Think of the irony of it. The Gund Foundation is giving the Cleveland schools $2.5 million of dollars, according to a Page one story today in the Plain Dealer. Isn’t it ironic - or at amusing - or a dime on a dollar - that the Gund family took MANY millions FROM the city’s schools.
The Gunds were big property tax evaders.
Yes, it is a good move for the Gund Foundation to give $2.5 million with a promise of more. We should applaud for it. But let’s not get teary eyed.
It is so much as how the world works.
The rich get richer and they bequeath tax-free pennies from those they took.
The Gunds - George and Gordon - of course, once owned the Cleveland Cavaliers. Our sales (sin) taxes built the arena for them. They took us for plenty of dough.
They also benefited from an arena free of property taxes – millions of dollars each year. Most of it, ironically, from the schools. Cleveland schools that is. A peak at how millions are lost:
The Gunds bought the Cavs from Ted Stepien before the 1983-83 season for some $20 million. The brothers sold the team for $375 million in 2005. Nice profit. After, of course, we provided them with a new arena. And parking. And a couple of free loges. Nice deal if you can get it. And if you have the dough you can.
Ironically, David Abbott in the early 1990s was Cuyahoga County chief administrator. Gateway was launched in May 1990. Abbott, who left in 1993, was a Tim Hagan man. Tim, of course, promoted Gateway. He was chief lobbyist, along with Mike White, in obtaining a full tax exemption for the arena building. It will never pay property taxes.
Abbott today has his picture on the PD front page as Gund Foundation executive director ($300,000 a year). He has certainly become a favorite person of the Pee Dee, where (maybe another irony) he once was a reporter.
And not to be paranoid or anything, Abbott also was an original board member of the Gateway Economic Development Corp. Gateway was very, very good to the Gunds. Gateway board members sort of ignored big overruns on the Gund arena. No good deed goes unrewarded in this game.
Abbott is a past director of University Circle, Inc. UCI is pressing hard for the Opportunity Corridor $375-million road to UC. Of course, the Gund Foundation gave the road project pushers $100,000 to start.
Money goes round and round. Some sometimes trickles down to where it is needed.