Lunacy in Geneva versus Transparency in Naperville: The Great Western Flooring Projects

Planning and Zoning Commission (granicus.com)

720 n washington st naperville il 60563 – Google Search

The two links above allow Genevans an opportunity to compare Naperville City Government with Geneva City Government as they address comparable issues.

The City of Geneva recently approved this: “Establishing Basic Parameters for a Public Private Partnership and a Redevelopment Agreement to Induce a Mixed Use (Commercial- Residential) Building at 122 E. State and 130 E. State.” Unfortunately, a definition of “basic parameters” was not provided. Nonetheless, the Geneva Aldermen unanimously agreed to these “parameters.” This carte blanche is a de facto approval of the project before anyone outside the Geneva City Hall knew about the proposal. One alderman declared the proposal “checked all the boxes” for a TIF grant.

In a few minutes, a Naperville resident can find their city’s Planning and Zoning Commission’s discussion and action on the Great Western Flooring building at 720 N. Washington Street, Naperville. See the first link above. The Naperville video has an index, unlike Geneva’s, where the viewer must get past the mayor’s opening monolog and then search by guessing. The Geneva City Council recently voted to destroy audiotapes of some of its most notorious secret meetings. Is this what Genevans expect?

Washington Street is Naperville’s “main drag.” Washington has a level grade and is four lanes wide. By using the second link above, you can take a google “drive” up and down the street and around the block, plus get an aerial view. Across the street, the sidewalk is contiguous with the curb, which puts pedestrians within a couple feet of a busy traffic lane – just like much of East State Street in Geneva. On your google drive, you will note that no semi-trailer trucks are present – this is very unlike Geneva’s State Street.

The GWF building at 720 N. Washington is obviously scaled larger than its immediate neighbors, but some larger buildings are within a block. The setbacks vary widely. The uses of the residential buildings are mixed, and only a few still seem to be strictly residential. The aerial view reveals that alleys behind the Washington Street mixed-use structures cleanly separate the mixed uses from the strictly residential adjacent uses. Importantly, the Naperville GWF building apartments have reserved parking and an entrance from the back alley. The rear facade of the building is hideous.

Rear Facade of GWF Naperville Building. This can be described as being drawn from the Brutal School of Architecture.

The Naperville approval process was not tarnished by prior approval of “basic parameters” by the Naperville City Council. So at least the appearance of a fair and open deliberative process was preserved. Geneva, on the other hand, will send to its Planning and Zoning Commission a site plan whose “basic parameters” are already approved. The Geneva P&Z vigilantes, whose members were all hand-picked by an entrenched mayor, will go through the motions knowing that a “not recommended” conclusion is already foreclosed.

A nearly identical building to Naperville’s was presented to the Geneva City Council by Great Western Flooring and was approved on November 7th, 2022, before members of the neighborhood had seen even the rudimentary schematic.

However, Illinois Route 38 has a steep grade at 122-130 E State, which is a designated Class II Illinois State truck route. The building will be on the corner of State and Crissey Ave. That intersection is already occupied on the opposite corner by an intense use fast food two-lane drive-through with an exit onto southbound Crissey and an entrance just around the corner on State. The street access for the new GWF building is not depicted on State Street. This means that the twelve residential units and all the commercial uses will compete with the drive-through traffic within about 70 feet of the Crissey corner. Crissey is a two-way street in name only. Vehicle parking is allowed on the east side of Crissey, making it almost impossible for two medium PU trucks to pass. Remember that for much of Geneva’s history, Crissey was named Batavia Street. In many ways, Crissey and State is an intersection of two state highways: Routes 25 and 38.

Let me remind you that TIF1, which had shovel-ready projects on the river already approved, never produced the promised pot of gold at the end. The housing bubble that popped in 2007-8 took back all the “increment,” and the TIF grant recipients were the first ones in line to file assessment appeals, right behind the mayor. Speculative real estate investing is not the job of the mayor.

