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Opinion: Renaissance Project was engineered to turn ‘public’ money into ‘private’ money and avoid voters

This news story was published on October 6, 2017.
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The so-called ‘Renaissance’ Project is a fiasco designed by Eric Bookmeyer and others to transform public money from the taxpayers into cash stuffed into the pockets of private business owners, and their first move was to attempt to avoid the voters and finish the deal without their say and with hand-picked contractors who never place a bid.

That’s my take on this crazy ice arena funding & gift scheme. The real goal at first was to get the millions packaged together for the project without ANY referendums. Tax Increment bonds were needed to do this and thus claim to have acquired a real, newly-taxed private property but funded with 100% public money. So they have to GIVE the $12.5 million away to Tehran Kohansieh (or is it Mike Kohan or Mike Kohen?) to make this scheme happen. Then, have the City RENT the arena at $15,000 a month which skyrockets to $20,000 a month later so he has this rent money to possibly pay this so called new property tax that “returns” to the City of MC via tax increment financing voodoo economics so it can be used to pay on the new General Obligation City bond debt – possibly  totaling in the thirty millions.

You see, by making public money magically metamorphosis into private money by giving it to the Southbridge owner, you could do contract bid letting “as directed” to your political friends (why do you think Eric spends so many hours driving around town semi-aimlessly, looking for people to bother and sit in their offices) who might be generous in their directed future municipal campaign contributions (Eric, greedily, raised over $12,000 for HIMSELF in his campaigns – that’s a lot of Moscow Mules). His and others’ goals were to stay away from city public bidding and letting of construction contracts under Iowa law. Even though all the money for such contracts would, now, be via additional Mason City General Obligation bond debt if this Lease agreement is approved on Nov. 7th by voters who city hall has kept scratching their heads.

Vote NO on Nov. 7th on this crazy ice arena funding scheme. Only a man who drinks so many tasty vodka drinks could dream this nightmare up. The city will pay HUGE rent to lease a $12.5 million arena built by the taxpayers. All in a game to take public money, give it to the K Man from NY thus changing it to private money, and then somehow collect tax back – for 40 years – to offset and pay off the bonds (IT WILL NEVER CASH FLOW).

PS the mall roof is leaking and word is, K Man won’t fix. He won’t pay his $60,000 overdue taxes, either.  Hmmm what about the bum checks to the mall cleaners?  Hmmm.

A Concerned Citizen
Mason City, Iowa

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34 Responses to Opinion: Renaissance Project was engineered to turn ‘public’ money into ‘private’ money and avoid voters

  1. Tax Payer Reply Report comment

    October 8, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    Al Capone mean anything to any of us? This deal is so corrupt ! Mason City taxpayers will be bowled over once again . I vote ‘NO’

  2. Carly Reply Report comment

    October 8, 2017 at 11:56 am

    I personally do not understand what is so important about this site. They should take a survey and see how many people avoid this area because of the traffic patterns, lack of parking , and non appeal of the way it is laid out. I have been in this area for approximately 35 years and have never understood why the town thinks people can be attracted to this area. There is no easy access to the area from any where. As a property owner, I would love to vote no, but I can’t because I don’t live in MC.

  3. Watchdog Reply Report comment

    October 8, 2017 at 10:39 am

    The information in this article has some solid and factual information. After reviewing the financial documents that Brent Trout presented to the community, it is clear that the Hotel Developer really has no skin in the game. Nor does the owner of the Southbridge Mall. The Taxpayers are the only one with skin in the game and at RISK!

    After applying all the parameters of a “sound business plan”, (I have written many successfully) the pro forma presented for the payoff of the General Obligation falls squarely on the taxpayers.

    This is not only critical thinking skills, it is necessary thinking to survive this debacle.

    VOTE NO!!!!!

  4. WAKE UP MASON CITY VOTERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Reply Report comment

    October 7, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    Well, after attending the informational meeting today about the proposed multi purpose/hotel/ice arena, you are correct. Scam doesn’t begin to describe what they are trying to pull off.

