Public Watchdog.org

Something To Be Thankful For

11.26.09

For those of us fortunate enough to live in an upscale community like Park Ridge, almost by definition we have plenty to be thankful for – far more than we could list in today’s post.

But since our focus is on local government and politics, we want to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to a few people who have contributed more to the cause of good government in our community than anyone or anything else we can think of.

First off, we thank Mayor Dave Schmidt for donating a video camera and recruiting volunteers to videotape City Council and other City government meetings so that residents unable to attend those meetings can still see – up close and personal – exactly what is going on, in ways that our local newspapers and local blogs can’t quite capture with the printed word. 

Frankly, it’s a travesty that we need a mayor to forego any part of his modest mayoral salary ($12,000) in order to get videotapes of City meetings.  But what’s an even bigger travesty is the fact that the bureaucrats in City Hall, over a year ago, came up with a cockamamie-bordering-on-fraudulent proposal of almost $130,000 to videotape City meetings – which, in retrospect, looks like nothing more than a way for those bureaucrats to avoid the kind of scrutiny that videotaped meetings provide.

Our second “thank you” goes to intrepid volunteers George Kirkland and Charles Melidosian, who without any fanfare have donated countless hours of their time to videotape and up-load the videos of City meetings so that residents can watch and learn.  Unlike the shameless self-promotors at Taste of Park Ridge NFP (“Taste Inc.”) – who incessantly tell everyone within earshot just how wonderful and self-sacrificing they are, even as they secretly and unaccountably rake in a quarter million dollars a year from their monopoly of the City’s signature 4-day “special event” at the taxpayers’ expense – Kirkland and Melidosian just do the job, quietly and unassumingly, week in and week out. 

And last, but far from least, are the folks at Park Ridge Underground, the “Pru Crew,” who laboriously take the Kirkland/Melidosian videos and provide an index – often accompanied by amusing commentary – that allows viewers to cut to the chase of whatever might interest them, rather than having to themselves slog through hours of the often incomprehensible sausage-making that regularly passes for “government” at City Hall.

Keep up the good work, folks, and take a modest bow because you deserve it.  

84 comments so far

Absolutely! It truly does show that passion will trump money any day, any time… Show us the passion that got you elected Mr. Mayor, and raise Hell (on the upcoming budget talks, flooding, etc.) Don’t let the minor setbacks get you down. Thanks to the Watchdog for bringing up this very positive fact, I’m sure that there will be many more to be thankful for next year! Happy Thanksgiving.

Charlie and George–you guys are awesome for your hard work. I agree with your comments PubDog. I find the comments on PRU much more negative and bitter than those on here but what you do is what the local papers don’t. So thanks for that.

Transparency is definitely the name of the game. In the dark the cockroaches rule, but shine a light on them and they scatter.

I don’t necessarily care if the Taste Inc. owners make money, but I damn sure care that they are making it without disclosing how much and who’s getting it.

Thank you George, Charles and Pru Crew.

Oh, yeah, and thank you Mayor Schmidt.

Either PRU or PW by itself would provide more insight into local issues than what’s available in other suburbs. Together, with the videos George and Charlie provide, there’s no excuse for anybody in Park Ridge to be uninformed unless they want to be.

As a member of the Tastes of Park Ridge Committee, I can tell you unequivocally that no one on the committee “makes money”. And the only reason anyone on the committee tells anyone how self sacrificing they are is because of shots like the one in this entry, implying otherwise.

Show PR the books!!!

TPR-Have you reimbursed the city all the costs they (I mean we the taxpayer) incur during the event?

Mr. Thillens,

I agree with you and thank you for the countless hours you and the Taste Committee give to make the Taste the best summer event in Park Ridge.

The constant negativity on this site about Taste can only make people wonder about the real agenda behind the carping.

The only thing I wonder about is why doesn’t Taste Inc. disclose their balance sheet. It just doesn’t seem like that big of a deal to me. Not providing this information in an open manner makes me think the Taste is trying to hide something.

For a look at the finances of the Taste, simply call our Committee Chariman, Albert Galus at Academic Tutoring. His number is on the Taste website. He has told me he would be happy to supply the information to anyone who calls. No one has.

There are reasons for not publically posting individual dollar amounts to the food vendors (doing so may casue rifts between them and complaints to the Committee). Also posting the contract terms with each vendor would cause problems in negotiating for the best price in the future. And worst, having the city Council review the sponsorship dollars before deciding on City support is rife with conflicts. But overall numbers are easy to get and discuss, if you pick up the phone. I can give you our entire payroll information here. . . . zero.

I belive that Taste is being targeted by some because they dislike some of the politicians who helped found the committee (including Frimark and Dudycz). However, neither of those were involved last year, so I don’t really know them.

I do think that even with the City’s deficit budget (which I would like to see balanced), the Special Events in this city are worth a small increase in City Services. The City spent $31,000 this year on additional police, fire, and public works. And while I like seeing all our public saftey men and women out there, that number may be able to be reduced. Either way, it was a small price to pay to leverage the volunteer work and sponsorship dollars these events mobalize to provide a great value in entertainment and City promotion.

Incidentally that $31,000 figure is for all 8 special events so far this year.

Mr. Thillens:

This appears to be one of those classic “doth protest too much” situations.

For five years Taste Inc. has constantly tooted its own horn while raking in what looks like more than a million bucks on its no-bid monopoly of Taste of Park Ridge. During that same time it has kept its finances secret from the taxpayers even as it pocketed tens of thousands of their dollars in handouts from the City.

Residents shouldn’t have to request Taste Inc. financials – they should be posted each year on Taste Inc.’s nifty website, and given to the City so it can post them on its website. And your excuses for Taste Inc. not reporting individual dollar amounts and contracts for vendors are, frankly, unbelievable – as is your suggestion that our objections to Taste Inc. are political. The only thing “political” here is Taste Inc.’s keeping the details of its annual sweetheart deal secret.

It everything at Taste Inc. is totally on the up-and-up, there’s no reason why it doesn’t provide detailed disclosures of what it takes in and what it pays out – including all those “charitable contributions” it brags about, and what it pays to its various vendors. But the more it refuses to do so while issuing denials and defenses like yours, the more suspicious things look.

How can you say I “doth protest too much” when I have only responded to one of the dozens of negative implications posted about the Taste on this website?

The Taste doesn’t post its financials on its website for the same reasons that the vast majority of private companies (which it is) do not.

For someone who seemes so interested in the finances, it surprises me that you are unwilling to pick up the phone and ask the question personally.

Your constant comment that the Taste Committee has some sort of monopoly is just wierd. There were 7 other events the City has supported similarly this year, and 2 more yet to come. . . plus football games, high school parades, concerts in the park and hudreds of other park district, school, and neighborhood events. Just because the Taste has gotten so big, doesn’t make it the only event in town.

Frankly, with the city in a huge deficit, spending this much time quibbling over the few grand in police and fire OT for the Taste, while ignoring the same for the fireworks, parades, and other events, makes me think that it is the PubDog who “doth protest too much”. . . and that is what leads me to think there is political motivation behind the remarks.

