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Is the Game Checkers or Chess?

Things that make you go hmmm....

Things that make you go hmmm….

In a November 1st article in the Morningside Park Chronicle What Will the California Department of Finance Decide?” material falsehoods and untruthful representations were printed, and 2UrbanGirls found a few discrepancies.

102nd St Properties

In the article the author states:

“…a soured development deal on 102nd Street is stated by insiders to have reached a degree that could trigger a massive lawsuit further depleting city funds”.

There was only one recent failed development deal that purported to bring the revenue and jobs claimed in the MPC article. That was the Imperial Partners development.

John McDonald, the principal of Imperial Partners, was the developer associated with the failed Angeles Fields Development Project in the City of Lynwood.  Nearly the entire Lynwood City Council was recalled over the deal as reported in the L.A. Sentinel.

After the Lynwood elected officials were recalled, they signed an agreement with John McDonald’s company, exposing the city to a lawsuit.

Read the full lawsuit of Lynwood Redevelopment Agency v. Angeles Field Partners

McDonald headed west to Inglewood with the same hustle.  Betty Pleasant reported in the Soulvine her surprise that both former City of Inglewood elected officials, Roosevelt Dorn and Judy Dunlap, both voted against moving forward with McDonald’s request for $50 million to develop the project and agreed with them for killing the deal.  From the Soulvine archives from 2010:

THE INGLEWOOD REPORT — Members of the Inglewood City Council soared to a new level of lunacy May 4 that was so high the ordinarily kowtowing city attorney was moved for once to step in and stop them. On a motion by Councilman Ralph Franklin, the council was set to give $50 million to developer John McDonald so he, with his Imperial Partners company, could create what the council had considered, studied, debated and rejected years ago as an untenable commercial development for Inglewood. McDonald is the same man who went bankrupt several years ago trying to develop a project in Las Vegas. After he scraped together a measly $20,000, he approached Lynwood with plans to create Angeles Fields, a commercial and housing project that was also to include a major league football field! McDonald’s proposed project was so universally despised that Lynwood residents threw him and his blueprints out of town and recalled four-fifths of the city council.

While McDonald was busy wreaking havoc in Lynwood, he was toying with Inglewood, where the sitting council at time gave him no quarter. And for once, Mayor Roosevelt Dorn and Councilwoman Judy Dunlap were on the same page, as they both hated McDonald’s proposed project. With Dorn now gone and a bunch of new council members seated — most of whom are running for mayor and in need of campaign contributions from anyone who purports to have money — McDonald has reared his head again and the council is falling all over itself to give him $50 million for a development project that is just as lousy today as it was five years ago. They would have done it last week if City Attorney Cal Saunders hadn’t spoken up and told them not to. To reiterate his point, Saunders went around the dais and spoke to each council member privately about the matter. It should be noted that Dunlap made no comment during the meeting about McDonald’s project, and at one point she simply got up and left the meeting entirely and never returned. This project will probably come up again because it’s like a zombie — it just won’t stay dead.

Central Faithful Baptist Church

According to the MPC article:

“While the oversight committee and city council may make transfers, such as the $18 million dollar loan of taxpayer funds to a 501(c)(3) non-profit entity that is also a religious organization, it is the DoF that decides if the transfers are allowable. The state controller determines fines for unallowable transfers. And it is stakeholders and taxpayers who are on the hook when “unallowable” transfers are made”.

Editor’s Note: DoF is the Department of Finance for the State of California.

First, neither the Oversight Committee nor the City has ever given an 18 million dollar loan (or any other amount) to any church from Redevelopment or any fund. As for “Central Faithful Baptist Church”?; It simply does NOT exist.  A search of GuideStar, the national clearinghouse for nonprofits, along with a search of Secretary of State Records, does not show the name attached to anything legal.

As 2UrbanGirls posed the question on social media sites, everyone corrected us proclaiming the MPC really meant an Inglewood church, with an extremely large following, with three of the four words used by the MPC in its name as well.  And that is EXACTLY what the author wanted you to believe without exposing himself to a libel lawsuit.

Editors Note:  The MPC has updated their article, to again mislead the Inglewood residents and general public, in the name of the church in question. 

City of Cerritos

The City of Cerritos was recently ordered to return $170 million to the state as reported in the Los Cerritos News.  Cerritos was involved in using redevelopment money, to purchase vacant land for development.  The caveat is the value of the land was dropped so low, there were no funds to transfer to John Chiang’s office for disbursement.

The first sale of properties within the RDA had a book value of over $75 million with the Council approving purchase by the city of $11 million, eliminating over $64 million because of a “decline in value.”

“That is very suspect,” said one former Mayor of a local city and former California Contract Cities Association President who did not want to be named, “it looks like they tried to transfer the property worth $75 million and buy it for $11 million and keep all the rental income.”

Cerritos then developed the land and leased it out, where the funds generated from the leases went into the general fund, again, not reaping an opportunity to transfer any amounts to the state.

The Forum was NEVER owned by the City of Inglewood, nor was it built from scratch with redevelopment funds.  Redevelopment can go towards upgrades to existing structures, which is why at the District 1 Town Hall Meeting on November 2nd, Madison Square Garden (MSG) officials let the residents know they will be going after a historic designation.  Thus making the $18 million transfer allowable.

