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Tuesday, January 03, 2012

After Getting Millions From City of Aurora Taxpayers, Two Bros Shopping Roundhouse for $1.7 Million

Two Brothers (aka Jason and Jim Ebel), who received millions of taxdollars from Mayor Tom Weisner to takeover operation and ownership of the historic Roundhouse (formerly known as Walter Payton's Roundhouse) from longtime operator Scott Ascher, are now shopping the Roundhouse for a $1.7 million sale, according to sources.

Contrary to a recent story by the Beacon-News, which portrayed that all is well and Two Brothers had long-term plans to reinvent the Roundhouse, the new owners are looking to exit the Roundhouse after getting $1.2 million from you, the taxpayer, to purchase it.  That's aside from other $3.9 million in taxpayer funds so Two Brothers could open a warehouse on the city's northeast side.

Sources say there are no provisions in the deals negotiated by the city's administration for "clawbacks" or remedies.  Two Brothers don't lose any of their taxpayer incentives and are under no obligation to repay anything back.

Taxpayers gave over $5 million to Two Brothers.  If they sell the Roundhouse for $1.7 million, they will make a remarkable profit.

When asked why the City of Aurora would negotiate such a deal that costs taxpayers millions during a fiscal crisis only to see the new owners try to profit from it, spokesgirl Carie Anne Ergo would only say "well, the city council approved it 11-1 and how were we supposed to know they would turn around and try to sell the Roundhouse so quickly?"

David Dorgan, the former city manager for Elgin who was fired and then hired by "Seize the Future" in Aurora instead of directly by the city so he could continue to collect a public pension (at your expense) was the primary negotiator for the city.  He also oversaw the deals that cost taxpayers and produced nothing such as the Elks Club Building and "Restaurant Row."

Since taking over the Roundhouse, many viewers have noted changes did not seem to be going well, including going from restaurant food to primarily "bar" food.

Former operator Scott Ascher, who transformed the Roundhouse into one of Aurora's top destinations, had sought the city's assistance, but the city would not help and instead took actions to encourage an ownership change.

One viewer noted, "ironically, the person who has actually been able to make the Roundhouse a success has been Scott Ascher.  Maybe the city should invite him back."

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

this is totally opposite of what the Beacon was portraying in their recent article.

how come everytime the city does a deal, certain people profit while the rest of us taxpayers pay???

Anonymous said...

These Two Bros folks didn't have any experience running such a large facility like the Roundhouse. But, they probably looked at it and said if the city is stupid enough to give them millions to push Ascher out, why not go for it and just sell it later for even more profit than they already got.

Anonymous said...

if they are shopping the Roundhouse for $1.7 million or ANY amount, then it means taxpayers were exploited.

yet another "accomplishment" by Dorgan and the city.

Anonymous said...

Even without this news, the deal was awful for taxpayers. We would have better off just buying the Roundhouse, hiring a management company to run it until we could find a buyer.

Instead, we gave away five million bucks. What kind of people run this city gov't???

Anonymous said...

Obviously a total idiot runs this city government. "how would we know" -- You couldn't KNOW, but you sure as heck should have ANTICIPATED. Because THAT'S YOUR JOB! When the city did that tax break deal w/ the car dealership years ago, I think I remember there being some kind of guarantee that they'd stay in town for a period of time (5 years?). ANY time the city is giving a business money, there should be a pay-back clause to prevent exactly what is happening here.

That is, IF Openline's story is correct.

cubbiesfan said...

You should check your facts. I have worked at the roundhouse since day one. Watching the prior ownership run the complex into the ground. If his cronies, who are on the city council, wish to speak poorly of the Two Brothers, they do so in poor taste. These men are simply taking a wasted opportunity from the hands of a poor businessman, and turning it around. To besmirch their good name is not only unethical, but short sighted as well.

Anonymous said...

So cubbiesfan, since you're an insider, are you trying to say that this story is NOT true and that the brothers are NOT looking to sell the Roundhouse? Because your post doesn't clearly say that.

cubbiesfan said...

I will not dignify those mistruths with a response.

Anonymous said...

This is why Municipalities DO NOT get involved in the restaruant and bar business. 5 million to these guys, two million for a f'n Irish Pub, one million for the name Harry Caray. You've got a restaraunt/bar in Aurora that openly states that it is the place for Latin Kings gang-members to hang out. The Mayor and his rubber stamps ( save Mr. Lawrence) should go out and overspend on a Police Station and greatly overpay Aurora Firefighters.

Anonymous said...

What bar open allows Latin King members to hang out in?

Anonymous said...

Aurora = Kickback City, SECOND TO NONE!

Will the FEDS every get involved??!!

Anonymous said...

La Quinta de Los Reyes.....corner of Broadway and New York....they apparently made a contribution to the Mayor's campaign and they do as they damn well please.

Anonymous said...

Weisner used his official capacity and taxpayer funds to push Scott Ascher out of town and it cost YOU five million bucks. Two Bros aren't the only ones laughing all the way to the bank and pocketing profit.

Anonymous said...

How many more millions of dollars are going to be wasted on trying to revive Downtown Aurora? It was obvious to almost everyone who lived here that Downtown died a good 30-35 years ago. The taxpayers are getting raped by the Mayor and his delusional aspirations of reviving the dead.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody remember scott asher didn't pay his taxes, his suppliers, his utilities or his employees? Who's ripping off who?

Anonymous said...

I need a few million bucks. Instead of going to the bank, let me kiss Weisner's ass and open a bar instead.

Anonymous said...

Hey cubbiesfan, pretty impressive evasion of a direct question! You should be a politician. Or are you already?

Anonymous said...

The food was horrible I got food poisoning the spot in Warrenville is not much better

Al Kohollick said...