Whatever the motivation, I am sure a frank conversation between two reasonable neighbors, presumably both with the best for the city in mind, would be more productive than anonymous innuendo and speculation. If knowing more about how the Taste works is your true motivation feel free to send me a message. I would be happy to get together and talk it out over a cup of coffee. I would reach out to you, but there is no information on this site about who you are.

BTW, you can call me Mel. Mr. Thillens is my grandfather.

One more thing I want to add, in the spirit of full disclosure, my family’s business, Thillens, provided an ATM truck, some security for the ToPR, and cash deliveries to the bank. We did so at a loss, charging less than half of what we charge other events for the same services. In fact, I think some of the reason for my fellow committemen to recruit me onto the committee was to get the discount from my business.

I just wanted to throw that out there before anyone tried to make hay out of it. . . I suppose you want to look at Thillens’ books now, too.

why is it that Rainbow Hospice is listed as a “sponsor” of last year’s Taste but was also claimed to be a beneficiary of charitable contributions from the Taste by those who spoke at the last COW?

And by the way, if you are charging people to attend or purchase things at an event and require the presence of the City’s finest (fire/police), then you need to reimburse the City (like the Taste or the Polish Fest). This is because you are making a profit.

If you are hosting a victory parade for a championship football team and are not charging admission or a fee for food/beverage, you do not need to reimburse the City. Because the goal of this type of event is not to make a profit.

It’s that simple.

Mel:

Unlike Taste Inc., the “vast majority of private companies” were not created and operated solely to run a city’s signature municipal event as a no-bid non-contractual monopoly with a significant public subsidy.

And because Taste of Park Ridge is the single most costly special event to the City even though the City doesn’t run it, there is no reasonable comparison between Taste and those other events.

No offense intended, but private conversations over coffee don’t serve our goal of getting Taste Inc. to make a complete public disclosure of its finances and operations so that the taxpayers can see for themselves exactly what they are paying for.

If Taste Inc. isn’t doing anything kinky, there’s no reason why it can’t publicize the details of its operations and finances for all to see. Taste Inc.’s insistence on secrecy, however, has that unmistakeable “Chicago” odor.

Juat what could Taste Inc. be hiding if they are so afraid of disclosing it?

This is all hysterical. A group of volunteers tries to make things nice and all you people can do is complain in bitter pettiness.

Anon 4:37 your comment stands out as the most stupid. By your reason no matter how much some event would cost the city as long as the event organizers don’t make any money it’s o.k. with you? You are stupid.

The Taste brings money to Park Ridge and the businesses who participate instead of only costing the city money in services. Park Ridge gets more out of the money it costs the city for the Taste than any other event.

Stop all the hysterical bitterness and for a change pitch in to make Park Ridge an even better place.

To anon @ 4:37. . . . It isn’t exactly that simple. What about football games that charge admission and are so crowded that they need traffic direction? What about block parties that close the street and ask each family to chip in for the beer keg and bouncy house? Taste Inc is a not-for-profit. Any surplus revenue from the year previous is usually spent on better entertainment the following year, or held in a cushion fund against loss years (which could easily happen due to poor weather).

To PubDog – the fireworks are close to the same City cost as the Taste and all in one evening, and other events are similar in structure. I think the comparison is valid. The idea that this is some sort of no-bid monopoly has the process of the event all mixed up. The taste isn’t a city-run event that it pays to have Taste Inc manage, it is an event run by a not-for-profit, for the benefit of the city.

To anon 5:54 – I explained why the committee would like to keep some numbers private, and that most of what you are looking for is available for the time and courtesy of a phone call.

all you have to do is file a grievance with the State of Illinois and then before the Taste renews their LLC they would have to prove their non-profitness.
I agree with 4:37. It’s THAT simple.

Thillens–thou doth protest too much!!

It is easy to be on the defensive, after reading all the comments on this topic here and in the past. It isn’t exactly honest to intimate repeatedly that someone is doing something wrong, then deride them for “protesting to much” when they give the actual information behind their actions.

And you need not file any grievence to get the Taste financials, just climb out from behind your anonymity and pick up the phone.

its screamingly obvious that you are not answering the question of the earlier poster about Rainbow. Just because you avoid the question doesn’t mean it’s going to go away.

When we approach you for information, you avoid us. So why should we call you? Your “boys club” presentation at the COW was exactly what it looked like–a smoke screen!

Mel,

For claiming you don’t know Howard Frimark you sure sound an awful lot like him. “He (Mr. Galus) has told me he would be happy to supply the information to anyone who calls.” It’s the old game of never put anything in writing because then you can always change the story later.

You also threw a nice deflect in saying “spending this much time quibbling over the few grand in police and fire OT for the Taste”. Oh heaven for bid we quibble over a few grand. A few grand here, a few grand there, pretty soon we’re talking real money. Your cavalier attitude about spending tax dollars, coming on the heels of having just paid my second property tax installment of the year, is to say the least offensive.

But your best is “I can give you our entire payroll information here. . . . zero.” Nice dodge. I would bet the “payroll” is zero, but that is rarely where the dollars go in an event like this. The question is not the payroll dollars but the independent contractor and broker dollars, which is why all payments need to be disclosed. Payments to public relation firms, event organizers, volunteer organizing companies and insurance providers just to name a few.

You can say anything you want, but you are not a private business dealing in a private market. You are providing a public event service for money, on public property, using taxpayer money and until you provide a written document detailing where that money is spent you and the TOPR deserve the “dozens of negative implications” that come with your need to hide that information.

Off subject….Let’s give a big shout out to DOMINICKS KITCHEN STORE for making winterfest fun and lively providing the live music out in front of his store!!!!!

Thank you Dominick!

yikes,

Shouldn’t Rainbow Hospice answer for Rainbow Hospice? Have you or the ‘we/us’ you reference approached Rainbow Hospice for answers and gotten avoided? Did you or ‘we/us’ ask anything at the last council meeting when the council was discussing contributions to community groups?

You’re a stupid idiot.

So true, 8:56 a.m. Which might be why TOPR doesn’t want to reveal their suppliers and vendors I.D.s. Let’s take a few wild ass guesses, maybe not in 2009 but sometime since TOPR (or Taste Inc., as PW calls it) took over the event:

Insurance – Frimark Ins. Co.?
Public Relations – Barton & Barton?
T-Shirts – Pines Mens Wear?

I do not know Frimark. I did shake his hand once at a chamber of commerce event, but it sounds like many people here know more about him than I.

I don’t know all the details of Rainbow Hospice’s sponsorship, but I can tell you that Thillens is listed as a sponsor in return for in-kind contributions of my time and that of my employees. No money was paid for the Thillens sponsorship. It was offered as a “thank you”. I do know that individuals who work with Hospice helped a lot throughout the year.

Once again, there would be plenty of written information given about the Taste if anyone called. No one has. No one in city government, not the mayor, no one from this website, no one.

