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Who started these lies?  We want a new building?

 We need to rehab the Martings Building?  We must

move out of our present building?  By Austin Leedom

Photo by Moezine Productions.
News and Opinion by Austin Leedom, July 25, 2005

Clay Johnson, the man who sold the over-priced Martings Building to the City of Portsmouth in May 2002, as he
appeared at an alleged  forum at Portsmouth High School in
February, 2005.  This is the man who swindled $2 Million
Dollars from the citizens of this city.  Many people believe that
criminal prosecution is long overdue for Clay Johnson, Greg Bauer and their City Council accomplices in the Martings embezzlement and they believe the Two Million Dollars should be returned to the City of Portsmouth.   
 Johnson is the agent for dozens of dubious "non-profit" shell
corporations.  He has allegedly become a multi-millionaire
while working "for the betterment of Portsmouth"
as leader of the Southern Ohio Growth Program (SOGP)/
Chamber of Commerce,/ Martings Foundation and many
other "non-profit" secretive groups allegedly striving for
"the betterment of Portsmouth."  During the past ten years
hundreds of millions of dollars in  grant money from the federal government have disappeared into the coffers of the SOGP.  A few elite, over-privileged accomplices of Johnson have prospered while the "rest of us' have become impoverished and City has withered.  Clay Johnson has refused to account for the money that has been
sent here for the benefit of the City of Portsmouth.  Recent actions by Clay Johnson indicate he has no intention of returning any of the money he bilked from the City in the Martings fraud and also indicate Jim Kalb is still an accomplice with Johnson, as he was in the Grand Theft in 2002
Many citizens now know that Clay Johnson has been caught stealing from us, and they believe the entire $2 Million, plus interest should be returned, and Johnson and associates should be charged with grand theft.
Why should Johnson and Gang escape the law?  Crooked public officials and big time corporate thieves have been going to prison in record numbers recently.

Read the controversial agreements Mayors Bauer and Kalb have entered into with C. Clayton Johnson/SOGP/Marting Brothers and Neal Hatcher/Big Time Developer with "Eminent Domain."  Both Hatcher and Johnson are involved in both deals; both contracts are beneficial to Hatcher and Johnson; both deals are detrimental and injurious to the city and the citizens.

Martings Madness
 Friday,August 12, 2005
Written by Andrew Feight –
copied from Moe’s Forum by Austin Leedom

This Martings controversy just makes little sense to me. It really borders on a madness. Why can't Kalb and the others just admit the whole thing was a huge mistake from the get-go? Judge Marshall's ruling was the chance to rectify the whole situation. The original deal was voided. So what insanity has got us to the point where the city council is once again voting on whether or not to renovate the martings building?

We all know about the backroom dealing, the overvalued appraisal, the violations of Ohio open meetings laws, etc. The city's taxpayers were swindled. The Portsmouth Daily Times' Rick Greene claims that there is no corruption in city government. What a joke! With the help of city officials like Jim Kalb, Greg Bauer, Ann Sydnor, Carol Caudill, and David Kuhn, the Martings Foundation unloaded a decrepit building and bankrupt business and walked away with 2 million dollars in tax payers's money. And in spite of Judge Marshall's ruling, which was suppose to have voided the sale, the Martings Foundation still has that 2 million dollars.

Rick Greene says that there is a vocal minority out here who wants to stack city council to vote in a certain way. Is that not what the martings foundation supporters also want? There is a battle going on and, contrary to the opinion of Rick Greene, it is not just a minority of people out here who think that any council member who votes to renovate that asbestos-filled building deserves to be denounced.

From what I've read the Martings Foundation is little more than a front for the business interests of Clayton Johnson. I've heard him described, not just in the pages of the Sentinel or here on Moe's Forum, but by local business owners, as the one man who runs this town. To be honest, I find it kind of hard to believe, that Portsmouth has such a powerful boss. We all like to believe that there is a weak, little man behind the curtain, controlling things. And Rick Greene says there is no such man. Yet, it does seem that it is Clayton Johnson who walked away with the $2 million.