A fundamental problem with Tax Increment Financing districts is that they distort land use economics. Geneva’s TIF2 and TIF3 have been followed by the demolition of five historic antebellum residential structures within or abutting the TIFs. Consolidation of parcels is encouraged by TIFs and has been a stated goal in Geneva. The City has even purchased parcels with this rationale. But the Comprehensive Plan does not call for this, and it even specifically eschews demolition. Intellectual dishonesty underpins that schism and demonstrates the proforma nature of the plan document. Zoning rules are bent to the breaking point, with special uses married to variances in defiance of the plain language of the Municipal Code’s mandatory standards for granting special uses. Malone Funeral home now occupies six separate parcels in the block due east of the GWF proposal, and funeral homes are not a “by right use” in Zone B3E.

The Geneva City Council has already promised as a “basic parameter” that it will spot-zone the GWF building and donate $1.5 million. The City Council should kick its TIF addiction and stop rewarding land speculators and developers with cash gifts while ignoring safety and health risks. The embarrassment of the Geneva Pharmacy debacle should be a lesson learned. Remember how the Council voted down a proposed claw-back provision? The $850K gift to Country Meats was exorbitant and unnecessary. Can we be completely certain that a recent pedestrian death was not caused by a distraction created by a sign with a scrolling text message? A vehicle traveling at 40 mph covers about 60 feet per second. A driver concentrating on the road in the real world needs about 2 seconds to begin braking. An average driver with good brakes and tires might cover a few hundred feet before achieving a complete stop. Microsoft Word – Vehicle_Stopping_Distance.doc (nacto.org) An elderly person struck at 25 mph has about a 30-40% chance of dying as a result. Impact Speed and a Pedestrian’s Risk of Severe Injury or Death – AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

The City’s silly talk about local sales tax revenue (zero on prescription drugs and minuscule on groceries) is an insult to taxpayers. Building forty-five fraud-ridden $500,000 taxpayer-subsidized townhomes (Emma’s Landing) as a solution to a mythical local affordable housing problem was irresponsible. This was done while taxing the working stiffs and retirees living in their own houses out of town. Now the Council is about to demand more affordable housing at 122-130 State that will also add to the burden of its constituents, even without counting the $1.5 million it plans to give away to GWF.

The Council must overrule the mayor’s addiction to giving away money and concentrate on making Geneva affordable (attainable) again for current and future lower-income residents. I want the neighborhood that I chose over 40 years ago for its diversity back again before it is completely torn down.

Footnote 1: The long-awaited East State Street rebuild that has been in the works since 2002 and is now “scheduled” to start in 2024 overhangs all this. Geneva received a $1+ million Federal CMAQ Grant for this project several years ago. The money has sat, with negligible return, in an off-the-books TIF slush fund where it’s value is rapidly decaying via inflation. “CMAQ” stands for “congestion mitigation air quality”. Federal Programs Directory: Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement Program | US Department of Transportation Neither the Geneva City Council nor the Geneva PZC has considered this critical issue. Air quality near major truck routes is dangerously poor in large part due to lethal sub-2.5-micron particles originating from diesel engines. If one wanted to pick the spot where unimpeded diesel traffic should be optimized on East State Street, that spot would be the intersection of Crissey and State at the top of the hill. Geneva has knowingly sabotaged the CMAQ goals through its foolish and short-sighted focus on TIF funding for all comers. Stopping or slowing semi’s going up the hill violates the most basic principle of land planning: protecting the health and safety of residents. Here is the back story on Herbert Hoover’s greatest contribution to his country: The Real Story Behind the Standard Planning and Zoning Acts of the 1920s (planning-org-uploaded-media.s3.amazonaws.com).

Never Invest in a Property in or near a Geneva Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District (Unless the City Council Gives YOU a nice steaming order of TIF Cash with your choice of free drinks, sides, and dessert).

You automatically lose your property rights under the Geneva Zoning Ordinance and Comprehensive Plan if you invest in or own property on your own dime.

