The answer lies in the tenets of the “Geneva Way:” ambush, smoke and mirrors, sleight-of-hand, distortions, selective and restricted dissemination of information, cheating, abuse and unlawful usurpation of municipal powers, and outright fraud.
During an illegal secret City Council meeting on August 26, 2019, [Geneva Economic Development Director] DeGroot informed the Council that Geneva had been “approached by two developers regarding affordable housing sites; namely the Lewis Road site. Burton Foundation offered a letter of intent to build 49, 2-story townhome units with an initial offer of $700,000 for the City’s property. An earlier, additional letter of interest from MVAH Partners out of Ohio was also received, for the same property but with I-story units and a more diverse mix of income levels. Discussion centered on what type of development would be more attainable.”
About a week later, Degroot sent this message to a disappointed Hume An, an executive vice president for MVAH Holding, LLC, a large developer of LIHTC housing. An had expressed “surprise” at the turn of events that resulted in a rejection of MVAH’s offer and asked if a counteroffer would be possible. An indicated that flexibility was integral to MVAH’s approach.
From: DeGroot, David>
Sent: Wednesday, September 4, 2019 8:41 AM
To: Hume An >; Tymoszenko, Cathleen >
Subject: RE: ? Re: ? Re: ? Re: ? Re: ? Re: Conference Call on Lewis Road
Good morning Hume,
I understand your surprise. We did not intend to mislead you in any way. We honestly received the other offer as we were preparing the agenda for the Council to discuss your interest in the property. I would be happy to discuss in more detail with you. I am available this morning until about 9:45 am, tomorrow afternoon around 4 pm, or any time Friday afternoon. Please let me know what works for you.
David DeGroot, AICP
Director of Community Development
City of Geneva, Illinois
Remember the City of Geneva published a “Just the Facts” sheet on Emma’s Landing that stated that only one proposal for the site had been received in 2019. This was a pure canard. Oddly, the minutes of the secret meeting did not include the MVAH proposal. The reader is left to believe that the secret meeting was already set to (illegally) consider the MVAH proposal and that the agenda was being drafted at the very moment the Burton Foundation “honestly” arrived.
The above letter also acknowledges that illegal action was taken in secret to select the Burton application and reject the MVAH proposal. Obviously, MVAH was “surprised” by the ambush, but then they were not familiar with Geneva’s fondness for ambush as a political weapon. MVAH submitted a formal “Letter of Proposal” for the Emma’s site on July 30, 2019 (the reader is re-reminded of Geneva’s public prevarication claiming Burton’s was the only proposal). If any member of the City Council was aware of the MVAH proposal, evidence of this awareness has not yet been found. Call your alderman and inquire about this. Please see the FOIA file below for details. The author apologizes for the snail’s pace of this investigation. Geneva has imposed a 21-business day impoundment for the author’s FOIA requests – yet another example of the “Geneva Way.”
On June 18, 2019, MVAH wrote this to DeGroot: “Based on initial research, I’ve identified Geneva as a good place in which to develop senior and/or workforce housing. I would really appreciate the opportunity to meet with you in person, provide further information about MVAH and what we do, and learn more about your specific housing needs.” “Senior and/or workforce” LIHTC housing was taken by the woke Geneva mayor and his administration as a dog-whistle phrase for “insufficiently attainable.”
Can there be any serious belief that the mayor and his staff did not inform the Burton Foundation of the MVAH proposal well in advance of the secret illegal closed-session meeting?
Geneva had an opening offer from MVAH of $400,000 cash for the site (at a time when gifting the site to Burton was the hidden plan, and IHDA’s ultimate mistaken belief) and 50 units of LIHTC affordable housing from a large, experienced, multi-state organization that is highly rated. Geneva threw the MVAH opportunity in the trash. Rather, Geneva chose a small Fellhauer husband and wife firm, an outfit with controversial ties to Geneva. Increasing evidence is accumulating that Emma’s Landing is a product of coordinated fraud. However, The “Geneva Way” dovetails perfectly with the “Illinois Way.” Maybe this explains why Illinois has the second-highest property taxes in the country. Growing out of control: Property taxes put increasing burden on Illinois taxpayers | Illinois Policy