Where is Judge Marshall on all of this?

As for Tim Loper.... If he votes to renovate the Martings building he deserves to be ridiculed and denounced.

There is no good reason for the city of Portsmouth to
do a damn thing with that building.

Andrew Feight

From Moe’s Forum August 10, 2005
I Disagree.
Revitalization of the downtown would be nice maybe. I really like the convenience of CVS and a good restaurant or bar but to try and make things like they used to be may not be wise. People like new things and places and hate traffic congestion. I for one like to pay my water bill at the present location. I don't like walking into municipal building at all. It only stands for corruption and blind justice and really makes me sick to even drive by the place. Why stick it in the middle of something your trying to revitalize. Why would anybody want the stench of city hall in the middle of his or her cities beautiful downtown. It's a disgusting thought. That bunch of crooks doesn’t deserve a building, except one with bars in the windows. They are violating a judge’s order to even enter that building at all.
What part of null and void don't they understand? No matter where the build or what they build it will only be the same degrading structure that we have now moved somewhere else. Put them in the old Naval Reserve by the sewage treatment, where the smell will fit in. Pray to the lord it doesn’t happen in our beautiful historic downtown area that's revitalizing it's self as we speak. Slowly but surely, the downtown is coming back in a way that is appropriate for the times and I only see the SOGP trying to CODLOCK that, by forcing their will on the people, by shoving that Marting's building down our throats to control the downtown as they have for many years, which has kept the downtown from coming back. Example of this can be found at the Columbia Music Hall, which will open for business in about thirty days, after all the efforts of SOGP and City Hall to prevent this from happening, have failed.
I for one do not want to see a city hall filled with crooked officials at all. Especially not down town as a shrine. They should be housed underground somewhere. Please don't be offended if you work there now and have an honest job and do it honestly, for I know some of you do and are fine people and you know you are surrounded by slime.
The SOGP only wants the river front property of the present municipal building for a casino and to rid their Martings foundation of it's debts. If they had the city's interest at heart they would do any thing for her, not just insist on this illegal purchase be sanctified and made holy. These people are bad people and it has been proved in court and showed by way of live videos. Their interest is not in our best interest.    From Moezine Productions.
Article written by Austin Leedom at 2:00 a.m. Friday, July 29, 2005.
Investigative Reporter Doug Deepe said yesterday, “How stupid can Jim Kalb be?”  “This is the dumbest thing he has ever done,” said Doug.  “He plans to move city workers
into that building without cleaning up the asbestos.  He has no concern for the health of the workers; he is willing to kill people off.  Fifteen to twenty years from now people will be dead from cancer from exposure to the carcinogens. 

