Saturday, June 23, 2007

Rep. Renzi's committee, donor may have falsified disclosure records

According to documents filed with the Federal Elections Commission, “Renzi for Congress” the campaign committee of now embattled Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ) recorded a contribution of $1,000 on March 31, 2003 from:
Michael J. Malik
Wayne County / Probate Judge
38715 Meadowlawn
Wayne, Michigan 48184

As it turns out:
  • There isn’t a Michael J. Malik serving currently as a Probate Judge in Wayne County.
  • A search of records for a "Michael J. Malik," "Wayne County Probate Judge" at any time previous returns nothing.
  • A search for "Michael J. Malik," "Probate Judge" comes up empty as well.
  • According to the Wayne County Registry of Deeds, the property at 38715 Meadowlawn appears to have been owned by Milton L. Mack, Jr. and at least one eventual wife since at least 1988.
  • Mack is an attorney and Chief Judge of the Wayne County Probate Court.
  • Judge Mack has contributed to federal political committees but only those affiliated with the Democratic Party exclusively:






Michigan Democratic State Central Cmte



Michigan Democratic State Central Cmte



Michigan Democratic State Central Cmte



Marlinga, Carl J



Michigan Democratic State Central Cmte



Kerry, John

So who did contribute $1,000 to Rep. Rick Renzi:
  • Judge Mack a loyal Democrat who’s contributed $7,650 throughout his lifetime or was it

  • Michael J. Malik also of Michigan, a Republican who has contributed at least $198,197 in just the last four years to federal candidates and campaign committees of both parties, across the country; including Rep. Richard Pombo, Rep. Jerry Lewis, Rep. Don Young, Rep Candice Miller, Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Debbie Stabenow among others.

    It's noted that from March 19 through March 31, 2003, Michael J. Malik made at least 10 contributions totaling $ 14,000; all to GOP freshmen Members of Congress, most of whom were facing competitive campaigns in 2004 (Rep. Rick Renzi generally would fit that model).






Burns, Max



(Miller, Candice)



Chocola, Chris



Chocola, Chris



Chocola, Chris



Gingrey, Phil



Beauprez, Bob



Gerlach, Jim



Brown-Waite, Ginny



Renzi, Rick



Rogers, Mike

How is it that a contribution filed by a GOP Member of Congress from Arizona might get two quite different men from Michigan, Mr. Malik and Judge Mack, confused; after all, don’t the donors submit their own disclosure details when they deliver checks to the respective campaigns?

You may want to click on the labels below or review these additional posts:

UPDATED: Donor's alleged mistress also gave $10,000 to two of his favorite candidates -- Rep. Candice Miller & Sen. Debbie Stabenow

On October 10, 2002 Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) had orchestrated a hearing before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee on S. 2986, a bill to expedite and approve land claims paving the way for a Bay Mills Indian Casino in Port Huron. A project reportedly bankrolled by Michael J. Malik, Sr. and Detroit's Ilitch Family.

Five days later, on October 15, 2002 Heather Lufkins (Robinson), a woman who alleges she had an affair with Michael J. Malik, Sr. while he was still married to Mrs. Michele M. Malik; and Denise Ilitch, then an executive at Ilitch Holdings Inc., each contributed $5,000 to the Michigan Democratic State Central Committee - Federal Account. Ms. Lufkins (Robinson) had never contributed to a federal candidate prior to making that $5000 contribution; Ms. Ilitch had some history contributing to others previously but never more than $1,000 at a time.

*NEW* And on Oct. 15, Michael J. Malik, Sr. also joined his two lady friends in contributing $5,000 to the Michigan Democratic State Central Committee - Federal Account. According to FEC records available at, Malik had made just two previous federal contributions to Members of Congress at $1,000 each.

On February 13, 2003, Rep. Candice Miller introduced a bill, H.R. 831, in the House of Representatives that was also intended to expedite approvals of a Bay Mills Indian casino in Port Huron.

Between March 2003 and February 2004, Heather Lufkins (Robinson) directed three additional contributions totaling $5,000 to two of Michael Malik’s favorite candidates:

  • Candice Miller for Congress

  • - 3/11/2003 $2,000
    - 3/11/2003 $2,000

  • Stabenow for U.S. Senate

  • - 2/10/2004 $1,000
Malik and members of the Mike & Marian Ilitch Family contributed $13,000 (seven checks) to Candice Miller for Congress on March 11, 2003; the same day Ms. Lufkins (Robinson) contributed $4,000 (two checks for $2,000 each). A week later, Malik wrote another $5,000 check and was the first big contributor to Rep. Miller’s “leadership” PAC (CANDICE PAC).

On March 11, 2003, Rep. Miller received 30 checks totaling $38,800 from people primarily associated with the Ilitch Family and Malik.

Mike Ilitch, Marian Ilitch, Michael Malik and his alleged girlfriend (a single mother who lived in a house Malik had purchased) each gave $4,000; two other individuals gave $2,000 each; and the other 20 checks from prominent attorneys, real estate execs, and others were for $1,000 or less.

Ms. Lufkins (Robinson) had no previous record of federal political giving nor anything after these four large contributions.

