June 23, New ThomasSt.org Article: City Pulled Project Environmental Impact Study (EIS) Based on Funding Sources — Not Safety — Records Show
June 21, 2017
Updated June 22, 2017
CITY ATTORNEY ALLEGED SHE WAS TOLD TO DESTROY FIRST LEGAL OPINION ON THOMAS STREET PROJECT TIF-FUNDING. OPINION WAS WITHHELD FROM CITY COUNCIL REVIEW.
If the Crivello legal opinion is correct and the opinion was withheld from council review at the appropriate time, the city may have more problems on its hands than the number of lanes it ultimately selects.
ThomasSt.org was able to acquire the first Thomas Street legal opinion (Crivello), which had been intentionally withheld from the city council and the public, according to the investigation report (page 8):
“The second opinion which was authored by Foley was presented to the City Common Council without mention of the first opinion which suggested the amendment would be advisable. The first opinion came to light in lieu of the investigation of this complaint.”
Key Points and takeaways:
- Not long after the city broke federal guidelines in Thomas Street property acquisitions and lost federal funding, a legal opinion was acquired by the city on using TIF funding for the project and withheld from city council review
- The city attorney, Anne Jacobson, alleged she was “told to destroy it” (page 7 of investigation report below) according to official investigation documents
- The investigation report states that an impact of the first legal opinion is that the TIF process would be “to the degree certain changes were sought, more involved and require greater levels of approval from the Plan commission and the Joint Review Board”
- The finance director was upset by the first opinion and acquired a second opinion, as the investigative report shows, but the author of the second opinion (Foley) didn’t even review the original plan or the amendment(s)
- The report also calls into question the finance director’s pressuring of the assessor to lower CBL’s taxes on the Wausau Mall
Both documents are available for review and download below. Thomas Street matters begin on page 6 of the investigation report.
ADDITIONAL MATTER: CBL MALL TAXES
According to the Wausau Daily Herald, this is the same investigation and report related to questionable activity around CBL and its taxes:
“The investigator concluded that Groat had a private conversation with representatives of the Wausau Center mall property, then tried to pressure City Assessor Nan Giese to reduce the property’s assessed value and therefore its tax bill to keep the mall’s owner, CBL, from shutting down the center. ” — WausauDailyHerald.com, July 31st, 2014
More Thomas Street Project news to come — daily.