Thursday, December 06, 2007

Show me the money

While the City of Trenton is cleaved in two over the residency (not "the Santiago") flap, another insidious plan is afoot in the state capital.

Seems a late addition to Thursday night's Council docket includes an item asking for the body to approve over $200,000.00 in Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) funding for the restoration work on the "Golden Swan" building(s) at Front and Warren Streets in downtown Trenton.

Now no one is happier to see this historic edifice be spruced up and put back into practical use than the denizens of the Front Stoop. But...and you knew there was a "but" what cost?

Let's do a quick review:

The City purchased the "Caola Building" (aka "the Golden Swan)several years ago for $164,000. In 2005, it was sold for $1 (that's right, a buck) to Woodrose Properties whose principle partner is none other than former Senator Robert Torricelli. The project has required a vast infusion of money...some of which reportedly has already come from the City in the way of aid for the demolition of a 20th century addition and some site remediation. And, of course, there was the standard agreement for a Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) granted the developer.
(click here to jump back to a previous rant on this subject)

Besides the "Golden Swan" project, Woodrose purchased the former Townhouse Restaurant on W. State Street and the building next door to combine the two into an office building. In 2006, Woodrose asked for and received $89,000 in UEZ money to "install an elevator" in the State Street project to make it fully handicap accessible. And at the time, Council was told the building was "fully leased."

Last time we checked, the building was unoccupied.

Back to tonight...Mr. Torricelli and his cohorts are coming to City Council with their hands out once again. Asking for another $200,000+ to help complete what has been an expensive and extensive restoration process.

Oh, and by the way, this is the same Robert Torricelli who managed to funnel over $10,000 in campaign contributions to Mayor Palmer and the joint campaign committee for Paul Pintella, Manny Segura and Cordelia Staton.

So when you add it all up, the former Senator has invested a little over $10,000 in Trenton by the way of campaign contributions and has received over a quarter of a million dollars in property and funding in return. Plus, he's gotten tax abatements on his projects. And now he's asking for another $200,000 plus in UEZ money.

Wanna bet he gets it?

Smart man that Torricelli. Rich too. And he's not risked hardly a dime of his own money.

While we're worried about where the Police Director lives, our treasury is being pillaged by another crooked Jersey politician and his cronies.

Including a former Senator.

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