Ok, this is my last comment on this topic on this forum, unless someone would like to ask me a question using their name.

On other topics, I also appreciate the taping of the City Hall meetings. And while I am not thrilled with the style of this website, including much abrassive speculation, it seems we do share some beliefs in fiscal conservatism and open government.

I hope we can work together in the future.

Mel

You said, “Incidentally that $31,000 figure is for all 8 special events so far this year,” and at the last Committee of the Whole meeting you calculated that the cost to taxpayers is approximately a dime per event.

I would offer that’s not an entirely fair calculation, nor an accurate depiction of “the math,” since those 8 events don’t take equal parts of the money the City spends in support of Special Events.

Of the $31,000 figure you cited, the cost for support to the Taste of Park Ridge alone is $23,000 (each year, which is over and above the initial seed money of $23,000 provided to Taste, Inc. back in 2005), which represent almost 75% of all the money the City spends annually in support for ALL Special Events.

Mel, if you’re going to figure the numbers in order to offer a view of the City’s “investment,” do make sure you are offering a complete picture.

Dear Mel Thillens:

Why does anybody have to ASK TOPR for information? Why isn’t TOPR volunteering it?

Besides, asking TOPR for information seems to bring undependable results, judging by TOPR’s “fact sheet” given to the city council in August that says its “gross receipts were $266,652” while its costs were only $90,000+. That sounds like a $176,000 profit, which gets me wondering exactly how much money TOPR is sitting on after 5 years of profits.

And while your at it, can you or your Taste associates explain why TOPR reincorporated earlier this year into a 501(c)(6) corporation instead of a 501(c)(3)?

Mel,

“I hope we can work together in the future.” = I hope you (the public) keep shoveling in dollars to TOPR every year and we (TOPR) can just keep spliting those dollars among ourselves and if those pesky people with negative agendas (those of us who want to know where the money is going) ask questions they can just say call us and we’ll tell you what you want to know (expect of course where the money really went, but that’s not a problem because after good old Al “talks” to someone he can say he disclosed everything and now is being taken out of context and oh poor poor us….).

Sorry Mel, a one on one phone conversation is pointless because all anyone is left with is nothing but he said, she said. Disclose it in writing or have the guts to tell the public it’s none of their business.

$176,000
Is that much money really in TOPR coffers?
Where does it go if Taste disbands tomorrow?
How much is the Taste Inc. managing firm paid?
You can’t reimburse the city $23,000 out of $176,000 because?????
This whole discussion is way too Frimarkian for me!

i just listened to the entire discussion of special events at last monday night’s meeting, including the comments by mr. thillens, mr. gallus and mr. iglow.

if topr is generating a $176,000 profit each year why do you keep on refusing to pay the cost of the city services you use?

this $176,000 helps me understand why you keep on refusing to disclose the details of your operations.

Where’s a brick wall when you want one…

If the financial statement (previously given to the Council by Taste, Inc.) is to be believed, then Taste, Inc’s DIRECT expenses are $90K. After that Taste, Inc. claims the food vendors “redeem” something around $157K, which corresponds closely to the approximately $1500+ in sales taxes the City reports having received from the Taste.

Okay…sooo…$176K – $157K = $19K.

I presume the $19K is what they claim to hold for a rainy day, as well as being the source from which their “charitable donations” to support various community activities are made.

I don’t believe Taste, Inc. is “pocketing” $176K in NET profits per year.

Thank you Jeannie, those figures sound much better and more acceptable to me.

Jeannie,

You are aboulutley right, most of the revenues of the Taste are given directly back to the food vendors when they redeem the little tickets everyone used to buy thier food. I don’t have the math in front of me, but $157K sounds right. I think the rainy day fund got less than $19k this year, more like $15 IIRC. Due to the great weather we did it without a loss, but with a pretty tight margin. From what I understand, there have been losses in years past, when the bulk of revenue gets lost on a rainy day or two.

Regarding your previous post about the math. It seems like we are useing two different sets of numbers. Mine are from a document created by city staff for the mayor. It was used during the 11/23 COW meeting and is posted on the City website as part of the agenda documentation regarding Special Events. I am totaling the “Direct Additional Expenses” for all the events – $31,098 (excluding Winterfest, which hadn’t happened yet). Granted the Taste does take a larger chunk of those expenses ($11,749) than some events, but not the most. The event that uses the most additional services is the Fireworks ($11,781). In any event I can’t see where you get that the Taste take anywhere near 75%.I don’t know if I can link it here, but here is the city page with the pdf link to the document I mentioned.

http://www.parkridge.us/file.asp?F=054702C1E96246EFBFBA12E7596A34E4%2Epdf&N=3P%2D+Special+Events%2Epdf&C=events_documents

Mr. Thillens,

I don’t know what your company is or isn’t making from TOPR because you and your company refuse to report it. The way it is now, you and your company can make up any number that serves your purpose. Why should I or anybody else have to trust whatever numbers your company makes up when I and everybody else are keeping you in business with our tax dollars and our patronage?

Whether your company is making $176,000 or $176 is signficant but not the point. The point is the public subsidization of a private business whose operations are needlessly concealed.

Mel,

You said, “Regarding your previous post about the math. It seems like we are useing two different sets of numbers.”

I used only the numbers you stated in your previous comment(s) and completely mistook what they represented (subtotals vs. grand totals) Thank you for including the link to the special events document and pointing out my error.

You also said, “Granted the Taste does take a larger chunk of those expenses ($11,749) than some events, but not the most. The event that uses the most additional services is the Fireworks ($11,781).”

I would say the comparison of the Taste and Fireworks events is an apples to oranges stretch. The Taste is run by a “private” NFP, for the purpose of business promotion, while the Fireworks are run by no less than 3 cooperating units of local government for the purpose of celebrating my birthday, oh wait, no…it’s simply an historic holiday celebration.

Further, the Taste is relatively contained in the Uptown area. The Fireworks event might be operated from the Maine East field, but I can tell you the “participation” and “attendance” reaches well beyond the Maine East field. The requirements for crowd and especially traffic control is enormous, reaching at least 5 to 7 “blocks” out, explaining the high cost of police support for the event.

When looking at the document you provided, I see that Taste still commands more, in total, of taxpayer funded support than any other event listed; consuming 1/3 of ALL the funding/costs listed for ALL special events. Nearly all the events listed, with the exception of Taste, are virtually devoid of a direct profit motive, even while those other events might be a part of promoting local commerce.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

10:17 anonymous, how about keeping to the topic and not getting personal?

^^anon 1:26 pm demonstrating there’s a fine line between comedy and hypocricy.

^^anonymous 12:14 pm hit the nail on the head with = The point is the public subsidization of a private business whose operations are needlessly concealed.

Can someone explain to me why the city just doesn’t put this whole thing out to bid to the highest bidder? There is no reason why several event mangement companies couldn’t bid on running this event. The city would not only make a profit, but it would keep everything completely honest. Taste could still bid on running the event, and with other people bidding against them they wouldn’t be expected to show any of their books either…

I can’t imagine a more simple solution…

Someone 2:17 pm,

Bidding out management of the Taste event is an interesting idea. An idea I believe was first alluded to on this blog back in June, and there’s been several references since.

