The people, budgets and controversies CityBeat covered while writing about the streetcar all year
0 Comments · Thursday, December 26, 2013
Just like it was a big year for Cincinnati and Ohio, it was a big year for the CityBeat news team.
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 23, 2013
The Requiem Project amended its lawsuit against the University of Cincinnati over the Emery Theatre, arguing that UC have systematically failed their charitable purpose.
by German Lopez
Shutdown ends, homeless sue county, Requiem makes demands in battle for Emery Theatre
Early voting for the 2013 City Council and mayoral elections is now underway. Find your voting location here. Normal voting hours will be 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., although some days will be extended.
Congress last night voted
to end a partial government shutdown that lasted for more than two
weeks and avoid defaulting on the nation’s debt. In the end, House
Republicans, including Speaker John Boehner and local Reps. Steve Chabot
and Brad Wenstrup, got less than nothing for their threats of default
and shutdown: Obamacare wasn’t repealed or delayed, taxes weren’t cut
and federal spending remained flat. Instead, Republicans were left with the worst polling results
Gallup measured for either political party since it began asking the question in 1992. Meanwhile, President
Barack Obama and congressional Democrats got the clean budget and debt
ceiling bills they were asking for all along. But the funding measures only last until Jan. 15 and the debt ceiling increase remains until Feb. 7,
leaving some groups on both sides of the aisle to ask whether the
dramatic showdown will happen all over again in a few months.
Four local homeless sued Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil
over his attempts to evict homeless people sleeping at the courthouse
and Hamilton County Justice Center with the threat of jail time.
Homeless advocates argue the policy punishes homeless people for being
homeless; they say the county should focus on creating jobs and housing
opportunities, not arresting people who are just trying to find a safe
spot to sleep. But the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office says it’s
addressing a public health issue; Major Charmaine McGuffey, head of the
Hamilton County Justice Department, says that every morning county
officials are forced to clean up urine and feces left by the homeless
the night before, and often the county doesn’t have the resources to
completely disinfect the areas.
In the ongoing legal battle for the Emery Theatre, the Requiem Project amended its lawsuit
against the University of Cincinnati and lessees and asked the courts
to remove UC from ownership of the building. Requiem argues UC has
failed to live up to the goals of Mary Emery’s charitable trust by
allowing the building to fall into disrepair and non-use over the years.
Courts originally approved the development of apartments in the
building as long as the profits went toward renovating the theater, but
after 14 years apartment operators say there are multiple mortgages on
the property and no profits. The trial is scheduled for February.
Commentary: “Governor Finally Accepts Federal Funds.”
Now in print: Mayoral candidate John Cranley, who’s running for mayor against fellow Democrat and Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls, rejected support
from the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST),
and the conservative organization’s history of anti-LGBT causes helps
Qualls scored higher across the board
than Cranley in the scorecard released today by the African-American
Chamber of Commerce. Gene Beaupre, a political science professor at
Xavier University, previously told CityBeat that the black vote
will likely decide the mayoral election. Council candidates Charlie
Winburn, P.G. Sittenfeld, Vanessa White, Yvette Simpson, David Mann and
Pam Thomas also topped the scorecard.
Ohio House Republicans may sue
Gov. John Kasich for his decision to bypass the legislature and instead
get approval from a seven-member legislative panel for the federally
funded Medicaid expansion, which would use Obamacare dollars to extend
eligibility for the government-run health insurance program to more
low-income Ohioans for at least two years. The Health Policy Institute
of Ohio previously found the expansion would generate $1.8 billion for
the state and insure nearly half a million Ohioans over the next decade.
CityBeat covered Kasich’s decision in further detail here.
Meanwhile, the Ohio House and Senate are debating three different ways
to approach an overhaul of Medicaid and bring the program’s costs down.
State Rep. Barbara Sears’ bill pushes for a swathe of reforms and cost
controls, while State Rep. John Becker’s bill aims to significantly
weaken the program to the absolute minimums required by the federal
government. Becker’s proposal would likely leave hundreds of thousands
of low-income Ohioans without health insurance.
Speaking in Cincinnati yesterday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the federal government is working to correct the many errors plaguing Obamacare’s online marketplaces. The glitches and traffic overload have made HealthCare.gov,
which acts as Obamacare’s shopping portal for Ohio and 35 other states,
practically unusable for most Americans since the website launched on
Ohio’s prison agency reassigned
the warden and second-in-command at the Correctional Reception Center
weeks after Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro was found dead in his cell.
A 20-year-old woman is expected to recover after her car crashed into a Winton Hills building while she overdosed on heroin, according to Cincinnati police.
