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Friday, August 03, 2018

Allentown Facade Grant Abuse Details

Yesterday, I told you that Allentown's facade grant program is being abused. People who administer it are actually benefiting from these grants. Today, I am posting an audit of these grants, detailing exactly how this program has been mismanaged. One of the chief deficiencies, in my view, is a lack of guidelines that are common on other communities.

When you look at this audit, you will see Upside Allentown members like Peter Lewnes, Miriam Huertas and Rebecca Torres acting like pigs at the trough. You will see grants awarded to millionaires and absentee landlords. You will see investors leverage grant money to turn a tidy profit. You will see friends of these Upside Allentown members getting grants while others are shot down. .

This audit was prepared by James Whitney and Shelby Edwards, whose grant was revoked when they refused to paint their building the color Lewnes wanted.

Allentown has just gone through a major pay-to-play scandal, but retiring FBI agent Scott Curtis warned that the threat of corruption still exists.

Looks like he was right.

On Monday, I will tell you how CACLV Executive Director Alan Jennings responded when presented with this unflattering audit.

Updated 10:40 am: James Whitney and Shelby Edwards are aware that Christian Brown may not be a city employee, and even sent me an updated audit to remove that reference. I accidentally went with an older version. But to me, it makes no difference whether he is a city employee because he is deciding on who does and does not get grants, and yet is benefiting. Also, the letter fromJennings was a response to their report yesterday.

Upside Allentown Facade Grant Recipients by BernieOHare on Scribd

37 comments:

Martin Kimmel said...

The Poverty Pimp probably won't allow you back on his Foo-Foo government subsidized lib loving Wdiy show with old %3 after this expoƛe?

Anonymous said...

Everyone close to Pawlowski is dirty.
Alan Jennings was as close as anyone except Michael Fleck and Lisa Pawlowski, both as complicit as complicit can be.
And of course Francis Dougherty, a confirmed felon.
Peter L. is on the second string team,
brighter and busier than most but he had to grease the wheels in his little corner of the City Without Limits.
That’s the way the system worked.
Same with Christian Brown.
Ya’ gotta pay to play,and if you don’t we’ve got numerous methods to hurt you bad.
At this juncture it should be remembered that more than a few courageous people stood up for truth and fair play and they all paid the price. Pawlowski was nothing if not vindictive.
Jennings is unusual among this band of creeps, thrives, liars and thugs.
Jennings was not in the game to make himself wealthy.
Jennings craved power and adulation.
“Alan Jennings thinks he’s Allentown’s own Jesus Christ” was a favorite line of Emma’s,
and she had a way with words.
Alan’s name comes up when everyone at my church gets around to talking about their LCA water bills, Jennings legacy.
There’s a lot more rot to clean out of the formerly Queen City.

Anonymous said...

The ones that stand out to me are the two on the unit block of N. 11th Street, and the ones in the 10 hundred and 11 hundred blocks of Hamilton (Near 11th Street). If my memory is correct, a certain former Mayor lived in the unit block of N. 11th Street.

It would probably be a good idea to cross-reference the entire list to Pawlowski campaign donors.

Anonymous said...

You'll have your hands full when you go after Pawlowski's number one sidekick Alan Jennings. I caught parts of an interview on WAEB yesterday morning where Jennings shot off a text message to members of a crime watch in Allentown to "shoot" some guy in their neighborhood that Jennings has political disagreements with. When you disagree with that guy you're in real trouble.

Anonymous said...

Miriam Huertas was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. The Friends of Ed Pawlowski, FedEd's campaign committee, gave her $300 to get to the Convention. I always wondered why the Chamber would have a staffer that is such a liberal who supports many anti-business political candidates.
https://www.allentownpa.gov/Portals/0/files/Campaign%20Finance%20Report%20-%20Friends%20of%20Ed%20Pawlowski%209-24-12.pdf

Anonymous said...

Thursday 9/21/2012
“Alan Jennings, who has so often spoke so eloquently for the little guy, has already rolled over for the suits that budget his organization.”
Bernie O’Hare
Lehigh Valley Rambling

Alan Jenning’s people were never the little guy, that’s the act he peddled to the suits.
It’s all about him, the hero of the little guy.
Nothing happens at CACLV without Mr. Jennings knowledge and approval.
Absolutely nothing.

george schaller said...