Have you asked Mayor Schmidt to explain it? He is the elected official who first raised the topic of reviewing costs for special events.

Someone, are you aware of anyone who has expressed an interest in bidding on management of the Taste event?

No, but who cares? If the city puts it out to bid Taste can bid on it for $0.00 if they want (and still win it if no one else bids.) I find it doubtful that no one else would bid, but the worst case scenario is that the city is in the same situation it currently is. Since the mayor recently brought up that the city should be reimbursed the expenses maybe he will consider this as an alternative if he’s unable to get Taste to pony up. Otherwise, why doesn’t the city just run this event themselves just like they do with the fireworks???

Someone 2:53 pm,

“No, but who cares?” Is that in answer to asking Mayor Schmidt or whether or not you know of anyone interested in bidding on management of the Taste event?

Going back to your previous comment, “Taste could still bid on running the event, and with other people bidding against them they wouldn’t be expected to show any of their books either…”

Are you saying disclosure and accountability for taxpayer funding isn’t necessary as long as the City breaks even or makes money?

My personal preference is for disclosure and accountability, even if the City doesn’t break even or make money (though I believe the City should be made whole by NFP organizations engaged in business promotion). I’m not willing to “sell” transparency in “exchange” for money.

My children and grandchildren love all of the special events that have been talked about. They look forward to the fireworks and parade in july. They love seeing Santa at winterfest and riding the buses between uptown and south park. As a grandparent and longtime resident of Park Ridge, these are the types of events that make it a special place to live.

If the city had to pay for all of the events as someone with a brain is suggesting then the costs go way up. As a taxpaying citizen for over 55 years in Park Ridge with Daughters who also pay taxes here, I think the current arrangement seems like a way that events can be done without increasing the total costs. I think the city should have some contribution to the events- I think that is a reasonable expectation, and I would say many residents also share it. Costs to produce these events are already reduced to make these events happen. Think about it. According to the winterfest and Chamber of Commerce website, donations have helped offset the costs for winterfest. The fireworks had the owner of American Eagle pay for most of it personally (that is the guy who gave Mayor Schmidt campaign contributions). Those are dollars that the city did not put in but people and businesses stepped up to help defray.

Our Family is usually out of town during the Taste on a family vacation to our Florida condo, but if you think about, wouldn\’t the City be spending way more money if it ran it or paid a management company to run it?

I voted for Mayor Schmidt, but I think his focus (on a few things it seems) is way off.
It seems to me that groups of volunteers and private donations saves the City quite a bit of money each year for events that are really a great time for families.

I would hate to see my grandchildren dissappointed because these events were not done anymore.

I would hope the Mayor would readjust his focus to the devaluation of my house and my Daughters\’ houses becasue of the O\’Hare runway issue and the Flooding issue. Those are issues that deserve his attention.

Thank you and have a wonderful holiday season.

Getting back to the topic: Thankful for…
I am thankful for the great football program at Maine South. Those kids played a great game!!!

Ms. Markech: For the past 5 years Taste Inc. has provided no transparency and no accountability while receiving tens of thousands of dollars of City (a/k/a taxpayer) subsidies. That’s a lose/lose/lose for anybody who claims to value transparency, accountability and fiscal responsibility. So why would putting that event out for bid, with the basic requirement that any bid must agree to payment of all of the city’s direct and indirect costs, not be in the city’s best interest?

Of course, for people like Lois who just want entertainment for their grandkids and don’t care (or can’t figure out) that bidding out some or all of these special events might help the city actually make money on them rather than lose money, the status quo is perfect.  I’m guessing that, like high roller Mr. Thillens, Lois would also be “in” for a dime a year for all the special events.

anonymous 8:29 am,

I believe I said bidding was an interesting idea. I do not believe I ever said it wasn’t in the city’s best interest.

“Someone with(out) a brain” suggested anyone (I note with much amusement) wanting to bid on management of the Taste could continue to hide their financial dealings from scrutiny.

If the Uptown insurance foolishness taught people anything, it should have taught people that it’s necessary to know with whom and where taxpayer dollars are going.

When the City usually bids out work, the businesses with whom the City deals usually perform tasks themselves; they aren’t merely funnelling money to other vendors for the paving of streets, blacktopping of parking lots, etc.

Not so with management of an event such as the Taste. As Anonymous 10:46 am pointed out:

“So true, 8:56 a.m. Which might be why TOPR doesn’t want to reveal their suppliers and vendors I.D.s. Let’s take a few wild ass guesses, maybe not in 2009 but sometime since TOPR (or Taste Inc., as PW calls it) took over the event:

Insurance – Frimark Ins. Co.?
Public Relations – Barton & Barton?
T-Shirts – Pines Mens Wear?”

If you and Someone with(out) a brain are comfortable with the possibility of the above, then by all means carry on.

The Public Watchdog began its “quest” with demands for transparency from Taste, Inc. and suggesting reimbursement was in order. I’m wondering if the Public Watchdog is also willing to abandon transparency in exchange for dollars.

I would be willing to guess that the vast majority of residents assume that the Taste is run by the city. I was surprised to learn a few years ago that it was done by a private group of people. While I do not see anything wrong with that, there should definitely be transparency with all revenues and expenses as it seems completely ridiculous for the city to be leaving a lot of potential dollars on the table, let alone the expenses that this event creates for the city ($23,000).

The problem with most of the posts is that they are driven by people’s obvious jealousy of seeing other people make money on something. I have no problems with Taste making money on this event, but to do so at the expense of the taxpayers is simply bad business as well as unethical.

As far as getting someone else to run the event, I have absolutely no doubt that several charities would be happy to do so, such as Misericordia, Lions Club, local churches, or any other well-known and respected charities. They are all hurting for money and would jump at the chance… They run events on a regular basis that are much bigger than Taste of Park Ridge… and they’d be happy to pay $25k to make $100k…

The latter. When you win a bid you are not required to show your books. If that change is required then you would need to do that with every government vendor. I agree with transparency but it is obvious that taste will not do that. As far as selling transparency in exchange for money you are just ignorant then as that is how every private business operates in a free market… the problem with taste is simple as they are costing the city a lot of money and don’t have to pay a dime for the privilege and associated costs.

Are you going to ask arc disposal for their financials? Or the landscaping companies that the city uses? The whole point of bidding is to get the lowest bidder and thus the best value for the city, How the company runs their books is their business, unless they are a publicly held one.

Because Ms. Markech has her own axe to grind…

Most residents don’t know who there alderman is either. Not knowing who runs Taste doesn’t seem like that big a deal.

I don’t get why it was a suprise that a private group runs the Taste. How many towns actually run there own events like this? I don’t know of any.

55 years?

You must have seen a lot durring those years Lois.