Cincinnati is the only Ohio city to make Livability.com’s top 100 places to live.
Headline: “Bad sperm? Drop the bacon.”
A new study argues ancient climate change led early humans to adapt and evolve.
by Danny Cross
Posted In: News
at 01:22 PM | Permalink
Nonprofit says UC and lessees have failed their charitable purpose
When Mary Emery donated the money to build the Ohio
Mechanics’ Institute in 1908, she stipulated that the building would contain an
assembly hall available to the public. Her charitable trust has been tasked
with ensuring that The Emery Theatre, located in the basement of the building
at the corner of Walnut Street and Central Parkway in Over-the-Rhine, is used
for public performances ever since.
The Requiem Project, a nonprofit organization formed
in 2008 to oversee programming and raise money to renovate the
century-old theater, says that’s exactly where the University
of Cincinnati has failed to fulfill the requirements of overseeing the
property, and it is asking the Court of Common Pleas to remove UC from
ownership of the building.
The Requiem Project yesterday filed an amendment to its lawsuit
against UC and lessees of the property housing the Emery Theatre, arguing that
UC and the organizations operating the building have systematically failed
their charitable purpose by allowing the theater to fall into disrepair after
non-use for so many years.
The suit asks the court to award the Requiem Project the
lease under which another nonprofit, the Emery Center Corp. (ECC), is currently
operating the theater via a series of subleases from UC. If UC is removed as
owner, the building could be overseen by the city or another nonprofit
organization and Requiem could sublease from it.
UC assumed control of the building in the 1970s but needed
permission to renovate most of it into apartments because of the charitable
trust’s requirement that the building continue to serve the community. A 1999 court ruling allowed the development but required all profits to be used to renovate the Emery Theatre. Fourteen years later, the apartment operators say there are
multiple mortgages on the property and no profits.
“The Court should remove UC as owner and trustee of the
property, as UC has proved itself an unfit custodian,” the complaint states.
The complaint includes photos of various rundown areas
inside the theater with captions such as, “Closed-off bathrooms. UC’s ‘saving’
The Emery” and “UC’s standard of fiduciary ‘care.’”
the original lawsuit in August here.
The complaint accuses UC, ECC and Emery Center Apartments
Limited Partnership (ECALP) — the for-profit company that oversees the
building’s apartments — of conspiring to breach a 2010 letter of intent that stated ECC would sublease the
theater to Requiem on the same terms as ECC is currently operating the theater. Requiem says the binding letter of intent is still valid and gives its organizers the right to a long-term lease that will allow them to raise money
while operating the theater.
The Requiem’s cofounders, Tina Manchise and Tara Gordon, maintain
in their lawsuit that the ECC and UC are purposely blocking the Requiem from
moving forward with their original plan to incrementally update the 1,600-seat
theater and allow programming to continue during the process.
After signing the letter of intent in 2010, the Requiem
Project temporarily opened the Emery Theatre in 2011 to celebrate the 100-year
anniversary of Mary Emery’s dedication of the theater and to reintroduce the
public to the long-overlooked resource — the theater was modeled after Carnegie
Hall in New York City and is considered “acoustically pure.” It was the home of
the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra from 1912-36 and has hosted the likes of
Eleanor Roosevelt and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Although UC owns the building, it subleases the building to ECALP, which
subleases the Emery Theatre to ECC. When contacted by CityBeat in August, UC spokesperson Greg Hand declined to comment, only
stating that UC doesn’t have a relationship with the Requiem Project because
its only relationship is with ECALP.
ECC informed Requiem in January that it would not renew its
management agreement “for no cause,” according to the lawsuit, and then asked
Requiem to vacate the building in August.
The complaint also seeks damages related to money Requiem has
invested in the theater and losses caused by the August eviction. It is
schedule for trial in February.
by German Lopez
Outsiders back pension reform, Requiem could be evicted, JobsOhio conflicted in interests
Local and national tea party groups are pushing a ballot initiative that would privatize Cincinnati’s pension system
by moving city workers from a public plan to 401k-style plans, but city
officials and unions are urging voters to reject the measure because
they claim it would raise costs for the city and reduce gains for
retirees. Cincinnati for Pension Reform paid Arno Petition Consultants
nearly $70,000 to gather enough signatures to get the initiative on the
ballot. It’s so far unclear where that money came from. Virginia-based
Liberty Initiative Fund, which is supporting a similar pension proposal in
Tucson, Ariz., is backing the Cincinnati effort, with one of two
blog posts on its website
praising the local initiative. Liberty Initiative Fund has given at
least $81,000 to the Tucson campaign. For more information about the
Cincinnati campaign and initiative, click here.