The amounts of Ms. Lufkins (Robinson)'s contributions are suspect and beg questions about the true source of funds that Malik directed to Rep. Miller and Sen. Stabenow.

If Mr. Malik or any other party advanced or reimbursed Ms. Lufkins (Robinson) for these contributions they may have violated federal election laws.

You may also want to review these posts:

Disputed Royal Oak Property: Heather Lufkins Robinson vs. Michael J. Malik, Sr.

These details are believed to relate to a home (property/real estate) disputed in the 2006 Oakland County, Michigan case of Lufkins Robinson v. Malik:

Deed holder: JR Property Holdings, LLC
(previously held by: MJM Royal Properties, LLC)

Located at:
1907 W. Houstonia Ave.
Royal Oak, MI 48073-3915

Single-family residence built on almost 1/3rd of an acre
3 bedrooms, 2 baths
2,821 sq.ft., with a 1,181 sq.ft. basement

Built in 1936/1955

Assessed Value: $233,740
Market Value: $467,480

2006 Tax Amount: $11,363.71

Tax bill mailed to:
280 W. Maple Rd., #310
Birmingham, MI 48009-3344
(law offices of Ehrlich, Foley & Serwer; a firm often used by Malik Sr. for business transactions)

Background: The wife of NBA veteran New Jersey Nets player Clifford R. Robinson (Cliff Robinson) alleged she had an earlier affair with Mr. Michael J. Malik, Sr. a then-married man. The woman, Heather Lufkins Robinson claims Malik Sr. moved her into a home in Royal Oak, MI, and that he had promised her the home and even given her a handwritten note indicating the real estate belonged to her. Malik Sr. had transferred ownership of the property to his son Michael J. Malik, Jr. via JR Property Holdings LLC, an entity in which Malik Sr. and Malik Jr. were both members.

Malik's other homes are in Grosse Pointe Shores; one is just a few doors down from William Clay Ford, Jr. and next door to Ambassador Bridge multi-millionaire Matty Moroun. (MAP)

*Specs based on a report obtained at

Friday, June 22, 2007

Editor calls Ilitch ticket scheme "perverse"

posted 5.17.07 by the editor at Sports Business News:

"The Tigers make it very clear, the rules are very different at the home of the 2006 American League champions -- Season Ticket Holders may charge a price above face value for their tickets. All Tigers Ticket Exchange sales are final — no returns, refunds, or exchanges.

"The obscenity only begins with the Tigers creation of a Ticket Exchange board. Selling tickets above face value is illegal both in the City of Detroit and in the State of Michigan. However the Tigers are working within the bounds of the law because the law doesn’t apply to tickets sold by the Tigers. World Series tickets are being sold well above face value through eBay, StubHub, Razorgator and all of the usual suspects. However, none of those would be considered legal in Detroit or in Michigan. And the Tigers, and here’s the real kicker – collect 10 percent...

"...The Tigers Ticket Exchange is one perverse example of how the Tigers were leveraging their first World Series appearance in 23 years. While not being advertised on the Detroit Red Wings website, both organizations owned by Mike Illitch are offering anyone who’s prepared to buy 20 single tickets to Red Wings games played at the Joe Louis Arena during the 2006-07 National Hockey League season, had the opportunity to purchase two side-by-side Tigers tickets, located in the outfield box, for $256 per seats for either game one or game two of the World Series. Joe Louis Arena seats 20,066. Motown likes to call itself “Hockey Town,” and the Red Wings sellout most of their home games. With the opportunity to sell hundreds of single tickets, the Red Wings find it next to impossible to sell on a consistent basis, however by offering World Series tickets is a sound business move, yet is it the right decision in terms of the Red Wings and Tigers image. Is it a clear attempt to take advantage of an opportunity presented to two businesses owned by Mike Illitch."

LETTER: Call Ilitch's bluff

Letters to the Editor |

The argument is that Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch shouldn't get any tax money to build a new stadium since he has nowhere else to move. But Ilitch will move the Red Wings to a city that will give him the arena he wants. He threatened before to move the Tigers out of town. I say call Ilitch's bluff and let him pay for his own arena if he doesn't like the new deal for the JLA.

Raymond Howe

LETTER: Wings won't move

Letters to the Editor |

As high as the Red Wing ticket prices have risen during the regular season and the playoffs, you would think owner Mike Ilitch would have plenty of extra money to put into a new arena. The Red Wings will not move. That would be like taking the Yankees out of New York.

J. Kerch

The real reason Ilitch opposes the Ticket Tax?

posted by blogger Jasper at

"I’d like to point out that Detroit Slum Lord and Tigers/Red Wings owner, Mike Ilitch is leading Fans Against Ticket Taxes. Anytime this guy does anything, its for his own benefit...He’s afraid he’ll have to “open his books” as well, since he recently started selling Tiger tickets through his company, rather than Ticketmaster."

Ilitch helping fans scalp tickets and making money of it
According to the Tigers website:

"In conjunction with Detroit Code Section 5-1-3, tickets may not be resold or offered for resale in a manner or at a price in violation of any federal, state or local law or regulation. Resale of game tickets at any price is strictly prohibited in and around Comerica Park. The Detroit Police Department may ticket violators."
However tickets sold through the Tigers organization are exempt. So the Tigers have set up a Tigers ticket exchange board, "Tigers Replay"-- in essence allowing folks to scalp tickets within the bounds of the law. In exchange for serving as the middle man, the Tigers organization nets 10% of each transaction.