For anybody who believes the ToPR is netting $100K or more in profits, and is bothered by [that] and the fact that the ToPR isn’t reimbursing the City for costs, the solution is to simply request copies of the form 990s. That can be done either through the IRS

http://www.irs.gov/charities/article/0,,id=139025,00.html

…or from the agent of record for Taste, Inc.

LEO G. AUBEL Agent
225 W WASHINGTON ST STE 1700
CHICAGO 60606

For years prior to the ’09 filing…

DAVID IGLOW Agent
43 S PROSPECT AVE
PARK RIDGE 60068

Of course, Mr. Thillens previously offered that Mr. Al Galus is available, but as noted, he’s not the agent of record.

Yes, nobody should HAVE to do any of this sort of chasing around (the forms SHOULD BE published on the ToPR website), but since ToPR isn’t “cooperating” with repeated requests to do so, it would seem the next step in the process of due-diligence on the issue of financial disclosure is to obtain the legally-required-to-be-furnished copies of the tax returns.

Those forms aren’t likely to list expenses paid to “vendors” who may also hold an “inside” position with Taste, Inc., but I believe they might shed light on whether or not the conjecture about the amount of net profit is based in reality.

The aforementioned suggested effort presumes a certain level of caring and concern on this issue, as it relates to transparency and disclosure, vs. something else entirely.

Tony Svanascini on 11.30.09 12:15 pm said
they’d be happy to pay $25k to make $100k…

I think Jeannie K. Markech on 11.28.09 2:53 pm said
I presume the $19K is what they claim to hold for a rainy day, as well as being the source from which their “charitable donations” to support various community activities are made.

From what Jeannie K. Markech indicates, the Taste doesn\’t make a profit. It looks like, based on what she analyzed, that the Taste actually would not have any funds to pay the city for any services 19K – 23K equals 4K in the red.

If weather or a tough economy reduce the attendence or sponsorship contributions, then the event is challenged to continue on.

If the city is interested in managing all of the events discussed, then Norwegian Day parade, Analiese Run, Charity Classic Polish Fest, and many other events would have to come under the same guidelines. I think that would be a rather costly proposition.

I think Jeannie K. Markech is right, the Taste does not make a profit.

Tony Svanascini on 11.30.09 12:15 pm said they’d be happy to pay $25k to make $100k…

Tony –Taste isn\’t making a profit.

Jeannie K. Markech on 11.28.09 2:53 pm said

If the financial statement (previously given to the Council by Taste, Inc.) is to be believed, then Taste, Inc’s DIRECT expenses are $90K. After that Taste, Inc. claims the food vendors “redeem” something around $157K, which corresponds closely to the approximately $1500+ in sales taxes the City reports having received from the Taste.

Okay…sooo…$176K – $157K = $19K.

I presume the $19K is what they claim to hold for a rainy day, as well as being the source from which their “charitable donations” to support various community activities are made.

I don’t believe Taste, Inc. is “pocketing” $176K in NET profits per year.

so 19K – 23K you would have Taste reimburse for services equals 4K the taste can\’t pay and now the event does not become self supporting.

So Jeannie K. Markech is right…the Taste does not make a profit.

I’m not sure how (or why!) anyone could/would make the case on who is right without anyone actually having the details of their accounting books including all expenditures, revenues, etc. To argue about whether they made a profit without seeing that information is futile.

Whether the Taste has 19k in reserves, or 1k in reserves, does not mean that they couldn’t have made considerably more money. As far as the tax forms, they will not show expenses made to the vendors so the numbers have no meaning since we don’t know who the vendors are or how much they’re getting. The argument about not showing these numbers because of competition is ridiculous as it is basically a monopoly anyway. Who realistically competes with this event???

The amount of money in the bank has absolutely nothing to do with that year’s income… in any business!

Either way, what do any of these arguments have to do with paying the city for the services they use??? Why should TAXPAYERS have to pay for this? At the very least why shouldn’t the prices be raised to offset the cost of the event so that only the people who actually attend the event have to pay for it? Think about it, if 23,000 people were charged a $1.00 surcharge that would go directly to the city, the main problem at hand (THINK A CONTRIBUTOR TO THE BUDGET DEFICIT) would be solved. If only 5,000 people attend then charge $5.00. You get the idea…

Or… put it out to bid as someone else suggested and make the requirement a minimum of $25k to cover expenses (or whatever the number is), and force complete and total transparency so the city has a better idea of what to charge in the future, maybe allow bidders to cut the city in for a percentage of the action (outside of the sales tax of course), etc. Let the free market decide who should run Taste… The city can put whatever restrictions they want such as the need for full transparency (which I think everyone here agrees with, including myself).

As far as the question to what other cities do, I’m not sure, but I’m sure that the more corrupt cities have very similar arrangements… Not sure why you’d want to use any city in this state as your standard based on what we’ve seen in Chicago, Cook County, and Govs. Blago & Ryan.

This is not rocket science…

Tony Svanascini on 11.30.09 5:41 pm said This is not rocket science…

Your\’e right. If a former alderwoman Jeannie K. Markech did the math on the document given to the city council and came up with the conclusion that the Taste does not make a profit then not sure what your last rant was all about.

It appears that Jeannie K. Markech is right…the Taste does not make a profit.

One thing for sure, the city should have taken that dime from Mel Thillens, for that would be $0.10 more than they currently get from Taste!

Not sure how this got into an argument about profits, but the whole point of this was to eliminate the money that the city is losing on this deal at the expense of Taste. Whether they made 19,000 or nothing. No wonder why nothing gets done in this town, all you guys do is argue about things you can’t even prove.

Huh?, and I presume, WTF and wtf,

Back up there, cowboy…

I absolutely did NOT say Taste, Inc. does not make a profit. By their own semi-admission, they reserve funds for a “rainy day,” which by any measure would be considered profit; what’s left after expenses are paid.

You also indicated, should Taste, Inc. be asked to reimburse the City for the $23K expenses it incurs per year (not clear, since the ONLY year available is last year’s expenses to the City) then “the event does not become self supporting.”

Taste, Inc. isn’t self-supporting now! The City support provided are costs Taste, Inc. receives but does not have to “cover” when paying bills.

Yes, I did the math, based on the document prepared for and submitted to the Council and posted here on Watchdog. Let me tell you, it’s more than ridiculous that anybody should have to “do the math” to figure/back into some rough/estimated amount for Food Vendor Ticket Redemption or any of the other amounts “accounted” for in the document.

Frankly, if Taste, Inc. is going to go so far as to say in the document they gave to the Council that “Federal and State law requires appropriate tax filings at the conclusion of the Corporation’s fiscal year (the Taste’s fiscal year runs from January to December). The law allows public access to those forms” then why the hell don’t they just freaking publish them on their web site?

And, despite anybody’s “rants,” I do believe such Federal and State returns would provide an overall snapshot of revenues and expenses, which would go a long way in enlightening the unenlightened about whether or not Taste, Inc., as has been more than intimated, is profiting to the tune of $100K+ each year. I don’t believe they are, but I cannot (nor can anybody else) be sure of that.