The MPC writer obviously opines that their readers lack critical thinking and reasoning skills.  Their readers deserve better.

(The conclusions and opinions presented by The Urbun Girl do not necessarily reflect those of Urban GIrl Media)


10 Responses so far.

  1. 2UrbanGirls says:

    Morningside Park Chronicle has updated their original story, and changed the name of the church in question, from Central Faithful Baptist Church to Faithful Central Baptist Church, which once again, eludes to another church, by misrepresenting the name, yet again.

  2. Morningside Park Chronicle says:

    In this post I have noticed that you took the time to link two stories even as you fail to link the nut story.

    I find it disingenuous that in a post titled “Is The Game Chess or Checkers?” you prevent your readers from being able to read for themselves the very story you target.

    On the other hand, you link a poorly substantiated story from someone who lives in Glendale and whom you have witnessed has a possible hatred toward Armenians.

    One wonders just what game is being played here.

  3. Morningside Park Chronicle says:

    And finally FCBC and Forum LLC (aka The Forum Enterprises, Inc., (FEI)) share the same exact reporting address as well as the same exact COO. Being that the only three entities that signed the Forum contract titled “Owner Participation Agreement and Consideration of an $18,000,000 Commercial Rehabilitation Loan to Renovate the Forum” were “the City of Inglewood, MSG Forum, LLC (MSG), and The Forum Enterprises, Inc., (FEI), which provides for a commercial rehabilitation loan of $18,000,000 (eighteen million dollars) to assist MSG in the rehabilitation and renovation of the Forum,” and that on page 3 of said contract was stated “To complete the renovation, MSG has submitted a request to the City for financial assistance,” it is rather clear that the Redevelopment Agency was not involved and therefore that calls into question this entire bamboozle.

  4. Morningside Park Chronicle says:

    Now, in case one was unable to understand the nut in the DoF’s response, i.e., “However, had we selected this item for review, staff (who have not looked at the underlying documents) believe we might have denied since the proceeds were not obligated by a binding contract where the Agency was a party,” it is just half the story.

    The City of Inglewood has since gone on to transfer the funds for the loan into the Merged Redevelopment Fund, which may trigger action by the DoF. The DoF is now obligated to investigate whether such a transfer is allowable as the former blanket approval via the ROPS may no longer be applicable.

    That DDR contains the information regarding the transfer, as do pages 11 and 13 of the MHM-executed City of Inglewood FY 2011-12 Financial Statements and Single Audit.

  5. Morningside Park Chronicle says:

    While I did make a mistake regarding the name “Central Faithful Baptist Church”
    by inadvertently transposing “Faithful” and “Central,” the city has indeed made an $18 million dollar loan to the church via its COO—Marc Little—who is also the COO to Faithful Central Baptist Church (FCBC).

    The DoF has

    Here are some links to relevant documents:

    A DoF spokesman stated: This
    obligation was identified as line item 14 on ROPS I (January 2012, to
    June 30, 2012). We did not select this item for review and therefore,
    by default this item was approved. It was funded with bond proceeds.
    This item was not listed on subsequent ROPS. A related item for MSG
    legal services was placed on a subsequent ROPS but we denied. Since
    ROPS I was prior to the passage of AB 1484, the Successor Agency
    (Agency) was not required to obtain a Finding of Competition to use
    their unspent bond proceeds. However, had we selected this item for
    review, staff (who have not looked at the underlying documents) believe
    we might have denied since the proceeds were not obligated by a binding
    contract where the Agency was a party. We select a sample, this item
    was not selected, and by not denying this item on ROPS I, it was by
    default approved and therefore, the Agency was able to use the proceeds
    to fund this project.”
    line item 14 on page 4 of 6 found at http://www.dof.ca.gov/redevelopment/ROPS/archived-ROPS/ROPS_I-II_Forms/documents/Inglewood_ROPS_I.pdf

    In its 2012 Annual report, Pastor George Thompson wrote “However, the City of Inglewood was able to put together tax exempt bonds and other forms of funding to contribute $18 million instead of the $23.6. As a result of the prayers of the people, the Forum transaction is still pending” from FCBC’s 2012 Annual report at https://www.faithfulcentral.com/sites/default/files/Annual2012-AGENDA%20AND%20MINUTES.pdf

    As far as whether the transfer is allowable, that is not for me nor the mayor—and certainly not for you—to decide. It is the State Controller who decides.
    I hope that helps clear things up.

    • 2UrbanGirls says:

      Thanks! I reviewed the ROPS from 2013 which only shows transactions from Jan 2013 through June 2013, which does state certain MSG related items were denied.
      Thank you for providing links to the period of Jan 2012 to June 2012.

About Melissa

I am a lifelong Inglewood resident living in District 4. I serve on PTA and School Site Council as Vice-President, for the last 8 years with Inglewood Unified School District. I volunteer on the Wellness Committee for ICEF Public Schools. I am an alumni of California State University, Dominguez Hills with a degree in Political Science. You can find me on Twitter under @CreoleMommie

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