“We don’t make investments for the business, we make them for the property,” Bruno said. ”It checks the boxes for me in terms of how we use TIF monies.”

Geneva Alderman Bruno, as quoted in the Kane County Chronicle, Nov. 10, 2022

TIF Districts are financially ruinous in Tier 4 school districts like Geneva 304. Higher-tier school districts get off-setting reductions in EAV that partially compensate for the school’s funding loss via increased State of Illinois dollars. Geneva #304 is “over-funded” by the criteria of the State. But as bad as the cash drain is for Geneva #304, the free side orders that come with a made-to-order Geneva TIF gift violate basic fairness, a trait that used to be important to Genevans.

Consider the above Geneva aldermanic quote about the Great Western Flooring project at 122-130 East State Street. His boxes have been checked without any testimony from anyone. Then drive by the vacant Geneva Pharmacy a little more than a block east of the GWF site that operated for less than a year. The Geneva City Council determined, as required by the TIF statute, that “but for” their gift of Genevans’ property tax money, the pharmacy could not exist. This was a TIF gift used to create a made-to-order specific pharmacy use. The Council simultaneously made “pharmacies” a permitted use in Zone B3e JUST FOR that TIF applicant – not even a Special Use, but a full “by right” use. In other words, it was “spot zoned” for the sole benefit of one user and his specific use, neighbors be damned. Bruno’s quote is pure twaddle. GWF will also be spot zoned, and that has already been approved.

The 800-square-foot one-room Geneva Pharmacy structure will be difficult to re-purpose, and the building’s historical character has been forever lost. “But for” that foolhardy gift, everyone involved would have been better off. But the current Administration and Council worship at the TIF altar. Note that the local sales tax on prescription drugs is zero. Just a bit further east on State Street is Country Meats, recipient of about $850K in public assets, including a land “donation” and TIF gifts, plus the usual array of freebies. The total Illinois sales tax on unprepared groceries is 0.75%. The local share is de minimus. The tax on a $50 steak dinner at Foxfire is about $4 or more.

Below is a photo of the Great Western Flooring building in Naperville. No “but for” TIF gift for the Naperville building was needed. “In spite of” zero TIF dollars, somehow the building was built and taxed with the taxes going to all the taxing bodies.

Great Western Flooring, 720 North Washington Street (not an Illinois Designated Truck Route or Highway), Naperville
Schematic for Great Western Flooring, 122-130 East State Street (Route 38, an Illinois Designated Truck Route), Geneva. Notice that there is no access from State Street.

If the second building looks similar to the first, that is no coincidence, as the second building is a schematic copy of the first. The GWF folks showed up at a Geneva City Council meeting on November 7, 2022, with a less than $100 computer simulation and looking for a fast and easy loose $1.45 million. Did they bring a proforma? No. Were any data presented about how long the payback would take? No. Was the TIF money the only financial incentive? Maybe. But is there also a sales-tax kickback in the offing? Tax kickbacks are among the Geneva Council’s favorites grifts. How about utility hook-up and permit fee waivers, as per usual? Does Geneva have any other flooring merchants? The Council does not care about fair and level playing fields, despite their avowed belief in the vague principle of equity.

The Council also uses TIF as a Swiss army knife (a versatile tool that performs poorly in its every application). For example, affordable housing has been thrown into the GWF mix. What does that mean, exactly? Another “LIHTC” project that reduces property taxes even though the “I” in “TIF” is increment? BTW, no money is in the TIF3 fund in play, but with smoke and mirrors, the City Council can find some. The $1.4 million will tap out TIF3 for its duration. What about the Mill Race Inn and the Bottling Works, which were statedly the impetus for creating TIF3?

