Stewart Beal on his court case against Ypsilanti City Council

A few days ago, in a post about the the ongoing cluster-fuck that is Ypsilanti’s Thompson Block, I mentioned that Stewart Beal, who owns the increasingly-precarious burned-out shell of a building, was suing the City over the revocation of an Obsolete Property Reduction Act (OPRA) abatement that had been awarded on another one of his local development projects. (As you’ll recall, City Council had threatened to revoke the abatement earlier in the year, in response to Beal’s non-payment of taxes.) The property in question is the 208 West Michigan Avenue section of what’s commonly referred to as the Kresge Building… Well, Beal sent me the following by way of email this morning, in hopes of explaining why he was suing the City.

Attached is the letter I wrote to the State Tax Commission. When they got the letter they said they couldn’t do anything unless I sued the City in Circuit Court. I sued the City in Circuit Court and the result of that was the State Tax Commission took the item off the agenda. So to the OPRA has not been revoked and to the best of my understanding there is no current schedule to do so. I suppose the State Tax Commission will wait for the matter to be decided in court.

The OPRA ACT is very brief on revocation:

125.2792 Revocation of certificate; findings… Sec. 12.
“The legislative body of the qualified local governmental unit may, by resolution, revoke the obsolete property rehabilitation exemption certificate of a facility if it finds that the completion of rehabilitation of the facility has not occurred within the time authorized by the legislative body in the exemption certificate or a duly authorized extension of that time, or that the holder of the obsolete property exemption certificate has not proceeded in good faith with the operation of the rehabilitated facility in a manner consistent with the purposes of this act and in the absence of circumstances that are beyond the control of the holder of the exemption certificate.”

According to whom I have spoken to at the State Tax Commission, someone paying their taxes 63 days late does not meet a good standard for not operating in bad faith. Especially because the City forgot to file a certificate of nonpayment of taxes AND because the taxes were paid well before the OPRA was revoked. Furthermore the “in a manner consistent with the purposes of this act” part is very important. What is the purpose of the OPRA act? The commonly understood purpose is to encourage the renovation of buildings in areas that would not see investment if there was no OPRA. The purpose of the act is very specifically NOT to make people pay taxes by the due date.

The State Tax Commission is also probably very confused by the continuing antics of City Council where they vote one way in one meeting and then change their minds later. I certainly was.

I do not look forward to being in Court again with the City of Ypsilanti. I never imagined in my wildest dreams that investing ten million dollars and 10 years of my life into the City of Ypsilanti would result in me suing the City twice in one year.

Unfortunately the citizens of Ypsilanti voted for City Council members that do not consider real estate law when making decisions and casting their votes. It is hard to believe that City Council and its legal counsel ever thought revoking the OPRA would be possible based on even the most simplest review of the OPRA act and associated State of Michigan real estate law. I look forward to winning again and then putting this dark chapter in my business career behind me and continuing to invest and work in the community in which I live.

The attachment that Beal mentions above can be found here.

update: Our friend Murph just left the following comment on this thread, and I thought that it should be moved up here to the front page.

I’ve been asked to provide some background on the City’s tax abatement revocation policy, since I was one of the staff members who crafted it. The policy was adopted in the fall of 2008 to address some issues staff had noted around non-payment of taxes by recipients of tax abatements, and was intended to provide an explicit process and inform abatement holders of the process.

The City is responsible for the collection of all property taxes on property in the city – you pay one tax bill to the city, which includes your county taxes, education taxes, library taxes, etc., and the city distributes the revenue to all of those entities. If you do not pay your taxes, the city is ordinarily held harmless: the County Treasurer effectively buys the tax debt from the city, so the city can still reimburse everyone who is owed taxes, and then the County attempts to collect on that debt – if they cannot, then after two years they can foreclose on the property and sell it to cover the back taxes.

