Cheating the tax man, or maybe not

    Yesterday, local blogger Steve Pierce, on his YpsiNews.com site, broke the news that Ypsilanti real estate developer and landlord Stewart Beal owed the City $86,068.80 in back taxes. He later revised the number to be $84,136.96. The error, he said, was “made by the reporter,” by which I assume he means himself… Here’s a clip from the revised article:

    …According to records obtained from the Washtenaw County Treasurer, Ypsilanti landlord Stewart Beal and his associated companies owe $84,136.96 in past due property taxes to the City of Ypsilanti. The report, dated April 6, 2010, lists the 38 properties Beal owns in the city.

    Of the 38 properties, Beal is past due on 17. Past due payments include missed payments in September 2009 and February 2010…

    Anyway, someone left a link to this YpsiNews post in the comments section of an earlier thread on this site about the future of the Thompson Block, which is among those properties owned by Beal, and, as it’s led to a fairly interesting debate, I thought that I’d move it up here to the front page.

    As you can imagine, some folks are ticked off that Beal, who has asked the City on multiple occasions to make special allowances for his Thompson Block development, doesn’t feel the necessity to pay the City what he rightfully owes. Or, at least they have that perception based on information presented by Pierce. Others, though, have taken the opportunity to question Pierce, who broke the story, about his own taxes.

    Former mayoral candidate Pierce, as most of you probably know, is behind the for-profit community wireless initiative Wireless Ypsi, which may or may not be a division of his company, HDL. HDL, although having an office here in Ypsilanti, is headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at an address shared by a retail enterprise by the name of Don’s Paperback Exchange. Pierce describes HDL online as follows:

    Founded in 1987, HDL is a recognized leader in web hosting and internet service, wireless technologies, Wireless Interent Serivice Provider, and product testing and evaluation services. The company offers a broad range of services including hosting and data connectivity, software development, system integration, and computer and network security services.

    HDL, as it’s headquartered in Albuquerque, pays no taxes in Ypsilanti. And, that’s what people seem to have an issue with.

    Personally, I don’t think that either Beal or Pierce are looking to rip off the City. I suspect, in the case of Beal, it’s probably a situation of him deferring payment purposefully, even if it means having to pay more in the way of interest and fees, in order to have more working capital available in the short term. (This isn’t that unusual, as I understand it.) And, I imagine that he’ll remedy the situation in a timely manner… or at least in time to prevent the City from taking said properties. And, in the case of Pierce, I’m sure that he’s perfectly within his rights to claim that the headquarters of his company is in Albuquerque. A great many folks, after all, operate “Delaware corporations” with little more than a lawyer’s address in that state. (I’m not arguing it’s the right thing, just that it’s legal.)

    But, I do think all of this raises an interesting point… which is, how much do the local businesses in Ypsi contribute to our bottom line? It’s come up recently, for instance, that, if we were to go ahead and build that Burger King on Water Street, it would generate an estimated $29,000 in annual tax revenue for the City. (According to our new city planner Teresa Gillotti, this figure, however, includes more than just City taxes. It also includes all the taxes we would collect from local jurisdictions per the Brownfield plan (county, schools, library, WCC, etc.)) And it makes me wonder what other businesses pay. I’m assuming it must be broken down somewhere, but I’ve never seen it. If you have access to such information, let me know. I think it might help to inform our discussion as to what kinds of companies we’d like to see on Water Street.

    Here, on the Pierce tax situation, is the most recent comment in the thread, left by former city planner Richard Murphy:

    I’m not sure the HDL issue has much relevance here. HDL’s Albequerque incorporation means, what, that he has a PO Box in NM that his business is addressed to. But keep in mind that Ypsi wouldn’t see any difference if HDL were addressed to, say, a PO Box on South Adams, across the street from Steve’s house. (Though the State of Michigan might.)

    Michigan municipalities can only collect property tax (well, and income tax, if we choose to, which Ypsilanti voters chose not to), and a company like Steve’s doesn’t really have much to collect. He may own his own servers – but how many of us expect he’s got his basement full of server racks? (Answer: nobody who knows anything.) HDL’s servers are going to be co-located in some dedicated facility, somewhere in the country, that neither Steve’s location nor HDL’s really has any bearing on. Or they may even be virtualized – HDL may not even own any physical equipment. (In which case, Steve may not even *know* where the servers are located that have HDL’s bits on them.)

