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Thread: City/Brewer screw up on parking revenues!

  1. #1

    Default City/Brewer screw up on parking revenues!

    Can't believe no one has posted this yet from Sunday's Oklahoman. I've been meaning to but have been busy. Here you go:

    City didn't get all its share for parking

    By John Estus
    Staff Writer

    A development company that has a deal with Oklahoma City to operate a parking lot near the Ford Center has made nearly $300,000 parking cars since late 2004, but failed to share about $44,500 of the income with the city until The Oklahoman asked about the missing payments.
    City officials accepted blame.

    "The buck stops with me,” city special projects manager Tom Anderson said. "It's an obligation I owe the citizens and my superiors. I failed in this case.”

    Bricktown Real Estate LLC paid the $44,513 tab this month after The Oklahoman asked city officials about the outstanding debt.

    The city owns the lot and has leased it to the company since 1999 — before the Ford Center opened. It's now a popular parking spot for Ford Center, Cox Convention Center and Bricktown patrons.


    Paying dividends
    The lease was renewed in 2004 with an added requirement that the company share 35 percent of parking revenues with the city.
    According to the lease, the company is to pay the city:

    •$2,000 a month to rent the portion of the lot north of Interstate 40 near the rail depot.

    •35 percent of gross parking income minus rent and sales tax for the portion of the lot north of I-40, paid annually.

    •$1,200 a month for the portion south of the interstate, beginning in February 2005.

    But the company never paid, nor was asked to pay, the percentage of income made from the 110-space lot north of I-40 or the rent for the south lot.

    "That was where I fell short,” Anderson said. "We've identified a problem, and we're trying to work it out.”

    Bricktown Real Estate owner Jim Brewer said city officials told him that paying to rent the south lot wouldn't be necessary until the city learned how the I-40 realignment project would affect it. He said Anderson also told him not to worry about the income share payments, either.

    "He (Anderson) just said hold off until we find out,” Brewer said. "We didn't think it would be very long.”

    A boulevard is to replace the existing I-40 once it is moved south in 2012. A portion of E.K. Gaylord Boulevard eventually will have to be reconfigured to accommodate the new boulevard. That could affect the portion of the lot south of the interstate.

    As a result, the lot hasn't been approved by the city for parking use as was planned when the lease was signed, which is why the company hasn't been asked to pay rent for it, Anderson said.

    Still, Brewer said his company has occasionally charged people to park in the south lot during large events.

    "It's not been approved by the city for parking. It's going to have to be brought up to code and improved by the city for parking,” Anderson said.

    Brewer said money made from parking cars in the south lot was included in the total income amount listed in a report he delivered to the city this month.

    The report says the company made $286,549 parking cars on the lots from November 2004 until February. An independent auditor will confirm that amount in the next three months, Anderson said.

    The city has no record of how much money the company made off the lots from 1999 until the lease was renewed in 2004 because the original lease didn't require Bricktown Real Estate to provide that information.

    Brewer said about $100,000 in improvements were made to the lot after council members approved the lease in 1999. Brewer said it was "just a mud lot” then.


    Proposal questioned
    The 1999 lease required the company to make those improvements, and also created a stir at City Hall when some council members questioned whether it was a better business decision to have the city operate the lot.
    "It was public property where a private individual would benefit,” said Ward 6 Councilwoman Ann Simank, who voted against renting out the lot in 1999.

    Bricktown Real Estate received the contract without a competitive bidding process, and Simank said city officials need to do a better job of honoring the contract.

    "The city has a fiscal responsibility to enforce all contracts and leases with anybody when it involves public property,” Simank said.

  2. Default Re: City/Brewer screw up on parking revenues!

    Thanks for posting that metro....

    An error of that magnitude would cost anyone in the private sector their job. There would also be some question as to whether the person looking the other way was complicit in a bribery scheme. I'm not saying this is what happened in this case, but in the private sector, these would be the questions.

    ---------------------

  3. #3

    Default Re: City/Brewer screw up on parking revenues!