Below please find an annotated copy of the Executive Summary of the November 7th GWF sales pitch from the City of Geneva’s six-figure salaried TIF boss. I mention the salary only because Geneva taxpayers already have invested much more money in this project than the applicant has. Below is the Executive Summary. It is riddled with errors. Pay particular attention to the “possibly one or more design exceptions.” These are the under-the-table perks that come free with a TIF grant. This is how neighbors and their quality of life and property values get blindsided. “Reliefs” and “Deviations” are awarded even though these are not codified or defined in the Municipal Code. In other words, the Council dons its vigilante hat. This “posse comitatus” deputizes the city staff. The Council and staff grant “wink and nod” uncodified exceptions. They issue building permits based on specifications contained in an “approved” geometric plan. Then the applicant changes the plan. Then the building inspector does not “notice” the changes. For example, check the Malone Special Use Ordinance’s Geometric Plan and inspect how the project was built. Use Google Earth Pro to see if the lot coverage is within specifications. See if specified materials were utilized, etc.

So, with your TIF order, you can choose your zoning designation and permitted use. You get to incorporate yourself into the Geneva Comprehensive Plan regardless of how these freebies affect neighborhoods or neighbors’ enjoyment of their property and their property values. If you need a stark reminder of the futility of TIF’s look at the ruins of the Mill Race Inn, one of many failed TIF1 recipients. Notice the nicely coordinating window treatments of another TIF1 beneficiary at 10 W State. The window treatments all say, “For Lease.” Geneva Place’s highest tax bill was in 2006 ($157,600). Last year it was $114,000. How’s that for an increment? Geneva Place, an alumnus of TIF1, is now in TIF3.

This has been the “Geneva Way” for two decades.

Emma’s Landing Property Tax: Where is it?

The Burton Foundation owns the land adjacent to Emma’s Landing. James “Iceberg” Bergman (15) James Bergman | LinkedIn purchased that land for $650,000 in June of 2021, but the tax bill was mailed to the Burton Foundation. The land had been owned by the person listed on Emma’s Planned Unit Development and with her name recorded with the Kane County Recorder as the owner/applicant of the Emma’s Landing PUD. This was fraudulent. She was neither the PUD owner nor the PUD applicant. The City of Geneva was both. The City applied to itself for a PUD using a surrogate as a Trojan Horse. Only an owner can apply for a PUD per the Geneva Municipal Code. Without the adjacent $650,000 parcel, there was no access to the PUD. Without the PUD the $650,000 sale almost certainly would not have occurred. Who got the $650,000? You guessed it: the fraudulently certified and recorded faux applicant. Oh sure, some post facto “correction” of the PUD was clumsily “recorded” by the Mayor without the required authorization from the Council. But by then, the swindle had already been perpetrated.

You are correct if you get the sensation that smoke and mirrors were in play here and that the City of Geneva started the smoker and was holding the mirrors. Remember the “donation/discounted sale” flip-flop that the Illinois Housing Development Authority “missed” with a “wink and a nod”? Above is the 2021 property tax bill for the $650,000 parcel. Just to show how simple this is: 1) The parcel was purchased (actually an option to purchase) by Iceberg Bergman; 2) The 2021 Tax Bill was sent to ELA LLC C/O Burton Foundation; 3) The sole manager of ELA LLC is Emma’s Landing GP, LLC; The sole manager of Emma’s Landing Group LLC is The Burton Foundation, a 501c3 Tax-exempt Corporation. The sole employee of the Burton Foundation is Tracy Manning, President, with a 2020 compensation of $183,615. see: 2020-363839126-202112849349301306-9.pdf (guidestar.org). The Chairman of the Board of Burton Foundation filed for personal bankruptcy in 2015 see: Case 15-80195 Doc 1 Filed 01/28/15 Entered 01/28/15 16:00:59 Desc Main Document Page 1 of 60.

