Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Is the ESM making a profit?

The issue of dueling public records requests seems to be resolved, with Councilman D. Michael Collins getting some financial information for the Erie Street Market.

But the information definitely seems lacking - and is in the same format as the last financial report received March 7, 2008, which detailed the data for the last weeks of 2007.

As I said in March, it's not what's in the financial statement, it's what's missing from the expenses column.

Unless 'contractual administration' includes the wages, etc...of the ESM manager, there are no wages, benefits, payroll taxes for her. There is no charge for insurance.

All city departments get charged for various 'services' other departments perform for them. There are no charges on this spreadsheet for legal, accounting, auditing or other such fees.

Since the city is paying utilities and and other overhead costs, they should be listed as expenses for the facility. There are no telephone expenses...and what about the previously detailed line item for the piped-in music, which is not listed on the city's spreadsheet? Maybe they are including telephones as 'other overhead costs?' Regardless of their classification, they need to be listed as expenses for the facility in order to obtain a true picture of whether or not the Erie Street Market is making money.

This spreadsheet shows that there is a 'profit' of $26,268. But if these other expenses are included, is there really a profit?

Clearly, this is not an accurate accounting of the costs of the facility. City Council should demand that ALL expenses attributable to the facility be included as part of the financial statement - and they should make any decisions about the Market only upon complete data.


Tim Higgins said...


One must assume that all of these other expenses are covered under the "UTILITIES AND OTHER OVERHEAD COSTS ASSUMED BY THE CITY OF TOLEDO". Now based on information from last year, the expenses for ESM were actually about $350,000 for the year. If this is the case and we do the math based on past record, then at best the ESM finished the first half of the year $48K in the red.

Also not included in this sheet, so it seems, are the improvements to the deck currently being done to make the ESM a concert venue.

Kudos to the city for another "these are not the droids you are looking for..." moment.

Jay Ott said...

The thing is the city is conducting its own investigation about the situation concerning the Port Authority.

If the city gives such detailed information about the ESM (sarcasm off), then what are the chances that the report about Mr. Hartung will be just as objective?

The question everyone should be asking is whether or not the city omits certain details in order to deliberately deceive city council and the taxpayers? Or has the city left out those expenses you mentioned due to incompetence?

Neither deception nor incompetence are acceptable. To make matters worse, when the city regards others of telling "mistruths, half-truths, and outright lies" or being imcompetent, the city holds them accountable to a higher standard than to what the city holds itself to.

I have no way of knowing if the city is willfully deceiving city council or the public, but if it is, I don't think it would be negative or irrelevant to describe what the city is doing, borrowing from Winston Churchill's phrase, as the "malice of the wicked".

If city council or anybody else doesn't do anything to stop it, their wickedness will be, continuing to borrow from Churchill, "reinforced by the weakness of the virtuous. The failure of the democratic states to act together before the monster was fully grown. In the beginning when it counted most, leadership failed. It is our obligation to remember so that it will never happen again."

navyvet said...

jilraahThanx for the numbers Maggie.

It will take me awhile to digest all of that data.

I bang my head against the wall because it feels so good when I stop.

I try to figure out the City's finances because it feels so good.....well you get the idea.

Finance info from the City is a disgrace. Pathetic.

mrmikez said...

Alot of the work being done at the market,is by facility operations.But if you ask the workers , they can't talk about it.

skeeter1107 said...

Apparently that financial statement was prepared by the intern that got a "D" in high school bookkeeping class.

You are correct Maggie about your observations regarding the ESM financial statement. It leaves more questions than it answers. Anyone, accountant or otherwise that has had any exposure to financial statements would recognize the statement for what it is. It's an insult to what little intelligence I have along with other taxpayers.

We can spend our time arguing over the details of the market, but the reality is, nothing will change until if and when Carty is no longer Mayor. Under a new Mayor that doesn't view the ESM as a monument to themselves, Toledo can finally rid itself of this albatross and other projects they have no business being involved with.

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