Hamilton County Judge Carl Stitch on Wednesday ruled against granting a temporary restraining order
that would prevent the trio that owns and leases the Emery Theatre from
evicting the nonprofit seeking to renovate the building. The ruling
means Requiem Project, which was founded in 2008 to renovate the
theater, might be kicked out by the University of Cincinnati, Emery
Center Apartments Limited Partnership (ECALP) and the Emery Center
Corporation (ECC), the groups that own and lease the Emery Theatre.
Still, the judge said that the ruling should in no way indicate what the
final outcome of the case will be and it could turn out that
Requiem deserves a long-term lease.
Gov. John Kasich received campaign donations from and
served on the board of Worthington Industries, a central Ohio steel
processor, before the company got tax credits from JobsOhio,
the privatized development agency. Kasich’s spokesperson told the
Associated Press that the governor severed ties with Worthington before the
tax deals were approved. Still, the latest discovery adds to a series of
conflicts of interest that have mired JobsOhio in the past few weeks.
Previously, Dayton Daily News found that most of the board
members on JobsOhio had direct financial ties to some of the companies
getting state aid. Republicans defend JobsOhio because they say its
privatized and secretive nature allows it to carry out job-creating
development deals more quickly, but Democrats say the agency is too
difficult to hold accountable and might be wasting taxpayer money.
Commentary: “Disparity Study Now.”
State officials are looking to tighten limits
for local governments passing budgets, issuing debt and funding
pensions. State Rep. Lou Terhar, a Republican from Cincinnati, and State
Auditor Dave Yost say the proposal is aimed at correcting pension
problems such as the one in Cincinnati, which Yost labeled
“Pension-zilla.” Cincinnati’s unfunded pension liability currently
stands at $862 million, which earned the city a downgraded bond rating from Moody’s in a July 15 report.
A task force convened by Ohio Supreme Court Justice Maureen O’Connor is set to meet again to discuss possible changes to the state’s death penalty.
The panel recently proposed eliminating the use of capital punishment
in cases in which an aggravated murder was committed during a burglary,
robbery or rape.
A record number of white women, many from rural areas, are being sent to Ohio prisons, according to a report from the Sentencing Project, a Washington, D.C., think tank.
Two City Council candidates are struggling to get their names on the ballot
because of a couple different circumstances. Newcomer Mike Moroski fell
46 petition signatures short of the requirement of 500 signatures that
have to be turned in by Aug. 22. Meanwhile, hundreds of Councilman P.G.
Sittenfeld’s petitions might be thrown out because several dates were
corrected by crossing them out and writing the accurate date on the back
of the forms. The Hamilton County Board of Elections says it’s unclear
whether it can accept those signatures. Both candidates are now renewing
their petition drives to ensure they appear on the Nov. 5 ballot.
Candace Klein is resigning as CEO of SoMoLend,
the embattled local startup that previously partnered with the city of
Cincinnati to link local businesses to up to $400,000 in loans. City officials
Monday they were severing ties with SoMoLend after it was revealed that
the Ohio Division of Securities is accusing the company of fraud
because SoMoLend allegedly failed to get the proper licenses and exaggerated its
financial and performance figures. SoMoLend’s specialty is supposed to
be using crowdfunding tactics to connect small businesses and startups
with lenders, but the charges have called its expertise into question.
Metro, the city’s bus system, turns 40 today, and it plans to hold a party on Fountain Square from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in celebration.
Activist hedge fund manager Bill Ackman sold a majority of his Procter & Gamble stocks.
Popular Science has the list of the 10 weirdest robots at this year’s drone show here.
by German Lopez
Judge says case is too early to call either way but refuses to grant restraining order
Hamilton County Judge Carl Stitch today ruled against
granting a temporary restraining order that would prevent the trio that
owns and leases the Emery Theatre from evicting the nonprofit seeking to
renovate the building.
The ruling comes as a minor victory to the University of
Cincinnati, Emery Center Apartments Limited Partnership (ECALP) and the
Emery Center Corporation (ECC), the groups that own and lease the Emery
Theatre, and a loss to the Requiem Project, the nonprofit formed in 2008
to restore the theater to its former glory.
Still, Stitch cautioned that both sides potentially have a
case and the rejection shouldn’t be seen as indicative of who will
ultimately win the legal battle.
Given the ruling, both sides agreed to come back to the
judge in 30 days with a status report on what their legal intentions are
Requiem argued that it needs the temporary restraining
order to continue with the momentum the organization has built to
renovate the theater. The nonprofit says it needs a permanent lease to
use and raise funds that would go toward restoring the theater, which is
cited as one of the few “acoustically pure” complexes in the nation.