Genevan’s can rest assured that each member of the City Council, performing his or her due diligence to meet their fiduciary responsibilities to Geneva taxpayers, knew all this. They also knew that Tracy Manning’s husband was the project builder and cost estimator for the Emma’s Landing project. (Remember her “he gets a paycheck” testimony?) The Council also knew that Manning’s application for LIHTC funds certified that no identity of interest was present among and between the principles, such as between the principal sponsor (Mrs. Manning-Fellhauer) and the builder (Mr. Fellhauer). The Council also knew that when identity of interest is properly declared, an independent, disinterested third party must perform the cost estimate. The Council also knew, according to HUD postings, that shenanigans with cost estimating are a common source of fraud in LIHTC-funded affordable housing. GAO-18-637, Low-Income Housing Tax Credit: Improved Data and Oversight Would Strengthen Cost Assessment and Fraud Risk Management

Back to the adjacent parcel owned by Burton Foundation through a daisy chain of semi-opaque LLCs. The 2021 market value of the adjacent parcel was pegged at a “fair cash value” of $222,000. But below is an entry at the bottom of the 2021 tax bill:

The Assessor knew that his assigned “fair cash value” was about 1/3 of the actual market value. The Geneva City Council determined that this was not a problem since the rest of the taxpayers would be forced to make up the difference, and they did without a whimper. School District #304 and the other victimized taxing bodies agreed.

Parcel Details for 1208225001 (devnetwedge.com) Click on the link then click on “Print Tax Bill”

Now, what about Emma’s Landing taxes? The answer to this question is much easier. No tax bill of any kind was sent to anyone for the tax year 2021, payable in 2022. At least none appears in the Geneva Township Assessor database. Remember, the Council’s “Emma’s Fact Sheet” stated that Emma’s Landing would pay taxes “like everyone else.” Well, unless everyone else also pays nothing, and everyone else is taxed under the same State tax-discount statute as Emma’s Landing, the “Fact sheet” was fiduciary malpractice by the City Council in its purest form. What clandestine plans have been made for the 3+ acre adjacent property?

Love your country and your city, but eternal vigilance is the price of Life, Liberty, and Property. Trust, but verify everything.

The Geneva City Council Starts Another TIF Project for the Benefit of a Specific Family Business that Also Includes Affordable Housing

$1.4 million taxpayer gift slated from TIF3 fund that contains no money.

At the Same Meeting the City Council Voted to Destroy the Tapes of the February 2020 Meetings that Created Emma’s Landing Fraud (See Footnote).

Geneva’s Next White Castle at 122-130 East State: Another TIF White Elephant Disaster in the Making. The Geneva City Council believes that the road to affordable housing is through the wallets of Geneva home owners.
https://www.geneva.il.us/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_11072022-2047

Viewing the tape of the November 7th meeting at City Hall was deja vu all over again. Ironically, the only entrance/exit for the 6000 square foot retail, twelve apartment, three story building will be on Crissey Ave. opposite an exit from the Dunkin TIF project on Crissey. The new building will be on top of the site of the now-demolished structure where Forrest and Kate Crissey first lived in Geneva, and where Augustus Conant first preached. A block or so west of the new TIF building is the now vacant building of the failed Geneva Pharmacy, another “TIF money down the drain” City of Geneva gift recipient. Wasting millions of tax-payer dollars collected by Illinois’ most regressive tax (property tax) only makes living in Geneva less affordable for those already here.

The phrase “but for” was not heard in this discussion. The City must “find” factually that “but for” taxpayer largess, this project would not happen. Several Council Members lauded a similar project by the same developer in Naperville. When asked if that project had received Naperville TIF funds, the answer was “No.”

Has anyone seen the Geneva District #304 School Board in the last couple of years? Most of the TIF money will come from the School District via the property tax payers. Much of #304 is not in the City of Geneva, but those homeowners will also subsidize this project.

Footnote:

“Written on Veteran’s Day 2022: To the Geneva City Council – The Illinois Housing Development Authority believed that the City of Geneva donated the Emma’s Landing parcel. IHDA cited this donation in its announcement that Emma’s Landing was a “winner” of a large LIHTC grant. IHDA used a communication from City staff based on a February 2020 closed session improper vote to conclude the land was donated. Emma’s Landing IHDA QAP application was given “bonus points” based on a donation that never happened. In Geneva City Hall, if you are not cheating, you are not trying. “Transparency” does not exist.