    The out and out lying that was spewed was astounding. As a layman I know when someone is telling the truth.

    For example, they put forward the notion that if we don’t vote for this crazy project, our property taxes will go up because the Southbridge Mall will deteriorate. Toll Bridge/South Bridge is only assessed at $1,500,363.00 and only paying $49,000.00 a year in taxes. A far cry from the $400,000 or more they were paying before they went bankrupt. It already isn’t paying their fair share of taxes. That mall is worth more than $1,500,363 that it currently assessed at. Somebody is messing with the numbers.

    The pictures of the new 2400 seat multipurpose/ice arena is nothing more than a glorified barn. For $12,500,000 no less. Somebody is taking somebody to the cleaners, and the taxpayers are the ones taking it the shorts. It is downright shameful!

    There was so much BS put out in that meeting that I left shaking my head. How can Bill Shickel and some of these so called elected leaders be so stupid?

    If this thing would happen to pass at the ballot box this town will be saddled with $26,500,000 more General Obligation Bond debt.


    This project is so wrong and the people promoting it should be run out of town on a rail. It is really that bad!!!

  5. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    October 7, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    The OPINION expressed by this concerned citizen is loaded with obvious hateful personal bias. His useless associations, of imaginary motivations, by originators of the RCR project lead us on a false logic mind trap. The twisting of facts, if innate to his thinking, shows a tendency towards self delusion. If purposeful warping of the facts, shows grand deception.

    Tools for THINKING properly employed cut through his manipulation of perception. There are obvious reasons for the overall plan. Yet it takes a willingness to think and understand. RCR can and will work out just fine with the support of the whole community..

    Just be honest. It’s TOO HARD for those of you in a perpetual negative mind set to figure out how to make RCR work. So you quit. Just like Max pulling out of the fall election. Quitters!

    • NIT Publisher Reply Report comment

      October 7, 2017 at 2:11 pm

      “hateful personal bias” = your quote critical of others, but you then throw in the jab at MW for no good reason at all, plus the name-calling. You follow the exact path you criticize others for. Therefore, you are part of the problem and probably always have been.


      October 7, 2017 at 7:57 pm

      The more I learn about this project the more I realize Concerned Citizen” is not only correct he is very educated on the what he is presenting in his article.

      I have done some checking and the way this whole project was created and put together is one of the biggest con jobs to be perpetrated EVER in Mason City. I thought Mayor Carl Miller’s Music Man Square was a con job but this one is way over the top.

      Anyone connected to this project and promoting it is putting there credibility in the wrong basket. You are going to eat this and hang your head forever when this fall in pile of crap. And is is going to guaranteed. The numbers are all phony.

  6. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    October 7, 2017 at 11:46 am

    Off topic – but important to me. Have any Vikings taken a knee during the National Anthem ? I see some sports channels won’t show this part of pre game – you know their crapping their pants – AND I will drop my Vikings forever if they pull some bullshit like this. Easy come – EASY GO>

  7. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    October 7, 2017 at 10:08 am

    Youse guys are second best – the worth county supervisors have been pulling this ponzi game for years up here -TAX ABATEMENT/ TPP/TIF = THEFT in most all cases.

  8. Watchdog Reply Report comment

    October 7, 2017 at 7:23 am

    The more we learn about the financing scheme proposed to finance this project the more this whole Renaissance Project sounds downright criminal.

    Then we have a fellow from New York that buys Southbridge for 1-1/2 million dollars that the taxpayers of Mason City invested 15 million dollars to build. Southbridge’s bankruptcy then forced the taxpayers to pay off millions of dollars of that Tax Increment Bond.

    I have to wonder if this fellow from New York that bought the mall for 1-1/2 million dollars don’t have some kind of “mob” connection to Bookmeyer or others connected to the current PONZI SCHEME.

    I have to wonder why the City Of Mason City’s leadership knowing the Mall was in bankruptcy court AND knowing they wanted to do this Multi-Purpose/Ice Arena/Hotel project didn’t make arrangements to BUY the Mall in bankruptcy.