    I expect all Steve has at his house relevant to HDL is maybe a desktop computer and a filing cabinet. My knowledge of personal property tax ends at the point where maybe he should be paying on that (like, $50/year?), or maybe he’s under some threshold.

    More generally, though, this is a big part of why Ypsi and similar municipalities are in fiscal difficulty these days. Michigan’s tax code doesn’t give us good tools for dealing with web hosting companies, or graphic designers, or online newspaper journalists (I’m thinking YpsiCiti), or freelance iPhone programmers, or what have you. Michigan’s tax code assumes that we’re either dealing with literal bricks-and-mortar or huge honking assembly lines and tool and die shops with capital-M Machinery valued in million dollar increments – and when the latter ceases to be the case, well, too bad, because that’s the only thing in our toolbox. (Well, that and local-option income tax, which I don’t want to get into.)

    This is why (re)development is such a big deal for a city like Ypsi – with half our property tax equation gone (the machinery), we have to make the most of the bricks-and-mortar side of the equation.

    (Incidentally, this is why a project like Water Street, in the general case, Makes Sense fiscally, and why building things like a taco bell or a wal-mart on Water Street would not make sense fiscally – if our only fiscal option as a city is bricks-and-mortar, we’ve got to make sure we’ve got as many bricks as possible.)

    And, lastly, for all of you out there, doing your taxes this weekend, here’s a link to the Beatles’ Tax Man. It’s not one of my favorite pieces in their catalog, but McCartney’s bass playing on the track is pretty inspired.

    update: I’ve been informed that Wireless Ypsi is not “a subsidiary, division, nor is it an amalgamation of any other business or company.” So, I’m sorry for having speculated last night that HDL might be somehow involved.

    This entry was posted in Economics, entrepreneurism, Ypsilanti and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

      52 Comments

      1. Smiley
        Posted April 11, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        As you moved Murph’s comment over to this thread, I thought that I’d transport this one by Donald Washburn over as well.

        Donald Washburn
        Posted April 10, 2010 at 11:45 pm

        Right around now is where someone usually interjects that all these anonymous comments on an actual citizen are inappropriate…

        Here’s what I LOVE about “Ypsinews.” Steve Pierce is listed as the “reporter” for this story. According to Ypsinews, he makes an error in his calculation. Then the mysterious editor (which I have to assume is Pierce) prints the following retraction:

        “Because of a math error, the amount owed by Mr. Beal reported in an early story is incorrect. Mr. Beal owes is $84,136.96 not $86,068.80 as was originally reported. The error was made by the reporter.”

        The guy comes up with a fake news site, writes all the actual stories, then pretends there is some editorial oversight and he is just “the reporter” in an attempt to maintain the illusion that this is an actual news site. He can’t even bring himself to say “I made a math error.”

        I would find it even more funny, if the actions weren’t so cynical about the role of a free press in our society. Seriously. To me this is on par with impersonating and officer (however badly the impersonation is done).

        I know Pierce has a lot of friends in the community, many of whom I’ve previously admired. I’m seriously curious how they feel about his attempts to impersonate an actual news source.

        If he hasn’t, Beal should pay his taxes. I hope you’ll forgive me if I don’t get up in arms based on a story from Steve Pierce cross-dressing as a reporter. A real news source would’ve interviewed Beal and representatives from the city. This is not news. It is nothing close to news, folks, come on! It’s a stupid one-man smear that benefits his elected buddies and is no more news than an anonymous blog comments by someone making vague accusations and calling themselves “Pott Kettle Black.”

        My guess? Pierce has a reasonable explanation about his tax situation. Beal may have one too. A real news source would’ve tried to reach either.

        Sanford raises an excellent point about asking Pierce. Somebody should give the same advice to Pierce. Ask Beal. At least if you’re going to continue to pretend you’re reporting.

        Sorry. I’d like to hold onto what’s left of our press.

      2. lorie thom
        Posted April 11, 2010 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

        I hesitate to chime in on this but there is an interesting comparison not being mentioned.

        Obviously, everyone should pay their taxes, and equally obviously, some may also choose to dispute the taxes they owe.

        That said, one of these guys is putting a ton of money into Ypsilanti with the hopes of making some money on the investment. He has put himself in the position of paying possibly a $100K in taxes into the city coffers. The other, not so much.

      3. Mike Shecket
        Posted April 11, 2010 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

        I’d like to point out that Paul also played lead guitar.