This process changes for abated properties. Due largely to a legislative oversight (in my opinion), properties that have received tax abatements through mechanisms like the Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act (”OPRA”), the Industrial Facilities Tax Abatement (”PA 198″), or the Personal Property Tax Abatement (”PA 328″) don’t go through this process. The city cannot turn over unpaid tax debt on these properties to the Treasurer, but has to pursue that debt in Circuit Court. In the meanwhile, though, the city still owes payments on those properties to the County, to the State, to the library, to the ISD, to the Community College, etc, because the County Treasurer is not coming in to cover that debt.

Therefore, by granting a tax abatement, the city is investing in the property twice – first by saying, “We believe this project is important enough to the community to defer our taxes on it for a number of years, in order to make it happen,” but second by saying, “…and apparently, by floating you a loan to cover your tax debt if you don’t pay us the remainder.” As I said, I think this is a legislative oversight. The intent of these abatements is only the first half of that: foregoing revenues to enable a project. (And, importantly, revenues that don’t exist but for the project – by granting the abatement, the City is not giving up any revenue it already has.) The second piece of that, the loophole that forces the City to shell out its own funds to cover the taxes that are still owed, is definitely not what the City has in mind when it grants an abatement.

A few years ago, city staff noted that owners of tax-abated property (and not just Mr. Beal) were taking advantage of this – twice a year, city staff had to put a lot of effort into chasing down these parties to get them to pay their taxes. The City Assessor even noted cases where owners of multiple properties would come in and pay on time for all of the *other* properties, the ones that the County could enforce collection on, but not the abated ones.

We found that the PA198 tax abatement for industrial facilities handled this situation: in case of non-payment of taxes, an administrative process was provided for automatic revocation of the abatement. OPRA was a little more fuzzy, though, saying only that the local legislative body *may* revoke, by resolution, on a finding that the project had not been completed in the time agreed to, or if the owner “has not proceeded in good faith with the operation of the facility”. (Again, I think it’s a legislative oversight to have not included an auto-revoke clause for unpaid taxes.)

It’s my opinion that non-payment of taxes is a clear violation of good faith – if the City is investing in your project to the tune of 80% of your taxes over 10 years, you shouldn’t turn around and decline to pay the remaining 20%, treating it as a loan from the city that you’re taking out unilaterally and without the city’s consent. However, we didn’t want to suddenly begin pursuing revocation of these abatements, and so instead came up with a policy clearly stating that non-payment of taxes qualified as failure to operate the property in good faith – and a “two strikes” policy that gave every abated property one more chance to not pay their taxes and only get a slap on the hand before we would revoke their property.

The City sent every owner of tax-abated property a notice by certified mail outlining this new policy and offering to meet with the owner in person to answer any questions about the policy. This occurred in the fall of 2008. In the summer of 2009, a few abatement holders did not pay their taxes – including Mr. Beal on 208 W. Michigan. From the materials given Council, it looks like the City’s Treasurer sent notice (again by certified mail) to these tax-delinquent owners reminding them of the policy and of the fact that the abatement would come up to Council if they skipped payment again. This notice looks like it went out about two months after the deadline to pay taxes, and Mr. Beal came in and paid his 2009 summer taxes on 208 W. Michigan some time later.

As I understand, Mr. Beal’s property at 208 W Michigan was not the only tax-abated property to fail to pay taxes and draw this warning in 2009, but was the only property that did it again the next year. The abatement was sent to Council for revocation, exactly as Mr. Beal and other abatement holders had been told it would.

Yes, Council initially opted to give the property at 208 W. Michigan yet another chance, then reconsidered and revoked the policy – I believe part of that change was that staff did not adequately explain the consequences of missed tax payments on the property when Council first discussed it: the fact that the debt cannot be turned over to the County, and that the City is placing its own cash on the line to cover the property’s debt, mean that this is a matter of financial risk, and not just a matter of whether or not to “support” the project. Several councilmembers were newly elected, and had not received the full presentation in 2008 about these consequences of unpaid taxes.