    These scheming politicians put this $26,500,000 deal together when they could have had the city acquire the property for $1,500,000.. No, instead Bookmeyer and company wants us to sell another $26,500,000 of General Obligation Bonds mortgaging us deeper into debt This project will NOT CASH FLOW and once again the taxpayers will get their taxes raised to pay off this debt.

    This tells me our City Government is either corrupt or inept.

    I think it’s time to call in the State Auditor and Investigators.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      October 7, 2017 at 1:33 pm

      This Opinion piece should be titled critical thinking on LSD.

      “The Problem
      Everyone thinks; it is our nature to do so. But much of our thinking, left to itself, is biased, distorted, partial, uninformed or down-right prejudiced. Yet the quality of our life and that of what we produce, make, or build depends precisely on the quality of our thought. Shoddy thinking is costly, both in money and in quality of life. Excellence in thought, however, must be systematically cultivated.”


    • LVS Reply Report comment

      October 8, 2017 at 11:25 am

      Great comment Watchdog-I just wish the people who are for this boondoggle would stop the the attacks long enough to digest what this really means for Mason City.

  9. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    October 7, 2017 at 7:10 am

    Matt Marquardt must be against the project since he keeps posting negative articles on the project. Lvs said everyone he talks to is against it and we know Lvs is Matty boys watchdog on this site. So vote yes on the project and no to Marquardt. Mr transparency will have this deleted in no time.

    • You Can't Be Serious Reply Report comment

      October 7, 2017 at 7:49 am

      So you would vote yes because you think this web site is against it. What kind of idiotic logic is that?

      This project in and of itself is so negative that nobody in their right mind would vote for it.

  10. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    October 6, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    I figured something was rotten in Denmark when Dirty Laundry got in face book with the wine and the break dancing. Woman scared the tootsie rolls out of me. Are all millenials creepy like her?

  11. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    October 6, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    No shit…watchdog…Lonnie Dirkson works for Bergland and Cram Archs.
    The self appointed new darling in the community.

    Abigail Lee, John Lee are into the hockey program BIG time for starters.

  12. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    October 6, 2017 at 9:09 pm


  13. anonymight Reply Report comment

    October 6, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    Baloney! This is just one persons opinion and all you negatives line up behind anyone who agrees with you with no regard for any thing close to the truth.

  14. Watchdog Reply Report comment

    October 6, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    I want to thank “Concerned Citizen” for speaking up. The homework you have done to shed daylight on this PONZI SCHEME is truly appreciated.

    Most of the people selling this crazy project are those with their hands in the till at some level. They are hoping to drag the uninformed into their trap.

    Let’s get the word out.

  15. Rent is due Reply Report comment

    October 6, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    Bookiee gets one more shot at sinking MC before he rides off into the sunset. Abusers never quit till ya kick em outta your life for keeps.

  16. Vodka makes me randy Reply Report comment

    October 6, 2017 at 8:09 pm

    No no no no no no no no no no

  17. Peter Children Reply Report comment

    October 6, 2017 at 8:04 pm

    I am pleased to say I voted no.

  18. Rukidding Reply Report comment

    October 6, 2017 at 7:57 pm

    I will be voting no. If it’s such a great idea then a private investor can build it on their own dime.

  19. no one Reply Report comment

    October 6, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    I will positively be voting NO.

  20. clowns scare me Reply Report comment

    October 6, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    Sweet Mary and Joseph. This is NOT what that cute gal Lunnee has been saying. AT ALL. She done been talkin this deel up for weeks but never mention all THIS. Now I have to wonder what in it for her – why she bragging up this deel all the time try in get folks a yes vote all day long it yes this yes that. Hell the hocky people aint even behind it! What that tell you?

  21. LVS Reply Report comment

    October 6, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    I spoke to a lot of people today and not a single one is voting for this fiasco.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      October 6, 2017 at 5:11 pm

      Ya right. I bet you did,

      • Anonymous Reply Report comment

        October 6, 2017 at 5:54 pm

        He talked to me !

