|Sewage diving wil be part of next year's Sportsfest|
Honest Abe sings Fed Ed's praises now, calling him "the best mayor in the history of the city. I've never expected or gotten anything in return for a donation. I've never gotten any city contracts." Of course he did. As I explained earlier this week, Honest Abe bought the billboard company with city contracts for billboards at 13 different locations. Fed Ed denied that the City was involved in any way. "There was no deal that was made here, per se, and in any way, shape or form," he insisted. But there was. The City actually helped him purchase the company by buying two properties it did not need from Abe, allowing him to realize a $999,000 capital gain.
The first property, a series of three parcels along Union and Basin Streets near the city sewage plant, was purchased by Atiyeh's Basin Street Development Company in December, 2012, for $350,000. In May, 2014, he sold it to the City of Allentown for $950,000. He also imposed a billboard easement, which would allow him to advertise at that site.
His capital gain here is at least $600,000, and is probably more because he encumbered the City's property with a billboard easement in his favor.
The second property, located around 1900 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, is the remnant of an old fertilizer company, not very far from where a WPA wall recently collapsed as a result of City neglect. Much of this land, around 60%, is actually located in Salisbury Township instead of Allentown.
Atiyeh's Cedar Holdings LLC purchased this property in February 2007, for $51,000. In May 2014, he sold it to the City for $450,000, for a $399,000 capital gain.
His total capital gain from both purchases in $999,000. The City paid him enough money to purchase the billboard company he wanted.
The person who made all of this possible, by Atiyeh's own admission, is Miked Fleck, the Fed Ed campaign consultant who also acted as a business consultant.
It's unclear to me whether Allentown City Council was ever asked to approve these purchases. I see no evidence of it in any of the City Council minutes during that time period. It might be there, but I'm unable to locate it.
Allentown blogger Michael Molovinsky, unaware that the City was buying these properties from Atiyeh, speculated at the time that the funding source was actually the water and sewer lease with Lehigh County Authority. Fed Ed has apparently been using it as a slush fund. Since Miked Fleck's sister-in-law works as a "compliance" officer there, I'm sure every t is crossed and i is dotted.
Since that time, Atiyeh has been very grateful. He's donated $12,500 to Pawlowski or his puppets. How much he has paid his "consultant" Fleck is a question best left to the Feds.
The ostensible reason for these purchases was so that the City could add to its parks. Cuz as you know, we all love to picnic next to a sewage plant or an abandoned fertilizer company. In fact, sewage diving is being added to next year's Sportsfest. Instead of an A-town Throwdown, it will be the A-town Throwup.
The real reason for this purchase was to funnel $1 million into Honest Abe's pockets.