 2012 | post #1)

Upper Arlington, OH

EPA clears Kingsdale site for redevelopment

...In a June 26, 1994, Cleveland Plain Dealer article entitled Environmentalists Leery of Possible Loopholes, Chris Trepal, co-director of the Earth Day Coalition in Northeast Ohio, lambasted the enabling VAP legislation as "one of the poorest public policy measures I’ve ever seen." A clairvoyant Richard Sahli, executive director of the Ohio Environmental Council, echoed his sentiment in the May 26, 1994, Cincinnati Post, "We do predict there will be a lot of shoddy cleanups under this bill the state will never catch." Testifying before the House Energy & Natural Resources Committee on behalf of the Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers, Cincinnati environmental lawyer David Altman asserted, "This bill is a definite bait-and-switch. What it is supposed to do and what it does is two different things." A seminal, 152 page 2001 Gund Foundation funded study by the Green Environmental Council confirmed the critics’ predictions. A dearth of agency resources to provide meaningful regulatory oversight combined with the lack of a credible, established enforcement mechanism has rendered the feckless, industry aligned program toothless. "It’s a broken program - it doesn’t work," declared the council’s Bruce Cornett in an interview with the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Both the Sierra Club and Ohio Citizen Action opposed the 2000 $400 million Clean Ohio state bond issue out of concern the fungible proceeds could be utilized to prop up the lame Voluntary Action Program and create a trojan horse polluters slush fund. "This is the governor's attempt to whitewash his EPA," charged Jane Forrest Redfern, environmental projects director for Ohio Citizen Action in a November 1, 2000, Cleveland Plain Dealer article. Dedicated professionals, veteran Ohio EPA bureaucrats attempted to rectify the problem. According to the October 4, 2000, Cleveland Plain Dealer, "EPA staffers who shared some of the environmentalists’ concerns, at one point launched a quiet but unsuccessful campaign to disband the program." For six years after the Voluntary Action Program’s 1996 implementation, the U.S. EPA refused to extend program participants federal immunity and threatened to decertify the Ohio EPA due to the VAP’s expansive, inhibiting secrecy provisions and tangible lack of transparency. In a brokered, bifurcated modification to the Ohio VAP that "frankly doesn't make sense at all," according to Ohio Public Interest Research Group director Amy Simpson (Akron Beacon Journal, February 24, 2001), an alternative "memorandum of agreement" VAP track with enhanced public access was crafted. Companies that elect the original, opaque, "classic " option, which conceals under an embargo the extent and nature of contamination, will not be afforded U.S. EPA liability insulation. "Why Ohio would want a two-headed monster is beyond me," quipped the Ohio Environmental Council’s Jack Shaner. In SCA’s case, the jaundiced, green and incompliant wants to hide what you can’t see. Mark Chesler Oberlin, Ohio http://ouch.blog-c ity.com/sustainabl e_community_associ ates_tainted_titan ic_wreck.htm  (Dec 30, 2011 | post #1)

Cuyahoga County, OH

Democratic Party leaders close ranks behind Rep. Fudge: J...

Although Phil Davis’ initial capital contribution to the Gateway Phil the Fire restaurant was a nominal $100, as set forth in the operating agreement, Mr. Davis retained a 60% ownership stake. On March 31, 2004, as the downtown Phil the Fire hemorrhaged cash and the chickens came home to roost, Mr. Davis borrowed $20,000, via a promissory note, from Phil the Fire’s talented chef, Alexander Daniels. Despite receiving $50,000 from Mr. Wright on April 26, 2004, in an impetuous, global out-of-court settlement, Mr. Davis defaulted on the bulk ($15,000) of Mr. Daniels’ unsecured loan and a contracted $11,000 culinary consultant’s fee... http://ouch.blog-c ity.com/sustainabl e_community_associ ates_stone_soup_1. htm  (Dec 6, 2011 | post #2)