This is no diffeRENT than REwritting with diffeRENT wording in the context the Z Zone law? The Z Zone law is a law REwritten that only truely has had one REciepient that is only a circus carnival stick? All the naysaying subordanants are subdued by many diffeRENT venuez that are allocated by the local Vatican.
The Big Dig in the bowellz of hell in the lehighvalley is even lower than hell!!
just redd
humanist by design
not a party favor

Anonymous said...

Loyalty was the prized commodity.
Everybody got something, something small or something big, depending. The loyal got a taste, big or small as fit their station. The disloyal got a wacking, big or little, as Fed Ed saw fit. Pay, play, or perish.
Huertas was the linchpin of the downtown events, always a trusted Pawlowski loyalist.
Lewnes was the Queen of Seventh St. and the jewel in St. Jennings crown.
A hard working sycophant who made things happen in his fiefdom.
(Randy Landis was Pawlowski’s “spiritual adviser”, with his own empty suit in the 5th floor suite.)
Mrs. P knew everything and wore the pants at home.
Everybody knew how the system worked.
There is shit on a lot of shoes.
Let’s see how Mayor Ray navigates this minefield.
The Mann vultures are circling.

Charlie Sch said...

It is important to understand the intent of a facade grant program in a downtown. These types of programs have been used within Allentown for a few decades, as well as throughout the nation.

The ownership of the building does not matter, as long as the owner does not have code violations on other Allentown properties. That restriction keeps slumlords from using the grant program. This intent is very different from other programs that rehab the interior of homes, which are typically limited to low-income owner occupants.

We also need to recognize that not all non-resident landlords are evil. The goal of code enforcement is support to make it convenient for the responsible landlords to invest in their properties, and to pressure the completely irresponsible ones to sell the building to someone who will be responsible.

The goal of facade programs is to restore the historic features of the front facades of buildings, such as removing siding that covers up brick and architectural details. The second goal is to make business storefronts more inviting to customers. The improvements are designed to last over the long-term, and not to benefit a particular current tenant. The improvements are also intended to encourage additional homebuyers or businesses to invest in the block, because it has much better curb appeal and more character.

Lastly, I would note that a building owner is criticized for living in a "$750,000 apartment in Brooklyn." In most of Brooklyn, that will buy a small one-bedroom, and in some parts of Brooklyn, it would not even buy a closet.

Charlie Sch said...

Peter Lewnes is also criticized for having used architectural details that were salvaged from a building demolished in downtown Allentown to add character to his building in downtown Allentown. The two buildings were of similar time period and style, and the details fit very well into his building. Few people would be able to tell that the details were not original to his building. The table criticizes this project because it does not comply with HARB guidelines. I don't know if the HARB guidelines discourage it, but in any case, his building is not in a regulated Allentown historic district, and therefore the HARB guidelines do not apply.

Anonymous said...

It’s been written in this space before.
THE ROT GOES DEEP

A lot of players think they dodged a bullet. This isn’t over by a longshot and it doesn’t end on September 5th at the federal courthouse.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, but should Pete be revoking other peoples grants who don’t meet his personal opinion of what historical accuracy looks like. And the reason that the architectural salvage was mentioned is because it’s against the own rules of his own program to do that. And if you think 2 foot tall corbels on the first floor of a building, that aren’t holding anything up are a good fit? Well then you aren’t fit to speak on the topic of historical architecture.

Anonymous said...

Jennings illegally hired a Stoffa hack Ross Marcus. don't expect things to change when with this crowd.

Anonymous said...

Charles Sch represents a sterling example of how corruption in Allentown isn’t just tolerated, it’s excised as everyday business.

Anonymous said...

Marcus was Bill Heydt’s waterboy before he was Stoffa’s hack.
Politics in the Lehigh Valley is like a crime family.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, keep going. My work with another 501c3 put me in contact with some of the parties mentioned. Something always seemed off because there was lots of renovation going on and the same names kept popping up and the sources of income for the scale of the renovations didn't make sense to me. Then there was talk of cooking schools and art galleries, none of which made sense unless you could get someone else to pay for it. Interesting that while parties were busy on 7th street they were also buying properties on Hamilton Street, in the neighborhood where Edwards & Whitney are located.

Anonymous said...

