Manistique's Corrupted Bidding Policy
Concerning an Industrial Park Site Sale



This article is one of a series of editorial articles that express personal 
opinions and views. They are written with no pretensions to be error free. I 
will gladly correct substantial errors of fact. My opinions can change, 
depending upon my awareness of changes in factual information. It is my intent 
to remain focused on specific public issues, regarding the personalities 
involved. For all I know, all the characters are saints, concerning their 
private lives and other public business... 

Changes may be requested by E-MAILing the details to

The Manistique City Charter defines the process of disposing of City of Manistique
real, and personal property, by public bidding sale.

The Manistique City Charter does not consider the sale, by the City of Manistique
acting as a real estate broker, of a third party's real or personal property.


          Why the Sham of a Public Bidding Process for City Property?

On the off chance that it might be to my benefit to bid for an industrial park 
site, owned by the City of Manistique, and currently leased by Online 
Engineering, Inc., I obtained a copy of the lease contract from Manistique City 
Hall. I learned nothing from the typical details that one might find in a 
typical lease, but I learned much from the specific details I have transcribed, 
below, that deal with apparent deceit and corruption surrounding the lease 
contract, public bidding policy, and the planned disposition of a city industrial
park site.

I reached two likely major conclusions, after reading the lease contract several 

No member of Manistique city government, except Manistique "City Attorney", John 
Filoramo, read the lease contract, though it is likely some looked at the words.

All members of Manistique City Council, and upper level city administration, had 
little to no concern for representing the best interests of the general public, as
defined in the Manistique City Charter.

My views, below, are somewhat repetitive, in an attempt to communicate issues 
and concepts that I do not have the resources and skills to communicate in the 
form of comic books.

               "REAL ESTATE LEASE

This Lease Agreement made this 2 day of September, 2004, by and between Online 
Engineering, Inc., an Indiana corporation, of 2531 W Fullerton Street, 
Bloomington, Indiana 47403, hereinafter referred to as "Lessee", and The City of 
Manistique, a Michigan Municipal Corporation, of 300 North Maple Street, 
Manistique, Michigan 49854, hereinafter referred to as "Lessor".


That Lessor and Lessee for and in consideration of the mutual covenants and 
agreements herein contained, do hereby agree as follows:


Lessor hereby leases to Lessee and Lessee hereby leases from Lessor the 
following described property lying and being in City of Manistique, Schoolcraft 
County, State of Michigan, to-wit:

A part of the NE-1/4 of the NE-1/4 of Section 12, T.41N., R15W. City of 
Manistique - Schoolcraft County, Michigan, and more particularly described as 
follows: Commencing at the Northeast corner of said Section 12; thence S 
00°22'09"W 15.58 feet to the South line of (100 foot wide) Canadian National 
Railroad right-of-way; thence N88°22'52"W along said South right-of-way 857.85 
feet; thence S 03°17*44"W 867.11 feet to the North line of a (66 foot wide) Pine 
Street right-of-way; thence N78°15'15"W 229.83 feet along said North line to the 
Point of Beginning, thence continuing N78°15T5"W 229.82 feet; thence N02°29'05"E 
360.00 feet; thence S87°30'55"E 226.83 feet; thence S02°29,05"W 396.99 feet to 
the Point of Beginning; containing 1.97 acres more or less.

to hold for a term of thirty (30) years, beginning on the 2 day of Sept., 2004, 
and ending on the 2 day of Sept., 2034, the Lessee paying therefor to Lessor 
rent in the amount of One Hundred and No/lOOths ($100.00) DOLLARS per month for 
the first fifteen (15) years and One Dollar ($1.00) per month for the last 
fifteen (15) years payable, in advance, on the first day of each month and on 
the same day of each consecutive month thereafter during said term.

Lessee promises to pay the said rent at the times and in the manner aforesaid 
during the continuance of said term. Lessee further agrees to pay interest at 
the rate of seven (7%) percent per annum on any late rental installments. A late 
payment is defined as any payment received by Lessor after the 10th day of any 

2.                USE OF PREMISES:

Lessee agrees to use the premises for any lawful industrial purpose, and for no 
other purpose, unless Lessee first obtains Lessor's written consent..."