This is my final FOIA request for the February 2020 closed session tapes from the City Council and Cow. I have requested them in the past. 

Democracy died in darkness on your watch. The funeral is over.

Rod Nelson, Former Major USAF”

Francis Henry Grice Library of Congress Daguerreotype 1368, ca1844, Proposed by RBN to Depict Emma Hale Smith at the Age of 39

“It’s interesting to look at photographs of Emma after Joseph’s death (there are none before). As she ages, one of her eyes becomes more and more droopy. Some have speculated that she had a stroke, but we have no record of that. I think she dealt with post-traumatic stress, and it was manifesting physically.”

Emma Smith: Who Was Joseph Smith’s Wife? – FromtheDesk.org

The discussion here is not an attempt to use smoke and mirrors for the purpose of deception. First of all, no smoke obscures any images here! However, the mirror issue is a problem. In fact, A.S. Wolcott’s earliest American-made Daguerreotype camera employed a mirror instead of a lens. See: Laser-cut Wolcott camera (guyjbrown.com), but all early Daguerrean cameras, whether designed with a mirror or a lens, produced a mirror image of the subject on an exposed silvered copper plate. An image of Emma Hale Smith that is widely accepted as authentic is a carte-de-visite said to depict Emma and her last-born child David Hyrum Smith Emma Hale Smith – Biography (josephsmithpapers.org). But is that CDV a copy of a Daguerreotype?

Here are some difficulties. The image of Emma cradling a child in the Joseph Smith Papers Collection is cropped from a carte-de-visite purportedly made by copying a Daguerreotype made in ca1845 (David Hyrum Smith was born November 17, 1844). That uncropped but trimmed CDV shows a faint oval around the subjects suggesting it could have been in an oval brass surround typical of a Daguerreotype case. Daguerreotype images are chemically very stable but are highly susceptible to scratches, few of which are seen on the CDV in question. The trimming at the bottom of the CDV may have been done to fit in a frame with oval matting. A CDV of a Daguerreotype reproduces the original mirroring. However, CDV prints are made from a negative, and negatives can be easily flipped over to create a mirror image. A Daguerreotype, of course, is simultaneously a positive and a negative.

Two similar dual images are below. The first depicts the mirror image of the CDV on the left, and on the right depicts a cropped image from the original Daguerreotype 1368 in the Library of Congress proposed by the author to depict Emma Hale Smith in 1844 with her husband Joseph (see final image below).

Three features are noteworthy when comparing the paired image directly below: 1) The woman in the left image appears much older than the woman in the right image; 2) Both images show the hair parted slightly off center; 3) Both images demonstrate the same asymmetry of the eyes. The author (RBN) suggests that the child in the left image is Don Alvin Smith (May 17, 1871- September 9, 1904), the son of Alexander Hale Smith, who himself once was a partner in a photographic studio. Don Alvin Smith was the grandson of Joseph and Emma Hale Smith. The author postulates that the CDV image was captured from life in ca1871 by Emma and Joseph Smith’s son Alexander Hale Smith in Nauvoo. See: Romig, Ronald E. Alexander: Joseph & Emma Smith’s Far West Son. United States: John Whitmer Books, 2009. p22. Two versions of the CDV exist – were there more?

However, further below, you will see a triple image of Emma Smith that best fits together the eyes of the three. This suggests that the CDV is a “flipped” image, so it may have been taken originally as a Daguerreotype! But the negative of the CDV may have been flipped, which seems more likely. Daguerreotype images are increasingly rare after the mid-1850s. Among Alexander Smith’s many varied pursuits was photography.

