Port Authority’s Lack of Candor Moment

We are going to show the absolute LACK OF CANDOR of the Port Authority’s Executive Director, Mark Rantala.

Here are the minutes of a 2018 Land Bank Board meeting.

Land Bank 20180625-2nd-Quarter-MINUTES-executed (1)

BETTER FLIP PROGRAM -557 E 305th st, Willowick

Mark Rantala, Executive Director to the Lake County Port and Economic Development Corp. was asked to speak on behalf of the Port Authority’s Better Flip program. He reported of a recent segment on National Public Radio regarding the project, broadcast on the 5 th of June, followed by the ceremonious demo-breaking held at the 305 th St home on June 8th. A number of LCLRC board members were present in addition to Mayor John Barbish of Wickliffe, Mayor Dennis Morley of Eastlake, Mayor Robert Fiala of Willoughby and other officials. A link to the PBS news cast was provided via email to all Board members after the event.

The LCLRC experienced some difficulty during the process of the title transfer due to the Point-of-Sale inspection requirements by the City of Willowick. After some confusion, smoke detectors were temporarily installed to satisfy the Fire Department’s inspection and provide compliance with the City’s zoning codes. They were then removed for the remodeling of the home, after which they will be reinstalled. An additional $1 ,000 was necessary for sewer dye tests on the water and sewer lines located between the home and the tie-ins at the street. It was determined that the Port Authority will be responsible for the work necessary to separate the two lines. Some exasperation was expressed regarding the City’s rules as being both unnecessary and expensive – given the intent of the project; as there will be no one living in the home for the next several months during the renovation process. All fees and inspections will have to be done again, when the new owners take occupancy.

Mr. Rantala stated that a large sign marketing this project will be placed in the front yard of 557 later this week to inform the public of the combined efforts of both the Port Authority and the Land Bank Better Flip will have a website with videos of all segments ofthe renovation explaining how the program works. Within 3-4 months upon completion, there will be several walk through open houses and finally an auction for a new owner. The Better Flip Program is intended to show that the 1950’s style homes in this these neighborhoods can be converted into homes that are updated, beautiful and attractive to the younger millennials as opposed to the severity of leaving an empty space on the street, due to a demolition and the lack of opportunity to rebuild due to updated zoning codes.

Mr. Rantala explained the reconfiguration of the interior adding an addition off the back of the house resulting in a three bedroom, two bath floor plan. Mac Chafer asked if the house would be a “smart home as that is what the millennials look for. Mr. Rantala stated there will be smart wiring of the thermostat and updated USB outlets throughout. He describes this project as something between Bob Vila ‘s This Old House and HGTV’s Fixer-Upper. And that when the millennials see the new creation in an old space, they will be encouraged to buy in the Willowick neighborhood keeping the community vibrant and populated.  (emphasis added by LFC)

As co-sponsors of this project the LCLRC Board will be asked to attend news events during the remodeling process. Mr. Rantala thanked the Board for our participation.

(LFC Comments: At the 2/27/19 Port meeting, a Lobbyist for Citizens’ representative commented that the “Better Flip”, a name chosen by Rantala and his Board, is not a project that should have been started by the Port Authority since Lake County’s governmental entities have not shown the ability to bring any previous house renovation to the market within their original budget.  They continually lose money on their house flips.

At that comment, Rantala, in his usual condescending manner, scolded the LFC representative for calling the “Better Flip” as a “house flip” because it is so much more.

LFC will have much, much more for the Citizens of Lake County on this “Better Flop” project.  Oh, by the way, you may want to know the current cost of this house flip that was initially  projected to be an absolute maximum of $150,000.  When Commissioner Hamercheck at the previous Port meeting heard that the project costs where now in the range of $250,000 – $260,000, Rantala exploded in laughter and said no way!……Well, we are now at $299,000 and counting…..spending other  people’s money is easy isn’t it.

Mr. Rantala, we give you four Pinocchios for your lack of candor moments.

A final comment to Rantala – you are no Bob Vila, and we looking forward to viewing your amateurish attempt at a video.  So far, it is not very impressive.

It should also be noted that Commissioner “He who shall not be named” is 100% behind this project and the costs spent are irrelevant to him.  He stated that it is important to increase the values of the homes; therefore, more property taxes can be extracted from the future citizens.   We will have other articles on this subject.  He is now forever tied to this project —- “flipping lock, stock and barrel”) 



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  1. Marketing the Better Flip….was there ever really a plan? – Lobbyists for Citizens

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