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Monday, August 7, 2017

MPA LLC Follow the Money - Blight & Rehabilitation and Public Transportation through WI DOJ & STATES VOLKSWAGEN SUIT, PART I


August 7, 2017
CITY-WIDE MILWAUKEE || Milwaukee Professionals Association LLC starts the week off with additional research and transparency for customer care and public policy-making of the DOJ/WI Department of Justice and Volkswagen cash payment through WI DFI/Department of Financial Institution.

We are about 7 months into the project (January 9, 2017 - August 7, 2017).

Part I and II
Our focus for Part I is on the City of Milwaukee - Department of City Development (Martha Brown, Deputy Commissioner) and Department of Neighborhood Services (Preston Cole - Commissioner).

Part II is Milwaukee County Director of Transportation Brian Dranzik. New buses.

City of Milwaukee 
The City of Milwaukee has $2 million dollars assigned for the underwriting of real estate improvements in the Sherman Park area. The city is calling the targeted area the Greater Sherman Park area.  The boundaries are located in District 7 (Khalif Rainey, Alderman and District 15 (Russell Stamper, Alderman).  They are:  
  • 20th Street - East
  • 60th Street - West
  • Lloyd Street - South
  • Capitol Drive - North
There is a two-part requirement in the DOJ/Volkswagen. 

DFI has "elimination and revitalization of blighted properties" with expected impact on public safetyproperty value stabilization and promote investment.  

The city of Milwaukee has Milwaukee Employment Renovation Initiative attached with "employment" as a marker.

The $2 million is split into two parts - $1 million to DCD (Brown)  for revitalization and $1million (Cole) to DNS for demolition. 

According to Martha Brown,  The Common Council approved six buyers for MERI houses on April 18, 2017.  The Dept. of City Development real estate staff has assembled a property list, sales procedures, and legal agreements for MERI participants.  

Properties are being sold and renovation work is getting underway.  Here’s a summary:

1)            The Strong Blocks organization has purchased 20 of 25 properties it will eventually buy for its 21-month rent-to-own program.  Renovation work is underway at several of the properties.

2)          Gorman and Company has identified all of the 34 properties it will purchase; the sales are not yet closed.  The renovation of these properties is partly financed by affordable housing tax credits, which requires that they be held as rental properties for 15 years.  Gorman intends to sell the properties to owner-occupants at the end of the 15-year compliance period. 

3)            FIT Investment Group/Cube Development has identified the 5 properties it will purchase; the sales are not yet closed. FIT/Cube intends to sell its renovated properties to owner-occupants.

4)            Ezekiel Housing has identified five of the 10 properties it will purchase; the sales are not yet closed.  Ezekiel intends to sell its renovated properties to owner-occupants.

5)            TE X, LLC has identified 2 of the five properties it will purchase; the sales are not yet closed.  TE X plans to hold and manage the properties as rentals after renovation is complete.

6)         Advance Investors, LLC has not yet identified any properties.  The firm will buy five properties.  Advance plans to sell its properties to owner-occupants.

Last week, August 1, 2017, MPA LLC commenced its outreach to the six approved BIDS.  Our first contact was Carl Quindel - Strong Blocks for his organization's input for transparency and citizen participation. We have not heard from our voice mail or email.

The other five, Gorman and Company, FIT Investment Group/Cube Development,  Ezekiel Housing, TE X, LLC, and Advance Investors, LLC will be contacted this week.

Additional Facts
  • Sixty-seven (67) properties have been either purchased or reserved for MERI/Milwaukee Employment Renovation Initiative buyers.  
  • These buyers will continue to select properties until 100 properties have been sold.  
  • MERI sales must close by April 2018, and renovation work must be completed by November 2018.  
  • The development agreement with buyers allows the buyers to hold renovated properties for rental in the event they aren’t able to find owner-occupant buyers.  
  • An extension of grant reimbursement period to December 1, 2018, rather than June 1, 2018, has been granted by Wisconsin Dept. of Financial Institutions.
The process started off with a high negative due to lack of public awareness and clarity of cause.  See video below.

Many Sherman Park residents arrived at city hall in a disarray due to miscommunication and too small accommodation for the hearing.  There should have been several meetings held in the Sherman Park area in a facility befitting the crowd. The necessary Common Council members should always be prepared to hit the road to underpin unique opportunities such as this one.  They were not.

Further outreach - MPA LLC
There is a pending report forthcoming regarding demolition from Preston Cole, Commissioner - DNS. 

Commercial Corridor 
Kenneth Little - Commercial Corridor Manager and team members are part of MPA LLC deep-dive oversight review for the MERI initiative as well as each neighborhood BIDs support to residential and commercial property owners. Specific funding on the books through DCD, its partners, its business capitalization, and other strategic planning to create opportunities for taxpayers, entrepreneurs, and potential investors is NOT known. This include Sherman Park NID/Neighborhood Investment District.

"Ken Little has shown an unacceptable resistance to sharing commercial information to MPA LLC as asked.  He appears to be dogmatic about the information he wants to share and to whom he shares it with.  That's discrimination.  That is cronyism.  That's uninclusive.  That is a formal Complaint.
Below is the meeting held on January 9, 2017, for the MERI initiative.

Part II
Milwaukee County Transportation - Brian Dranzik is Part II.  It will be released later this week.

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