An Explanation for NorthSide Tax Credit Application Discrepancies?
[NOTE, 6/28/10: According to officials at the Department of Economic Development (DED), the DED did undertake a review of NorthSide Regeneration LLC’s tax credit application, and fixed the discrepancies it found in the company’s application before formal application submission. Show-Me Institute research found discrepancies in approximately 20 percent of the reported property values in the initial submitted application. The DED did not send some of the documentation surrounding the application process after a Show-Me Institute Sunshine Law request, because DED officials say it was part of the issuance process, rather than the review process. We are engaging in further research to verify these claims and will post more as we learn more. Stay tuned.]
Today, I appeared on the Charlie Brennan Show to talk about the discrepancies in NorthSide Regeneration LLC’s tax credit application filed in late 2009 (you can read more about that, and the discrepancies, here).
A lawyer for NorthSide, Irvin Ness, called in to explain the discrepancies, which appear to total more than $500,000. Ness said that the tax credit application we used to conduct our review was outdated — that NorthSide had submitted an updated application in December 2009 to update the reported property prices in a way that would correctly reflect the certificates of value on file with the city of Saint Louis.
Although this explanation could prove to be true, there are at least two reasons to doubt it:
- I based my review on a copy of NorthSide’s tax credit application, which was provided to me by the Department of Economic Development (DED) in response to a Sunshine Law request submitted on Jan. 13, 2010. If an updated version had been filed before that time, the DED should have sent it rather than an out-of-date version.
- My request specified that I wanted to receive “Copies of documents and emails regarding the review of NorthSide Regeneration LLC’s application for DALA tax credits in 2009.” I have made the documents they provided available online (in six parts, here, here, here, here, here, and here). They include no mention of property price discrepancies, or that the application had been resubmitted to reflect new property prices. If the application had been updated to reflect different prices than those that were initially submitted, and the DED had any correspondence about such an updated application, the DED failed to fulfill my request adequately.
At least until NorthSide can produce an updated version of its tax credit application that was actually submitted to the DED in 2009, it’s difficult to determine which error was committed — errors on the application, or errors in fulfilling my requests.
In any case, Charlie Brennan has invited me to appear again on his show, along with Ness, on Tuesday morning. Tune in then to hear more!