Does he know or believe the scandal that he’s been bought off?  Is he part of it?  When Jim signed that contract (new contract with Clay Johnson) he assumed liability for the City,” said Doug.
Mayor Jim Kalb and SOGP Boss Clay Johnson had planned to tear down the old Marting Building and build a new structure for a City Hall.  Then, during a meeting Saturday night with the Citizens for Responsible Government, Kalb learned that the Citizens had a copy of the 27-page EPA report that declares the Marting building is filled with asbestos.  Jim Kalb has had a copy of this report for over a year, but didn’t publicly share this information with citizens.
Realizing that citizens were now aware of the asbestos and would be scrutinizing any destruction of the building to ascertain that proper procedures for removing the asbestos were followed, Kalb changed his mind about constructing a new building and now plans to make minor remediation and move employees into the Marting Building.
Kalb has repeatedly reported that asbestos removal from the Marting building would cost a very small sum, perhaps five to eight thousand dollars.  Kalb should have known better, maybe he did, maybe he was simply misinforming the public.
Although the ownership of the Marting Building is doubtful Kalb has been insistent in attempts to add real estate taxes onto the citizens to rebuild on the Marting site since he admittedly met secretly with Clay Johnson, and made a “deal” in December 2004.
According to the ruling of the Scioto County Common Pleas Court in November 2004, the building is now the property of Clay Johnson, who is also known as Marting Foundation, Marting Brothers, Southern Ohio Growth Partnership, and other shell corporations.
Jim Kalb admits meeting with Clay Johnson recently and signing a contract overruling the Court order and taking title to the Marting Building again, in return for a promise by Clay Johnson to return $1.4 Million dollars of the $2. Million that Johnson defrauded from the city in 2002, in a “deal” that Kalb helped engineer.  In this latest contract Jim Kalb forgave Clay Johnson and all others involved in the theft of city funds of all sins, “from the beginning of the world to the date of this agreement,” and he took possession of the building for the City.
Acceptance of the ”deal” from Clay Johnson was a good deal for Johnson, but a lousy one for the citizens of Portsmouth.  With any possession of the structure also comes the liability of ownership.  The fire-damaged building, filled with asbestos and other hazardous materials is a decrepit, deteriorating structure that possibly could endanger citizens.  It must be either be maintained or destroyed.  A big added advantage for Clay Johnson was that he could claim a major IRS deduction for his "generosity" in "giving" some of ill-gotten gains to the city if  the building was going to be used by the City government.
Clay Johnson had a real problem when his crooked deal of 2002 was declared null and void by the court in November 2004.  Johnson then had a building he could not sell (to anyone but Jim Kalb).  He did not want to spend the money to tear the building down and remove the asbestos properly, and did not want the building to stand as an eyesore on Chillicothe Street.  Also, he did not want to pay taxes on the building.  (Clay Johnson has an almost new office building valued at $650,000 at Sixth and Washington Street on which he pays zero taxes.  He has tax abatement on that structure.) 
Only after the Common Pleas Court delared the sale illegal and possible prosecution arose did Clay Johnson make any move to make any amends for his crime.  Johnson needed another sucker; he called for Mayor Jim Kalb, one of his lead conspirators in the 2002 "deal."  Kalb rushed to Clay's office and they made another secret "deal."
Let us now take a look at renovation in Columbus and
see what is happening elsewhere.
Seneca Hotel Renovation in Columbus To Cost $15 Million
According to report by the Columbus Dispatch
$1.9 Million for Asbestos Removal alone.
The complete article on the Seneca Hotel can by read by linking onto MartingJohnson
(In the July 28, 2005 edition of the Columbus Dispatch there is an article about the old Seneca Hotel, which stands East of the State House in downtown Columbus.  A private person sold this building, which covers half a city block on some of the most valuable land in the State in October 2004 to a developer for $1.5 Million.
An initial estimate for remediation of this building was $300,000, but after the asbestos was discovered, cleanup costs increased to $1.9 Million.  The new owner has applied for a $1.9 million grant from the Ohio Department of Development to get rid of the asbestos.  (Kalb apparently has never thought of getting grant funds to help with renovation of the Marting building; he has only asked for huge increases in real estate taxes from the already overburdened property owners.)
Total costs for complete renovation of the Seneca Hotel are predicted to be $15 Million.  (The Marting renovation is estimated to be as high as $12.5 Million.)  
Perhaps Jim Kalb will reconsider and not place our City workers in the Marting Building without removing all existing health hazards.
 This article written by Austin Leedom at 2:00 a.m. Friday, July 29, 2005.
The article below was copied from Pages D1 and D2 of
 the Columbus Dispatch, dated Thursday, July 28, 2005
 by Austin Leedom.
Plans are afoot to convert the historic Seneca Hotel to apartments
Published: Thursday, July 28, 2005
By Mike Pramik
Seneca timeline
1917: Seneca Hotel, designed by noted architect Frank Packard, opens in September with 250 rooms, a dining room, three party rooms and a rooftop garden.
1922: The University Club of Columbus establishes itself at the Seneca. The club closed in 1996.
1967: Building converted to a dormitory for students attending the Nationwide Beauty Academy and other schools Downtown.
1973: Ohio Environmental Protection Agency uses the Seneca as its headquarters.
1987: Ohio EPA moves out.
1989: Proposal to turn Seneca into low-income housing rejected.
1991: Cincinnati company makes bid to buy the Seneca from a trust, tear it down and build a parking lot; preservationists prevail.
