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Public Corruption in Chester County, PA

I believe an unlikely mix of alleged drug trafficking related politicos and alleged white nationalist related politicos united to elect the infamous “Bloc of Four” in the abysmal voter turnout election of 2005. During their four year term the drug business was good again and white nationalists used Coatesville as an example on white supremacist websites like “Stormfront”. Strong community organization and support from law enforcement, in particular Chester County District Attorney Joseph W. Carroll has begun to turn our community around. The Chester County drug trafficking that I believe centers on Coatesville continues and I believe we still have public officials in place that profit from the drug sales. But the people here are amazing and continue to work against the odds to make Coatesville a good place to live.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Why didn’t it happen 5 years ago? National Velodrome, Coatesville, PA part C, Questions

At the Coatesville City Council meeting, Monday October 11, 2010:
Dave Chauner, ”Questions?”
Coatesville City Councilperson Jarrell Brazzle, “When do you theorize you can start this project?”
Dave Chauner, “Our first step is to spend at least 90 days or so really analyzing the site. It’s really how quickly we can get control of the site just how quickly we can get financing in place. Our ideal goal would be to open in the early spring of 2012."
Coatesville City Councilperson Marty Eggleston, “Would you give me numbers on the total cost of the project”
Dave Chauner, “We’re looking at about $15 Million."
Coatesville City Councilperson Karen Jorgenson, “What kind of revenue do you think it would bring in?”
Dave Chauner, “We’re projecting first year revenue of about $3 and a half to $4 Million dollars, primarily through gate receipts, (intelligible) programs, corporate sponsorships; which I’m very familiar with having existed on corporate sponsorships for the Philadelphia race for years, group rentals, training camps and then non-cycling events as well.”
Mr. Eggleston, “I have been fortunate enough to be here during the first presentation a number of years ago and then you said this was the time and today you’re saying it. What makes this time any better? (unintelligible) “I’m curious to know what the difference is.”
Mr. Chauner, “I think, first of all the timing was good 5 years ago, but I think it’s even better now because indoor track cycling has matured a lot since then. The numbers in the United States have grown. There is a tremendous local interest in cycling that’s grown over the last 5 or 6 years. And from my standpoint we’ve found a better team; we’ve found a good investment partner to get behind us.
I’m not sure Coatesville was ready for it when we were here the last time. They sort of dropped off the agenda there after that first presentation. Since then I will tell you that at 3 or 4 different sites, been very close in a couple but then are coming back to Chester County because we really do feel that this is a great place to locate."
Mr. Eggleston, “Where did the Velodrome management (unintelligible) going since that last presentation (unintelligible)?”
Mr. Chauner, “I spent a lot of time in Lower Providence Township over in Montgomery County. We had full support for a Velodrome in the Valley Forge Corporate Park. Joe Dunbar who was the County Executive over there was behind the program. We had a 14 acre brownfield site at 950 Rittenhouse property there. We had an investor partner from Atlanta who was ready to put up $22 Million dollars to build the Velodrome in conjunction with an exhibition center. It was predicated on a $5 Million dollar RCAP grant which we got support from Governor Rendell for. However our financial partners were in desperate need of opening the Expo Center in time for a show that they had in January of 2009. I can’t remember the name of the show; but they used to be in the…Fort Washington (Expo Center). So they were on a tight time frame to get things done and the facility built. The $5 Million dollar grant was crucial for them to put it over the top. The grant came in the Brownfield due diligence on the site was not complete in time and they were lured over to Oaks by the guy Neilson who started the Oaks Center back then. So we lost the opportunity to incorporate the Velodrome with that project.
I next came over here. I spent about 6 months with Ted Van Beuren United Sports Training Center, (unintelligible). We thought it would be a great complement to what he was doing, however West Bradford you know the traffic situation getting up to United Sports Training Center… It couldn’t take any more traffic and our facility was definitely going to be driving more traffic than they wanted to handle there in West Bradford.
So then with talking with Gary and Bob Grabus we started looking for the appropriate sites here in Chester County."
Mr. Brazzle, “I have 2 questions, first do you have a dollar amount that you are proposing for the “Flats”?
Mr. Chauner, “We do not yet. That’s what we need the 90 days for. We’re going to sit down and work out the best arrangement for both us and the City. We’re looking for obviously, we want to do this as economically as we can to get it off the ground. We also want to make sure that the needs and the interests of the City are factored in the deal. So I would be remiss in naming a number because we just don’t know yet…That’s what the 90 day period is for.”
Mr. Brazzle, “Do you truly believe that that it will be acceptable to sign after 90 days because, this amount, the City says we’re OK we’re wrong to sell it to you for this amount? Do you really think that’s going to this is going to move this time or is it going to hold us up and then get shot down again?"
Mr. Chauner, “I absolutely think it’s going to go through I think. I can’t say that we’re 100 percent certain because we have to look at all the different financing options. We do have some strong private equity that’s behind the project that we think we can increase if we need to. We also will be talking to banks, Gary and Bob can answer more directly what sources of other funding might be available. But the signs are very encouraging and we don’t feel like its $100 Million dollar project it’s a $15 Million dollar project. We know that the economy has been tight the last few years and so we loosen up a little bit. And I believe if we get the green light and secure the property we’re going to make this happen for sure."
Mr. Eggleston, “Two more questions, will you give me a footprint of that building, Square footage, idea, guesstimate?”
Mr. Chauner, “It’s about a 100,000 square feet."
Mr. Eggleston, “How does it compare to the World Training Center that you spoke of?”…
Mr. Chauner, “It’s probably a little bit smaller, that’s the world headquarters for the UCI which is the world governing body of the sport so it’s all cashed in a big complex. But the Velodrome itself…”
Mr. Eggleston, “I’m talking about the whole place.”
Mr. Chauner, “That’s a lot bigger, because it’s a complex of offices and so on for the World Governing…"
Mr. Eggleston, “I understand that’s why I’m asking.” So how would you, could you make a comparison?”
Mr. Chauner, “Well I think from our standpoint the building that we will operate will have the Velodrome for all cycling activities and related stuff. We also are planning about 10 or 12 thousand square feet of retail space that would be for synergistic businesses like cycling bike shop, performance center and so on and so forth. We’d like to include a restaurant beyond just a concession stand so that there will be a good place for you to eat before and after the races. And we also want to make sure that in talking with the City that we target other areas either right on the “Flats” site or adjacent to it where other businesses could locate that want to be near the Velodrome."
City Council President Ed Simpson, “I could tell you 5 years ago when I you were here I was really excited about it and I’m just as excited now and I think it would be a really good asset to the City. We’ve struggled for a long time to come up and do something about it and we see there’s definitely some promise here. I was excited about it 5 years ago.”
Mr. Chauner, “Thank you. This is a bit of a visionary leap of faith. I can remember 30 years ago when Bob Rodale built the Velodrome up in Lehigh County in Trexlertown on a farm field that he owned. When he said we were going to build a world class velodrome and put it in this farm field and my partner at the time were young guys that were just finishing our racing careers and Bob Rodale invited us, ‘I want you guys to run up and install the velodrome, I don’t know what to do. We came into our office and sitting on our desk was a huge spread in the paper that said, ‘Rodale’s Velodrome a White Elephant’ and he said ‘I’m going to get crucified; you got to make this thing work.’
And so within 3 years we made it the best outdoor velodrome in the world and it caused, now to this day, Lehigh County points to it as one of their best attractions. It’s in all their brochures. They talk about how it’s produced Olympic cyclists and so on and so forth.
“And it’ll happen, it’ll definitely happen in the City”
Mr. Simpson, “So, If you build it, they will come.”