If it turns out that they are, then they should immediately be asked to reimburse the City (taxpayers) for the cost of support each year. If they are not, and if the profit margin is so low that they could not fully reimburse the City, then the City (read, taxpayers/residents/citizens) will have to make a POLICY choice…continue to subsidize the Taste, as is, or not.

Anyone who truly believes that this group isn’t making a profit is either dumb or part of the racket. Why else would they all show up defending themselves on a constant basis? You’d think they were building hospitals for crippled kids the way they act. Give us all a break. If they don’t make a profit then they should open their books. Otherwise we should all be skeptical, especially when you consider Frimark and Dick Barton are both involved with this thing. Anyone know who does the insurance? Care to guess? Is that a ‘profit’ to someone?

Postings on this board by the same people seem to be playing both sides of the fence. One minute you’re for transparency, which we obviously aren’t getting from Taste, and the next minute the same people are convinced that Taste didn’t make a profit. What the heck are you all trying to say?

There doesn\’t seem to be any clear thinking for the most part. Posters want transparency and then turn around using information given to city council, conclude that no profits are made, then change it to slim reserves are maintained.

From what can be pieced together, the mayor requested information, the Taste gave it to city council (it clearly is understandable because a former alderwoman did the math and checked (appearently) with the city staff as evidenced by Ms. Markech\’s statement \”which corresponds closely to the approximately $1500+ in sales taxes the City reports having received from the Taste.\” So that means that she verified the accurateness of the Taste reported numbers with the City receipts of vendors\’ Tax payments (which by state law are not allowed to be released by the city). So with that in mind, the document provided by the Taste has now been verified by an independant person (former alderwoman Jeannie K. Markech –who, according to a conversation I had with Mayor Schmidt, voted along with the other Alderpersons back in 2005 to create the Taste as it has been operating since then).

Having campaigned for Mayor Schmidt and appreciating his call for all the events to be considered (that includes the one his campaign contributer Anna Dudzyk did –Polish Arts Festival), I know he is looking for ways to address the current financial situation. My only hope, as one of his supporters, is that he not throw out the baby with the bathwater when it comes to all of these special events. They do add to our city\’s sense of place and would be dissapointing if what started as a good inquiry resulted in bad policy.

TO: By Mayor Dave\’s Guy on 11.30.09 8:50 pm

Huh??

I am going to bet that the former alderman takes some issue with you.

Regardless, nothing is verified… nothing is confirmed… nothing is really known at this point. All we have is a lot of speculation and guessing going on since the boys at the ToPR continue to refuse to publically reveal their financial statements.

I am also guessing that given what you have posted that Mayor Dave might prefer you stop calling yourself “Mayor Dave’s Guy”.

Jeannie:

Thank you for your post on the 28th. I have been out of pocket due to the holiday and started reading this thread this morning. MY GOD!!!! This is amazing to me. There are still people who thing that the TOPR board is spiltting up 176K. Do they think that the vendors just give away theri food becuase we are a nice town?!?!! What kills me is we hashed through this when they originally released the document. The document was not crystal clear by any means but I think your explaination is as clear as it gets.

Mayor Dave\’s Guy,

You campaigned for Mayor Dave? Really? Is that the “TRUTH” about yourself?

In any case, would you please find and quote evidence of “Posters want transparency and then turn around using information given to city council, conclude that no profits are made, then change it to slim reserves are maintained.”

And for your edification, the relevant portion of the minutes from the June 6, 2005 CC meeting where instead of concentrating on the issue of the Taste of Park Ridge, I concentrated on asking Ald. Allegretti 30 questions, believing he could possibly have a longer and more negative effect upon City government, and I believe I was right though I had no solid evidence to vote against Mayor Frimark’s appointee.

_______________________________________________
Ald. Crampton felt the item regarding the Taste of Park Ridge should have been placed under the Mayor’s report since the Mayor was making the presentation.

Mayor Frimark asked senior Alderman DiPietro to take his place as Chairman of the Council meeting.

Mayor Frimark discussed the possibility of another Taste of Park Ridge event on July 15, 16, and 17. The Taste has been enjoyable but unfortunately unprofitable, however, many residents have said they would like to volunteer and see the City do it again. He proposed the City sponsor the event but that it be run by volunteers through a management committee. He presented a budget and felt that the event could be run without a loss. He asked for approval and authority to take the $20,000 in the City budget that was allocated to the Chamber of Commerce, and move the money to an account for the Treasurer of the Chamber. He also asked for an additional $3,000 which was also in the budget, designated for special events.

Ald. Parker was supportive of the idea but felt that there was more time needed to plan the event and an event planner was needed to put it together before July 15, 2005. He was concerned about the time frame.

He asked who could coordinate the events.

The Mayor named 10 individuals.

Ald. Cox asked if the City created an Ad Hoc Committee is it then subject to the Open Meetings Act.

City Attorney Hill answered if we create the committee it is.

Ald. Crampton asked if sponsorship by the City would incur liability.

City Attorney Hill answered yes.

Mayor Frimark said it is only community volunteers coming together to run the Taste. After speaking with Finance Director Lembesis she felt the City could sponsor it even though the work would be done by others.

Ald. Anderson did not understand why the additional $3,000 was needed.

Mayor Frimark said the $3,000 has been designated in the budget for signature events such as this, it could be used, and that is why he was asking for the additional money.

Ald. Bateman felt that there should be some control of the money by the City. The City should not just give the money to the Chamber.

Mayor Frimark stated the expenditures for the event would be reviewed periodically, and a report will be completed 30 days after the event.

Ald. Wsol asked for assurance that the total cost obligation to the City would be no more than $23,000. He asked if there is a surplus at the end of the event does that come back to the City?

Mayor Frimark answered the total request would be no more than $23,000 and if there is a surplus of funds, it will come back to the City.

Ald. Crampton felt any left over money should be segregated and in the future be obligated to be used for signature event purposes.

Ald. Cox expressed his concern for a self-perpetuating fund. He questioned the Chamber running the beer tent at the event, and asked why the revenue was not shared at that tent. He also confirmed that the beer tent requires a temporary liquor license.

Ald. Radermacher suggested a special per item tax on beer sales to generate additional revenue at this type of event.

Ald. Parker suggested a long-range plan and strategy for the Taste after the event. He also suggested a formal funding plan.

The Aldermen discussed the Chamber and the sharing of profits. They questioned that if we put the event under the City’s insurance policy, does it constitute sponsorship and financial responsibility?

Attorney Hill answered yes.

Ald. Bateman suggested that while the City might sponsor the event it was not contracting with the vendors. The Chamber was therefore responsible for the debts.

Ald. Ryan felt it should be the City, some temporary corporation, or the Chamber. There needs to be a real entity handling the checkbook. She said she would feel better if there was one point person responsible.

Mayor Frimark conveyed his confidence in the volunteer committee.

City Manager Schuenke suggested a special Ad Hoc Committee be appointed at the next meeting to oversee the revenues and expenditures. There are processes currently in place that can control the expenses.

