08 June 2000

TIF District Letters Caused County Commissioners Concern


By Jon A. Brake

He didn’t like the answers, so he voted no.

Riley County Commissioner Russ Frey was in-between. Commissioner Jim Williams had been telling everyone
that he would vote against a $20-30 million tax-increment financing district to redevelop an area between Third
and Four Streets and Leavenworth and Bluemont Ave.

Commissioner Bob Newsome had just told the Commission and a good size crowd in the Commission room that
he would vote for the district. Newsome said he could not find that the re-development would hurt the County.

Frey’s no vote stopped the re-development dead. Like road kill. Why did Frey vote to kill such a large project?
He said it was because he did not like the answers he received in two letters from the City.

Someone didn’t do their homework. It took an anonymous packet delivered to the three County Commissioners
to get some hard answers. Answers which should have been given to the City Commission and School Board
before they voted on the issue last month.

Who will own the shopping center? What is the Company worth? Is there a history of bankruptcy? Apparently,
the City did not know the answers.

The County Commissioners received the anonymous packet three days before they’re up or down vote. Frey
took the packet to Manhattan City Manager Ron Fehr.

On the morning of the County Commission vote, Frey and the other Commissioners received letters from Fehr
and from Peter Dellaportas. Dellaportas is the manager of Plaza Manhattan LLC. owner of the center. Fehr’s
letter is on page 15 and Dellaportas’ letter is on page 3.

Apparently, to a question about the financial statements of the parent company the City received a rebuff.
Dellaportas said: "Financial statements for the entities are not readily available and our policy is to not disclose

The City voted to approve to a contract with a company that they did not have financial statements on.

Dellaportas did send a personal 1999 financial statement to the City’s consultant and agent. But, Dellaportas
said the statement was confidential and "only for the use of the aforementioned individuals."

The statement was not available to the County Commission or the School Board.

Part of the anomalous packet contained information about Demetrios Dellaportas. He is the father of Peter
Dellaportas. Demetrios has been the person going before the City and County Commissioner and the School
Board answering questions and presenting information.

Clippings from a story in the business section of a Chicago newspaper talked about a bankruptcy in the early

Here is how Peter Dellaporas answer the bankruptcy question: "We have not had any history of bankruptcy and
we have not been sued on development activities during the last five years."

But, he then told about a "market collapse" in 1990 that put his father "in financial distress." And, he added:
"My father eventually cleared up all of his financial troubles but went through the whole range of events typically
associated with such problems: foreclosure lawsuits and judgments, bankruptcies, deeds in lieu, etc.