    I agree writeranger, I just wanted to hear someone else comment before I threw my two cents in. I think Mr. Tom Anderson working for the city needs to have a little talk with the Mayor and his superiors and perhaps further investigated. No way this guy would keep his job in the private sector. And even though Brewer finally wrote a check, I wouldn't count him as the good guy, he was saving his butt in a PR move. We really ought to email the city on this one for further investigation.

    mayor@okc.gov
    ward1@okc.gov
    ward2@okc.gov
    ward3@okc.gov
    ward4@okc.gov
    ward5@okc.gov
    ward6@okc.gov
    ward7@okc.gov
    ward8@okc.gov

  4. Default Re: City/Brewer screw up on parking revenues!

    Questions:
    1. Is this particular lot setup with counters and a ticketing system?
    2. If not - why not? If it's just a lease with a percentage to the city, how does the city monitor their income?
    These two questions are important because of three words:
    ALL CASH BUSINESS
    I suppose the city just accepted Brewer's figures for how much they took in at the leased lot? If so, that's funny on its face.

    I'm with you, metro, this needs closer scrutiny. No, it's not a lot of money in the overall scheme of things, but $44,513.00 in cash being "overlooked" does not look good to me. By the way, kudos to The Oklahoman for catching this and having the guts to challenge the city on where this money went. And I just as well say it....no telling how much money has really been taken in at that lot. And no telling what was paid - and to who - to keep the terms of this lease from ever being enforced.

    -------------

  5. #5

    Default Re: City/Brewer screw up on parking revenues!

    I parked at the train depot on Saturday of the Big 12 tournament. There was no ticketing system. Nobody took my money at the entrance, then a guy (who was scalping tickets) approached me as I was walking to the Ford Center and told me it was $10 to park there. I wasn't sure if he was legit, so I offered $5 and he took it.

  6. #6

    Default Re: City/Brewer screw up on parking revenues!

    Yeah, most of these lots are "cash" and don't have a ticketing/monitoring system. Smell that??? it's fishy.................

  7. #7

    Default Re: City/Brewer screw up on parking revenues!

    If it's just a lease with a percentage to the city, how does the city monitor their income?
    My guess would be that it's subject to audit. Not that an audit system is any better, given that it's a cash business.

  8. Default Re: City/Brewer screw up on parking revenues!

    Who says the Oklahoman doesn't do investigative reporting?

  9. #9

    Default Re: City/Brewer screw up on parking revenues!

    Thats the first quasi-investigative Journalism I've seen out of the local media in a long time, especially the Oklahoman! Now if they would just stay on top of it and do a follow up as well as look into Urban Renewal.

  10. #10

    Default Re: City/Brewer screw up on parking revenues!

    Well, I would guess none of you has ever been in the parking business. I have. I was assistant city manager for APCOA in D-FW for several years, and parking has many variables. Downtown garages have predictable revenues. Variations indicate problems. We once fired an attendant because he had discovered how to run his timeclock forward, punch out at 11:30 PM and then run it back to the correct time. We discovered it because of a drop in revenues. Surface lots with no ticketing or slot procedures are a different story. This lot, which is out of the way, is not in regular use according to the newspaper's story (which I read at the time it was published). It is apparently used only in special-event situations and then when there's a glut of parkers downtown. Revenues in this kind of situation are irregular and thus unpredictable but a drop in the bucket when compared with other parking lots downtown.

    I have confidence in Jim Couch (were any posters at the City Council meeting this week--I was and I'm not a city employee or contractor) that he made sure that Mr. Anderson got every red cent from Jim Brewer. I think it's easy to blow off steam on a forum such as this, but when it comes down to the dollars-and-cents of city business we have professionals who are highly competent who deal with multimillion-dollar contracts. How many forum posters know what percentage of revenues OG&E pays the city? How much does the city pay for streetlights? Does Tinker pay a percentage of electric usage to the city? I dare say Jim Couch knows the answer to all those questions and many more that have never even occurred to most of us.

    I'm not saying take our city leaders' word for whatever they say. I'm glad Estus reported the story. I'm glad the situation was rectified and you can bet Anderson will be on top of anything Jim Brewer's doing.

    What I am saying is that if there was a "there" there you can bet the Oklahoman would have jumped on it with both feet. That's my three cents' worth.

    PS: And, no, I'm not in the parking lot business any longer.

  11. #11

    Default Re: City/Brewer screw up on parking revenues!

    Seem pretty competent to me


    Paying dividends
    The lease was renewed in 2004 with an added requirement that the company share 35 percent of parking revenues with the city.
    According to the lease, the company is to pay the city:

    •$2,000 a month to rent the portion of the lot north of Interstate 40 near the rail depot.

    •35 percent of gross parking income minus rent and sales tax for the portion of the lot north of I-40, paid annually.

    •$1,200 a month for the portion south of the interstate, beginning in February 2005.

    But the company never paid, nor was asked to pay, the percentage of income made from the 110-space lot north of I-40 or the rent for the south lot.

