Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Should Glenn Taggart Sit on the LVPC?

If you're a title searcher like me, you learn to like lawyer letters. They contain checks. But this one, from Jim Broughal's Bethelehem law firm, was a little different. Broughal's firm, which specializes in representing developers and engineers, is trying to shut me up.

[W]e have been made aware of statements published on your blog, which are defamatory towards Taggart Associates and to Donna Taggart in particular. These statements, which allude to self-dealing and corruption by Taggart Associates, are patently false in nature. The publication of these false statements on your blog demonstrates a ... [blah, blah, blah].

Please consider this letter a warning that if you do not stop publishing these false allegations, Taggart Associates will have no option but to proceed with a claim against you for libel and slander.


Libel? Slander, too? Uh oh.

I immediately checked to see what terrible things I had written about Taggart, a Bethlehem outfit that specializes in "in project funding, transportation management, economic development and environmental planning." I found nothing. Nada. Zip.

But then I checked through my comments, and fellow blogger BillyBytes did make three comments mentioning Taggart, along with a host of others. Nothing about them is really defamatory. In fact, I barely understand them. So I fired off a response to the suits. "I've searched through my blog, and I've never written a word about Taggart. So bring it on, bippy. Sue to your heart's content."

That was the end of it. Until last Thursday, when I saw that Glenn Taggart was nominated by Northampton County Executive John Stoffa for reappointment to the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission. He's Donna's husband, and he also works for Taggart Asscoiates.

Councilman Ron Angle asked why a fox like Taggart would be in the LVPC henhouse. Stoffa replied, "He's got nothing going on. He adds expertise." Angle was not so sure. "He might have nothing now, but what about tomorrow? And he might have associates coming before the LVPC."

Angle was the sole councilman to vote against Taggart.

As it turns out, Taggart has plenty going on, and this is bound to cast some doubt upon his ability to handle matters objectively, free from the influence of developers like Ashley and the casino. Don't take my word for it. Let Donna tell you herself.

Greater Easton Development Partnership, Inc. - Recently re-structured and re-energized the former Easton Economic Development Corporation into the Greater Easton Development Partnership, Inc. to provide the City of Easton with an active non-profit economic development corporation. This new entity is the sponsoring organization for the new Easton Main Street Initiative to stimulate revitalization of Easton’s Central Business District. Also serves as Program Coordinator of the Easton Main Street Initiative.

Slate Belt - Facilitated development in the Slate Belt area of the Lehigh Valley, PA, highlights which include the formation of a Council of Government; construction of a 40,000 sq.ft. Shell building in partnership with the Northampton County IDA, the Green Knight Economic Development Corp., and J.G. Petrucci Co.; and installation of infrastructure to a 60-acre industrial park in Portland.

Route 512 Improvement Project - Local project manager for the Route 512 Improvement Project responsible for securing the local financing match of $5 million for a $12 million project. In this role, Mrs. Taggart served as the interface between PennDOT, the local municipalities and existing companies and potential prospects for the Lehigh Valley Industrial Park.

Hotel Bethlehem - Spearheaded a $13 million historic renovation of a bankrupt downtown Bethlehem hotel to carry a national flag.

Broad and Main - Facilitated the development of a key downtown Bethlehem property that had been vacant for over 20 years, into a mixed-use retail/office building. This project included the construction of an adjacent 700-car intermodal facility that also serves as a LANTA hub.

Bethlehem Technology Center - Participated as one of the non-profit economic development partners and overall managing partner for the development of a $4 million post-incubator technology building in south Bethlehem.

Petrilla Fuel Oil/ Union Station - Oversaw the successful purchase and environmental remediation of a 10-acre site at a major gateway entrance to south Bethlehem resulting in the attraction of a national chain restaurant and the development of an abandoned train station into a satellite office for St. Luke’s Hospital.

Main Street Commons - Coordinated the financing package for a $12 million renovation project of a former department store in the heart of the north side business district of the City of Bethlehem into a mixed use retail/office complex bringing hundreds of jobs to the downtown. This project included the construction of a contiguous 60-car parking deck.

Ashley Development - Currently advises major local developer, Ashley Development, regarding creative financing strategies for urban redevelopment projects. Acts as liaison between corporation and state entities involved in financing processes.

Las Vegas Sands Corporation – Serves as Community Outreach Liaison for casino operator recently licensed in Pennsylvania. Responsible for coordination of local corporate training programs, community events and public involvement.

