Thursday, June 18, 2015

Woolston's new spin: Wallace-Bajjali made money for Joplin

With a highly critical state audit set to be handed down in a few weeks, Joplin City Councilman Mike Woolston, who reportedly comes in for much of the criticism, is trying to put his spin on things into circulation as a pre-emptive strike.

This morning, Woolston's attempt to rewrite history made its debut in a favorably disposed blog, former KSN reporter Keith Mackey's Joplin Confidential.

The new story- former master developer Wallace-Bajjali made money for the city, instead of ripping it off. Using what he refers to as "figures supplied to Joplin Confidential," Mackey makes the case that Wallace-Bajjali brought in $51 million in grants, tax increment financing (TIF), and tax credits.

It would be safe to conclude that the figures were supplied by Woolston, since he is the only official who is quoted in the story:

“They did bring something to the table,” City Councilman Mike Woolston told Joplin Confidential. He admitted the city made a mistake in contracting with Wallace-Bajjali to be the master developer. “If they had been limited to only planning,” he said. “It would have been better.” In other words, in his estimation, they did good when planning what to build but not so good when it came time to actually put brick and mortar to the projects.

Councilman Woolston is optimistic. He says the city has more options now in getting projects off the ground, and the city can move forward as it is doing.

Obviously the relationship between the city and Wallace-Bajjali didn’t end well. As for the unraveling of the company itself, Woolston cited internal conflicts between Mr. Wallace and Mr. Bajjali.
Of course, left unmentioned in the article is the fact that much of the work to line up those grants and tax credits was done, not by Wallace-Bajjali, but by city employees, the same city employees who could have done the job if the project had been done locally instead of contracting out to Wallace-Bajjali.

Also left unmentioned is the fact that the Loraine Report claims that Woolston was using his influence as a city councilman and as "the tornado mayor" to convince people to sell property, which the developer he was working for then provided to Wallace-Bajjali to sell to the Joplin Redevelopment Corporation for a high markup.


Anonymous said...

They weren't the only ones who made money....I am sure WOOLSTON & CHARLIE KUEHN made out like bandits!!! It's funny how we always see these land/property sales from school board & city council members. Not just here but all over.

Anonymous said...

Also left unmentioned is that the TIF cost an upfront $4.5 million, $18 million worth of bonds were sold, leaving only $13.5 million to spend on "improvements" like the library (the I in TIF, which are supposed to pay for it by increasing property values in the long term).

Half the property taxes for that area are earmarked to pay off the $18 million, and Huff officially blamed the TIF for $13 million the school district was supposed to magically get from Wallace-Bajjali through a second round of borrowing (was supposed to eventually be $42 million), plus of course the district is losing something like a million per year to it, about equally the city (through 2014, "The TIF has taken in nearly $1.6 million in property taxes that would have gone to the schools, the city, Jasper County, Jasper County 911 and the Joplin Special Road District."; there's lots more details, prompting me to wonder how anyone could have still supported Huff after the districts finances started unraveling).

That's some very expensive money Wallace-Bajjali arranged for us, along with some outrageously priced real estate bought with it; I've long thought that real reason Wallace-Bajjali was brought in was to provide one more opaque organization through which all this land could pass, helping to hide how we were ripped off. We'll see if the auditors have anything to say about this, although it's possible their remit doesn't include Wallace-Bajjali or the Joplin Redevelopment Corporation; I'm sure we all remember how they couldn't probe Bright Futures....

Anonymous said...

And what ever became of that fine piece of property the City of Joplin purchased that used to be the Coke building?

Anonymous said...

Those two theives might be paying Woolston to spin it. I hope they all go to jail. Wallace is a slick oil salesman and Bajjali is the big buffoon. Both crooks.

Anonymous said...

If I recall didn't Wallace and Bajjali go missing for a few months after they packed up their junk and slivered out of Joplin like cowardly crooks? Now they're crying fowl? Pathetic. What an embarrassment. They need to grow a pair of balls and start acting like real men. Go away! Pay what you owe Wallace and Bajjali.

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe that the two idiots of WB are asking for a new trial. They decided to pocket $1.4 million. Bullshitted the city and people of Joplin, accomplished NOTHING. And yes the slivered away like a pair of snakes. Didn't have the integrity to call a meeting to inform the city that they we going to shut down and crawl to bankruptcy. Nothing. Nobody could get ahold of either idiot. They disappeared until Wallace the wife cheater decided to show up in bankruptcy. Never once cared to call Joplin. But now they want a new trial. They both avoided being served. They both ignored lawsuit. They keep thinking they are above the law. Too bad. Too late. They better not get another trial. They need to pay everyone they stole money from. From Joplin, to Prime, all the cheated investors, the banks, the friends who loan them money. Pure snakes. Pay up!!!

Anonymous said...

I hear Wallace is now working as a mentor! Hahahaha. What a joke.