For the Bayesian reader, the prior probability that a baby is being held on the left is said to be 66.3%. See: The Psychological Reason 2/3 of People Cradle Babies On The Left – FamilyEducation

The image on the left depicts Emma Hale Smith (July 10, 1804 – April 30, 1879) with her youngest child David Hyrum Smith (November 17, 1844 – August 29, 1904). This left image is from the Joseph Smith Papers Biography. See: Emma Hale Smith – Biography (josephsmithpapers.org) and has been cropped from a carte de visite. It has been flipped horizontally here. The “flip” was done because carte de visite images are not mirrored images of the subject. The left image has been thought to be taken from a Daguerreotype taken in ca1845. The image on the right is cropped from the Library of Congress quarter-plate Daguerreotype 1368 of the Francis Grice Collection. and is proposed by RBN to depict Emma Hale Smith in 1844 before June 27th (the date of her husband Joseph Smith’s murder). The right image has not been horizontally flipped. [Unidentified man and woman, three-quarters length portrait, seated] (loc.gov) Please note that both the above images are reversed (“mirrored’). The left image was flipped by RBN, and the right was originally “flipped/mirrored” because of the inherent optics of the early Daguerrean cameras with either a lens or a mirror. The next image below reverses the “flips.”
This dual image is the “mirror image” of the dual image above it, i.e., the entire image has been horizontally flipped. The ring worn in the left image is “now” on the left hand. For more on the ring, see: A Francis Grice Image of Joseph Smith, Jr. or his Doppelganger? – Rod’s Ramblings and Ruminations (genevanotes.com) The right image is flipped back to the image as it exists on the original CDV.
Romig, Ronald E. Alexander: Joseph & Emma Smith’s Far West Son. United States: John Whitmer Books, 2009. p2.
A drooping eyelid is called ptosis (blepharoptosis). Ptosis has many causes and can affect both eyes, as in myasthenia gravis. More often, ptosis affects only one eye and is caused by processes that affect the cervical sympathetic nerves. Ptosis can be intermittent. Without a thorough neurological examination, the cause cannot be determined, and congenital asymmetry is possible,
Two versions of the CDV Emma | Knowbrotherjoseph
Emma Hale Smith Bidamon 1870s, in: Walker, Kyle R. “‘Clambering to the Rugged Mountaintop with Aunt Emma’: The Hale Family’s Ongoing Engagement with Mormonism in Illinois.” The John Whitmer Historical Association Journal 37, no. 2 (2017): 38–61. https://www.jstor.org/stable/26614521.
Don Alvin Smith
On the left is a Community of Christ Archive photo of Emma Smith depicting ptosis of the right eye, as also seen in LOC 1368 (center). Ptosis (drooping lid) can be intermittent. But the right image is the Joseph Smith Papers CDV. mirror image! This seeming discrepancy has several possible explanations, including the possibility that the center image is not Emma Smith, despite the circumstantial evidence that it is Emma. More probable is that the images are of the same person.
Library of Congress Grice Daguerreotype 1368 Proposed by RBN to Depict Joseph and Emma Smith 1844
Provenance | Theprophetsscars

Geneva City Council Set to Destroy Unspecified Audio Recordings of Pandemic Era Closed Sessions: Still More Emma’s Landing Cover-Up?

The Geneva City Council has audio tape destruction on its secret closed session agenda for November 7, 2022. Exactly which tapes are not specified. For example, the tapes of the closed sessions of February 2020 were up for destruction last March, but mysteriously that agenda item vanished without a trace.

The February 2020 audios contained discussions by the Council about its “comfort” with gifting of the Emma’s Landing parcel to the Burton Foundation. For reasons that remain shrouded, the gift was never bestowed even though the Illinois Housing Development Authority thought it was. This resulted in the Geneva project receiving bonus points that likely resulted in Geneva outscoring at least half of the competition. Geneva was one of the 22 winners out of 40 applicants.

The scant public details of all these shenanigans are described elsewhere on this site. Much of the secret activity of the Geneva Council occurred during the fog of war that accompanied the chaos of Covid. The Governor suspended the Open Meetings Act while advising that non-urgent matters be tabled. The Geneva City Council picked up the pace on Emma’s Landing and issued “Fact Sheets” that contained many pure canards.

All the tapes and documents related in any way to the now nearly complete Emma’s Landing Low Income Housing Tax Credit Project must be completely divulged. Any destruction of evidence while so many unresolved questions remain shall be viewed by history as an admission of guilt.