City C Velod Dave Questions.mp3

Mr. Chauner did not mention it but they were also at Caln Township:

I was at the Coatesville City Council meeting of February 27, 2006 the first time the Velodrome was presented also. The new “Bloc of Four” City Council had not yet tried to fire City Manager Jean Krack. Mr. Krack was still the Coatesville City Manager.
But I believe Mr. Harry G. Walker was waiting in the wings. I think he was waiting in the wings for at least a year before he actually became Coatesville City Manager.
Mr. Walker had a long time association with Coatesville. He had been a business partner of Andrew Lehr in their proposal to buy what is now the Scott Middle School from the Coatesville School District. It was an organization called the “Coatesville Renaissance Committee” it included Andrew Lehr, Patrick Sellers, Ernie Campos and Harry Walker. When they couldn’t come up with a down payment the plan was scrapped.

From the City of Coatesville Redevelopment Authority RDA meeting of February 19, 2008:
Mr. Ed Simpson, “I will take that up with Council because as far as I’m concerned I don’t think the City,
Mr. Andrew Lehr, “That’s not factual.”
Mr. Simpson, “I don’t think that the City”
Mr. Harry Walker, “I never talked to anybody from any power company, in my office.”
Were Andrew Lehr and Harry Walker and another Chester County resident talking to power company officials before the “Bloc of Four” took office in 2006? If they were it may help to explain why the City dropped the ball on the Velodrome back then.

I can only find one instance of the Velodrome in 2006 after the Coatesville City Council Meeting Monday, February 27, 2006 when the Velodrome was presented to City Council:
"John Karmilowicz, 1132 Oak Street
Mr. Karmilowicz inquired about the status of the Velodrome and the initial funding of the project. Mr. Walker replied that he spoke to the developer who started the phases of the Velodrome. The initial second phase of the grant was not awarded. He is currently looking to find a different site and then reapply for the available grants. Mr. Karmilowicz inquired on the whether the presenters of the project were initially misled on the sight availability. Mr. Johnson replied that no one told them that was a viable sight. They acted in their own will in presenting their ideas."


Also see:
 Daily Local News
Published: Thursday, February 05, 2009

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