Why Are We Bidding Against Ourselves?


Mere stupidity or outright corruption?  We can’t tell for sure, but Park Ridge Mayor Howard Frimark is sure making it a tough choice. 

As we previously reported here, the real estate appraiser hired by the City of Park Ridge came up with an appraisal of $770,000 for the American Insurance property at 720 Garden, the most recent flavor-of-the-month site for the big new police station the City wants to build.  Because the appraiser had the wrong square footage (how does an appraiser get the square footage wrong?), however, former City Mgr. Tim Schuenke (good riddance) adjusted the price upward to $888,000, which he then rounded up to $900,000 before inexplicably recommending that the City offer $1.1 Million for it! 

But just when we thought that process couldn’t get any more fiscally irresponsible, Mayor Frimark has kicked it up a notch to theater of the absurd: He has announced that he wants the City to get a second appraisal done – because he claims the City’s first appraisal was too low! (“Mayor wants second appraisal on land,” Herald-Advocate, March 13).

Is it merely stupid, or outright crooked, to offer $200,000 above your own appraiser’s stated value for a piece of property the City has the right (by eminent domain) to condemn and purchase at its provable fair market value?  And is it even more stupid, or more crooked, to then demand a second appraisal that you have already decreed must be higher than your first…especially when you’re the buyer?   
We’ve suspected for quite awhile that there were real estate deals being secretly worked out in the area south of the tracks known as “Target Area 4″: Although the City has proposed cop shop sites willy nilly, for some unknown reason it seems fixated on Target Area 4 – even though the City has not even attempted to determine the ideal geographic location for a new police station.

We here at PublicWatchdog are unrepentant capitalists.  We have no problem with anybody making a lot of money – even from the City – so long as it’s done honestly and  in plain view.  But when a city manager first gooses up an offer by $200,000 more than the City’s corrected appraised value of the property, and then the mayor wants a completely new appraisal because he claims the first one was too low, something smells.

It also causes us to ask: “Just who’s side are you on, Mr. Mayor?”

10 comments so far

For those who understand the way in which property purchases effect surrounding property values… The Mayor’s wanting a higher appraised value, which would necessitate a higher purchase price paid by the city…

None of this is confusing. It’s not stupid either…if you have an agenda to drive up the value for surrounding properties.

That makes sense, but probably only as to other commercial property nearby – not necessarily as to the houses. On the other hand, 720 Garden is surrounded by “commercial” property, including those lots supposedly owned by Gillick, Scharringhausen, etc. Could be windfall time for those folks.

Just who’s side is Frimark on? Anybody’s who can make a buck at the taxpayers’ expense, preferably without the taxpayers knowing it. Sure would love to know who the real owner of 720 Garden is.

I know Hill’s Hobby is moving though I don’t know where.

Speaking of Scharringhausan’s which is now called the Medicine Shop, I wonder what Bill, assuming he still lives here in town, thinks about all this?

I understand his father George who’s been dead for 18 years was very protective of the towns residential atmosphere.

As so I’ve read.

A year or so ago, Frimark wanted the city to buy property by the AT&T building that was supposedly owned by a land trust that Scharringhausen (or his wife) was the beneficiary of. Maybe somebody should ask him if that is his or his wife’s land, and if there are any other beneficiaries besides him or his wife. In fact, why don’t all the owners of propoerty in and around Uptown identify themselves so we don’t have to worry about whose secretly trying to get rich at our expense?

Does anybody know who the appraiser was who got the square footage wrong (or was he given the wrong footage by the property’s owner, or the city)? What did the city over-pay for that survey? And who was the appraiser for the the property owner who came up with the $1,360,000? This is the kind of stuff we should know about so that these deals can’t be cooked/crooked.

Hey, Howard, how about giving us this info?

If a deal involving the Garden St. property, or really any property, gets done and it is not fully disclosed and dealt with in the open it will stink to high heaven.
Jeannie M. is right. What’s happening is not confusing and these guys are not stupid.
If there’s any confusion it’s casued by the shroud of secrecy that surrounds what is going on relative to the whole situation. And where these guys are all being stupid is in their refusal to understand that people want to know what their government is doing for them and with the resources that we give them. We don’t want to micromanage them but we sure do want to feel that they are being responsible stewards of the resources ($$$) we supply the with to do their jobs.
And to those who say “lay off them they are low paid or unpaid volunteers” or “they have the community’s best interests at heart”, I say – that’s nice but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be kept honest in all aspects of their service to us. And that’s no reason we should not be able to know about how the government operates in a pretty fine level of detail. This ain’t IBM… it’s a governmental body we are discussing that exists to serve its citizen taxpayers.

To anonymous on 03.15.08 11:24 am…

Anthony Uzemak (sp?) was the appraiser for the City. George Sargeant was the appraiser for the American Insurance building.

Both are reputable, as far as I know. A mistake in square footage is simply that, a mistake…mistakes happen.

What is rather odd is that the City didn’t simply ask for a correction from their appraiser…an adjusted appraisal…

Yet, when I calculated the City Manager’s “adjustment”, I came up with the same numbers he did…a figure roughly around $900,000.

The difference in appraisals for any given property is often a function of who hired the appraiser and for what purpose. Also, because of the data relied upon by appraisers…for example, recent sales in a given area…there is “play” in the numbers.

MIKETOUHY scooped the Advocate, which reported today that Hill’s is leaving for Buffalo Grove because their Park Ridge customers spend 10% of what their northwest suburban customers spend – and Mayor Frimark has decreed that the Hill’s building will be redeveloped. Must mean more condos (or more nail salons?), because we now know that we can’t even support a hobby shop.

I read the paper last night.

It also says that they could find anything affordable in town, probably couldn’t afford to go into the new development either and also more of their customers come from far away.

Question is now why is it that after all these years they were able to profit well and now they can’t anymore.

Even when I read these things carefully it still doesn’t make sense.

Let alone why place here are charging so much?

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