― Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's Propaganda Minister
That is a lesson not lost on Indianapolis city officials when talking to the media about the Broad Ripple Parking Garage. Ever since the garage was proposed, city officials have consistently lied to the public saying the parking garage will cost $15 million.
|Proposed Broad Ripple Parking Garage|
Why would city officials mislead the public on how much the garage will cost? The motive is simple - to conceal what a sweetheart deal Keystone Construction, a major contributor to the Mayor's campaign, is getting. Under the contract to build the garage, the City provides a subsidy of $6.34 million, basically the first $6.34 million devoted to the project. Keystone's contribution is whatever additional cost there is to complete the garage. By claiming the garage costs $15 million, city officials make it appear that Keystone is putting up nearly $9 million or 60% of the cost of the garage.
The trouble is comparable garages do not cost anywhere close to $15 million. A news report early on found that comparable garages cost only about $6 to $7 million to build...which ironically is in the same ballpark as the City's contribution before Keystone puts a dime into the project.
Public watchdog Pat Andrews of the blog Had Enough Indy uncovered public information which suggests not even Keystone believes it is a $15 million garage:
Cory Schouten's, IBJ reporter, latest revelations about the Broad Ripple parking garage and its new flood proofing scheme, got me looking over the permits that have been requested....
What caught my eye was the "estimated value" line in the Application Information section of the structural permit. This information would be supplied by the applicant, not the City.
$8 million dollars is the estimated value of this parking garage. Not the oft repeated $15 million number. And, this $8 million dollars would include the new flood proofing designs that were so onerous that the developer said it would kill the project....Today the Indianapolis Star published an on-line article indicating construction on the garage was beginning soon. And once again, the reporter repeated the $15 million lie...though this time with a new wrinkle, that the garage will cost "at least $15 million." Yeah, right.
Back to the $6.34 million contribution, what do we, the public, get for our investment? Here's a breakdown:
0% of the ownership of the garage
0% of the commercial rents
0% of the parking revenue
Keystone meanwhile scores 100% in each category.
A reader in the comments section of the Star article called the Broad Ripple Parking Garage a "scam." It is hard to conclude otherwise. If there is nothing illegal in the sweetheart parking garage deal that screws over taxpayers while enriching a campaign contributor, there should be. Hopefully the FBI is looking at the private details behind this public deal.