      4. Peter Larson
        Posted April 11, 2010 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

        I’d like to know what percentage of the people on this blog are current on their property taxes.

      5. Posted April 11, 2010 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

        My guess, Pete, is that those reading this site are more likely to be current on their property taxes than average folks in the community, but I just say that because I know quite a few of the readers of this site.

        And, Mike, speaking of the Beatles, I heard this great quote once. It may or may not be true, but I love it. It was a quote from John. He’d apparently been asked what it was like to work with Ringo, the best drummer in the world. According to the story, John responded by saying, “Mate, eee’s not even the best drummer in the Beatles.” He was, of course, referring to Paul…. Interesting, if true.

      6. Stephen
        Posted April 12, 2010 at 8:25 am | Permalink

        I’ll second that comment about Pierce and his “news” organization. It’s pathetic that he actually thinks he fools people with it. It’s so obviously a vehicle for his personal vendettas. I would have thought that Beal would be one of his posse, along with Robb and Murdock. I guess not.

      7. Phyllis
        Posted April 12, 2010 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

        YES Don, Steve does have A LOT of friends in the community! Why do you think that is? That is because he works tirelessly and honorably to better Ypsilanti and give a helping hand to neighbors. He is not trying to FOOL anyone with YpisNews. He provides a Constitutional public service by holding other cheats and frauds ACCOUNTABLE! The thanks he get is hot wind from a bunch of naysayers and no it alls. Instead of muckraping him and HDL we should all be thanking him and Mr. Robb for providing FREE Wireless to the entire city! How much do you think THAT service is worth in tax dollars and revenue earned?!

      8. Woody Lefurge
        Posted April 12, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

        The most constructive thing to come out of this discussion is Murphy’s analysis. I’m mentally filing it for future development discussions.
        Thank you, once again, Mr. Murphy!

        It seems like it makes a case for giving Beal some leeway on the Thompson Block. Has anyone calculated the potential tax loss from this bricks-and-mortar development and what businesses/residents it would likely house?

        I assume, if Beal is forced to tear it down it would remain an empty plot for the foreseeable future. I’m guessing that would be a fairly substantial loss in revenue?

        I don’t recall anyone mentioning it in past discussions and just thought, in lieu of Murphy’s analysis, it should be raised.

        -WL

      9. Posted April 12, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        “I assume, if Beal is forced to tear it down it would remain an empty plot for the foreseeable future. I’m guessing that would be a fairly substantial loss in revenue?”

        Only if you assume that Beal would pay taxes on it!

      10. TLC
        Posted April 12, 2010 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

        So, Steve Pierce is fulfilling a “Constitutional” duty with his site. You really believe that? Did you learn that at some kind of Tea Party history class?

        I have no problem with Steve or his site. It is what it is. I do think it’s funny, however, that people can suggest that it’s unbiased reporting. Steve, before his crew took over Council, was all about taping public meetings, and “shining a light” on City Hall. Remember all of his hilarious videos of our bumbling leaders? Well, what happened? Why’d they stop? Is he no longer compelled by the Constitution to provide that service?

      11. Gerald
        Posted April 12, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

        Phyllis,

        To clarify, according to you, Steve Pierce is a cheat and a fraud?

        I just ask because you said he holds “other cheats and frauds” accountable. As in, “Johnny is a bad example for the other naughty kids.”

        Honor among thieves? ; )

      12. Kpow
        Posted April 12, 2010 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

        Gerald, why do you hate America?

        Why do you poke fun at us regler Americans? Are you an elite? I bet you are. Well, these colors don’t run, Buddy.

        Do you have an axe to grind with our unelected leader Steve Pierce, and the constitution that gave birth to him?

      13. Phyllis
        Posted April 12, 2010 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

        YES TLC I really believe in the Constitution. You should get a copy! Steve is exercising his inalienable RIGHT to FREE SPEECH and a FREE PRESS which is not in this country restricted to corporate presses and government propaganda but accomplished by ALL. The purpose of a CITIZEN PRESS is to root out corruption. YES we finally have NEW FAIRLY ELECTED leaders. Maybe the need is gone? You don’t need survelliance on safe place. You don’t need seatbelts if the car isn’t moving. You don’t protest the war when the war is won, do you? GERALD. You are trying to twist my words and their is NO HONOR in THAT.

      14. Donald Washburn
        Posted April 12, 2010 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

        Phyllis,

        No one is twisting your words. You simply misspoke. If I start commenting as “The Donald Washburn Herald” does that make me a newspaper?