On the other side, the various groups that own and lease
the Emery Theatre claimed Requiem has shown little progress in raising
funds to renovate the building. They said they would still like to see
the theater restored, but not under the management of Requiem.
UC also continued denying any direct involvement in the
case, instead arguing that ECALP handles the Emery building in its
entirety for the university.
Tina Manchise and Tara Gordon, the two women who founded
Requiem, said after the hearing that the three organizations are trying
to eschew responsibility by pointing fingers at each other. In
particular, they pointed out that UC has consistently claimed a lack of
culpability, yet it’s also getting involved by asking the city to take
over the building.
Last week, emails revealed that UC is offering to give the Emery Theatre to the city.
UC Vice President of Governmental Relations Greg Vehr wrote in a June 21 email
to Councilwoman Laure Quinlivan that giving the building away would
allow the university to avoid becoming “a lightning rod in the private
dispute between (ECC and ECALP) and the Requiem Project.”
If the city takes over the building, the legal dispute
would likely become unnecessary and Requiem would probably be allowed to
carry on with its plans.
For an in-depth look at the situation and history between Requiem and UC, ECALP and ECC, check out CityBeat’s original coverage here.
by Hannah McCartney
FirstEnergy fined $43 million, worrisome child poverty rates in Hamilton County child poverty, Cleveland altweekly strikes a beer ransom
Ohio energy provider FirstEnergy, who last June won a bid to provide Cincinnati with “100 percent green” aggregated energy, was fined $43.3 million yesterday by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio for grossly overcharging its customers for renewable energy credits, or RECs. The issue dealt with FirstEnergy’s overcharging of customers across Northern Ohio from 2009-2011, so new FirstEnergy customers in Cincinnati are unaffected. A Cincinnati spine doctor, Abubakar Atiq Durrani, accused of performing millions of dollars worth of unnecessary surgery on unsuspecting patients was indicted yesterday for five counts of health-care fraud and five counts of making false health-care claims. Staff members of the Cleveland Scene yesterday snatched up the Twitter handle @PlainDealer after the Cleveland daily accidentally forgot to claim/reclaim it along with @ThePlainDealer. The Scene earned a delivered case of Great Lakes’ Oktoberfest and a six-pack of PBR in ransom. Hamilton Country fares worse than Ohio overall when it comes to the economic well-being, health, education and safety of our children, according to a report released Aug. 7 by the Children's Defense Fund and Annie E. Casey Foundation. Although median income is higher in Hamilton County than the statewide median, our rates are worse in child povery, fourth-grade reading and math proficiency, felony convictions and the amount of babies with low birth weights, an early sign of bad health. If you don't have anything nice to say about living in North Korea, you will get stuck working in a coal mine. Last week popular stand-up comedian Lee Choon Hong was sentenced to an indefinite period of hard labor in a COAL MINE after she told a bad joke that "satirized" aspects of North Korean society. She was apparently yanked off statge in the middle of her performance and sent straight to the mine without the chance to say goodbye to her family. This week in news: The historic building that houses the Emery Theatre is threatened by controversy between the owners of the building, the two organizations that run it and the nonprofit group The Requiem Project, who was billed in 2008 to program the theatre and raise money for the its renovation. Last week the Requiem Project sued the University of Cincinnati, which owns the building, Emery Center Corporation and Emery Center Apartments Limited Partnership (ECALP), for violating a "letter of intent" and attempting to forcefully evict Requiem from the building, although its leaders, Tara Gordon and Tina Manchise, say they've never been told why they've been "backed into a corner."A public housing project in Paris is the subject of an experimental heating project through which the warmth generated by human bodies milling around a nearby Metro station will be used to heat the building. This intern for NextMovie.com fucking cited every single line of Mean Girls by heart in less than 30 minutes. Get More: NextMovie.com: More Videos | Trailers | Movie News | New on DVD & Blu-Ray
The Requiem Project sues UC over its Emery Theatre contract; UC and its lessees shift the blame
14 Comments · Wednesday, August 7, 2013
The University of Cincinnati and the chain of command
between it and the Emery Theatre are giving conflicting explanations about
whose decision it was to cut the Requiem Project out of the picture.
The Emery Theatre reclaims its spot in the local and national spotlight
0 Comments · Tuesday, November 20, 2012
If the historic Emery Theatre had a voice,
it was a distant echo ricocheting off of boarded-up buildings and
dissolving into the background, unheard by Cincinnati for the nine years
its doors were closed. Lately, however, the Emery is a murmur growing
louder among art enthusiasts.