Mike Ilitch was helping people scalp tickets to World Series games last Fall and making more money getting paid another 10% to do it.

The real reason Ilitch opposes the Ticket Tax?
Blogger Jasper is suggesting that if the proposed Ticket Tax is approved in Lansing, Ilitch might be forced to open his Tigers box office books -- and those at the Red Wings, Fox Theater, City Threater, etc -- to state regulators in ways he doesn't now.

Why did Sen. Carl Levin's political committee return $4,600 from Mike Ilitch?

Why did Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) refuse Mike Ilitch's campaign contributions? Or why did Ilitch ask for his money back?

On March 30, 2007 records on file with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) -- and available for inspection via -- indicate that Mike Ilitch wrote two checks totaling $4,600 ($2,600 each) to Friends of Carl Levin.

Ilitch is the founder of Little Caesar's Pizza and owner of the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers.

Ilitch's wife Marian, owner of Detroit's MotorCity Casino, and his son Christopher Ilitch, CEO of Ilitch Holdings, Inc., also wrote two $2,600 checks each to the Levin political committee on 3/30/07.

In all, the Ilitch Family contributed $13,800 to Levin on 3/30. With the help of their friends and business associates (people like Michael J. Malik Sr., James Acheson, Richard Alcalde, Douglas Austin, Matt Cullen, Lance Boldrey, Joseph Ehrlich, Sarah Feliz, Mary Fletcher, Larry Hudas, Samuel Lionel, Timothy Stoepker, Victor Ventimiglia Jr., R. Thomas Vigliotti, Alan Wheat and others), the Ilitch Family helped Senator Levin raise nearly $97,000 that day.

So why did Senator Levin refuse to accept Mike Ilitch's contributions? Or did Mike Ilitch ask for his money back?

Additional records filed with the FEC indicate that on March 31, 2007, Friends of Carl Levin returned Mike Ilitch's two $2,600 contributions but not the checks from Marian Ilitch nor Christopher Ilitch.

LETTER: Let Ilitches finance arena

Letters to the Editor |

Let the Ilitch family follow the capitalist path and invest its own money in a new Wings arena.

John Brant

LETTER: No aid for billionaires

Letters to the Editor

Not one dime from taxpayers for any sports arena built for billionaires. If Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch wants to move the team elsewhere, he shouldn't let the door hit him on the way out.

Don Sepanski

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Blogger reports Ilitch has let Fine Arts Building deteriorate

Inside the Fine Arts Building..." water has been leaking from the roof for so many years that the center of the floor of every level has collapsed, leaving a pile of rubble on the ground floor."
Photo by David Kohrman

Blogger Detroit Area Dork, a 21st Century urban explorer and, by his own admission, amateur photo journalist, recently found his way inside Detroit’s abandoned Adams Theater and the adjoining Fine Arts Building and he’s documented the experience on myspace with photos and narrative:

"Around the corner from the place that I will always call the State Theater, is a building that most people pass by without even noticing. The Adams Theater. I had no idea until recently. Not even as I watched someone juggle knives at Cliff Bell's a month ago in the building directly adjacent to it.

"The funniest thing about this place is that when it was open you didn't enter from the street. You would go in the front of the Fine Arts Building on the other side of the block, at Grand Circus Park, which back in the day was the theater district...

"The condition of the building is really bad. There are large gaping holes in the roof above the stage area. All the rain water over the years has caused the stage floor to rot, and it already has many holes. I almost made another hole in it myself when my foot started sinking through the floor of the stage...

"Since I was already there, and the buildings are connected, I decided to take a look at the Fine Arts Building too…I have to highly recommend that no one goes into this building. Water has been leaking from the roof for so many years that the center of the floor of every level has collapsed, leaving a pile of rubble on the ground floor. What a surprise to find that is owned by Olympia (Ilitch)."

The blog Forgotten Detroit gives an excellent look into the dilapidated Adams Theater and Fine Arts Building with it's stunning, and oddly enough, artistically beautiful pictures by blogger David Kohrman.

The Ilitch organization's last commitment was made 18 months ago when they stated they were going to conduct a feasibility study to "determine options for the property."

note: the photo used here is from David Kohrman's collection. Photos taken by Detroit Area Dork further document the buildings' current state.

UPDATED: Detroit casino syndicators had previously masked their $665,000 relationship with controversial D.C. Lobbyist

TVT has received copies of documents originally produced by Detroit casino syndicators (Marian Ilitch, Michael J. Malik, Sr.; their affiliated interests and partners) to market their tream to a limited audience. The materials represent that Richard S. Kessler is (was) one of their federal lobbyists. Previously the Detroit casino syndicators and Kessler have been tight-lipped about any relationship.

Kessler is president of Kessler & Associates as well as the non-profit Ripon Society. A review of Federal lobbying disclosures failed to find any public documents on file that would be required by law to indicate Kessler (Kessler & Associates) was a lobbyist for the Detroit interests and their partners.

