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Attorney General Koster Sues Ballpark Lofts to Recover Tax Credits
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), September 9, 2012 - Attorney General Chris Koster has filed a lawsuit seeking to recover tax credits issued for work that was never completed at the Cupples 9 development at Ninth and Spruce in downtown St. Louis.
The lawsuit alleges that Ballpark Lofts I, LLC obtained more than $2.4 million in Brownfield tax credits to defray environmental remediation costs to redevelop the Cupples 9 project but failed to complete that remediation. Despite not completing the environmental remediation, an environmental consultant Ballpark hired submitted a report to the state on Ballpark's behalf claiming that the remediation was complete.
"Lawsuits like this are crucial because they ensure that Brownfield tax credits achieve the purposes for which they were granted," Koster said in a release. "These tax credits are important tools of economic revitalization and growth, and my office is committed to ensuring that those who mislead the state do not get away with it."
The lawsuit was filed against Ballpark Lofts I, LLC; McGowan & Walsh, LLC; Kevin X. McGowan; and Nathaniel S. Walsh. The lawsuit alleges that Ballpark Lofts I owned the Cupples 9 project and obtained the $2.4 million in tax credits for its redevelopment from the Missouri Department of Economic Development. McGowan and Walsh, LLC owns Ballpark Lofts I, and McGowan and Walsh the individuals are the members of the limited liability company bearing their name.
Based on Ballpark Lofts' redevelopment plan, which promised to remove all lead-based paint, the state found that the project was eligible for $2,419,014 in Brownfield tax credits. By June 2010, $1,814,260.50 of the tax credits had been issued to Ballpark based on documentation it submitted showing environmental remediation costs. The Department of Economic Development withheld the last $604,753.50 because, pursuant to state law, no more than 75 percent of tax credits can be issued before the environmental remediation is complete.
On March 31, 2010, Lafser & Associates, Inc., an environmental consultant hired by Ballpark, submitted a report to the state on Ballpark's behalf that asserted that all lead-based paint was abated as of that time. On the basis of that report, the last $604,753.50 in tax credits was issued to Ballpark in September 2010 and February 2011.
The Cupples 9 property was later sold via foreclosure, and the subsequent purchaser discovered that the building still contained lead-based paint. A subsequent inspection by the Department of Natural Resources and independent contractors found that the Cupples 9 building still contained unacceptable levels of lead.
Ballpark subsequently sold the tax credits to a third-party, which prevents the state from simply canceling them.
MoBroadbandNow Initiative Grants to Help Rural Hospitals
JEFFERSON CITY, MO, (SLFP.com), September 9, 2012 - Eleven rural hospitals throughout Missouri will soon be able to provide improved telemedicine care for their patients, with $262,000 in grants from the MoBroadbandNow initiative.
Governor Jay Nixon made the announcement in Dexter at Missouri Southern Healthcare, one of the recipients of a Rural Hospital Broadband Connection grant, where he was joined by local healthcare leaders and by officials from the MoBroadbandNow program.
"One of the very real benefits of improved broadband service in rural Missouri is in telemedicine - connecting Missourians and their physicians with specialists many miles away who can look at high-resolution images and receive other vital information on a real-time basis to help doctors treat those patients," Gov. Nixon said. "Expanded broadband accessibility between healthcare providers will mean access to quicker and more specialized care that is often life-saving for patients."
Missouri Southern Healthcare, formerly known as Dexter Memorial Hospital, is a 50-patient bed acute care hospital with six rural health clinics. The hospital is receiving a grant of up to $25,000 to help increase broadband speed throughout its healthcare system and to expand its connectivity with the clinics. The current broadband speed of 1.5Mbps will improve to 10Mbps, allowing for improved telemedicine services, such as radiology imaging. Missouri Southern Healthcare will provide $5,000 in matching funds for the project.
"I commend Missouri Southern Healthcare and the other rural hospitals for their efforts to use these benefits as part of their healthcare missions," the Governor said. "We continue to see how MoBroadbandNow has benefited Missouri in healthcare, education, public safety and commerce, and will do so for decades to come."
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