14 comments:

Billy Givens said...

When on June 23, 2005, Bush-appointed U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Roberts handed down his split 5-4 decision upholding the right of a municipality to declare a neighborhood "blighted," as pretext to "taking" property from private owners on behalf of a redeveloper - there was national outrage.

The ruling in the instant case was Kelo v. City of New Londong Conn.

Immediately, many states, including my Alabama, acted immediately to introduce legislation this kind of "taking" of private property.

Unfortunately, those states did not include Pennsylvania, which to many will come as no surprise.

In fact, in a redevelopment termed the "Bushkill Creek Corridor" project - beginning at Easton's N. 13th St. old Simon Silk Mill building and proceeding eastwardly to the 200 block of N. 3rd St. and beyond (including Nevin Terrace), Donna Taggart Associates is the project manager.

The City of Easton, through its Redevelopment Authority, is in the process of taking at least 33 privately owned properties in this section of the Bushkill Creek Corridor, forcing the owners to "sell" under the threat of eminent domain.

The City of Easton is taking these properties on behalf of Lafayette College, which has already acquired ownership of the former Mohican Club and the Jac and Company restaurant next door, between the Mochican Club and the college campus.

These two buildings, subject to severe flooding, occupy both banks of Bushkill Creek and are connected to each other by an enclosed bridge spanning the creek.

In fact, the creek runs underneath the former Hoffman auto restoration building, another acquisition of Lafayette College.

One of the properties threatened by the City of Easton's taking is Integrated Automotive Services (IAS), locate at the intersection of Bushkill Drive and Dietrich Avenue, a company with which I have done business for nearly 20 years.

Anonymous said...

Bernie??

Anonymous said...

if they had asked me. i would've told them you were uncollectable...

Bernie O'Hare said...

True. There is that.

Ed's Grill said...

Funny how in the same blog you deny being slanderous/libelous, you break basic copyright laws. A simple google image search reveals the cartoon you so "cleverly" used to represent Glenn Taggart as a fox is copyrighted and previously published.
http://www.usatt.org/magazine/marek_cartoons.shtml

Bernie O'Hare said...

To Ed's Grill!

I commonly use photos and cartoons I glean from the net and load them up here. As I understand copyright law, this use falls under the fair use exception because 1) it is a transformative use; 2) it is already a published work that appears at numerous locations; and 3) there's no way that a copy of the cartoon, as I modified it, can be substituted for the original.

Thanks for voicing your concern.

Anonymous said...

10 Big Myths About Copyrights

hth,

Bernie O'Hare said...

hth,

Thanks for the link. Just checked it out. I'm pretty sure I'm safe under the fair use doctrine. I'd hate to abandon the practice.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

taggert and so many others are in that revolving door. lvedc one day, the casino the next, and easton the day after that.

Anonymous said...

I get it now, attack productive businesses, politicians, candidates or people who actually have "real" jobs and contribute to society on a daily basis. Good -- bad -- indifferent.

Those who can do - and those who can’t criticize???

Like the saying goes opinions are like assholes - we all got one -- but not everyone wants to see it. Hence you are a hero in your own mind and birds of a feather to your loyal few.

Bernie O'Hare said...

No. What I'm saying is the fox does not belong in the henhouse. Taggart has too much going on locally to be objective on the LVPC.

Last time I checked, criticism was still lawful in this country.

Anonymous said...

in that case, you should read the patriot act more closely.

Billy Givens said...

More Alarming than Glenn Taggart's appointment to the LVPC is the fact that his wife, Donna, has put her experience in BEDCO (Bethlehem Economic Development Corporation) and as VP of Regional Development for LVEDC (Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation to good use:

That OJT gave her the skills to vulcanize Easton's Economic Development Corporation (EEDC), its threads worn down to the corroded steel belts under pit-stop stewardess Christine Cleaver, and, following a jiffy spray-paint job, put the clunker back on track, emblazoned with the logo "GEDP" (Greater Easton Development Partnership).

Besides her husband Glenn, another member of Donna Taggart Associates os Chad D. Helmer, project manager for the joint City of Easton-Lafayette College "public-private" plutocracy known as the Bushkill Creek Corridor project, including a new urban center called "Bushkill Village," to compete with downtown Easton's existing commercial center.