The Fun Part About Financial Disaster…

OK the title is only slightly misleading… Financial ruin of an industry is hardly fun for those who get caught in the cogs of the machine. It is the DISCOVERY of truth which is rightfully enjoyable. The UAW has certainly seen more prosperous days for its members, and has most decidedly taken advantage of the windfall of earlier successes. However, the not so careful dis-assembly the UAW has wreaked on past successes of the automakers is now bringing more light to the dark side of dues paid self compensation under the guise of “education” for its leadership.

The UAW Golf course in Cheyboygan county, (North Eastern Michigan)  a $33 million dollar posh (and public.. at a price) facility has been losing money for the Union and apparently misrepresents its true value for property tax purposes as Dennis Lennox III points out in his phone interview on Fox news yesterday.  Dennis is the recently elected Drain Commissioner for Cheboygan county, and claims the UAW uses the tribunal process in an attempt to decrease the state taxable value well below the value they claim for federal purposes.  This results in lowered collected taxes and “cheats” the already cash strapped schools of much needed funds.

Michelle Malkin has been on top of this as well for weeks, and has chronicled the excesses the UAW has enjoyed on the backs of its workers, and now apparently the taxpayer.  She points out even more through financial history:

Nero fiddled while Rome burned. The UAW golfed. While carmakers soak up $17 billion in taxpayer bailout funds and demand more for their ailing industry, United Auto Workers bosses have wasted tens of millions of their workers’ dues on gold-plated resorts and rotten investments. The labor organization’s money-losing golf compound is just the tip of the iceberg.

Malkin is correct.  It is only the tip of the iceberg…

Curious as I am about the UAW and its operation of the lavish facility in Cheboygan county I wonder aloud if the employees if this resort are the recipients of a decent compensation package the UAW insists is necessary for the survival of ANY individual at any time.  Certainly the kitchens of Black Lake Golf Course in Onaway are heavily populated with the finest Union chefs and wait staff.  I guess a little cheating on your local taxes could be well balanced out by long term health care doled out to those deserving northern Michiganders hmmm?

Right..  Hypocrisy… meet thy maker

6 comments for “The Fun Part About Financial Disaster…

  1. leonard page
    December 31, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    your facts are wrong:

    Cheboygan County’s newly elected drain commissioner, Dennis Lennox, has just issued his latest press release entitled “UAW refuses to pay taxes on lavish lakeside resort“. As you may recall, Lennox campaigned for the drain commissioner job with lawn signs falsely implying that he was the incumbent- a violation of state law. His platform was based on a stated desire for low taxes and getting the state legislature to abolish what he calls the “do nothing” drain commissioner job which pays $600 a year.

    Property assessment are made by each township on an annual basis and are subject to taxpayer challenge at a local board of review and then before a state tax tribunal. For almost 40 years, the UAW has run an education center for its members on the south side of Black Lake in Waverly Township. The Center has a first-rate public golf course with a great restaurant and accommodations for up to 250 members to attend weeklong education and training programs. The UAW Center employs over 150 locals, paying good wages and benefits and it operations have been almost self-sustaining. (The Center has its own fire department, security, road maintenance, waste treatment etc and no school-age children live at the Center). The Center has reportedly operated at a loss of about $23 million dollars over the past five years.

    Historically, the UAW has been able to successfully challenge the Waverly Township assessment at the state tax tribunal level. In 2007, the UAW again challenged its assessment and the parties settled that matter that same year. The Lennox release falsely suggests that I represented the UAW in this matter and refused to make any effort to resolve it. However, I have not represented the UAW in any of these assessment disputes. (I retired from the UAW in 1999 and after two years in at the NLRB in Washington D.C., I settled here on family property in Grant Township.) When the 2007 assessment challenge was brought to my attention, I arranged for a meeting with the township board, the UAW Center Director, its tax attorney and a high level administrator from UAW Solidarity House in Detroit. I also offered to attend the meeting at the Center with the UAW providing lunch and tour of the facility. The Waverly Township Board declined this offer. (Neither county commissioners nor for that matter, drain commissioners, are involved in property tax assessment matters.)

    Since this matter had been resolved by the Waverly Township Board and the UAW, why does the new drain commissioner regurgitate it now almost two years later? Every taxpayer has a right to appeal a tax assessment, particularly where there has been a past pattern of excessive assessments. The only issue in any assessment dispute is the appraised value of the property in contrast to other comparable properties. There is no discussion of this issue or of past tax tribunal decisions in the Lennox release. You would think a self-proclaimed advocate for low taxes would support any taxpayer’s right to appeal an improper assessment.

    The UAW Reuther Center has been good for the community and its continued ownership should be encouraged. Rumors have circulated for years that the Center or at least the golf course are for sale. I hope the UAW realizes that most do not share Mr. Lennox‘s views. The UAW has maintained a beautiful, low impact resort operation which strives to preserves the property’s natural environment. The Center employees are locals earning a decent living and enjoying the benefits of union representation. Even though the Center is a seasonal employer, the UAW does NOT exercise its right to challenge unemployment benefits when it shuts down over the winter. The UAW Center attracts thousands of well-behaved visitors annually who spend their money in the local area. (Some even come back to vacation and retire here!) The facility has also been made available for many public meetings and the UAW has been a generous supporter of community events and programs. In contrast with some resorts, the UAW does not use foreign workers on temporary work visas. Nor has the UAW asked either the township or county for any taxpayer-funded subsidy despite the fact that the Center operations have apparently been a steady drain on the UAW’s declining resources.

    Perhaps the new township board may wish to pursue a better relationship with the current property owner and one of the county’s largest and best paying employers. The drain commissioner’s attack on the UAW is stale, devoid of relevant facts, unprincipled, obviously beyond his expertise and unrelated to his duties.

    Leonard Page

  2. jgillman
    December 31, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    I appreciate the time you have spent on your Comment, and immediately posted it. Thank you.

    A couple of questions… What is the real estimated value of the property, and you say there are 150 employed… so are they represented by which trade union? A matter of curiosity.

  3. average joe
    December 31, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    Leonard PAge is ab embarassment to Cheboygan County. I would love to see his campaign finance reports to see how much money the Marxist union gave him to get him elected to represent their $33 million lakeside resort. I’m glad that someone finally blew the whistle on the union’s bullying of local government. This is the biggest joke. Page has no creditability and has major conflicts of interest. I hope someone calls these UAW elitests under oath to explain these shennigans. There are some serious questions that need to be answered and explained.

  4. leonard page
    December 31, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    I don’t know the details of the 2007 assessment dispute or what the settlement was. I do not know the current assessed value of the black lake property.

    The center employees were represented
    by the paper workers union which i believe merged with the steelworkers union some years ago.
    The golf course employees are represented by the operating engineers.

    If you check my financial disclosure statements on file with the county clerk you will see that the UAW gave me no money in my 2006 election campaign for county commissioner. In 2008, I ran unopposed.

    leonard page

  5. Is this the same Leonard Page ...
    December 31, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    … that blasts the troops serving their country in the line of duty by calling their service “immoral” in his rants and raves on the op-ed pages of local newspapers? This is also the guy, who on a record roll call vote, voted against recycling.

Comments are closed.

Loading Facebook Comments ...