Is Hanna’s vote for sale ?
– an investigative report by The Banning Informer – 10/19/09 – updated 12/15/09
The Banning Informer has learned that City Council member Barbara Hanna has been receiving funding from special interest in at least three five different cases . Monetary Contributions were provided to Hanna by two developers who received massive City funding, a property owner who sold her building to the City of Banning and two other property owners who had their buildings fixed up at taxpayer’s expense. All five have provided Hanna with monetary contributions . It is important to note that in each case Hanna voted in a way that financially benefited these contributors. .
1 – Contribution from developer DeMario Jackson : on April 22, 2008 Barbara Hanna voted in favor of an “Owner Participation Agreement” awarding Jackson with $ 450,000.00 in taxpayer funds for the remodel of Jackson’s building located at 68 N. First Street in Banning (view CRA minutes here, pages 12 + 13). Essentially, these type of agreements eventually turn into a grant, provided certain conditions are met. A couple of months after Hanna voted to approve the agreement, DeMario Jackson gave her $ 200.00 on June 30, 2008 and another $ 260.00 only 3 days later for a total of $ 460.00 ( view here, page 6 ). Not a bad deal for Jackson – but it gets even better : Jackson took the money but he never finished the building . Instead, he stopped making his mortgage payments and let the building go into foreclosure. The City is now left holding the bag : the money given to Jackson was effectively unsecured and cannot be recovered.
2 – Contribution from Paula Hill a.k.a. Paula Glick : Paula Hill was the owner of a building located at 130 N. San Gorgonio in Banning which she wanted to sell. On April 22, 2008 Hanna made a motion to approve the purchase of Hill’s building by the City of Banning (view here, page 9). The purchase price paid by the City of Banning was $ 450,000.00 . ( arguably overpaying – there was no appraisal, only an “opinion” by an appraiser – which is not the same). Following Hanna’s vote to purchase the building from Paula Hill, Hill gave Hanna $ 198.00 on July 18, 2008 (view here, page 8 ) .
3 – Contribution from developer Robert Freeman : In March of 2007 Barbara Hanna voted to approve another “ Owner
Participation Agreement” , this time for $ 685,000.00 to the benefit of developer Robert Freeman in connection with the remodel of the Oddfellows Building, located at the corner of Ramsey Street and San Gorgonio in Banning. Again, this agreement eventually turns the City’s contribution into a grant to Freeman and his partners. During the course of 2008 Freeman gave Hanna a total of $ 575.00 in contributions ( view here page 6 ). Following these contributions to Hanna, on May 26, 2009 Hanna voted in favor of the City giving Freeman another $ 42,000.00 and finally on June 23, 2009 , Freeman and his partners were given an additional $ 398,152.78 from the City ( view CRA resolution, page 8). So far, Freeman and his partners have received a total of ..$ 1,125,152.78 from the City of Banning, all voted for by Barbara Hanna.
4 – NEWLY DISCOVERED : Contribution by Bob and Claudia Keeling : Bob and Claudia Keeling received a Façade Grant in the
amount of $ 100,000.00 for their building located at 515 W. Ramsey Street in Banning. Barbara Hanna voted in favor of this Grant ( view) . The Keelings subsequently contributed $ 300.00 to Barbara Hanna’s campaign. (view page 5). Due to foreclosure this façade grant ended up as one of the redevelopment disasters caused by Hanna, as described in this article (view) , resulting a total loss to the taxpayer of the funds expended. It is also noteworthy that Bob Keeling serves as a Board Member in the Banning Cultural Alliance, an organization strongly supported by and with close ties to Barbara Hanna.
5 – NEWLY DISCOVERED : Contribution by Diana DiMaggio : On May 29, 2007, Diana DiMaggio received a Façade Grant for a whopping $ 200,000.00 for her building “Coplin House” located at the corner of Ramsey St. and San Gorgonio Ave. This grant , along with two others, never appeared on the regular agenda of the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). Instead, it was placed on the “consent calendar”, which means the City Council ( CRA) did not want to further discuss it and did not generate a staff report. By way of this procedure, limited public awareness and limited public input was virtually assured . The total dollar amount of the three grants placed on the “consent calendar” that day was $ 400,000.00 – not exactly “peanuts”. Why would the City Council (CRA) keep an expenditure this large “under the radar” ? Why are $ 400,000.00 in City Grants no longer worthy of a full public debate ? The fact that Barbara Hanna made the initial motion to approve this “consent item” (view) shows she was the driving force behind those grants. $ 200,000.00 were given to DiMaggio that day. Subsequently DiMaggio showed her appreciation by donating $ 650.00 to Barbara Hanna’s campaign ( view page 6) in 2008.
Can one still believe that Banning City Council member Barbara Hanna is an advocate of the people of Banning ? Could it be more clear that she serves special interests who receive hundreds of thousands – sometimes millions – in taxpayer money from the way she casts her votes ? Please vote :
The information contained in this article was obtained by careful research of public record.