However, records available through the U.S. Senate Office of Public Records indicate the Detroit casino interests and several of their various Native American partners have been (are) represented by lobbyists at Wheat Government Relations (WheatGR) and several other D.C. lobbying firms; but never by Richard S. Kessler or Kessler & Associates.

A deeper review of federal lobbying records reveals Wheat Government Relations, the lobbying firm, was also registered as a lobbying “client” and was represented by lobbyists at Kessler & Associates; and further, that although WheatGR isn’t labeled as, or listed with other clients under the “Casinos/Gambling” industry, Kessler did represent WheatGR on “Indian gaming/casino” issues.

And from 2002-2005 Wheat funneled $665,000 quietly from Marian Ilitch, Michael Malik and their affiliated interests and partners to Kessler & Associates.

Official website: Kessler & Associates (aka CBIZ Kessler Government Affairs, LLC; Century Business Services, Inc., Kessler & Associates Business Services)

Click on one of the "labels" below to see other related posts.

LETTER: Ilitches can give back

Letters to the Editor |

The Ilitches have had one sweet deal here where they could milk the tax base dry. That structure can no longer continue. Let's face it: Greektown and all the Foxtown improvements (including Comerica Park) all benefit him greatly. There was no charity or philanthropy there; it was ALL business and profit. It's time to give something back to a city and populace that has made the Ilitch family billionaires.
B.C. Roy

LETTER: Old arena is still young

Letters to the Editor |

This is ridiculous. The Red Wings don't need a new arena. The Joe is only 28 years old.

Steve Kassappass

More on talks for Ilitch to take over world's largest Masonic Temple & Theater


Olympia Entertainment continues talks for Masonic Temple shows

By Bill Shea

No agreement is imminent, but Olympia Entertainment remains in talks with the owners of the financially strapped Detroit Masonic Temple to book shows and concerts at the historic venue.

Negotiations have been on and off for several months, said Karen Cullen, vice president of corporate communications for Ilitch Holdings Inc., which includes Olympia along with Little Caesars Pizza, the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings, Fox Theater, Comerica Park, Cobo Hall and Joe Louis Arena.

Details of the talks remain private, Cullen said.

The 14-story temple, which includes the 4,404-seat Masonic Temple Theater, opened in 1926 at 500 Temple Ave. in the Cass Corridor and is the largest Masonic Temple in the world.

The theater currently is managed by the Nederlander Organization, which owns the Fisher Theater. However, Nederlander has said it will no longer book events at the temple after this year.

The building’s owner, the Masonic Temple Association, owes the city back taxes and utility bills and could face foreclosure. The temple association has said it will not sell the building, but will look for a deal that will allow it to pay its bills.

These are the folks said to be driving a turn around for Detroit

excerpted from a story published 6.21.07 in the Detroit Free Press:

THE PLAYERS: Groups, people helping downtown rebound

Dozens of groups and thousands of people are playing roles in revitalizing Detroit. Here are some major players: ...

...General Motors: Since it bought the Renaissance Center for its new world headquarters, GM has played a major role in spurring redevelopment of the city's riverfront. Matt Cullen, GM's head of economic development, cochairs [with Derrick Miller] the Riverfront Conservancy, which oversees the new RiverWalk. Other private corporations playing big roles include Compuware and Ilitch Holdings. [Cullen's wife Karen Cullen is VP of corporate communications at Ilitch Holdings, Inc.],

...Detroit Riverfront Conservancy: Created in 2002, the conservancy runs the $250-million effort to build, operate and maintain the RiverWalk. Now about half complete, the RiverWalk one day should encompass the entire 5.5-mile length of the riverfront from the Ambassador Bridge to Gabriel Richard Park near the MacArthur Bridge to Belle Isle. Faye Alexander Nelson, a former Wayne State University official, serves as the conservancy's president and CEO...

...Ilitch Holdings: Now headed by President and CEO Christopher Ilitch, son of founders Mike and Marian Ilitch, this pizza and entertainment conglomerate owns the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings, the Fox Theatre, Hockeytown Café, Motor City Casino and lots of vacant real estate on the northern edge of downtown [Foxtown] that may or may not one day become home to a new hockey arena. ... (Complete Story)

Missing from this story are the names of those who manuever behind the scenes (attempting to stay "under the radar") on behalf of the entities and individuals highlighted; people like Michael J. Malik, R. Thomas Vigliotti, Timothy A. Stoepker, Herb Strather and others who recognize and are pros at exploiting leverage. These people are often at the heart of "brokering" deals, and "facilitating" process in a highly charged political environment.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Barstow Mayor Lawrence Dale shotdown in first attempt at scheme to switch wastewater consultants mid-stream


Wastewater facility upgrade in flux

By JASON SMITH Staff Writer

BARSTOW — A project to upgrade the wastewater-treatment facility is in flux after a heated City Council meeting.

At Monday’s meeting, the council voted 3-2 against paying $65,000 in “special engineering costs” to subcontractor Zenon Membrane Solutions, Inc. Council members Joe Gomez and Steve Curran dissented.