1991: Central Ohio brothers Robert and Samuel C. Shamansky buy the Seneca for $300,000 and announce plans to convert it to apartments.
1995: City building inspectors ask to have the Seneca declared a public nuisance after exterior damage goes unrepaired.
1996: Shamanskys seek permit to demolish the building.
1998: Demolition permit denied by Columbus Board of Commission Appeals.
1999: City and Shamanskys agree on modifications to keep hotel safe.
2002: Samuel C. Shamansky dies.
2002: Seneca sold: Robert Shamansky and Don M. Casto Organization invest $510,000 as part of court-ordered split of the Shamanskys' property.
2004: Casto redevelopment plans for Seneca fall through.
2004: Campus Apartments buys Seneca, announces plans to convert it to apartments, retail shops and offices.
Source: Dispatch research
Leaky pipes have destroyed the ceilings, moisture has ruined the hardwood floors, and asbestos has spoiled the plaster.
But the Seneca Hotel, described as an eyesore even by its owner, one day could be a place that people will be happy to call home.
With a little help from the state, potentially.
Campus Apartments Inc. is asking the Ohio Department of Development for nearly $1.9 million in Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund money to rid the Seneca of asbestos. The grant would kick-start a rebirth of the 88-year-old building that was last used in 1987 as headquarters of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
The money is essential to moving the project forward, said David Adelman, president of Campus Apartments. The Philadelphia-based company acquired the Seneca in October for $1.5 million from Columbus lawyer Robert Shamansky.
"Based on where the local rental market is in Columbus and the cost of construction, it's a tough balance,'' Adelman said. "If we don't get this grant we'll have to wait until the rental market picks up'' to begin.
Adelman, a 1994 Ohio State University graduate, plans to gut the Seneca and construct 96 apartments and 15,000 square feet of retail shops and offices. He predicts market demand from Downtown college and university students, and workers in the Discovery District.
Rent would cost about $1.25 per square foot.
Campus Apartments plans to spend a little more than $1 million to clean up the Seneca and more than $10.2 million for its redevelopment. The state grant and cost of the building, combined with more than $175,000 offered by Columbus for streetscape improvements, would push the total project cost to more than $15 million.
Adelman was in Columbus this week showing the building to interested parties, including representatives of Columbus, the Ohio EPA, the Ohio Department of Development and Capital University.
Joseph Reidy, a lawyer at Schottenstein, Zox & Dunn who's representing Campus Apartments, said initial estimates for the Seneca's remediation were $300,000. But after inspectors found that the plaster in the hotel's ceilings and walls were riddled with asbestos, cleanup costs increased to nearly $1.9 million.
The Seneca is competing with 26 other projects, including four from Franklin County, for about $40 million in the current round of Clean Ohio money. The grants are expected to be awarded in December.
Columbus has proposed granting more than $175,000 for streetscape improvements at the Seneca, said Bob McLaughlin, the city's Downtown development manager.
It also has abated property taxes on the site for 10 years. The grant would require approval by the Columbus City Council.
Capital University, which owns land next to the Seneca, is solidly behind the project, said Jack Guttenberg, dean of Capital University Law School.
"It provides very easy access to high-quality housing for our students. They could wake up and be in school in five minutes.''
Noted architect Frank Packard designed the Seneca in 1917. It was the city's first high-rise hotel and is punctuated by white terra cotta adornments.
The building's use as a hotel gradually began to wane, and the Ohio EPA took it over in 1973. In 1987 the Seneca was boarded up when the EPA moved to Watermark Drive, and succeeding owners pledged to renovate the building.
They never did, though.
The Seneca almost fell victim to the wrecking ball on several occasions.
The most-recent reclamation attempt came after developer Don Casto and former owner Robert Shamansky combined to buy it in 2002. They declined to renovate, citing a lack of parking in the area.
But Adelman says he's not worried about parking. He said he has talked with Capital University about converting one of its lots to a parking structure if needed.
"We think that this building is getting the much-deserved attention that's long overdue,'' said Kate Matheny, executive director of the Columbus Landmarks Foundation. "It's not only reuse of a fabulous building but it's . . . a good model of how you can renovate a building using historic-preservation standards and make it very profitable.''
Matt Fergus, an environmental specialist at HZW Environmental Consultants of Mentor, said the building has a convenient space between the 10th floor and the roof for new mechanicals that would provide the Seneca with cool air, heat and water. A huge tank that was used to supply the hotel's guests with running water still stands near the roof but will be dismantled and removed.
The Seneca's interior is covered with ragged carpeting. There's peeling paint over most of the walls, and several ceilings have been rotted by water that leaked from abandoned pipes.
To make matters worse, some leftover plumbing fixtures were used by vagrants long after water was shut off, making remediation a health hazard.
"This is an unbelievable mess, isn't it?'' said one participant in Adelman's recent tour.
Adelman, whose firm has $250 million in real-estate assets, said he would like to start the remediation effort in December. It would last three or four months, then the interior would be cleared.
Adelman insists that he will follow through with the Seneca's rebirth, unlike those who failed to do so.
"A lot of people told me an out-of-towner couldn't get a deal done with (Shamansky) because no one in town could,'' Adelman said. "Let's just say I was persistent.''
Copied by Austin Leedom from Columbus Dispatch, Pages Dl and D2, dated July 28, 2005