Waterboy? They should have competent professionals like Ross Marcus in City Hall these days. His performance during the adoption of the Rental Inspections program was top notch. It wasn't that long ago (pre-Afflerbach) that residents could be proud of the elected officials ad staff in Allentown City Hall.

Anonymous said...

Anon@10:09
............and rules are for the little people.
At least Marcus knows how to keep his mouth shut and his name out of the news.
I’ll give him this, Marcus is a work horse.
Jennings is a Show Horse.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone speculate why there are no Facade grants awarded on 7th between Hamilton and Gordon?

Anonymous said...

216 N 6th St is own by a slumlord. At least Joe Clark lives here.

Anonymous said...

Jennings was for Systematic Rental Inspection before he was against it, following his close and dear BFF Edwin Pawlowski.
You can look it up.

Anonymous said...

Good point. If the program claims to focus on Hamilton St and 7th then why would there be zero grants in the 4 blocks where these streets meet???

Anonymous said...

True enough.
Bill Heydt could barely read.
Marcus ran City Hall, now he’s carrying water for CACLV and Alan Jennings grabs the headlines.

Anonymous said...

Jennings may get indicted yet (along with the First Lady of Allentown).
One wonders if he will be at the Pawlowski sentencing next month or if he will send money to the prison commissary for the next
10/12/15 years like a true blue pal.

Anonymous said...

The tip of a rather large iceberg.

Charlie Sch said...

I don't understand the attacks on Bill Heydt. He was a competent Mayor, and founded and operated a successful business. His main fault was that he pushed a little too hard to get some things done quickly, without listening to the people who were affected.

Ross Marcus was also a dedicated public servant when he worked for Allentown. He was one of many highly qualified people who were replaced by Allentown's worst mayor in history, Roy Afflerbach.

There were no facade grants issued at 7th and Hamilton because those buildings (such as the Arena, the Wells Fargo building and the BBT headquarters) did not need one.

Anonymous said...

Time for some serious investigative journalism.
We aren’t going to get it from Bill White.

Anonymous said...

When you get to be an insider the rules no longer apply.

Anonymous said...

City Council claims they want young people to move in revitalize the city, yet when they do you have people like Lewnes and Jennings bully them and tell them what they can and can’t do. Time for the city to grow some balls and stop making excuses for corruption and start taking a stand.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't this heydt the one that shook the corporate Plaza with the false insurance peril claimZ. The fact are the water leak was from an upper floor water line break that the water seeped down to bedrock causing the quick eradication of any and all evedence.
Than came Roy aftershock to do more destruction and dismantling of the designated designz.

Anonymous said...

Entrenched corruption is a way of life in Allentown.
Look around.

Anonymous said...

Jennings illegally hired Marcus for a reason. He was giving contracts to Jennings org. It is nice the fellow republicans are out pushing Jennings' replacement, they love controllable token "liberals". He will probably succeed Jennings in running that outfit. Good Luck, when he was in Northampton County he tried to dump Gracedale and let the inmates run the asylum.

Anonymous said...

Tick Tock

Anonymous said...

Bernie,
In your first entry this paragraph may be the most important. Has any grant money been paid back?


"In addition to being private shareholders, Christian J Brown, Rebeca Torres, Miriam Huertez, and Peter Lewnes also meet the criteria for what the IRS considers “disqualified persons.” When a disqualified person is awarded a grant, that grant is considered an excess benefit and (according to the IRS) must be repaid in full, with interest, to the tax exempt organization. According to the law, every single tax-payer funded grant that Upside Allentown or CADCA has awarded to disqualified persons or private shareholders must be paid back in full so they can be reallocated in a way that is in harmony with CADCA's publicly filed purpose statement."

Anonymous said...

Truly fascinating and excellent investigative work on the part of Whitney and Edwards. I wonder if they already had to spend the non-refundable architect fee on their facade project? That runs about $3K+ and must be done with an "approved" architect. All the work has to be done by approved city vendors, too. And it's on THEIR timeline, not the property owners. Although they sure did uncover an incredible web of corruption here, Whitney and Edwards should consider themselves lucky they didn't get farther along in this project than they already did.

Edwards VillaLocos said...

Alan "Poverty Pimp" Jennings, if you confess now and plead guilty maybe they will allow you to bunk up with Palmumpa or even better Fran.

Anonymous said...

at 1:20 PM
"they love controllable token "liberals"."

Is there a blood test for that or can anyone just fake it when necessary?