I am completely mystified by the total absence of public fiduciary 
responsibility, regarding the last 15 years of the lease's life.

A. Assuming that no one buys the industrial park site, "Online" has the 
exclusive use of the 2 acre improved City commercial property, for any 
legitimate industrial use, from 2019 to 2034, for the grand total of $12 per 
year, in inflated currency, with no real estate tax liability for the property 
that belongs to the City of Manistique.

B. Assuming that no one buys the property, "Online" has the exclusive control 
and use of a 2 acre improved industrial park site, for any legitimate industrial 
use, from 2004 to 2019, for the grand total of $1,200 per year, with no real 
estate tax liability for the site.

Who, in their right mind, as leaseholder, would want to buy the City's improved 
site, in a chemical contaminated "industrial park", if it can be used for 30 
years, with no site tax liability, for $18,000 in payments, paid over a 15 year 
period, with inflated currency, with no interest?


6.1 Lessee agrees that any buildings, fences and improvements of any kind and 
nature that may be erected or affixed under or upon said premises during the 
term of this Lease by Lessee and James H. and Marilyn F. Gardener will become 
part and parcel of said premises without payment therefor, and become the 
property of Lessor, unless Lessee first obtains Lessor's written consent to 
erect same."

6.2 Lessor grants permission for Lessee and James H. and Marilyn F. Gardener to 
construct a seven thousand five hundred (7,500) square foot building, so long as 
the construction is commenced within ninety (90) days and completed within three 
hundred sixty (360) days, including landscaping, and paving of lots and drives."

If Online Engineering, Inc., builds according to existing ordinances, codes, 
lease contract, etc., for a lease payment pittance they get to keep and sell, at 
a time of their choosing, everything, including a lease that can't be beat, to 
the highest bidder.

Who, in their right mind, as current leaseholder, would buy the City's industrial
site "premises" with the varied liabilities of ownership, including real estate
taxes, if it can be leased, tax-free, for small change?


The City will place the above-described premises for sale during the term of the 
Lease, not less than sixty (60) days after the Lease commenced and no more than 
one (1) year after the commencement of this Lease, subject to the following 

N.B. "...the above-described premises..." is the leased ground, described by a 
legal description at the beginning of the lease contract, quoted earlier. NO 
improvements are included in that description.

Improvements included by subsequent lease terms ensure that no one will bid, 
unless they have a well developed business reason, based on "inside 
information", to purchase the real capital improvements made to the property, at 
a price to be determined by the current owners, after the sale of the site!

What reason would anyone have, in their right mind and with no vested interest 
in Online Engineering, Inc., to bid for the City's property, unless they were 
privy to private details of Online Engineering, Inc's business?

The lease started 09/02/04. It was stated by City Manager, Shiela Aldrich, 
during the Manistique City Council meeting of 11/28/05, that the sale would be 
postponed until "some time next year" after further possible industrial park 
contamination remediation options are considered, or implemented.

Whatever the reason, real or imaginary, a lease contract term was broken by the 
City of Manistique. Regardless if anyone other than "Online" was motivated to
purchase the leased site, the effect of the decision to postpone the industrial
site "sale" is potential improvement to the property, gained at public expense,
for the private gain of Online Engineering stockholders, and those to whom they
may throw scraps of appreciation. As I have documented earlier, no one, but the 
brain dead, would cop a plea that they didn't know the industrial park is 
contaminated, so why postpone the sale because of contamination related 
concerns, unless future remediation was available, at public cost, for the
benefit of Online Engineering stockholders?

As of 12/09/05, it is, apparently, of no concern to anyone when the City of 
Manistique "...will place the above-described premises for sale...", even 
though it is specified in the lease agreement.

As long as the City of Manistique owns the land, Online Engineering, Inc. may 
benefit from any public funded remediation or improvement investment.

Enhancing the financial well being of Online Engineering, Inc. stockholders 
appears, to me, to be the main purpose of the public lease contract terms, 
language, and site sale postponement. I have little doubt that the public record 
details of Online's relocation to Manistique, at a bargain basement price, is 
the consequence of savvy short term business speculation, at public expense.