This article written by Austin Leedom after receiving news of Kalb’s change of plans from Doug Deepe –Wednesday, 27 July, 2005 at 4:20 p.m. Re-posted 9:20 p.m.

"Kalb don't care."


Despite the recall of one Mayor and two councilmen last year, the promised recall of four more councilmen, plus the Solicitor, and in arrogant disregard of the wishes of two-thirds of the citizens, Jim Kalb has persisted in following the dictates of our unelected criminal king-pin leader, Clay Johnson. 

Kalb’s plan will cost the citizens over 12 Million in new real estate taxes, but “Kalb don’t care”.  Clay Johnson doesn’t pay any taxes on his nearly new $650,000 office building; he has tax abatement, so “Clay don’t care,” either.

Clay Johnson sold the Martings Building to the City in 2002 through the conspiracy of a corrupted Mayor  (Greg Bauer, now recalled) and the corrupt Council led by then-Council President Jim Kalb.  By default Kalb is now Mayor.

The Common Pleas Court ruled the deal was crooked in November 2004 and ordered the building returned to Clay Johnson.  Johnson is also known as boss of SOGP, Chamber of Commerce, Retail Merchants, Martings Brothers, Martings Foundation and a dozen other questionable groups.  Johnson doesn’t want the old building; it is filled with asbestos that may cost up to $2 Million to remove.

Johnson and Kalb have recently made another backroom, secret deal to return the building to the city again.  Kalb signed a deal in which he gave full absolution to Clay Johnson.  Jim Kalb gave “forgiveness from the beginning of time,” for all sins or crimes committed by Clay Johnson and his henchmen and for Greg Bauer, Jim Kalb and all other conspirators connected with the $2 Million crime in the sale and purchase of the Marting Building in 2002. 


