Race Committee Told to Pay $5,000
Because Carroll Blames Martin Schickel
For Delayed Downtown Development
From: Misty Cheshire [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, June 06, 2012 11:19 AM
To: Martin Schickel
Subject: RE: 2 things
Tom asked that I forward this message to you:
The City of Loveland is now facing serious financial challenges. Not only is the City facing a problem from state budget cuts, but Martin's killing of the Loveland Station deal has added to the City's financial distress. I will now have to plan for another $106,000 of debt service next year which means I will have to lay off another police officer next year. As a result, the City of Loveland is no longer able to provide support for events which are not required. Accordingly, this year's Amazing Race will not be supported by the City of Loveland. Should he wish to hold it anyway, the cost is $5,000 to the City and full payment all police, fire and public works personnel.
If this is acceptable, I will process his permit this afternoon upon payment of $5,000. If not, the event shall be cancelled this year.
Race Committee Paid the $5.000 and Only Got a Tentatively Granted Permit
Loveland, Ohio - “It takes a lot to shock me but this one did!,” is Councilman Mark Fitzgerald's e-mail reply when Loveland Magazine asked about Loveland City Manager, Thomas Carroll's amazing shakedown of Loveland's Amazing Race.
Ten days before race day, Carroll blamed Martin Schickel for city financial woes to the tune of $106,000 and the layoff of a police officer. Why was Schickel responsible? According to Carroll it is because of “...Martin's killing of the Loveland Station deal.”
How did the Amazing Race get in-tangled?
The Race, heading into its seventh year was threatened with cancellation when Carroll e-mailed a demand letter to event Board member Schickel, requesting $5,000 to secure a Special Events Permit. Carroll said, “If not, the event shall be cancelled this year.”
Carroll said Schickel's refusal to sell a prime piece of real estate he owns in Historic Downtown Loveland to developer Rick Greiwe has cost the City money, therefore a charitable, non-profit organization Schickel helped found, must now pony up $5,000 to make up some of the difference.
Schickel owns a prime piece of real estate in Historic Downtown Loveland that Carroll wants sold to developer Rick Greiwe, so the “Loveland Station” development can move forward.
Fitzgerald e-mailed his fellow council-members. “What is going on? I’m told the city manager is holding up issuance of permit for the Amazing Race because Martin hasn’t agreed to sell his property? Say it isn’t so.” Fitzgerald heard back from Linda Cox and Mayor Rob Weisgerber. “Only heard from Rob and Linda – he’s 100% with the Manager; she is not.”
Loveland Magazine asked Weisgerber if he agreed with the City Manager's assessment of the $5,000 permit fee for the Amazing Race, because Schickel has not reached an agreement to sell his property to Griewe. He said, “You are wrong. You jump to a conclusion by misleading information and present it as a fact that is not true or a fact.”
Weisgerber was also asked if he knew who initiated the idea to approach Schickel an the Amazing Race in this manner. He did not provide an answer.
Fitzgerald e-mailed the City Law Director, “Do you see this as ethical? Legal?” There has been no response.
Schickel also pondered whether or not what Carroll did was ethical or legal. “I don't know. I am not a lawyer, but it doesn’t feel right.” He said that the committee's objective was to make the race happen, “We're seven days away. We want the race to go off and the participants to have a good impression of Loveland. That’s our number one priority”
Loveland's Amazing Race's only connection with development in Loveland is that one of the Race founders, Schickel - owns prime real-estate that Carroll and Greiwe want included in a series of apartment buildings city planners gave their blessings to last year. The City or Greiwe have acquired, or have under contract, all of the identified parcels in Phase One, except the Schickel parcel. City leaders had promised that the “Loveland Station” construction would begin early this Spring.
Greiwe said today that he in fact has an agreement with Schickel, and he knew nothing of Carroll's demand for money from the Amazing Race. He said that he is still looking for financing for the project, and would give no estimate of when construction would begin.
Schickel, said that Greiwe's assertion of an agreement is not entirely accurate.
“We have an agreement on price, and he has presented me with a contract, but I have not signed it yet. That is the direction we are going, so I can certainly see how he would make a statement like that however.”
Fitzgerald confirmed that Schickel's version is more correct, and adds that the City Administration through Greiwe, is putting additional pressure on Schickel to sell. Pressure that came as late as yesterday.
Speaking about the Loveland Station Project, Schickel said that he does not understand what all is going on. “I am hearing that the project is dead, on the one hand. On the other hand I hear that the developer is putting it together. It's been a pretty long back story behind how we got to this point. When asked if the City Manager would know the stage of negotiations between him and Greiwe, Schickel said it would almost be inconceivable that Carroll wouldn't know.