    "That was where I fell short,” Anderson said. "We've identified a problem, and we're trying to work it out.”

  12. Default Re: City/Brewer screw up on parking revenues!

    Quote Originally Posted by Easy180 View Post
    Seem pretty competent to me


    Paying dividends
    The lease was renewed in 2004 with an added requirement that the company share 35 percent of parking revenues with the city.
    According to the lease, the company is to pay the city:

    •$2,000 a month to rent the portion of the lot north of Interstate 40 near the rail depot.

    •35 percent of gross parking income minus rent and sales tax for the portion of the lot north of I-40, paid annually.

    •$1,200 a month for the portion south of the interstate, beginning in February 2005.

    But the company never paid, nor was asked to pay, the percentage of income made from the 110-space lot north of I-40 or the rent for the south lot.

    "That was where I fell short,” Anderson said. "We've identified a problem, and we're trying to work it out.”
    Anderson says: Oh! Yeah!.......... The money!!!!!!
    It took a reporter asking about it. Don't we all wish our banks were as sloppy about their outstanding mortgages?

  13. Default Re: City/Brewer screw up on parking revenues!

    Given Brewer's side of the story, Anderson's response makes sense. It's much simpler to say "I'm stupid" than to say "I told a major downtown player not to pay the city money he knows he owes us for a parking lot he knows he shouldn't be running."

    I'm sorry, regardless of the business, regardless of the vagaries of accounting, and even if both sides have absolutely clean hands, it gives the appearance of potential impropriety. It would allow a casual observer to at least ask a legitimate question about the possibility of an improper arrangement between Anderson and Brewer, particularly one wherein Anderson "forgets" to ask for the city's share of revenues that he knows have been generated, and been generated by an "unofficial" parking lot...

    As I said, perhaps this a completely innocent/clean-hands situation. At best, it looks like sloppy management. At worst, it reeks of an opportunity for money to change hands so as to cause a city official to "forget" about certain due payments....

    For all the brickbats thrown at the Oklahoman here, they deserve a cheer for pursuing any story that gets in Brewer's face, because he wields a lot of power downtown.....at a minimum, it's an embarassment for him and Anderson.

    Legal disclaimer: I want to make it clear that I make no accusation of any impropriety at anyone, and no such accusation should be inferred. The appearance of impropriety is at issue here, and one the city should clean up ASAP. At a minimum, there's some fast-and-loose bookkeeping going on...

    -soonerdave

  14. #14

    Default Re: City/Brewer screw up on parking revenues!

    You guys have no idea what you are talking about. Tom Anderson is one of the most honest, hardest working men at the City. Say what you will about the deal but trust me, you are way off base with your slander regarding Tom.

  15. Default Re: City/Brewer screw up on parking revenues!

    Kim, Instead of telling us how we are "slandering" Tom Anderson, why not tell us what YOU think about such a mistake? Would anyone in the private sector keep their job after such a mistake? As for the "slander," we look at the appearances and it doesn't look good. The fact is, you don't know what you are talking about any more than we do! Just because you know somebody and think they are "hard working" and "honest" doesn't make them unaccountable. Sorry, Kim, but sometimes you can get too close to public officials and not see what others rightly question. Washington is a perfect example, but it happens at the local level, too. Again - the bottom line is you don't know anything more than we do, except for your personally knowing the gentleman that made the mistake. So, you give him a pass. This is typical of too many insiders protecting other insiders. It goes on in DC, it goes on at 23rd and Lincoln and it obviously goes on downtown.

    BTW, One of the worst congressional scandals of the last 30 years involved Randall "Duke" Cunningham, a man that nobody would have dreamed would have done the things he did. Today, he's in prison. Sometimes the man next door does things you would never guess - in your wildest imagination - that he was capable of doing. Tom Anderson may be perfectly innocent of wrongdoing. However, he obviously is horribly guilty of gross incompetence. An "I'm sorry," wouldn't work if you LOST almost $45,000.00 and worked for Microsoft or FedEx. And it shouldn't suffice working for our local government. There's nothing wrong with watchdogs (The Oklahoman in this case - and others) demanding accountability in government at all levels.

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  16. #16

    Default Re: City/Brewer screw up on parking revenues!

    If some of you were more familiar with city business and with Tom Anderson's job responsibilities you would be a litte more understanding about an oversight like this. He did not lose almost $45K, and to compare him to Duke Cunningham is specious. We do know Tom Anderson's identity--he's not some anonymous poster.