      • LVS Reply Report comment

        October 6, 2017 at 6:04 pm

        Yes, I really did. So far I have not talked to a single person who is voting for this scam.

        • Anonymous Reply Report comment

          October 6, 2017 at 8:30 pm

          This whole deal doesn’t make sense to me. The only positive thing that I have seen about doing this is that the mall owner is going to pay higher property taxes. This is on a property that has gone through bankruptcy. This isn’t going to fly, this will not draw more to the mall to shop and with youth hockey using the arena 6 months of the year is a non starter for me. If there were no ice there and used for events all year long, I would think about it, it could be a good thing. As this thing stands right now, I vote no.

          • Anonymous

            October 6, 2017 at 8:52 pm

            How much money did the Kinseth group get to spend money to tear their old hotel down and build a new one? The answer is $0, do you see what the problem is here? The city wants us to pass this thing to prop up one new hotel to compete against all the others in town, prop up a failing mall, and prop up youth hockey. I see no benefit, vote no.

          • NIT Publisher

            October 7, 2017 at 12:34 am

            The Development Agreement reflects the terms agreed upon by the City Council on April 15, 2014:
            1. The City intends to rebate a portion of property taxes as allowed under Section 403.19 of the Iowa Code over a period of ten (10) years, such rebates consisting of an annual percentage of the Incremental Taxes pursuant to Iowa Code Section 403.19 (as amended). The rebates are based on the incremental increase in value as a result of constructing the new hotel (referred to in the Agreement and hereafter as “Minimum Improvements”). Rebates will be paid in percentages as follows; the maximum tax rebate shall not exceed $745,000:
            Year 1: 100% of incremental taxes
            Year 2: 100%
            Year 3: 100%
            Year 4: 90%
            Year 5: 90%
            Year 6: 80%
            Year 7: 80%
            Year 8: 80%
            Year 9: 80%
            Year 10: 80%
            2. Provision of property tax rebates is based upon total investment by Kinseth Hospitality Company of at least $5.5 million for the Minimum Improvements, with an in- crease in real property value attributable to the Minimum Improvements of at least $2 million, and completed by December 31, 2016;
            3. Kinseth Hospitality Company shall create and retain employees at the site and shall hire employees from the community to staff the new hotel.
            4. To qualify for the above incentive, Kinseth Hospitality Company shall construct a full-service or fast-casual sit-down restaurant on the site that may not be a fast-food style restaurant and may not include a drive-through window. However, a portion of the building may contain a coffee shop operation with drive-through service, provid- ed that at least 60% of the building is occupied by a sit-down restaurant. The sit- down restaurant shall be completed and in operation no less than one (1) year after the date the hotel is opened and in operation. For each year beyond the stated one- year period that the restaurant is not in operation, the property tax rebate due that year for the hotel shall be reduced on a pro-rata basis for each month or major por- tion thereof of the year during which the restaurant is not fully operational.
            5. A three-story residential project (referred to hereafter as the “ResidentialP roject”), as depicted on the preliminary site plan, shall be completed no later than four (4) years after the approval date of the Development Agreement. If the Residential Pro- ject is not complete by this date, the property tax rebate provided to the hotel for year four and for any subsequent year during any part of which the Residential Project is not complete shall be reduced by ten percent (10%) of the increased taxes, as follows:
            Year 4: 80%
            Year 5: 80%
            Year 6: 70%
            Year 7: 70%
            Year 8: 70%
            Year 9: 70%
            Year 10: 70%
            If the Residential Project is completed during one of the years listed above, the re- bate may be increased on a pro-rata basis, based on the month the project was com- pleted, but may not exceed the maximum amount for that year as listed in Paragraph 1.
            There is no impact to the budget as a result of this agreement. Staff respectfully requests approval of the development agreement between the City and Kinseth Hospitality Com- panies for redevelopment of the existing Clarion Inn site, 2101 4th Street SW.

          • Anonymous

            October 6, 2017 at 11:27 pm

            Hey dummy, Kinseth absolutely received city incentives $$$ to rebuild their hotel.