November 14th, 2012

Roldo Bartimole writes:

Guess who won’t be paying an extra penny of the school 15 mill tax Cleveland voters approved on Nov. 6?

You are right. The same guys who haven’t been paying the school taxes for years now. Some of the richest guys in town. Doesn’t surprise you, does it? The entitled takers. Freeloaders all. Pretty disgusting.

You would only be surprised if you relied on the Plain Dealer, Crain’s Cleveland or watched TV news. The bought media.

The sweet deal was engineered for the tax dodgers by former Mayor Mike White and County Commissioner Tim Hagan. Democrats by the way.

As I’ve written before, White and Hagan took a ride on a Parker-Hannifin corporate jet to Columbus to successfully lobby for Cleveland’s sports facilities to go untaxed. FOREVER. Progressive Field, Quicken Loans Arena and Browns Stadium – all paid for primarily by the taxpayers – pay no property taxes. Even on new levies. (Pat Parker of Parker-Hannifin was named Gateway’s first board chairman.)

Nice deal, huh?

White and Hagan – who had promised voters in ads in 1990 there would be no tax abatement on Gateway – instead lobbied for the full EXEMPTION of property taxes. FOREVER. They paved the way for sports owners to operate in tax-free facilities.

Here are Cleveland’s major tax dodgers of the new levy:

Billionaire Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, the new guy owner the news media have fallen in love with, pays zip.
Billionaire Cavs owner Dan Gilbert pays nothing.
Indians owner Larry Dolan, member of the billionaire Dolan family, pays zero.

All go free. The no-tax 1 percent.

I’ll tell you below how much extra these theft artists should provide Cleveland school children. But don’t.

If YOU live or own property in Cleveland you pay a hefty extra 15 mills a year.

The Cleveland schools? Chiselers Haslam, Gilbert and Dolan say to hell with them. Cleveland school kids, the hell with them. That’s the sports owners’ true message.

Will Mayor Democrat Frank Jackson – who pushed and passed this tax – let them escape? Or will he ask them to pay a tax in lieu of their tax free status? Will he ask they to show some civic responsibility? I wouldn’t bet a dime on it.

It shows you how much your friends can help you. In dollars. Millions of them.


The biggest school revenue theft is by billionaire Haslam of the Browns. The taxable value of Browns Stadium is $285 million. The 15 mill tax on this property should produce for the schools $1,496,250 annually.

That’s how much billionaire Haslam doesn’t pay in taxes for the children of Cleveland.

The taxable value of Progressive Field is $172 million. The tax that won’t be paid to the Cleveland schools each year would be $904,000.

The taxable value of the Quicken Loan Arena is $134.6 million. It would require an annual tax increase of $706,650.

The total each year of taxes NOT paid by sports owners would be slightly more than $3.1 million annually or $12.4 million over the four-year period of the voted levy.

(And some 90,000 poor County residents reportedly will have food stamp money cut because it was unusually warm last winter so utility costs were lower). How low can things get if you aren’t rich?

Instead, Jimmy Haslam, put it in your pocket. Dan Gilbert stick it in your pocket. Larry Dolan jam it in your pocket. Even though you likely won’t even feel it.

Since all the facilities over the years have been tax exempt, tens of millions of dollars have escaped being paid by these chiselers.

The figures I listed are based on 2011 County data.

It is disgraceful that these wealthy team owners don’t have the character and integrity to pay taxes for the Cleveland schools.

Thanks also to the greed of the NFL, NBA and MLB. Because it enriches their already heavy-duty profits.

Of course, other taxpayers have to make up the difference.

So why spend your hard earned dollar to watch second-rate teams of owners who give you the finger when it comes to taxes?

SMALL POSCRIPT: Why can’t you ever read this in the Plain Dealer? This is an important journalistic question. Why do mainstream media avoid the obvious?

First, mainstream reporters would not even think of checking a corporate leader’s ability to escape taxes. Such pursuit just isn’t part of their mental process. It’s too critical a progression. And a wrong target.

Secondly, even if one thought about it, why do it. It wouldn’t be printed in the newspaper, or broadcast by a TV reporter. You would be considered a radical or trouble-maker. Might even invite retribution. Actually, it has and would.

It’s not part of the culture of newspapers to “go after” certain people.

Although too much of the daily paper is devoted to sports, the business aspect is never touched upon. It’s all geared to promote.

So much of lying isn’t telling lies but avoiding truth.

For those reporters who want to make me a liar, here are the property numbers to search and find how much these sports deals HAVE NOT paid in properties over the years since Mike White and Tim Hagan’s trip to Columbus: Progressive Field, 101-33-002;
Quicken Arena, 101-28-040 and Browns Stadium, 101-02-014.

Good luck.

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