Ald. Anderson felt that this might take up too much staff time.

Mayor Frimark added that there are communities that fund their events 100% and they use their own manpower.

Ald. Crampton moved the City Council release the approximate amount of $20,000 that is segregated in the Chamber of Commerce account to support the 2005 Taste of Park Ridge.
Seconded by Ald. Bateman.

Ald. Wsol requested a friendly amendment naming who the City was releasing the money to.

Ald. Crampton accepted the friendly amendment.

Ald. Radermacher asked the Mayor if he thought he could make this event work on this budget.

Mayor Frimark answered yes.

On Roll Call Vote:
AYES: Ald. Cox, Wsol, Crampton, Machon, DiPietro, Markech, Bateman, Jones, Radermacher, Allegretti, Anderson, Baldi, Parker, Ryan
NAYS: None
ABSENT: None
There being 14 favorable votes, the motion carried

Ald. Crampton moved that the City Council approve the expenditure of $3,000 to the 2005 Taste of Park Ridge.
Seconded by Ald. Machon.

Ald. Wsol moved to amend the motion to indicate the words “not to exceed $3,000”.
Seconded by Ald. Anderson.

Ald. DiPietro asked for a vote in favor of the amendment.
On voice vote the motion was amended.

Ald. Bateman, Cox and Crampton said they would be voting against this and felt this extra money could be used for another event.

Ald. Baldi suggested that the City terminate the Memorandum of Understanding with the Chamber of Commerce. If this comes up again next year, it should be with a new entity.

On Roll Call Vote:
AYES: Ald. Ryan, Wsol, Machon, DiPietro, Radermacher, Allegretti, Baldi, Parker
NAYS: Ald. Cox, Crampton, Markech, Bateman, Jones, Anderson
ABSENT: None
There being 8 favorable votes, the motion carried

Ald. Wsol moved that should there be a positive net result of financial nature from the 2005 Taste of Park Ridge, those funds be returned to the City of Park Ridge and not be retained by the Treasurer of the Chamber of Commerce.
Seconded by Ald. Cox.

Ald. Ryan made the motion to reconsider the first motion of $20,000 to include that suggestion.
Seconded by Ald. Wsol.

Lloyd Godfrey 1318 Elliott, Park Ridge, IL asked if we even want this signature event in Park Ridge, and if so, how does the City go about getting it? What is the easiest way to make it happen? He felt the City was compounding the issue.

Ald. DiPietro asked for a voice vote to reconsider the motion.
On voice vote the motion passed.

Ald. DiPietro clarified the motion on the floor consistent with that wording “not to exceed $3,000 for the Taste of Park Ridge 2005”.

Ald. Baldi offered an amendment to the motion adding an additional provision that within 30 days of the conclusion of the event, the committee would provide the City Council with an accounting of income and expense and to the extent that there are any funds remaining, the funds will be returned to the city after all expenses are paid.
Seconded by Ald. Wsol.

Discussion continued.

Ald. Cox called the question.
On voice vote the motion passed.

Ald. DiPietro clarified that the motion before the Council is the amendment to the main motion which was that within 30 days of the conclusion of the Taste of Park Ridge, and after all expenses have been paid, any excess funds would be returned to the City of Park Ridge.

On voice vote the motion passed.

Ald. DiPietro asked for a vote for the motion as amended which was to contribute $3,000 to the Taste of Park Ridge with the amendment that within 30 days of the conclusion of the accounting of expenses, any funds that are left over would be returned to the City of Park Ridge.

On Roll Call Vote:
AYES: Ald. Wsol, Crampton, Machon, DiPietro, Radermacher, Allegretti, Baldi, Parker, Ryan, Anderson
NAYS: Ald. Markech, Bateman, Jones, Cox
ABSENT: None
There being 10 favorable votes, the motion carried

Mayor Frimark asked if the Ad Hoc committee could be covered under the insurance policy.

City Manager Schuenke answered yes.

Mayor Frimark resumed the Chair.
__________________________________

Clearly what I and my Council cabal voted for was to give seed money (previously budgeted for the Chamber of Commerce) to the Taste, with the expectation that they would return any profits to the City.

I do not recall why alderman Wsol’s amendment to the motion was never enforced, nor why the Finance and Budget Committee never followed-up on this issue. Perhaps you could also discuss the topic with current Alderman Wsol, or DiPietro, or Allegretti, and ask why they have never followed-up on this issue in the last three years.

This is the Mayor. I do not know who my “guy” is, but the posting is inaccurate. I appreciate “guy” having campaigned for me, but I respectfully request that he let me speak for myself. Things can get lost in translation as happened here.

In a nutshell, I requested information from the Taste Committee regarding their financials, and they have refused to produce it, citing confidentiality. I believe that the Taste is making a profit (I have no idea how much), and part of that profit should be used to repay the City for expenses it has incurred. I also believe that repayment should be the norm for ANY event that causes the City to incur expense, at least when the event sponsor charges money and generates a profit.

The Taste folks say they cannot afford to repay the City, because doing so would impede next year’s Taste. We have been asked to accept that claim at face value. I am unwilling to do so when taxpayers’ money is at issue. This is especially true since, as former Alderman Markech points out, the last word from the City Council in 2005 was that the Taste Committee WOULD repay the City. Why the former mayor and Councils since then have not pressed for the AGREED repayment is open to speculation. However, I am now the mayor, and I want the City to be repaid.

Disclosure of the financials would help clear up the matter. However, the Council refuses to press the issue. My hope is that the Council will step up and demand accountability from any organization which is using city services to generate a profit.

amen, Mr. Mayor.
I sure am glad you are in office!

Mayor:

You state they are making a profit and should be able to pay the city. I do not want to put words in your mouth so does that mean that you think that they are making enough money to hold in reserve and pay the city? You seem to have a feeling they are making a profit wo what is your “feeling” about what they are doing with all this extra money? Finally, if things coutinue as is (no disclosure by TOPR and no movement by the CC) will you make a motion before the CC and in public that the city no longer provide services or any support for TOPR?

341…As mayor, I do not have the power to offer motions or to unilaterally set policy. All I can do is make my feelings known and hope the Council will see the wisdom of requiring repayment and/or full financial disclosure.

I do note however one apparent inconsistency that no one has picked up on yet. The Taste folks say they do not have enough money to pay back the City, yet they trumpet the fact that they are making significant contributions to various community groups. In other words, they have DISCRETIONARY funds. I firmly believe those discretionary funds should be returned to the City.

Mayor Dave,

Can’t you ask for a motion from an aldermen at the meetings?

Mayor Dave,

Ms. Markesh mentioned the donations and the rainy day fund.

they made an agreement to pay the City for City services. they did not pay. they want to change the rules. why? it doesn’t matter if they have discretionary funds or not.
mayor–I say don’t give them the permits for next year until this is resolved.

Excellent point, Mayor Dave. The Taste folks get $20 grand of city money so they can bang their own drum and look like heroes to whichever community group(s) they choose to benefit.