Mayor Lawrence Dale, who made the motion to deny the funding, criticized "accelerating costs" from HDR Consulting, Inc., the main contractor, and urged council members to be "responsible stewards" of the city’s money. The mayor attempted to bring up a motion to cancel the entire contract with the main project contractor, HDR Consulting, Inc., but Yvette Abich, the city attorney, said that would be a possible violation of the Brown Act because the issue was not on the agenda.

"The final design costs are in excess of three times the original bid," Dale said. “My question is, where does it stop?"

This week, the mayor will meet with city officials to discuss the issue and could bring a motion to cancel the HDR contract — a move that would result in the city being unable to recoup more than $1 million invested in the project, according to City Manager Hector Rodriguez.

Dale suggested that the city could save money by contracting with Micromedia Filtration, Inc., a company that uses an alternative method that Dale called "a new technology with lots of promise." Gomez said on Tuesday he opposed to switching to Micromedia because more than $1 million dollars has already been spent with HDR.

"The Micromedia process sounds good but the company is relatively new, and I’d hate to risk the city’s money on untested technology," he said. Gomez disagreed with the mayor’s position and apologized to Garcia for the mayor’s lack of "respect." Gomez expressed his support for HDR, criticized the mayor for "stalling" the already two-year-long process and accused him of favoring Micromedia for the entire HDR contract.

During the 70-minute discussion at the council meeting, city wastewater contract coordinator Pat Lendway expressed concern that the delay resulting from the rejection of the contract could jeopardize a state loan for the project. However, City Manager Hector Rodriguez said via e-mail that funding has not been jeopardized.

Dale said that there are available alternatives for funding if the loan falls through and that only the subcontract was rejected. "The project will go through," he said.

Upgrades to the wastewater-treatment facility were mandated by the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Board because of elevated nitrate levels in the water. The city could face fines of anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 per day if it does not meet the July 2009 set by Lahontan.

Detroiters overwhelmingly against Ilitch subsidies


Experts on professional sports arenas say that while the Ilitch family may have the land to build a new hockey arena, the project would still be too costly without government assistance. Would you agree to the use of tax dollars for a new hockey arena in Detroit?





LETTER: Billionaire doesn't need aid

Letters to the Editor |

Perhaps we can assist Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch in reaching a decision to build a new arena or stay with Joe Louis Arena as a home for our Red Wings ("Ilitch has to decide the Joe's fate soon," June 18). As longtime Wings fans, we say a resounding "no" to any public financing of a new arena. Both the city and state are broke and overwhelmed with human needs for city and state services.

Ilitch already has the best lease deal of any arena in hockey. The Ilitches are scarcely paupers.

Gerald and Dolores Maxey
Farmington Hills

UNITE-HERE Not Ready to Accept Defeat in Sacramento

posted at Working Californians Clock in at the WC blog:

Workers Rally for Free Choice Rights
posted by Julia Rosen 06.19.07

The voices of the casino workers were heard within the Capitol today. Hundreds of red-shirted workers gathered on the North steps for a rally and then marched inside in an orderly fashion to do some lobbying. The event culminated as over two hundred UNITE-HERE members chanted from the second story of the rotunda "¡Si, Se Puede!" just steps from the office of Speaker Fabian Nunez. The dome amplified the chants as staffers poked their heads out of their office doors and the CHP scrambled to ensure the direct action did not get out of control.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Big Lagoon Park Company cabin owners, "NIMBY"

excerpted from the North Coast Journal ...

The Big Lagoon Park Company — a consortium of 76 private cabin owners who jointly own the land the cabins sit on — have fought the Rancheria's casino project for more than 10 years ago, said Don Tuttle, a cabin owner and president of the company.

"Most of our members were concerned about the potential increase in traffic," Tuttle said on Monday. "They estimated there'd be between 300 and 600 [cars] a day."

Tuttle bought his cabin in 1972. "To me and my wife, it's our place to escape."

Tuttle was happy when the Barstow plan emerged. "We thought that would be beneficial to all people, including the Rancheria. They would maintain their natural environment here," and make better money down there.

But Tuttle said he "figured Virgil [Moorehead] would" revisit the Big Lagoon site if the Barstow plan fell through. "That's natural. But he would have to find an investor. I've talked with Virgil about our fears, and I think he understands. But it's their chance for economic opportunity." Still, he said, "a casino just seems completely out of place in this semi-wild, park-like place. If a casino happens, everything depends on how it's built — how they mitigate for noise, and the glare of lights. Water is a big issue. They'd have to build a small treatment plant."

UPDATED: Ilitch has an insatiable appetite for land in downtown Detroit; see Live map of all 170 properties

After the ran the story, "Ilitches Downtown Power Play" in early May 2007, TVT poured over public real estate records and learned that various Ilitch affiliates including:

  • Olympia Development of Michigan LLC;
  • Olympia Entertainment;
  • Detroit Entertainment LLC (MotorCity Casino d/b/a);
  • Elizabeth Street Properties LLC;
  • Moose Lodge Building LLC
  • West Grand River Lofts LLC
  • Cass Avenue LLC; and others
own or control at least 170 properties in downtown Detroit clustered primarily in a fifteen square block area of the Foxtown neighborhood behind the Fox Theater and also around MotorCity Casino.