This is the OpenlineBlog tour of F'd Up Aurora: Starting at New York St and River St, where many years ago an large old factory burned to the ground, we head east heading towards the bridge over the Fox and see a authentic Irish Pub bar that cost Aurora taxpayers a mere two million dollars. And over here is a sign named Harry Caray's the taxpayers of Aurora got a real bargain here, folks, that only cost 1 million dollars. Now if you'll look over here at this parking lot to the north you'll 11 million dollars of land that the taxpayers of Aurora purchased. We're not sure why the taxpayers bought it, but hey it's not our place to question why we're just just here enjoying the tour. And now to your left is a Casino where old, lonely, and drunk people give away their money to people who don't mind taking it. And as we cross over the bridge we come to this fine dining establishment "La Quinta le los Reyes"....does anyone here on this tour knows what that means when translated to English? That's right sir, it means: "Home of the Kings"......And now if you'll look to the north you'll see one of Aurora's nine fire stations, that's right NINE, where right now highly paid men aren't doing much of anything expect earning a six-figure salary. Thank you for taking the tour.

Anonymous said...

Let us not forget about Shodeen and that mess left there. How about that one ole bearded one?

Anonymous said...

Why does this blog always bust on the "highly paid firemen" when the police make more than they do? For the FOURTH time, why aren't APD salaries posted here? Investigative reporting? Only when it suits your purposes.
Also, Al, let the fire department know which station is closest to your house and they can start with shutting down that one, unless you don't live in Aurora, in which case you have no stake to even post on this blog about it.

Anonymous said...

Aurora Police while a bit overpaid are at least pro-active every day in trying to make Aurora a more liveable city. Unlike other People on the City payroll,who hang out with others of their kind and wait around and try to keep busy cleaning this or that and make six-figures waiting for the phone to ring.

Anonymous said...

Any firefighters, don't take the bait. Just let their comments roll of you and down to where they belong -- the sewer. The vast majority of us Aurora residents and taxpayers appreciate you and are grateful for your services. And I don't really care where you live -- I know you'll be there for me and my family if we need you!

And 6:41, I agree 100% w/ you. We haven't heard Jack Diddly about the Shodeen fiasco in a long time, from either the Beacon OR from Openline. Of course, it's more of an indictment of the Beacon because they actually have investigative reporters who should be looking into it. Openline of course does no investigation, and has to wait until someone else does and publishes it so he can copy and paste it. Or until someone sends something to him, that he can post here w/o any kind of verification or fact checking.

Al Kohollick said...

The vast majority of Aurora taxpayers would not be in favor of paying out a six-figure salary for people to wait around for a phone call so they can put water on a fire. I would like to see some professional polling done on this issue by a non-partial professional polling company. I don't need Union propaganda to influence my opinion on this matter.....so just use your common sense. Why pay out over 100,000 a year to bunch of connected people who don't even live here to hang out and wait to put water on a fire? Many towns do this with a volunteer crew. This will be a issue that won't go away until the salaries become more realistic given the current economic conditions. In other words, it's time TO GET REAL.

Anonymous said...

Al, again, why the bias against the fire department? I can't argue against your opinion on the pay scale, but using your logic, we should also cut the police pay as well as lay off officers as the crime rate has dropped again this year. Were you wronged by a fireman at some point in your life? I have to admit I do like your screen name!

Anonymous said...

Is that his screen name or a description? The truth is, no matter who polls the Aurora residents, he won't believe it if it doesn't come out the way he wants. His definition of "non-partial" is someone who says what he wants to hear. That's why he's deliberately distorting the situation. He takes the top pay, and makes it sound like every firefighter in the department gets that. The bosses make over 100,000, but the firefighter who's going to actually run into the burning building to save your sorry butt doesn't come close to that. And as far as all the towns who use volunteers, name one w/ a population anywhere as near as big as ours.

Anonymous said...

I've seen the Aurora Fire department payouts. Over 100,000 is close to the average. Either way, it's overpayment for services rendered. I mean no disrespect, it's just way too much to pay someone. There needs to be a correction.

Anonymous said...

It's no secret.....Al has a problem. We keep telling him that it needs to get taken care of but he just keeps sipping on the bottle of Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill.

Al Kohollick said...

Is it wrong for a man to drink when he is thirsty?

Anonymous said...

It is a problem is he's drinking Boone's Farm! That's what we drank when I was in high school in the 70s. I'm much more sophisticated now.

Box wines.

Anonymous said...

I can't agree with everything Al says but I like his style

trevor said...

Any money gained in the sale of the roundhouse should be returned to the taxpayers period

Anonymous said...

While I am not well-versed in the dealings of the Aurora city government or the Roundhouse mismanagement/profit-seeking entrepreneurs, I was married for many years to a firefighter/paramedic.

I know that a near six-figure salary seems like a lot of money. Please be aware, however, that they are not being paid for "waiting around for a phone call to throw water on a fire." Most nights, my husband barely slept due mostly to ambulance calls. He permanently injured his neck due to a mentally unstable patient who pinned him against a wall while he was attempting patient care. He also was the first responder at many accident scenes and acted as counselor as well as care giver to those clinging to life. He saw countless people take their last breaths and witnessed grown men/teens calling out to their moms during these moments.

Many of the hours at the firehouse were spent training for both the fire and the paramedic sides of the trade. The vocation is a very exhausting and demanding profession that takes a toll on family life. I did not know one firefighter/paramedic that stayed in the vocation for the money...it simply is not worth it. What is worth it, however, is knowing that you made a difference in someone's life and having the opportunity to serve one's community. Please respect this sacrifice and refrain from minimizing it...one day you or somebody you love will most certainly depend on a firefighter/paramedic's training and courage. Perhaps then you will begin to understand their value.