Jeannie Markech’s comment with council meeting minutes shows that Mayor Frimark was the prime mover behind TOPR being handed over to “10 individuals” whose names just didn’t quite make it into Betty Henneman’s minutes. Gosh, that kind of stuff never happens, does it?

These Taste bozos talk about how great they are at running their event, but they can’t cover the $20,000 of city expenses out of their $200,000 plus of revenues wiht an all-volunteer staff. At that rate they couldn’t make night manager at the local McDonald’s.

Unless money’s being stashed.

It only took me all day (I despise doing searches on the City’s craptastic web site!), but I finally found what Taste, Inc. was referring to in the document they gave to the Council.

http://www.parkridge.us/file.asp?F=64C890980C044ABBA7ACE641C85816C9%2Epdf&N=frstoct%2Epdf&C=events_documents

At the June 2005 meeting the Taste was given seed money, which they were then expected to return to the City.

At the Aug. 15th mtg. Mayor Frimark reported the Taste turned a profit of a little over $20K (from minutes of the mtg. I have stored on my computer).

At the Oct. 10th mtg. linked above, the Council voted (including me, and I have zero recollection of this) to allow Taste, Inc. to keep the profit; a little less than the original $23K seed money to be used for the 2006 Taste event.

What seems clear is that Taste, Inc. was NOT given the okay to rack up additional costs to the City year after year, beyond the original seed money.

Ms. Markesh, thank you for providing the information.

Mayor Dave, it’s time to demand to see those tax returns.

Yea for Jeannie!!!

At least one sane voice. While she admits that she was not as attentive to

the proceedings as one would expect, (her self admission to zero recollection

of voting for the above mentioned action –It was recorded in the minutes

though)

She again has independently verified the information given to Council by the

Taste is accurate.

Let\’s give Jeannie credit where credit is due…She is fair and chooses to

review all of the facts (unfortunately Mayor Dave is not being as Transperant

and accurate as Ms. Markech when it comes to the record — Shame on Mayor

Dave for playing politics with this issue)

Jeannie\’s inaccuracy, though, is glaring in that her assumption is that there

was NO OK for the city to support the event with services. The Council does

not according to public record have any demand for reimbursement from the

taste or any other event of this nature.

The only thing that has changed is the current mayor.

His statements cannot be taken at face value. He claims in his election

promises to bring transparent government, honest government. Yet when he

brings up an instance of possible violation of ethics ordinance, he does not

vote to uphold the ordinance which he swore an oath to do. So, if he cannot

live up to that oath, how can anyone of sane and reasonable mind accept his

word as anything other than suspect of political motive.

Consider the hyprocrisy of his calls for full disclosure and reimbursement

from an event like the taste and yet the event that he pushed through for his

campaign contributor Anna Dudzyk of the Polish Arts Festival has no such

disclosure, no such reimbursement and the mayor knew it would incur city

costs and that it was desinged to create a profit. Why would he push through

the very type of event he is saying he is against?

Because he is a politician and Anna Dudzyk was a supporter (and according to

the pubdog\’s own admission she was charged with theft in Augsut of this year

(public record indicates no conviction because the police officer did not

appear –that technicality does not mean the woman is innocent. (She was

convicted of criminal activitity (theft) earlier this decade according to

public record). Mayor Dave would rather use his position to enrich a campaign

supporter who is unaccountable to the public for the city services recieved.

(the only reason we even know of her is because of the pubdog mentioning her

Theft charge in a previous post).

While Jeannie may not strike many as the most agreeable of people, she does

at least seek to be fair in her analysis unlike the current mayor who tries

to charm and seems disingenious in his remarks.

So it seems the bottom line is Jeannie brought forth facts that indicate the

accuracy of what some citizen volunteers have been claiming while Mayor Dave

pushes through pet projects of political contributors that give no accounting

of finances, reimbursement of city services and for that matter give no name

of any one associated with the event other than Mayor Schmidt\’s on the event

website.

Mayor Schmidt–he\’s transparent

It is easy to see right through is bullshit!

Mr Thillens, you are awfully quiet now!

anon 5:56:

Look, I am all for transparency but there are a few things I think you are missing, or at least not considering.

1. If you look at the amountn of claimed gross receipts (266K) and consider the 23K of city expenses, that would be an 8% “margin” to cover the city expenses. I am all for the taste paying if it makes sense for them pay, but you act as if this should be a easy and the onbly excuse for not being able to do it is money being “stashed”. How many businesses these days operate on an 8% margin? Again, not an impossible number but certainly not as easy as you would make it appear and that would be if the 266K actaully represented their gross. That leads me to my second point.

2. You throw out the 200K+ number as if it were all TOPR revenue and then throw out that they are all volunteer. What you fail to acknowledge is that the vast majority of the 200K number goes directly to the vendors. It never belonged to TOPR. They do not get to “cover the 20K” out of that money as it was never theirs. They were simply passing it through to the vendor. I do not see how you can include that in revenues although it certainly does help your case. So if they are making approximately 9OK (receipts minus pass through to vendors), and they have to pay for bands, entertainment, tents etc I can see how there might not be much left. You factor in a bad weather year and they might not have the money to pay.

My point is not that this should be ignored but I would say the way you are looking at it misses a great deal.

I’d like to see ToPR break out food sales v. beer sales.

Fact: ToPR does keep some minor portion of the food sale reciepts… maybe 10%?
Fact: ToPR IS the beer tent vendor so all beer sale receipts go to ToPR after the cost (subsidized?) of the beer.

ToPR could end all of this bullshit with the release of their books and records. And this is what the Mayor and the City Council should demand.

anonymous 10:31, where did you get your information? i thought the township ran the beer sales.

What you THOUGHT is exactly why we need more / better disclosure from ToPR.

Just because a couple of township guys sit behind the counter and pour beer doesn’t mean the township runs the beer tent.

ToPR is making money and has a pretty decent “reserve” banked… how much or how little is what is subject to speculation. Same as how they use/spend those “reserves”.

Learning how this all came about and how ToPR was to have paid the City back out of its “excess profits” (if I may borrow a term) has been interesting. Where is Mel to comment on all of this? I presume Mel’s new friends have told him to put a lid on it…

anonymous 11:14, you didn’t answer my question. wehre did you get the info for who runs the beer sales. you say topr does. how do you know. i agree abut all the speculation but you are doing it too by saying there is a decent reserves banked but you don’t know how much.

Hey… all you have to do is talk to people and you find things out. You can’t sit on this blog all day and think you are going to know everything. Go out on a Saturday or Sunday morning Uptown, Starbuck’s, Panera, etc. and you will run into people who are actually involved in ToPR and all of the other stuff that is speculated about here.

All I can tell you is that I have it for a fact that the beer sales are run by ToPR and they take the proceeds after costs. And ToPR is sitting on a “reserve”… call it a rainy day fund, call it excess profits, call it whatever you want… they have cash in the bank. True enough I do not know how much but I will say this, after the years they have been running the event as successful it has been… it ain’t peanuts.

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