TVT has plotted the 170 locations using mapping software available via the Windows LIVE environment and makes it available for public review and use. This links to Windows Live Search Maps. (Bloggers may save the 199 links package for their own future use if desired)

While this data is comprehensive, in no way is it complete. It is a snapshot of property ownership at this moment in time.

You may want to review these posts:

WXYZ ABC-7: Future of The Joe

posted at Detroit's ABC-7

Jun 18, 2007 6:00 PM
Should They Stay at Joe, or Should they Go?

Detroit Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch must decide soon if he'll renew the team's lease at Joe Louis or work on building a new arena.


You may also want to review these posts or select a "label " below for additional related posts:

Ilitch may ease out Nederlander to take control of Masonic Theater


David Coates The Detroit News
In recent years, Masonic groups have relocated, and fewer plays and concerts were held at the Masonic Temple

Ilitch may manage ailing Masonic

Robert Snell / The Detroit News

DETROIT -- Mike Ilitch could soon expand his sports and entertainment empire to include operating the landmark Detroit Masonic Temple, which is broke and owes more than $226,000 in unpaid taxes and water bills and faces possible foreclosure early next year.

The huge Gothic-style building's owners are negotiating with Ilitch-owned Olympia Entertainment, and Masonic officials hope a deal can be signed later this month to book shows and concerts and manage the largest Masonic temple in the world. The building is included on state and national registers of historic places. The Masonic Temple Association would still own the building.

"It will absolutely, 100 percent never be for sale," association President Bill Betz said. "If the deal goes through, the bills will be paid -- immediately."

Negotiations between the temple and Olympia are continuing, and financial details are not yet public.

A deal would expand an Ilitch sports and entertainment empire and give it a bigger piece of the local concert and performance industry -- and help save an architectural gem. Ilitch, a pizza baron who along with wife Marian owns Little Caesars Pizza, the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings, has created a sprawling sports and entertainment district along Woodward, south of I-75, that includes Comerica Park, the Fox Theatre, Hockeytown Cafe and the potential site of a new Joe Louis Arena.

The deal also could generate enough cash for temple owners to pay off delinquent water and sewer bills and unpaid taxes dating to 2005 and keep open a building seen by some as a key to revitalizing the Midtown area.

"It's too important to lose. It's an anchor and such an important piece of real estate in that area," said Francis Grunow, executive director of Preservation Wayne, a historic preservation group.

Olympia and Masonic Temple officials have negotiated for about six months. "We have had talks with representatives of the Masonic Temple but nothing is imminent," Ilitch Holdings spokeswoman Karen Cullen said Monday. (Complete Story)

You may also want to review these posts or select a "label" below for other related posts:

Casino plan fuels a recall effort


Middleborough officials targeted

By Christine Wallgren, Globe Correspondent

MIDDLEBOROUGH -- An effort to recall three Middleborough selectmen has taken off in recent days, fueled by outrage over plans to bring a casino to town and over other financial controversies.

Jessie Powell, the organizer of the recall drive, said she has collected more than 1,200 voter signatures to force a recall election in September aimed at three selectmen -- Chairwoman Marsha Brunelle, and Selectmen Wayne Perkins and Steven Spataro.

The stated reason for the recall is "fiscal mismanagement," but Powell says voter anxiety over a casino proposed in the town by the Mashpee Wampanoag Indian tribe has increased support for her signature drive. A draft agreement between the town and the tribe calling for a $1 billion casino stunned many here when it became public this month. It would be the first casino in the state. (Complete Story)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Faded Detroit: Ilitch Blocker

CC Bar is located at the corner of Cass Ave. and W. Columbia St. in the Foxtown neighborhood of downtown Detroit. It's surrounded by properties controlled by Ilitch Holdings, Inc. subsidiary Olympia Development or its affiliates. There's speculation Mike Ilitch desires to build a new Hockey Arena in this section of Detroit.

posted at Faded Detroit:

Ilitch Blocker

"The CC Bar was completely demolished except for two exterior walls prior to the new construction (he's got pictures on his actual website) seen below.

So question is why rebuild almost completely from the ground up on a site that is almost certainly within the footprint of a new arena? Is the intention to rake in the cash from the foot traffic created by a new arena, or is the idea to put up some cheap construction in order to raise the property value in advance of an impending land grab? Either way it appears that the owners are trying to stick it to Mr. Mike."

Ilitch guaranteed most lucrative deal in NHL if he stays at Joe Louis Arena


Wings winners in Joe Louis deal
Coleman Young's '70s agreement to keep team in Detroit is the most lucrative in the NHL.

David Josar / The Detroit News

DETROIT -- In the mid-1970s, then-Red Wings owner Bruce Norris threatened to move the team to Pontiac. To get them to stay, then-mayor Coleman A. Young put together an incentive-laden contact that would guarantee the team remain in the Motor City until 2008.

The agreement is considered the most lucrative in the NHL and is a prime reason the team has increased in value from the $8 million Mike Ilitch paid for it in 1982 to an estimated $288 million today, according to Forbes magazine.