Nothing like "pigging out" at a public trough, if you are invited.

Why buy the City's 2 acre improved industrial site "premises" when further site 
improvements can be paid for with public money?

"(1)  The sale must be pursuant to the City Charter."

Makes sense, subject to "City Attorney" John Filoramo's interpretation and his 
history of living up to his voiced public observation that "...contracts are 
made to be broken..."; including the de-facto contract by public officials to
conduct public business for public benefit i.a.w. existing laws and regulations,
including the Manistique City Charter. 

"(2)  Any successful bidder must take the property subject to the terms of 

A lease which includes a worthless date of sale.

A lease that "compels" any bidder, but Online, to purchase just about everything 
on the "property", including personal property.

A lease that ensures that Online Engineering, Inc., or another business entity 
with a vested interest in Online Engineering's future, can safely bid $10 for 
the site, and own it, regardless of how much the City of Manistique has invested 
in the property.

A lease that ensures that if I could own the site for a bid nickel, I wouldn't 

Anyone want to buy the whole Online shebang, at an unspecified "fair market 
price"? It would make every Online Engineering stockholder very happy.

The City of Manistique placed itself in a position of a real estate broker, 
having approved and paid for a lease agreement, drafted by Olsen, Filoramo, 
McNamara & Soderberg, P.C., for the benefit of Online Engineering, Inc., 
requiring an undefined "fair market" payment for the privately owned business 
related real capital improvements of Online Engineering; if some entity, other 
than Online, wants to purchase the public land below the business.

What third party wants to buy the City land and all of Online Engineering, 
Inc.'s real capital improvements? Is it known, to some, that an interested
buyer is in the wings?

"(3)  Lessee has the right to first refusal to buy the property, if the Lessee 
is not selected as the successful bidder."

I believe that the legal term is "Right of First Refusal". Assuming that it is, 
then Online Engineering would have the right to purchase the property, or not, 
as a right of the contract, after a public bidding process in which another 
party outbid Online Engineering, Inc.


With the witness and advice of legal counsel, John Filoramo, the City of 
Manistique has a history of perverting the public bidding process.

What is the point of an open public bidding process, supposedly for a piece of 
public property, or public business, when a favored bidder has the right, 
explicit or implicit, to make another bid after all other bids have been 

Who, in their right mind, would waste time and money, formulating an honest and 
conscientious bid for Manistique's industrial park site "premises", or any other 
Manistique public business, if, after a public bidding process, a favored bidder 
could make another offer that the City would accept, whether such a corrupting 
option was included in a contract; or not.

For years, I have witnessed similar corrupted bidding processes of Manistique 
City Council, and other Schoolcraft County Manistique public agencies. 
Invariably, the taxpayers were hosed. Most, if not all city related bidding, was 
witnessed and/ or sanctioned by legal counsel, by default silence, or voiced 

Corrupt behaviour manifests itself in a variety of ways, and most of it is 
deliberate. Regarding the City of Manistique's corrupted bidding policy, I 
perceive it as a consequence of de facto official City of Manistique policy 
evolution, sanctioned by City Attorney Filoramo, that, repeated and 
unchallenged, has been included, now, as a term of a lease contract.

More often, than not, every public bidding business of the City of Manistique, 
that I have witnessed, personally, for some 15 years, has, in some way, been 
seriously flawed as a consequence of official incompetence, ignorance, stupidity 
and/ or corrupt behavior.

"(4)  The successful bidder must agree to pay Lessee for all improvements made 
by Lessee and James H. and Marilyn F. Gardener to the premises during the term 
of the Lease at fair market value at the time that the Lease is terminated or at 
the time of the sale of the property, whichever date the successful bidder 
chooses. If the successful bidder pays for the improvements at the time of the 
sale of the property, then the Lessee, at its option, has the right to rent the 
improvements at fair market rent during the remainder of the Lease term."

Who wants to buy the City's industrial site "premises" with all the improvements 
made by the "Lessee and James H. and Marilyn F. Gardener"?