Francis Henry Grice Library of Congress Daguerreotype 1343, ca1844, Proposed by RBN to Depict Sally Waterman Phelps (1797-1872)

The image on the left is Sally Waterman Phelps from her biography in the Joseph Smith Papers. Sally Waterman Phelps – Biography (josephsmithpapers.org) The image on the right is cropped and horizontally flipped from the Library of Congress Grice Collection of Daguerreotypes number 1343. [Unidentified woman, half-length portrait, seated, wearing mitts and spectacles, with arm resting on a table with tablecloth] (loc.gov)
Sally and her husband William Wines Phelps both wore spectacles.

Francis Henry Grice Library of Congress Daguerreotype 1508, ca1844, Proposed by RBN to Depict Ruth Moon Clayton

Ruth Moon Clayton was 27 years old in 1844. She appears somewhat older in Daguerreotype 1385. where she shares the image with her husband William Clayton. The posing and composition of 1508 are far superior to 1385, raising the possibility that the former may have been taken by someone other than Francis Grice – perhaps Lucien Foster.

Francis Henry Grice Library of Congress Daguerreotype 1522, ca1844, Proposed to Depict Bathsheba Wilson Bigler Smith

The image on the left is cropped from LOC Grice Collection Daguerreotype 1522. [Unidentified woman, seated three-quarter-length portrait, facing front] (loc.gov) The image in the right is cropped from LOC Grice Collection Daguerreotype 1383. [Unidentified man and woman, full-length portrait, seated] (loc.gov)

Bathsheba Smith was 22 years-old in 1844. She studied painting under Nauvoo portraitist William Major. “…Bathsheba found great satisfaction in providing for them. Her letters and autobiography are filled with descriptions of the shirts, carpets, curtains, cushions, soaps, rugs, caps, pillowcases, sheets, comforters, bonnets, stockings, diapers, candles, dresses, aprons, and so forth, that she made to make her family comfortable, not to mention the animals she tended, the gardens she kept, and the sick she visited. She once wrote that she had “done all we could to encourage home manufactory.” Relief Society General President (churchofjesuschrist.org) Grice image 1522 depicts her pride in her industry.
The “F Grice” is only faintly debossed on the brass surround. The ring appears to have been hand colored in gold.

Francis Henry Grice Library of Congress Daguerreotype 1361, ca1844, Proposed to Depict Eliza Rebecca Robison Wells

The image on the left is cropped from the April 2002 issue of Wellesprings, the newsletter of the Welles Family
Association. Daniel Hanmer Wells, Father of the Utah Branch of our Family Microsoft Word – news02-04.doc (demandinggenealogist.com). The image on the right is cropped and horizontally flipped from the LOC Grice Daguerreotype Collection image number 1361. [Unidentified woman, half-length portrait] (loc.gov)

Eliza Rebecca (Robison) Wells did not accompany her husband to Utah or participate in his plural marriages. Following his flight from Nauvoo, she lived there for three years with her son, then moved to Minnesota when she became involved in an Episcopalian mission.

Daniel Hamner Wells (see: A Francis Henry Grice Daguerreotype, ca1844, Proposed To Be Daniel Hamner Wells, A Nauvoo “Jack Mormon” in 1844. He joined the Church in 1846. Wells Was Third in Command of the Utah Mormon Militia in 1856 Under George Smith and Brigham Young. – Rod’s Ramblings and Ruminations (genevanotes.com)) Note the similar brass surrounds of the two Wells images. This image is #1343, and the Barboza number is 6019.040. Eliza’s image is Barboza number 6019.041. However, the Daniel Wells image is one of three in the Grice Collection that appears like an example of a less contrast-intense imaging process such as an albumen print. Wells was 29 years old in the spring and summer of 1844. The man in this image appears to be older. Daguerreotypes are fragile and it is possible that the case was reused to frame a later image. Eliza was 24 years old in 1844.