The lease not only covers Joe Louis, but also the 12,191-seat Cobo Arena and a 500-space parking lot. Next year, it will automatically renew for 20 years at generally the same generous terms -- and for another 10 years after that unless Olympia Arenas, a company controlled by Mike and Marian Ilitch, decides to nix the arrangement.

Highlights of the deal:

  • The city has no say in whether the contract will be extended. The decision is made unilaterally by the Red Wings, which can keep terms that will only grow more financially favorable for the team.

  • The city of Detroit will provide free police protection for the games at Joe Louis and Cobo Arena. In addition, the city provides landscaping and snow removal. Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has said he would try to get the Lions, Red Wings and the Ilitch-owned Tigers, to pay something toward offsetting the cost of providing officers but has been unsuccessful. Meanwhile, the city is charging nonprofit community festivals, such as the Detroit Festival of the Arts and Comerica Tastefest, for police services.

  • The Ilitches pay $25,000 a month to rent Joe Louis -- built in 1979 for $30 million -- and $12,500 a month for Cobo Arena.

  • The city collects a 10 percent surcharge on tickets at Joe Louis and 7.5 percent for Cobo Arena. It also gets a 10 percent cut of all concession sales and about 7 percent of the luxury suite fees. For the past five years, those fees and rent have given the city about $5 million a year in revenue.

  • The city provides up to $500,000 a year for capital improvements to Joe Louis.

  • Olympia gets 50 parking spaces for its own use in the Joe Louis lot.

  • A hefty property tax break is included in the agreement. Like many lease agreements, the Ilitches are responsible for the property taxes. However, a clause caps the Ilitches' property tax liability at $252,000. By comparison, the owner of a $30 million building in Detroit -- the construction cost of Joe Louis nearly 30 years ago -- pays roughly $1 million a year.

  • If the Red Wings decide to extend the lease, the city would no longer be able to tack on up to a 10 percent surcharge on tickets to games and events that accounted for $2.7 million in revenue in the 2006-07 fiscal year. And in five years, Detroit would no longer get a cut of concessions and suite rentals. Olympia Entertainment would lose its property tax break, however, and would be liable for about $1 million annually.

You can reach David Josar at (313) 222-2073 or

Behind the Scenes: Ilitch and City in Hockey Arena showdown

note: on September 29, 2006 the Detroit News ran a story entitled "Ilitch to announce Joe's fate within 30 days." An announcement is 232 days over due (or almost 8 months).


The lease agreement between Detroit and the Ilitches for Joe Louis Arena, above, and Cobo Arena expires in August 2008.

Ilitch has to decide the Joe's fate soon
Wings must renew lease in Aug. or go for new arena

David Josar / The Detroit News

DETROIT -- Mike Ilitch and the Detroit Red Wings have two months to tell city leaders whether they will exercise their option to renew for 20 years the exclusive lease -- considered the best of any NHL team -- for Joe Louis Arena and Cobo Arena.

The Aug. 16 deadline is expected to set in motion intense deal-making and negotiations that will involve the future of Cobo Arena, Joe Louis Arena -- the home of the Red Wings -- and how much money the state, city and taxpayers are willing to toss in to subsidize a new Detroit hockey arena.

"They talk to us all the time," Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick said. "They're still trying to decide whether to stay and improve the (Joe Louis) facility or move."

Ilitch, whose fortune started with a suburban pizza place in 1959, bought the Red Wings for $8 million in 1982. The team is now worth an estimated $258 million -- a value due in large part to the bargain-basement lease on the Joe. According to Forbes magazine, he is among America's richest citizens, worth $1.5 billion...

Some executives for Ilitch's companies are not sure city officials have the right deadline date. They note, for example, the team did not take occupancy for more than a year after the agreement was signed, a situation they suggest pushes the renewal date back...

Either way, a showdown is expected this summer...

Council doesn't like deal
So far, the Red Wings and their owners have remained quiet. The city isn't saying much, either.

The city recently sold to Olympia Development, another of the Ilitch-run companies, two vacant, tax-reverted parcels behind the Fox for $200,000. Earlier this year, the city awarded Olympia development rights for the historic GAR building nearby.

The Ilitches are known as hard negotiators. In the 1990s, Mike Ilitch threatened to move the Tigers unless the team got a new ballpark -- which it did, across Woodward Avenue from his Fox Theatre and Hockeytown Cafe.

This time, Ilitch is in the driver's seat, thanks to the deal brokered in 1979 by Mayor Coleman Young that kept the team from moving to Pontiac.

Ilitch will decide whether to extend the lease -- the city has no vote -- and if the pact is extended, it will become even more favorable for him and the Red Wings.

Currently, the city imposes up to a 10 percent surcharge on tickets sold to events at Joe Louis and Cobo Arena; Detroit gets a cut of concessions and luxury suites.

If the lease is extended, the city will lose the surcharge -- which brings in about $2.5 million a year -- and, in five years, its share of concession and suite revenue. Council fiscal analyst Irv Corley, in a February report to the council on the lease, said the contract is "strongly in favor" of the Ilitch companies. He called it "convoluted" and questioned whether the city was receiving its fair share of concession sales.