      15. Brackinald Achery
        Posted April 12, 2010 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

        Steve roots out Beal’s corruption, others root out Steve’s. God bless America.

      16. Posted April 12, 2010 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

        Someone has come forward to set me straight on Wireless Ypsi. It has nothing what-so-ever to do with HDL, and I will be updating the post this evening to reflect “the reporter’s mistake.”

        That reporter of mine, by the way, isn’t worth a shit.

        Respectfully,
        Mark Maynard
        Eitor of the Constitutional public service known as MarkMaynard.com

      17. Pott Kettle Black
        Posted April 12, 2010 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

        Mark, Maybe ask your source why, if HDL has nothing what-so-ever to do with HDL, it says this: “Wireless Ypsi is © 2008-2010 by HDL.com” at the bottom of this: http://www.wireless.ypsi.com/blog/ ?

      18. Pott Kettle Black
        Posted April 12, 2010 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

        That should read if HDL has nothing to do with Wireless Ypsi…

      19. Posted April 12, 2010 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, PKB. That’s a riot. I should post the angry letters I got today from Steve’s business partner in Wireless Ypsi letting me have it for even suggesting that HDL and Wireless Ypsi be somehow connected… I doubt that he’ll consent, but I’ll ask him.

      20. Pott Kettle Black
        Posted April 12, 2010 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

        You could also mention any of the news articles that say HDL manages Wireless Ypsi:

        “We want to see how big we can make the network … with thousands of people using it every day and doing it cooperatively,” said Steve Pierce, who co-founded Wireless Ypsi with Ypsilanti City Council member Brian Robb.

        Pierce owns the Internet consulting and Web services business HDL, which manages the Wireless Ypsi system.

      21. Donald Washburn
        Posted April 12, 2010 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

        I know this is going to make some folks angry, but if YpsiNews is Pierce masquerading as an actual news source, Wireless Ypsi is well… how many readers thought it was a kind of non-profit co-op type thing? Me too. If you read their Web site, it could give that impression:

        Wireless Ypsi is a community collective dedicated to bringing free broadband internet access to Ypsilanti…

        Who’s paying for all of this?

        So far, we are. But that doesn’t mean we are too proud to accept donations.

        …The key word here is community.

        They even go so far as to ask for donations:

        You can also mail a donation to:

        HDL/Wireless Ypsi
        118 S Washington St
        Ypsilanti, MI 48197

        Only maybe the keyword should be profit:

        Wireless Ypsi is “profitable,” Pierce said, although he wouldn’t provide specifics.

        Look. I think it’s a great service and good investment. But I’ve always been troubled by the ambiguity of whether this is a non-profit, community initiative or a for-profit business. Maybe someone will send you some angry letters of clarification…

      22. Donald Washburn
        Posted April 12, 2010 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

        BTW PKB, I did notice that the mailing address was “HDL/Wireless Ypsi.”

      23. outernet user
        Posted April 12, 2010 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

        I’ve never really looked into it much, but all the news I’ve heard about this “Wireless Ypsi” deal, was that is was a non-profit thing. Oh well, I guess I’ll just continue to “borrow” my neighbor’s connection. Brother, can you spare some free porn?

      24. Gerald
        Posted April 12, 2010 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

        I knew I remembered reading this somewhere. Found it! The blog emutalk had some questions about Wireless Ypsi when it first came out. Seems like Dr. Krause(?) got the same treatment as Mark when he posted. Here’s an excerpt from Steve Pierce’s reply:

        you imply there is catch like we are trying to hide something or that the service is not free. Sheesh, sometimes you just can’t be a nice person without someone ascribing negative or ulterior motives.

        No one is making any money of this. Why must money be the only reason you do something good for the community.

        You know when someone shows up and puts in 20 hours volunteering at the local shelter, do you publicly question on a blog why that person would donate the 20 hours of free time…

        So in no one is making any money but the company is profitable? I’m getting confused. Phyllis, can you help me with this one?

      25. HDL/YpsiWireless
        Posted April 13, 2010 at 6:35 am | Permalink

        YpsiWireless and HDL are the same company. If you want assistance with setting up YpsiWireless at your business location, Steve comes over and bills you $100/hr for his time.