Clay Johnson doesn’t want the expense of removing the asbestos; he can’t sell the building.  In a benefit forum for Clay Johnson at  Portsmouth High School in February 2005 Johnson confessed he had earlier tried to sell the building for $900,000 to a group of out-of-town merchants.  Johnson boasted he had hired women to carry shopping bags and walk up and down in front of the Marting building while the prospective buyers were in town in an attempt to mislead the prospective purchasers into thinking Martings was a going, prosperous business.  The prospective buyers didn’t fall for the ruse and according to Clay Johnson, “left town without even saying good-bye.” 

When Clay Johnson’s attempt to defraud the out-of town merchants failed Johnson then made backroom deals with Jim Kalb, Greg Bauer and other rascals to sell the building to the taxpayers of Portsmouth for $2.Million.  When the dirty deal was finally announced to the public Jim Kalb, as Council President, proudly took credit for promoting the scam, according to frontpage articles in the Community Common on April 24, 2002


The JIM KALB/CLAY JOHNSON proposals have been supported by Council President Howard Baughman, a close relative of Clay Johnson, Sixth Ward Councilman Marty Mohr, who publicly and proudly boasted of his back room meeting with Clay Johnson in December 2004 and Fourth Ward Councilman Jerrold Albrecht; (Mohr has boasted, “I have Albrecht in my pocket,”) and Second Ward Council David Malone who supported the Kalb/Johnson proposal until citizens filed recall action against him last month.  Two honest councilmen, Tim Loper and Bob Mollette have opposed the expenditure of funds for Kalb/Johnson plans for the Marting Building.  Mollette has said that the people will have to pay and they should have a right to vote on the project.  Mollette said citizens should have a voice in government,
not be victims of city government.


Kalb has publicly announced at a council meeting, he doesn’t intend to ever let the people have a vote on his plans to put them in debt.  The citizens of Portsmouth are going to have City offices at the site of the Martings Building, whether they like it not, according to Kalb


Mayor Jim Kalb has privately said that he has changed his mind about tearing down the old Martings Building and building a new structure there.  It is the best thing for Clay Johnson and Jim Kalb; the "rest of us" will get massive increases in real estate tax for the next twenty-five years.  Kalb knows of the danger of exposure to asbestos but is willing to place the health of city workers in jeopardy for the sake of Clay Johnson's continued enrichment at our expense.

“Kalb don’t care;” Clay don’t care.”

This article written by Austin Leedom after receiving news of Kalb’s change of plans from Doug Deepe –Wednesday, 27 July, 2005 at 4:20 p.m. Re-posted 9:20 p.m.


Item below was copied From Doug’s Forum 25 February, 2005 at 3:00 p.m. – A posting by Lee Scott

Lee Scott Feb 25, 05 - 2:35 AM Update - Lawsuit will be ready today for filing. We will win!!!!
Barring any unseen problems, the citizens’ lawsuit to recoup our 2m+ will be filed today. I was told that we were getting a new offer presented by the end of the week. Now I understand that this is really no new offer but a revamping of the last and Martings will still be in control. A resounding NO IS THE ANSWER FROM THE CITIZENS!!!! We do not want these people ruling our city behind the scenes any more. This had a way to be solved last week by letting the citizens have their vote but it was jerked away at the last minute by Judas Malone and Little Dictator Mohr. Of course, Baughman was on their side but what would you expect, if this is not family enrichment to the tune of an immediate 2m (and a lot more to steal if we let them get by with this one) then there is no such thing as dishonesty in our government. I became really angry during the last recalls as I had stated at that time, "We have taken out the boil and now we need to clean up the infection." Well folks, we left Baughman in there now it has infected Mohr & Malone. I guess I was right after all, but not to gloat, let’s fix it. When we get the suit filed, it is time to work on other areas like our charter. Once we succeed with this civil action, hopefully it will not only bring in the state but will land a few in prison

The Above Copied from Doug’s Forum -printed by Shawnee Sentinel Friday, February 25, 2005 – Austin Leedom


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