I read, and understood, that the lease is between Online Engineering, Inc. and 
the City of Manistique. If I understood what I read, what is the legal 
justification of including, in a lease contract for public property, the 
unspecified "improvements", with an unspecified value, of two third party 
individuals, James H. and Marilyn F. Gardener, neither of whom are a contracting 
party, but whose unspecified investments in Online business is included into a 
lease term as an obvious attempt to prevent anyone outside of Online business 
from bidding for public property offered for sale by the City of Manistique?

For all intents and purposes, over the thirty year period of the lease, the use 
of public property was given away. Given the existing lease, in an expanding, 
dynamic, and highly competitive global economy, I see no need for Online to own 
the City's "premises" and I doubt the long term viability of the business. I 
doubt that the creative technical innovation and dedication of the elderly 
Gardeners can be continued, long after their deaths, or intellectual 

I perceive, correctly, or not, that the current Online Engineering Inc. is 
little more than someone's speculative venture, the value of which has been 
pumped up at public expense, with the active participation of City Council, City 
Counsel, and a variety of City administration personnel, past and present.

If members of the Manistique City Council, and administration, chose to execute 
a "give away" lease of public property, to foster investment, why will the 
community receive nothing at the end of the lease? Is it a consequence of 
inbreeding, so endemic in the community.

I remember witnessing, in 1998, Manistique City Council sell an easement for an 
extensive power line right of way, to Edison Sault, for $7,350. For peanuts, 
Edison Sault was granted perpetual use of 5 acres of public property, with no 
requirement to provide anything to the community, at any time, beyond the 
responsibility of the City of Manistique for any contamination and dumping 
problems on the property that Edison Sault was sold the exclusive, tax free 
right to use, forever. 

I am sure that Edison Sault/ American Transmission Company are laughing, all the 
way to the bank. I have reason to believe that Online Engineering, Inc. 
stockholders are happy, for similar reasons.

If Whomever bids to purchase the piece of leased public property, i.e. the 
ground under Online Engineering, by what legislation, or legal theory, is 
Whomever bound to purchase the improvements built on that land? If the City can 
own the land, with no interest in the privately owned improvements, by what 
appropriate legal mechanism can the City of Manistique, or Online Engineering, 
compel Whomever to buy Online's business assets with the leased public property 
for which Whomever may bid?

Barring some charitable, or guilt related motivation of Online Engineering, Inc. 
to purchase the industrial park site that it leased, so favorably, the effect of 
the existing 30 year lease terms, legal or not, have ensured that two improved 
acres of public City of Manistique property will be controlled by a private 
business, for 30 years. For the $100,000 that Manistique dumped into the 
property, the community might receive a total of $18,180 of inflated currency 
lease payments, over the next 30 years, during which Online would have no tax 
liability for the secure and exclusive use of the land.

To make right the consequences of a corrupt and surreptitious deal for public 
property, Online could purchase the site for $100,000, and execute, with my 
blessing, all the public official major players involved in the deal. Without 
executions, I could live with a $100,000 purchase price, with responsible and 
appropriate business terms. 

Today, with a no-lose lease, Online is bound to provide no other value, public 
or private, beyond the contracted total $18,180 lease payments for the 30 year 
lease period.

Outside of the private interests of the stock holders, of Online Engineering, 
the lease contract is essentially worthless to everyone else, including the City 
of Manistique. In terms of responsible city government, contrary to the City
Charter of Manistique, it is a complete give-away, secured for favored individuals,
for speculative private gain.

Let there be no doubt in anyone's mind, regardless of denials, certain folk 
profited, or planned to profit, at public expense, by this great private "deal". 
Nothing, related to Online Engineering's move to Manistique's industrial park, 
happened by accident. Predatory human nature prevailed.

"Clean", new business should be welcome in any community. Contrary to a negative 
view that some individuals have attributed to me, I welcome Online Engineering 
to the City of Manistique, and wish them the best of success, in any ethical 
venture considered.

I do not welcome the stink of the unethical and secretive "public" process by 
which they found a home, at considerable public expense to the community.