      26. HDL/YpsiWireless
        Posted April 13, 2010 at 6:35 am | Permalink

        The bill for $100/hr comes from HDL and the bill asks you to make checks payable to HDL

      27. Peter Larson
        Posted April 13, 2010 at 7:15 am | Permalink

        Am I misunderstanding something? A guy sets up a services to provide some internet service to YPSILANTI and he’s an asshole for it because he registers his business somewhere else in a completely legal fashion. To top it off, you guys disparage him publicly because he runs a private blog, on his own time, about YPSILANTI.

        You guys seriously need a reality check. Be glad someone is doing anything in Ypsi. If only people in other cities in Michigan were this motivated.

        Maybe we can get him to provide internet to Manchester while he’s at it.

      28. Freddu
        Posted April 13, 2010 at 7:44 am | Permalink

        I’m not a fan of Steve’s, but I like Wireless Ypsi, and I support his efforts in that area. As for it being a for-profit, it doesn’t bother me. The ads that run on the site are a bit of a nuisance, but they’re not terrible. If he and Brian make enough back to make it worth their while, that’s great. If, however, they’re beating up Mark for suggesting that there may be a connection between HDL and WY, well, that’s just silly.

      29. Chuck D
        Posted April 13, 2010 at 7:52 am | Permalink

        Pete, don’t tell me that you understand, unless you’ve heard the man.

        - Chuck

      30. Peter Larson
        Posted April 13, 2010 at 8:23 am | Permalink

        Maybe I’m just not seeing the whole picture.

        At least he’s not emailing bestiality videos, unlike Mark.

      31. Gerald
        Posted April 13, 2010 at 8:49 am | Permalink

        Peter,

        I don’t think anyone has a problem with someone providing wireless throughout the city anymore than they do providing any other service. I think it’s a great idea and has worked well in a number of locations. But Pierce said “No one is making any money of this.” They ask for donations which certainly implies non-profit even if they never say so. Then, according to Pierce, they turn a profit.

        If somebody from Kroger puts on a straw hat and overalls, loads up and old pickup and pretends to be a farmer at a fruit stand, I’m gonna have a problem with it.

        Same is true of YpsiNews. Call it a blog and I’m fine. Instead, you get this:

        Postal Address
        YpsiNews.com
        118 S. Washington Street
        Ypsilanti, Michigan 48197

        Managing Editor
        Steve Pierce, Steve@YpsiNews.com

        News
        News Room (734) 864-4050
        Email: News@YpsiNews.com

      32. John Gawlas
        Posted April 13, 2010 at 9:56 am | Permalink

        I applaud Robb for making the WirelessYpsi happen and for some honest work for Steve.

      33. Kim
        Posted April 13, 2010 at 10:03 am | Permalink

        I love it when Chuck D has to get involved.

        Don’t Believe the Hype.

      34. John Gawlas
        Posted April 13, 2010 at 10:05 am | Permalink

        I applaud Robb for making the WirelessYpsi happen and for some honest work for Steve.

        http://www.dleg.state.mi.us/bcs_corp/image.asp?FILE_TYPE=UCO&FILE_NAME=D200904\20091070000114.tif

        (Sorry about previous attempts to insert link)

      35. Posted April 13, 2010 at 10:12 am | Permalink

        For what it’s worth, the EMUTalk.org post I wrote about all this back in February 2008 is here:

        http://emutalk.org/2008/02/ypsi-free-wireless-sort-of/

        At this stage of the game, I have kind of mixed feelings. On the one hand, as someone who is a patron of local businesses and thus an occasional user of WirelessYpsi, I’m a happy consumer. I’m actually using it right now. It’s generally reliable and robust and I think it’s cool that wifi seems slightly more available in Ypsilanti than it is in Ann Arbor.

        On the other hand, as my EMUTalk.org post from 2008 and this discussion suggests, someone isn’t coming completely clean about the business model. As I said two years ago when I asked what I thought were fairly innocent questions and when I got a lot of pretty defensive comments, it sure seems to me like there’s some fuzzy stuff going on. Someone is making at least some money off of this deal– maybe not a lot and maybe not anymore than the providers deserve, but I’m pretty sure WirelessYpsi isn’t a charity.

