September 28, 2005
Investors in Steelyard Commons, the Cleveland shopping center project, are receiving tax subsidies worth $12.48 million over seven years. These federal tax credits were funneled through a private, for-profit corporation controlled by the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, a public entity whose board is appointed by the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. The Port Authority was instrumental in the company’s success in winning the credits and received significant revenue for its part in the transaction that used them. Yet these subsidies were granted by a publicly controlled entity in virtual secrecy, with little or no opportunity for public scrutiny or debate. This September 2005 report raises probing questions about this project. The full details of the Port Authority’s involvement with the tax credits and the Steelyard Commons project should be made public, the report concludes, and future credits should require public approval by the Port Authority board.