Schickel said, “When I got the e-mail from Tom, I took it to the Board of Directors of Loveland's Amazing Race and said, 'We've got a problem.”
When Schickel was asked if the Amazing Race had paid the “bounty, or ransom” he chuckled and said, “Well, I can understand why those terms would be used at this point. Yes, we did. We felt we had a responsibility to those people that were coming to the event and to the reputation of Loveland.
When asked this morning how confidant he was that the race would go off as planned, Schickel said that an hour before he was thinking, “Fifty – Fifty. But within the hour I have been told that the City Manager had signed the permit."
“Everything is essentially done,” Schickel said. “The planing is done. But I have been sort of shell shocked enough by this to not feel one-hundred percent confidant that I know it's going to happen yet. But, I am starting to think it might.”
Schickel was very hesitant today to express total optimism even though a $5,000 check was delivered to City Hall. He said, “Well I don't know what his motivations are at this point for approving a permit. I think I do know what they were before, but they were totally unrelated to the event.” He said the ordeal has been difficult and said that he was now separating himself from dealing in event related discussions with the city because Carroll “had created linkages between (him) and unrelated issues, and the event.”
The Race Committee met as soon as Schickel got the e-mail from Carroll. Their decision was to pay the $5,000 immediately, and deal with it after the race was held. They took the check to City Hall but the permit was still not available.
Tentatively Granted Permit
Loveland Magazine acquired a copy of the permit signed by Carroll before the Committee picked it up. The permit asks for the usual who, why, what, where, and when. It was signed by Schickel back in mid April. The permit requires the Race organization to pay for the Police, Fire Department, and Public Works Department's contributions to the event, however there is nothing in the permit mentioning the $5,000 that Carroll demanded. Nor is there a breakdown of what services the committee receives for the money.
The permit was signed today by the City Manager, but above the check mark indicating, “Granted” the word “Tentative” was hand printed.
So, at the present time the Race committee has a signed, "Granted" yet "Tentative" permit in their possession.
When Loveland Magazine contacted Loveland Amazing Race Board Chairman, Doug Portman this afternoon, he was puzzled about why after the $5,000 was paid the permit could indicate only a “Tentative” approval. He took the cashier’s check to City Hall himself Thursday morning. There is no explanation anywhere on the permit to explain what further conditions the City Manager may be imposing. Portman said, “This whole thing is so crazy, I don't have any take on anything right now. I can't even speculate.
Portman talked today about what it would mean if the Race was cancelled. He said, “My biggest thing is that we are trying to get a race off. We have people coming in from all over the country, including my own personal family coming from St. Louis.” He said he was just trying to get the race off the ground and make charities happy, make volunteers happy, and of course make the runners happy. There will be 1,000 contestants, and 500 volunteers involved. Loveland's Amazing Race bills itself as, “A full day of good natured competition, music, food and laughs. It is a fun, quirky, adventure that rambles through Loveland and challenges the contestants agility, balance, coordination, strength, intelligence, problem solving skills, fine motor skills, and most important their sense of humor.”
Loveland's Amazing Race has been able to donate more than $300, 000 the past six years to local charities.
Speaking about Carroll's entanglement of the Loveland Station failure, and the Race, Portman said, “Martin has to make his own decision. It's two separate issues. It has nothing to do with the race.”
Portman continued, “That was the feelings of our Board. We've got to take care of the people who have backed us over the years, and the charities. And that to us is the most important thing. And, taking care of the people that have already planned their trips and their vacations.” Portman said he knows people who plan their vacations for the week after the race, so they can be in Loveland on race weekend. “Those are the people I have to make sure I take care of.”
Schickel did not know where the $5,000 figure came from. He said they have always, including this year, been a City sponsored event. He said they have been proud in recent years that they have paid for the police, fire/EMS, and public work expenses and salaries. “We hire these people for the event. The City has helped us clean the parks, but a source of pride has been over the years that the City spends very little money on this event. It takes care of itself.”
Schickel, in describing the dilemma Carroll put the committee in, said the most important thing now if for people not to think the race has been cancelled. However, he said they were at a turning point today where they thought, “Maybe it might have to be called off.”
The committee discussed that perhaps their only option was to bring “public pressure to bear on how wrong this was.” He said that it was pressure brought to bear on City Council Members personally by Portman, that may have turned tide on what he described as Carroll's, “Legal and moral problem.”
Carroll couldn't be reached for comment today. He has been on vacation all week.
Schickel said that if the race indeed happens, he didn't think that will be the end of this story. “After the race we will need to address all of this.”
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