      36. Woody Lefurge
        Posted April 13, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

        If you go to the State of Michigan site Mr. Gawlas is referencing and search for Wireless Ypsi, you’ll find that it is registered as a nonprofit:

        Searched for: WIRELESS YPSI
        ID Num: 70535K
        Entity Name: WIRELESS YPSI
        Type of Entity: Domestic Nonprofit Corporation

        Resident Agent: BRIAN ROBB
        Registered Office Address: 408 EAST CROSS ST YPSILANTI MI 48198

        Mailing Address: MI
        Formed Under Act Number(s): 162-1982
        Incorporation/Qualification Date: 4-16-2009
        Jurisdiction of Origin: MICHIGAN
        Number of Shares: 0
        Year of Most Recent Annual Report:
        Year of Most Recent Annual Report With Officers & Directors:
        Status: ACTIVE Date: Present

      37. lorie thom
        Posted April 13, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

        @Peter,

        if that were all Mr. Pierce was doing, I would agree with you – but its not. He has run for mayor and now heads COPAC (sp?). Certainly there are some here who are clear that he is as forthright at his YpsiNews website as reporter, editor and managing editor. These questions and snarky comments come from those who have have experience with him and, as a result, don’t trust one word from him. I think there is a lesson in that and a lesson in knowing that there must be another side to the story.

        Non-profit status does not mean that money cannot be made from the effort. Just means that the any declared “Profit” must be used to further the stated goals of the organization and not distributed out to share holders as cash/money. Also, if HDL/Wireless Ypsi isn’t filing tax paperwork on the $100 generated per visit per year – there is, indeed, a question to be answered.

        Again I will simply make the point that Mr. Pierce legally avoids chipping in to the tax base and that is fine.

        Mr. Beal for comparison purposes, is behind on his taxes but is certainly chipping in to the tax base a great deal more than possibly all of us on this blog today combined.

      38. wetdolphinmissile
        Posted April 13, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

        Much ado about nothing…Lori shares this juicy tidbit: “These questions and snarky comments come from those who have experience with him and, as a result, don’t trust one word from him. I think there is a lesson in that and a lesson in knowing that there must be another side to the story.”
        Gee I have known Steve Pierce 10 years and have never experienced any of the above implied slurs. I have witnessed him host the Gilbert residents in his home serving them tea and treats and he spoke up for EMS school and students before a previous council that allowed the grinding up of house trailers next to the school. He spends money like crazy in every local business. And he cared so much for Ypsi, he ran for mayor. Now that is commitment. Again I have only positive experiences to draw on. I wonder what universe you live in Lori?
        I do wonder about all the heavy lifting in defense of SB, who IS incidentally behind on taxes…

      39. Elf
        Posted April 13, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

        So having money and buying tea and cookies is what makes someone an upstanding citizen? How does that balance out against his lie that firemen and policemen would not lose their jobs if we voted against the income tax? Thanks, but I’d rather have someone who tells the truth, but doesn’t have the money to win over the weak minded with tea and cookies.

      40. Posted April 13, 2010 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

        I don’t know that it matters at this point, but I like and use Ypsi Wireless. It was a good idea, it serves a definite need, and I don’t care if Steve and Brian make a little bit on the advertising. In fact, I’d prefer that they make money at it, as I think that will motivate them to keep the system up and growing. And I didn’t start this thread to attack them, as I’m sure Steve didn’t start his thread on YpsiNews to attack Beal. I just wanted to discuss companies and what they contribute to the City’s budget. Had Steve not broached the subject on his site, it wouldn’t have occurred to me, but I don’t guess that matters now.

        I would, however, suggest to Steve and Brian that if they want to keep people from thinking that HDL and Wireless Ypsi are somehow connected, they should stop sending their Wireless Ypsi partners HDL invoices, and change their website so that it doesn’t show all the content is owned by HDL via copyright.

      41. BS
        Posted April 13, 2010 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

        As a source of supplemental income for Brian and Steve, this might be a success. As a perk for downtown businesses, maybe it works. As a “charity,” I think it is a colossal failure. Visit the Web site. I was excited and delighted when I first read it the mission page, they wanted to: “reduce the digital divide and help everyone gain access to high-speed broadband service ”

        Yes! Finally someone tech savvy enough to help bring Web equality to our lowest income neighbors, thought I. But look at their network map. It’s Brian’s house and the business district … aka everyone who can afford the fees. It is what it is. If you like it, fine. But this is a loooong way from bridging the digital divide. I’m still hopeful it’ll spread, but I’d hang onto the confetti for a little while.

      42. Hot Knuckle Lover
        Posted April 14, 2010 at 12:04 am | Permalink

        I’d like to be first to volunteer for Wireless Ypsi. I think I would be awesome (I have a way with people) and I’d only charge $75 per hour saving them a butt load of $ over the long haul.

