Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Joplin Globe editorial: We're better off without Wallace-Bajjali

We can all rest easier now.

The Joplin Globe Editorial Board says we're better off without Wallace-Bajjali.

The spirit of Joplin will prevail and it won't be long before we forget the con artist that Councilman Bill Scearce so accurately describes as "a snake oil salesman."

While council members, including Scearce and Ben Rosenberg, were early skeptics about the former Sugar Land mayor's ability to attract $894 million in development to this tornado-ravaged city, the Joplin Globe donned its cheerleading outfit, shook its pom-pons, and brought out the heavy artillery for anyone who dared question this company, which was recommended by a citizens advisory team that sometimes seemed more intent on pushing a vision of Joplin its well-heeled leaders had sought for years than in easing the day-to-day recovery of the thousands who were affected by the events of May 22, 2011.

If the Globe ever investigated Wallace-Bajjali its results never made its pages. The sole extent of its mention of the SEC fine against Wallace and Costa Bajjali made it appear that the two were innocent victims of an unscrupulous businessman, when the SEC documents and information that has been filed in lawsuits in both state and federal courts makes it clear that Wallace-Bajjali was violating SEC regulations and pushing a highly questionable investment scheme.

And not once did the Globe ever mention David Wallace's involvement in at least seven bankruptcies.

Not once did the Globe ever mention that as part of the SEC settlement with Wallace-Bajjali, it was required to repay its investors $450,000 by December 31, 2012. They were unable to do it. The deadline kept being pushed back until it was finally set at December 31, 2014. The investors who put their faith in Wallace-Bajjali years ago to this date have received the same amount of money the city of Joplin has received- not one penny.

None of this was reported in the pages of the area's newspaper of record. All we ever heard from the Joplin Globe was a Rohr of approval for Wallace-Bajjali.

And now the Globe is editorializing, without a single mention of its role in propping up Wallace-Bajjali.

Probably more troubling than the money spent is the waste of momentum and the waste of time that Joplin will never be able to get back. The loss of public confidence is also a concern.

If there is anyone who should know about the loss of public confidence, it is the Joplin Globe.


Anonymous said...

Wonder if Carol Stark will ever open her eyes about the Joplin School District! Maybe when Huff is gone she will finally see the disastrous financial mess he created with his might as well spending and his army of useless admin staff.

Anonymous said...

"The loss of public confidence is also a concern."

Buried at the bottom as if it was not important.

Sad. Very sad. Perhaps the sports department can pick up the slack, because the news staff fumbled the ball, who wants to recover it?

Anonymous said...

I had to read it twice. The first time I thought they were praising David Wallace for his list of "accomplishments"

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Does anybody under 50 take the glob

Anonymous said...

Anony 7:4, just for the Sunday coupons

Anonymous said...

The Joplin Globe also supported Mark Pohr and made it a point to demonize those members of the council that voted to terminate him. Seems to me that it is time for new leadeship at the Globe who will bring the truth to print and not just those stories which they feel will benefit them the most.

Anonymous said...

I don't think there's anyone left who still reads the Globe, with the exception of Mike Pound's family, Carol Stark and those wanting Sunday coupons or Sports. The latest WB response is so funnily reminiscent of the Bruce Speck mess. They refuse to cover any news stories and then, when something blows up, claim they were at the forefront of the news coverage. What a sad rag!

Anonymous said...