    If you want to get upset about something, if you want to question oversight over something, ask why our roads and streets are in such bad shape after being resurfaced only a few years before. What kind of fiscal responsibility is it to continually repave roads without making sure there is an adequate base? Far more money is involved in only one mile of roadway than was involved in this contract.

  17. Default Re: City/Brewer screw up on parking revenues!

    Quote Originally Posted by Roadryder View Post
    If some of you were more familiar with city business and with Tom Anderson's job responsibilities you would be a litte more understanding about an oversight like this. He did not lose almost $45K, and to compare him to Duke Cunningham is specious. We do know Tom Anderson's identity--he's not some anonymous poster.

    If you want to get upset about something, if you want to question oversight over something, ask why our roads and streets are in such bad shape after being resurfaced only a few years before. What kind of fiscal responsibility is it to continually repave roads without making sure there is an adequate base? Far more money is involved in only one mile of roadway than was involved in this contract.
    So, City Hall employees start signing-up. Glad to have you all. For the record, I did not compare him to Duke Cunningham. Kim said we didn't know what we were talking about because (basically) we don't know him - and she does. I was simply pointing out a famous example of the unlikeliest people disappointing us. He didn't almost lose $45,000? Until it was pointed out - by a newspaper reporter(!) - it wasn't being paid. Isn't that correct? And outrage at government isn't exclusive to any one issue. I am angry about the streets! But just because I am fed up with Bush's Iraq policy doesn't mean I can't also be ticked off at his lack of a health care policy. Good try though.

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  18. #18

    Default Re: City/Brewer screw up on parking revenues!

    I'm not one to jump to conclusions about anything until all the facts are in, but it's evident this was a major oversight/problem when a newspaper discovers it before audits or controls in our local government does

    Just looks bad no matter how it went down...If it turns out to be just a simple mistake then I hope it leads to improvements in how payments are collected and accounted for in the future

  19. #19

    Default Re: City/Brewer screw up on parking revenues!

    I agree and want to clarify. In no way am I accusing/slandering anyone of impropriety here as well. But as many have said, it deserves scrutiny and further investigation despite the good integrity of the individuals at hand. As many have said, we can't just ignore the problem despite the best of intentions.

  20. #20

    Default Re: City/Brewer screw up on parking revenues!

    Some of you may remember the brouhaha last year between the Hornets and the city over the profits due the city. The Hornets said the figure was $700K. The city said there was a discrepancy that could amount to $3M. (Check the Oklahoman, June 12, 2006, for details.) Guess who the guy was who stood up for the city? None other than Tom Anderson, the individual who has been maligned for not being on top of this parking lot contract.

    I am not a city hall employee.

    It seems to me that some people don't know what's going on in the city until the Oklahoman tells them. For example, did you know the city spent almost $3M for a study in traffic simulation around Belle Isle? Their conclusion was that changing some signs on I-44 to direct people to exit Classen and changing the timing on the traffic lights could lessen the problem. That cost almost $3M.

  21. Default Re: City/Brewer screw up on parking revenues!

    Road... everyone on this board is an expert. This is not a place for opnions, this is the board of spoken truth. I am done being sarcastic for the month.

    Anyone that has ever worked in government knows that millions of dollars are wasted every year. Government is not big business. Government punishes effeciency. This is a debate for another day. This situation deserves scrutiny, as does the way the public sector operates. On to tomorrow...

  22. Default Re: City/Brewer screw up on parking revenues!

    First of all Tom Anderson is a first class citizen...but since the second lease with the city was signed, Mr. Brewer not only paid the $44,000 percentage but has also paid the monthly fee of $2000 a month for 30 months, so in reporting the city has generated a revenue of over a hundred thousand dollars. This is a wonderful ROI for the city when the lessee invested over 100,000 dollars on the inital land.

  23. #23

    Default Re: City/Brewer screw up on parking revenues!

    The amount of money isn't the point johnnyboy, it was the lack of oversight and accountability. This is money that belongs to us taxpayers and citizens and should be properly looked over.

  24. Default Re: City/Brewer screw up on parking revenues!

    yes oversight was committed, however it is not money that was just gonna go overlooked.......BPI was right there to pay it.......If you want to talk about wasted government money there are many places to go (all the way to the Commander in Chief).......Run a Business and you will realize that not all profits earned land in your hands......But dont discredit the ones that try to make the city a better place......Remember downtown in 1990, I was a freshman in high school and the only reason i went downtown was to go to a haunted house...............

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