        Or if anyone is interested I’m starting a nonprofit to rid the city of dangerous, rodent infested, and morally depressing overgrown lawns. For just $50 per hour I will give freedom cuts to bridge the landscaping divide. Your donations are gratefully accepted. Just leave cash in a coffee can in the big groundhog hole just east of the bridge (south side) in Waterworks Park.

      43. Elf
        Posted April 14, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

        I’m still waiting for your response, wetdolphinmissile.

      44. lorie thom
        Posted April 14, 2010 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

        @ Wet – again, no implication. I am glad you have him for your friend. If this is to be some sort of discussion about Mr. Pierce, then ask him for his side of both the tax avoidance and what he and Mr. Robb want to achieve with their joint business enterprise.

        Any public figure is going to have people that like and dislike them. The comments on this thread indicate that these opinions are strong when it comes to Mr. Pierce and his various efforts here in Ypsilanti.

        My point was simply that these strong opinions come from experience as does yours.

      45. Posted April 14, 2010 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

        These competing local political factions are made up of some pretty smart people. They know that the way to put their team over the top is to hire a local musician to pull for them. Who can put a price on that sort of public opinion advantage?

        Black Jake & the Carnies can.

      46. wetdolphinmissile
        Posted April 16, 2010 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        Elf, never underestimate the power of tea and cookies, or local musisans either for that matter. I wouldn’t bore you with all the reasons I am freinds w/ Steve but I must say tea and cookies with the elderly speaks well of a man. How we treat our most vulnerable is indeed a good measure, be they seniors or middle school students.
        Re- income tax- I really thank Steve and all of us who worked so hard to prevent it. It wouldn’t have been enough and it was too much for ypsi peeps to pay for their own reps mistakes. Collaboration and cooperation is the way to go for safety. And incidentially, the police are answering our neighbor’s calls very quickly these days. Not to mention the economy changed our world as never anticipated- did you know GM would claim bankruptsy, or we would have bank bailouts on the level seen last year?
        Lori- such venom and then implications. Isn’t this more about who you ARE friends with?

      47. Kelp
        Posted April 16, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        If I had lots of money and no job, I’d have tea and cookies with old people too.

      48. Kim
        Posted December 20, 2010 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

        A new headline from Ann Arbor .com:

        “Ypsilanti City Council gives Stewart Beal-owned company a second chance on tax break despite late tax payments”

        http://www.annarbor.com/news/ypsilanti-city-council-gives-stewart-beal-owned-company-a-second-chance-on-late-taxes/

      49. Posted March 4, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

        I have had first hand witnessed the incompetence of his business acumen and the negligent and illegal business practices of Beal, Inc as an employee. He has no loyalties and treats his employees like indentured servants holding their low paying jobs over their heads on a daily. He is undoubtedly a narcissist and possibly a pathological liar (problem with that is he believes his own lies). The reality is, he is not very smart and is riding the coat tails of his daddy’s check book. He will no doubt land himself, and maybe his father in a lot of trouble in the not too distant future if he continues to operate in the reckless fashion he displayed during my tenure. If the NSP (NSHP) audit his books, his goose would be cooked. If OSHA were to investigate, or interview the right employee, his goose would be cooked. He was by far the worst employer I have ever worked for. I will not be surprised, nor feel any sympathy, when I see him go down in flames one day…and its coming…believe me.
        You may think I am a disgruntled former employee, and in a way you would be right. But that is not that he ever did anything unjust to me, I never gave him the opportunity to. I dispised how he treated those around me including employees, subcontractors and anyone unfortunate to become involved with him. His own brother can’t stand him for crying out loud!

      50. Watching Laughing.
        Posted March 4, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        More Popcorn Please,,,

        WL.

      51. anonymous
        Posted March 5, 2012 at 10:41 am | Permalink

        Charles, if you know of unsafe practices at Beal Inc, or of criminal activity that’s being taking place, it’s incumbent upon you to report your observations to the entities that you reference (OSHA and NSHP).

      52. Watching Laughing.
        Posted March 5, 2012 at 10:47 am | Permalink

        Couldn’t you see it on CNN, a blog in some town named???,,,,,,,IPSI, YPSYLANTI,,,Close to Detroit, Michigan.
        Markmaynard.com has a poster that brought down a KING PIN REAL ESTATE MAGNATE Steward Beal, CEO of Beal Properties.

        Just a little humor,

        WL.

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