The source of the stink is not from those that represent the business interests 
of Online Engineering, Inc. In a predatory and competitive economy, virtually 
devoid of ethics, they did well. They did what had to be done to achieve their 
goals, and did it well.

For the job done by the business agents behind Online Engineering, Inc.'s 
relocation to the City of Manistique, an "Attaboy!" and a gold star, at least.

If I have no use for certain Online Engineering, Inc. business agents' ethics, 
or the ethics of certain Manistique City Council and administration personnel, 
that is my choice, and if, consequently, I am not welcome at their table, I am 

I attribute the stink that I perceive, surrounding Online's relocation to 
Manistique, to the rotting brains of those that are elected or paid to represent 
the public's interest in fostering new business investment in Manistique. In a 
predatory and competitive economy, they failed, miserably, as a consequence of 
conscious corrupt choices.

None of what I have described is accidental, or my interest in it. Now that I 
have speculated about motives and methods concerning what I perceive as small 
town corruption, surrounding Online Engineering, Inc.'s "secret" lease of City 
of Manistique property, maybe some of those responsible will step forward, with 
details, and correct me. I would be more than happy to be corrected, at the next 
city council meeting, by Mayor Hoag, "City Attorney" Filoramo, past Manistique 
City Manager, Alan Housler, and any other councilperson that might have lacked 
the courage, knowledge, or understanding, in the past, to speak up. Over a year 
later, some believable explanation and details are due.

Regarding most of my public business speculation, expressed here, in writing, at 
the City Council meeting of 12/11/05, I expect some form of cogent response at 
the next City Council meeting. 

If you lose your written copy, you may find it at my web site, after I include 
it, later this week. I will be happy to include, at my web site, any public 
official response, verbal or written.

Sincerely, Peter Markham


I attended the Manistique City Council meeting, this evening. At the last public 
comment period I asked if any member of council had any comment regarding the 
issues and questions I considered above.

Councilman Dan Evonich spoke up, and, in a quavering voice that revealed the 
emotional stress of the moment, he read a written statement I include below. 
Along with his prepared statement, he held up a copy of the Pioneer Tribune, 
dated 08/12/02, in which he stated that the terms of the considered lease were 
not secret, and were publicized.

Nothing in his written statement addressed any of the questions I asked. Nothing 
in his statement addressed any recognized misunderstanding that I may have 
considered, above. No councilperson had anything of consequence to say, 
regarding anything I wrote of.

I received, gracefully, the televised public cuffing, for stating my reasons for 
my perception of questionable bidding procedures, and my perception of a 
questionable lease contract, written for Online Engineering. Councilman Evonich 
then added that if the City wished to give away public property, and substantial 
tax breaks, to encourage investment in Manistique, then "... So be it. ..." 

Regarding my following question, soliciting further response, concerning the 
propriety of the future considered public bidding process for the leased 
property, City Manager, Shiela Aldrich, stated that all was proper, i.a.w. the 
Manistique City Charter. My last question, directed to City Manager Aldrich, 
regarding any further response from Manistique city government, elicited a terse 
and vague response implying further action was contemplated.

As no further response was offered, I returned to my seat, no more the wiser 
than I was, weeks, and years ago; beyond the obvious implication that because 
some wanted to take candy from a baby, it was done.

This is Councilman Evonich's 12/27.05 televised statement taking me to task for 
asking questions, and providing substantiation, and justification, for the 
questions I asked. I include, in parentheses, my considered responses to his 
vague reproof.

"To Mr. Peter Markham,

I resent the fact that Mr. Markham accused this council of unethical and 
secretive small town corruption in a lease deal between Online Engineering and 
the City of Manistique."

(If the issues I consider and question, above, do not fall into the category of 
the consequences of unethical or corrupt governmental behavior, then dispel my 
ignorance and misunderstanding by addressing the specific issues and questions.)