That is correct the investors in Houston have not received one single penny from Wallace Bajjali. They lied to investors and never told them about the Will Perry Lawsuit and Bankruptcy case. They took money promising the investors they'd make their money back in 3 to 4 years and it would more than triple!!!!! It was all lies by ALbert Kaleta and Daniel Frishberg, and of course slick oil man David Wallace. Many never under stood what the hell Costa Bajjali's job was. From reading articles and the Perry Lawsuit I think he was making a living buying and selling the very properties that belonged to the Wallace Bajjali FUNDS. Those commissions should have gone back into the company. I'm confident he pocketed the commissions. As long as they were selling and buying using Bajjali's RE license, they were making a good living. In the meantime, they were telling the investors "Oh the Houston economy is so bad sorry but its been really hard sorry too bad things will turn around just be patient we weren't expecting this and so forth". All a bunch of lies. Both were asleep at the wheel doing nothing. Couldn't even lift one nail in Joplin. What a sad disgrace of men. I only hope at they all go to jail. That is where they all belong: Frishberg, Kaleta, Wallace and Bajjali. As for the "fund" these two created in Joplin, where school tax dollars were being put into this fund, WHO HAS CUSTODY OF THE FUND? WHERE IS THE $460,000 GO? What bank are those funds in??? ARE THOSE FUNDS STILL IN THE ACCOUNT? Joplin should move those funds immediately and take control of them.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @8:50 AM: As understand it, the TIF district resulted in four things:

1: $4.5 million in "costs" to sell $18 million in bonds. No doubt the auditors will be looking closely at where all that money went.

2: A net $13.5 million to spend redeveloping the TIF district.

3: Ongoing costs for 20-25 years to pay off the principle and interest of the bonds.

4: And the property (and sales?) taxes from the TIF district.

I believe the $460K you're referring to is tax money from the TIF district that the school district was expecting to get last year. Which didn't happen because the money from #4 is first used to pay off #3. Since the TIF district is under preforming the projections that Wallace-Bajalli made for increased tax revenues (the "Increment" in Tax Increment Financing) due to the redevelopment are not actually doing. Rather obviously, since their efforts never resulted in turning a single shovel of dirt. According to the Globe article that's projected to be around $1 million dollars this year.

Oh, yeah, there's a #5: we are being told that Wallace-Bajjali promised to pay the school district a lump sum of $13 million dollars this year, and that promise was the basis of Huff and the school board withdrawing their objections to the creation of the TIF. TIFs have a long history of ruining school finances, and normally school districts fight them tooth and nail.

Why anyone with two brain cells to rub together would have believed such an outrageous promise from Wallace-Bajjali is beyond me, but as I and others have noticed, it gives the Huff and the school board an external excuse for why their finances getting so ugly.

Anonymous said...

There are no funds left. Bonds were sold to finance the purchase of all this vacant land at two and three times its real value and arranged by Wallace. The TIF collections which come mostly at the school's expense, will go to pay off these bonds over the next 22 years. All the TIF has is a bunch of vacant land that will never be worth what they paid. They could sell it and get out of the real estate business, but it would unlikely be enough to pay off the bonds. Don't forget, a large part of the library site is land that the city agreed to lease on a long term basis. They are tied to that for quite a while. The whole scam was that Wallace thought that the city would sell 58 million dollars worth of bonds through the TIF and then just hand it over to him. When this didn't happen, and the city began pressing him to buy back all this over priced land, that is when he began his hiatus. I also don't buy the line from the mayor that Wallace brought in 50 million in grants and such. I don't recall any of the work to procure those grants being performed by any Wallace staff people. Mainly because he never had any staff people. My initial check on my google searches in 2012 revealed that the whole company only had one employee. He may have suggested that the city apply for every grant they could find, but other than that he did nothing.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @8:28 AM: the only trouble I have with your take on this is that it paints Wallace-Bajjali as supremely stupid.

Which, strangely enough, I'm willing to believe! That is, per my understanding of your take is that they had plans to profit from the TIF scheme that were instead used by locals to profit from flipping the land that was bought.

If that's true, I expect the results of the audit will be very interesting, although they might be delayed from the official release of the audit if those actions were criminal and reported directly to prosecutors vs. just corrupt.

Anonymous said...

The big picture is fascinating. At the front end, you indoctrinate students to be unquestioning drones vis-a-vis the corrupt school system. At the back end you use the propoganda rag to direct these drones as to what to buy and what to think.

Are Carol and CJ in cahoots? Tune in next time to see if his is a nefarious plot to control the Jopln empire, or merely two lost souls doing their best to serve the people.