Jones Property Development gives Bernero $5,000
May 19, 2016
As reported here before, Lansing mayor Virg Bernero has a 527 organization he uses to collect money from firms that do business with the City. He spends the money mostly on restaurant meals and juice. Since he took office in 2006, the organization has taken in $361,270 and spent $312,055.
The organization is called the City Administrative Account. Reports of contributions and expenditures are submitted periodically to the IRS and can be viewed on IRS' website.
In the report for the first quarter of 2016, the only contribution was $5,000 from Jones Property Development:
Although the reported address is Los Angeles, Jones Property Development has a local presence at 3800 Hagadorn Road, which - and this was news to me - is in the city of Lansing. I knew Lansing owned the property in Delta Township where the GM assembly plant is located and the property south of I-96 in Meridian Township where Jackson National Life Insurance is located, but was not aware of this parcel east of Hagadorn between Mt. Hope and Jolly.
Jones Property Development is the developer of College Fields, a community of 286 home sites surrounding an 18-hole golf course near the intersection of Hagadorn and Bennett Roads. Jim Rundquist is the manager. Mayberry Homes is the builder and, according to the website, there are 3 sections yet to be developed. The shape of the Lansing property is remarkably similar to the site plan for the development:
Jones Property Development is associated with (or one in the same as) McClelland & Anderson, a firm "specializing in real estate development, financing, zoning, land use and commercial litigation" at 1305 S. Washington, Suite 102 in Lansing. This I conclude from the "Re-Notice of Intent for Parkside at College Fields" attached to the City Council agenda for January 28, 2013 (pages 35-36).
The $5,000 is JPD's first contribution to the City Administrative Account in its 10-year existence. What sort of favor do you suppose they need - or got - from the mayor?
There are some possibilities. Although the manager of troubled Life O'Riley Moblile Home Park is sure it can be fixed up and re-opened, or turned into a private campground for recreation vehicles, Mayor Bernero is against it. (Lansing State Journal, 5/18/2016) His impatience with the owners is understandable, but there is something else. Look at its location - right next to Chisholm Hills Golf Course. What a great place for a condo development like College Fields!
Willoughby Park is nearby also, and Bernero wants to put that up for sale even though the Park Board voted against it 7 to 1. (Lansing City Pulse, 5/18/2016)
That $5,000 contribution from Jones Property Development is generous but not unique. There have been several individual contributions of $5,000 and one of $10,000:
As for cumulative contributions, the Christman Company leads with $30,000. That is, unless you combine the contributions of BCBS and the Accident Fund, in which case they lead with $39,000. (The Accident Fund is owned by BCBS.) Here are the companies who have contributed over $10,000 (see entire list here):
527 accounts are named for Section 527 of the IRS Code, which deals with political organizations. Essentially, it says income spent by an organization on political activities is exempt from taxation, and that includes expenditures relating to an elected office “which, if incurred by the individual, would be allowable as a deduction under section 162(a)." Section 162(a) deals with trade or business expenses and says a deduction shall be allowed for "ordinary and necessary expenses paid or incurred during the taxable year in carrying on any trade or business [including] traveling expenses . . . while away from home in the pursuit of a trade or business." That would not seem to include restaurant meals in one's home town. Here's how the mayor spent $4,208 in the first quarter of this year:
I've compiled lists of contributions to and expenditures from the City Administrative Account since its inception:
More about the City Administrative Account here.
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