"There were no secrets kept from anyone, including the public. The lease in 
question was voted on in this room, with the doors wide open. The lease was 
talked about on the radio, and was headlines in our local newspaper. Many of the 
sections that Mr. Markham is questioning were printed in the paper for all to 

(The Pioneer Tribune edition, dated 08/12/02, does cover some of the details of 
the proposed lease. The lease may have been talked about on the radio. The lease 
was voted on by Manistique City Council members. All of that, to which 
Councilman Evonich refers, has little to no relevance to the issues I specified. 
The questions I asked, in the context presented, in my written public statement, 
"Why the Sham of Public Bidding?", are quoted above. Nothing of what I wrote 
sought or implied a request for a vague blanket evasive response.)

"If Manistique were the only location for a business to build, then we could 
just sit back and let them all come to us, but we're not, as we all know it is a 
big world out there. And if we want to attract companies with high paying jobs 
we must go after them."

(If I had any reason to believe that City government "went after them" I might 
be a little more charitable. The details I wrote of, and questioned, imply to me 
that business agent(s) propositioned the City of Manistique, and the City bent 
me over, with full knowledge and understanding of the offer and/ or complete 
ignorance of the consequences. Regardless of who initiated the business, the 
process was, for the most part, broken, private, and the public was gored, with 
subsequent evasion and deceit concerning the relevant who's, hows, whens, wheres 
and whys.)  

"If we have to give property away to companies and or tax breaks to attract them 
to Manistique, then so be it."

(Throughout the U.S., ethical methods for a community to entice new investment 
are well established. If Manistique City Council has given, or intends to give, 
something to a specific business entity, i.a.w. some private, or public 
agreement, then why the sham of offering it for public bidding? I have no reason 
to accept the obvious implied premise, approved by Manistique City Council, that 
adhering to a Manistique City Charter requirement of public bidding, for the sale
of a Manistique industrial park site, makes legitimate all the prior private,
shady business, that had to happen, before the details of a pending lease
agreement were made public.

I have no reason to accept the implied premise that any public business, offered 
for bids, i.a.w. a requirement of the Manistique city charter, sanctions prior
private, unethical or illegal activity related to that public business.

The bottom line is, with full public disclosure, and ethical and legal choices, 
anyone, in the right position, can give away public value; ethically, legally, 
and with a clear conscience - whether I like it or not.


For starters, a 30 year lease for $1, or for $18,180. If you don't like 30 
years, try 100 years. Include lease renewal options and terms. Include terms 
that reflect sound business principles that insure public interests, as well as 
private. A sweet deal, that benefits all involved, can be had without a foul 
stink. The options for ethical business are mostly limited by imagination and 

When elected and appointed public officials behave like predatory criminal 
confidence artists, with or without general public approval, I will bitch until 
Hell freezes over, because, in the "civilized" society in which I live, and 
choose to remain, my legitimate options are limited.

"In closing I would just like to say that The Manistique City Council and City 
Manager are very committed to our community. We are here to try our best to help 
this community grow and prosper, to move ahead in the right directions, and to 
make changes for the present and future that will hopefully someday allow our 
children the opportunity to stay in the Manistique area."

(Regardless of whether "...the Manistique City Council and City Manager are very 
committed to our community..." "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions," 
because "the Devil is in the details." Regardless of vague remonstration, 
concerning particulars of any specific Manistique city business, especially 
particulars of public bidding processes, I notice that, too many times, public 
goals do not justify the methods. It is as if, from my perspective, to the 
elected and appointed officials of the City of Manistique, the concepts and 
mechanism for conducting ethical public business have yet to be invented.) 

"Daniel J. Evonich"

The following was offered, on 12/28/05, as an editorial letter, to the Pioneer 
Tribune. It condenses much of the essence of my voiced concerns, in my written 
public statement to City Council, "Why the Sham of Public Bidding?", quoted 

"At the Manistique City Council meeting of 12/27/05, I asked if anyone cared to 
answer specific questions, and correct any misunderstanding I expressed, in 
writing, at the previous City Council meeting, surrounding the stated intent of 
the City to solicit public bids for the City owned leased industrial park site 
beneath a local business.

Instead of receiving relevant answers, or enlightening information, to dispel 
any misunderstanding I might have, I was read a televised statement berating me 
for asserting, or implying, that I considered, as questionable or corrupt 
behavior, specific City Council and administration action concerning a leased 
city industrial park site.