The lease is much more lucrative than those of other teams. For example, the San Jose Sharks pay $1.6 million a year for the building and get a small percentage of ticket sales, but the team also chips in money for capital improvements and agreed to split with San Jose any profits from naming rights.

Council members have been upset for several years about the lease arrangement, but their anger reached a new level in February, when the fiscal analyst, at their urging, probed the specifics of the arrangement between Detroit and the Ilitch-family controlled company.

"This is clearly a sweetheart deal, and if they (the city law department) don't find a way to terminate this contract I'm going to turn it over to the FBI because this is ridiculous," Councilwoman Barbara-Rose Collins said. (Complete Story)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Family Affair: Members of Congress pay family members with political funds


Lawmakers used campaign funds to pay relatives

By Matt Kelley, USA TODAY

...Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) found nearly $3.5 million in campaign payments to relatives during the past three election cycles, from 2001 to 2006. Campaigns paid about $1.6 million to firms owned by or employing the lawmakers or their relatives, the group found...

Melanie Sloan, a former federal prosecutor who heads the watchdog group, says paying relatives with campaign money gives the impression that Congress members use their "position as a profit center for the family."

"A member of Congress would not be allowed to put that family member on their office payroll," Sloan says. "The logic should be the same. If they can't put them on the official payroll, why should they put them on the campaign payroll?"

Sloan says her group started the study last year amid criticism of some members of Congress for their family ties to campaign fundraising. For example, the campaign and political action committee for Rep. John Doolittle, R-Calif., paid a 15% commission to his wife's fundraising business, which also did work for lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who was sentenced to prison last year for fraud. Doolittle stepped down from his committees in April after FBI agents raided his wife's offices in their suburban Washington home. Doolittle is not in the CREW study because he was not a committee or subcommittee leader... (
Full Story)


CREW's Full Report: Family Affair

Detroit Casino Syndicators' Connection
On the CREW lists published in USA Today:
  • Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Ca 25th) whose district includes Barstow, CA and Barstow Mayor Lawrence Dale is his political appointee to the regional GOP committee (his wife has been paid $263,168 funneled through his campaign); and

  • Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mi 1st) whose district includes the Bay Mills Indian Community and who has sponsored numerous bills to push an off-reservation casino for the Bay Mills Indians (his wife and son have been paid $132,036 from campaign funds).

Michael J. Malik, Sr. and Mrs. Marian Ilitch have bankrolled plans to develop and manage two Indian casinos in Barstow and various casino plans for the Bay Mills Indians the last decade. They've established a track record of contributions totaling $9,000 to Rep. Stupak; but oddly enough, there are no contributions recorded to Barstow area Rep. McKeon.

The pair of Detroit casino syndicators and their family members have contributed generously to other California lawmakers and their causes including:

These disclosures analyzed in the CREW report are made available because campaign committees must report their explenditures to the Federal Elections Commission. However if individuals or organziations lobbying Members of Congress hire or retain the services of a member of that Congressional Representative's family directly and for non-lobbbying and non-political campaign purposes; there is little, if any, disclosure required.

A corporation or individual could retain a Member's son to provide strategic counsel or empty waste baskets and if the son didn't lobby his father, but representatives of the Corporation or the individual employing the son did, payments to the son would not necessarily ever be disclosed. Certainly there's nothing stopping the coporate lobbyists from mentioning to the Member what a "fine job" his/her son is doing on their behalf as they leave the Member of Congress' office.

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Ilitch has backed loosing sports teams and pizza, but casinos in Detroit? 10.09.06 ● Marian Ilitch #1 on "25 Most Powerful People" to Watch 2006” global gaming business o1.oo.o5 ● My Kingdom for a Casino Forbes 05.08.06 ● Big Lagoon’s casino dream awakens north coast journal 07.28.05 ● Shinnecocks launch legal claim to Hamptons land 06.16.05 ● Ilitch Plans to Expand Casino Empire 07.05.05 ● Ilitch outbids partners 04.14.05 ● Ilitch enmeshed in NY casino dispute 03.20.05 ● Marian Ilitch, high roller 03.20.05 ● MGM Mirage to Decide on Offer for Casino in Detroit 04.16.05 ● Secret deal for MotorCity alleged 02.15.05 ● Los Coyotes get new developer 02.08.05 Detroit casino figure to finance Barstow project 07.07.03 ● Indian Band trying to put casino in Barstow 06.04.03 Pizza matriarch takes on casino roles 10.23.02 ● Vanderbilt gets short straw in negotiations for a casino Lansing Journal 10.06.02 ● Indians aim to drive family from tribe in vicious dispute san diego union tribune 04.09.00 ●Malik owns 2000 Michigan Quarter Horse of the Year 01.01.00 ● Detroit Team to run Michigan’s newest Indian casino 05.23.99 Tiger ties tangle Marian Ilitch 04.29.99 ● Three investors must sell their Detroit casino interests 04.25.99 ● Partners’ cash revived election; They say money was crucial to Prop-E 04.25.99 Investors have troubled histories las vegas review journal 04.27.99 ● Investor served probation for domestic assault on 12 year old boy 04.25.99 Can a pair win a jackpot?: local men hope to... 03.17.97

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