I ask, once again; beyond the State of Michigan's legal requirements for the 
disposition of public property, i.a.w the Manistique City Charter that requires
a public bidding process:

Why the sham of a public bidding process for an industrial park site that no 
one, but the current leaseholder, would bid for, because, by terms of the lease, 
any other bidder must purchase the real, and personal property improvements, for
an unknown "fair market value", that includes the value of a new 7,500 square
foot commercial building?

Why the sham of a public bidding process for a piece of leased public property, 
when, as I understand, a term of the lease allows the current lessee to bid 
again, after any other bids are opened?

Why the sham of expecting me to believe that the basic terms of the industrial 
park site lease were not implicitly agreed to, in secret, before the City of 
Manistique started to move the contaminated dirt at the leased industrial park 

Why the sham of expecting me to believe that Mayor Hoag and City Manager Housler 
were clueless about the soil contamination at the site, and authorized the 
movement of the contaminated soil with no prior knowledge, or commitment, 
concerning the site's pending lease and sale terms?

Why the sham of expecting any ignorant member of the community to believe that 
the public officials that approved the industrial park site business didn't know 
what they were doing?

Why the sham of public bidding processes, for Manistique city business, when 
favored bidders are too often "guaranteed" the business, as the consequence of 
private agreements before, or public haggling after, sealed bids are opened?

Why the sham of public bidding processes, when, too often, those that seek to 
spend public revenue do not know enough to write appropriate bid specifications 
to ensure that the "public" receives the best value for public funds, completed 
in a timely manner, with penalties for substandard performance and quality?

Why the sham of expecting me to have any degree of faith in the integrity of 
Manistique's elected city officials, and the spirit of accountable and 
responsible Manistique city government, when, in light of my voiced concerns, 
the only pertinent response I got was a televised butt chewing, and, to 

"If the City wished to give away public property, and substantial tax breaks, to 
encourage investment in Manistique, then, so be it."

Peter Markham"


Since my written public comments of late 2005, and my published editorial 
letter, detailed above, I became aware of, and understood, several more facets 
of the public business aspects of the Online Engineer Inc. project.

1. City Manager Housler did not take care of the Online Engineering Inc. 
personal property tax abatement requirements, as he stated he would, and was 
reported in the Pioneer Tribune of 08/12/02. He could not, because the contract 
was signed before the paperwork was submitted, thereby making the property 
ineligible for a State of Michigan tax abatement certificate. Housler flew by 
the seat of his pants and the consequence is that Online Engineering gets its 
50% personal property tax abatement, for 5 years, as ensured by the contract 
above, and City of Manistique taxpayers get to pay the State of Michigan, the 
50% that Online doesn't.

2. I have witnessed, at subsequent city council meetings, since my written 
public comments above, a noticeable concern about the public bidding process, 
for the sale of public real estate, in particular, expressed in outspoken 
counsel by City Attorney Filaramo. I have little doubt that he has come to 
understand the potential liability consequences of the legal advice and the 
Online contract he provided the City of Manistique.

3. What makes the chosen public process, and contract, that much more shabby, 
now, is that my public speculation of a rapid turnaround of the investment in
Online Engineering Inc. was right on target. That, in turn, has a tendency to
confirm my musings that, from the beginning, the move of Online Engineering Inc.
to Manistique, was little more than a quick-sale speculative venture, levering
public money and assets, and, possibly, the confidence of its creators. I
still do not know if the elderly Gardeners were informed investors in the
relocation venture. 

4. I have come to appreciate much of Councilman Dan Evonich's perception, 
regardless of our public differences of opinion, regarding certain subjects. As 
I told him, from my perspective, our differences are merely professional, 
dealing with public business; even though the rhetoric may sting, both of us, at 
times. I have reasons to believe that he has come to understand, and accept the 
concept, to a significant degree.

Once again,

The Manistique City Charter defines the process of disposing of City of Manistique
real, and personal property, by public bidding sale.

The Manistique City Charter does not consider the sale, by the City of Manistique
acting as a real estate broker, for any party's real or personal property, beyond
that in which the City of Manistique has a legal vested public interest.

 © 2006