I think the Council made the right decision by revoking the policy. This is nothing personal against Mr. Beal or against his property – I feel it’s an impersonal, administrative action to say, “If taxes are not paid, that is a violation of the tax abatement, which is a partnership between the city and the property owner to get a property redeveloped, and, after having given the property owner several notices to that effect, we’ll take away the abatement.” In fact, I think the revocation policy is *supportive* of development, rather than the contrary: having a procedure in place to address problems like unpaid taxes – and applying that procedure faithfully – allows the city to continue supporting redevelopment. If the city had no procedure in place, or did not enforce it, it would be dangerous for the city to support future projects with abatements, because of the exposure and vulnerability to the developer’s debts. Applying the policy faithfully (and impersonally) to the property at 208 W. Michigan may look on first glance to be anti-development, but it’s what the City has to do if it doesn’t want to lose the tools it has to support development.

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60 Comments

  1. Boy O Boy
    Posted April 28, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    Beal is so much like the mistress who breaks up a marriage and thinks that “oooh, he won’t cheat on me”. The Democrat nanny city screwed the real owner and stole his property. Now they are screwing him. Notice a pattern of theft? What we call precedent? Democrats steal from those who have and think they have a “grand plan” to do better with it. Then they waste and destroy it and make things worse by magnitude. If you people can’t look at this clear and present illustration of what happens when Government robs its citizens then you might never “get it”! How could it be more plain?!

  2. Andrew Jason Clock
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Boy O, as you demonstrate over and over, stupid doesn’t discriminate. Our city has a recent history of stupid government, not left wing conspiracy government. Nobody in our city government has put enough fore-thought in for there to be a conspiracy.

  3. Edward
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    I could see Beal coming out of all of this as a big hero of the Tea Party, ranting about how big government slows growth by standing between entrepreneurs such as himself and the free market tax breaks and sweetheart deals that they so justly deserve. Sure, the idea of free market tax breaks might sound kind of oxymoronic to you, but the Tea Party patriots would eat that shit up.

  4. karen
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    What I like most about Ypsilanti is that you can do whatever you want. Mr. Beal exemplifies this spirit more than anyone else in town.

    If I were him, I wouldn’t follow any rules or laws. Fuck Ypsilanti.

  5. Tommy
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    I think the city has given Mr. Beal plenty of time to do something with this piece of shit.

    …commonly understood purpose is to encourage the renovation of buildings in areas that would not see investment if there was no OPRA…

    I would like to encourage you to fix the damn thing. Either that or tear it down.

  6. Mr. X
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Tommy, the OPRA in question wasn’t for the Thompson building. It was for his part of the Kresge building.

    And I’m wondering if the comment above yours was left by Karen Maurer. And, if so, what it means.

  7. Anonymous
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    It’s like when a criminal slips and falls in the act of robing a bank and then takes the bank to court.

  8. Posted April 30, 2011 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    I’ve been asked to provide some background on the City’s tax abatement revocation policy, since I was one of the staff members who crafted it. The policy was adopted in the fall of 2008 to address some issues staff had noted around non-payment of taxes by recipients of tax abatements, and was intended to provide an explicit process and inform abatement holders of the process.

    The City is responsible for the collection of all property taxes on property in the city – you pay one tax bill to the city, which includes your county taxes, education taxes, library taxes, etc., and the city distributes the revenue to all of those entities. If you do not pay your taxes, the city is ordinarily held harmless: the County Treasurer effectively buys the tax debt from the city, so the city can still reimburse everyone who is owed taxes, and then the County attempts to collect on that debt – if they cannot, then after two years they can foreclose on the property and sell it to cover the back taxes.

    This process changes for abated properties. Due largely to a legislative oversight (in my opinion), properties that have received tax abatements through mechanisms like the Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act (“OPRA”), the Industrial Facilities Tax Abatement (“PA 198”), or the Personal Property Tax Abatement (“PA 328”) don’t go through this process. The city cannot turn over unpaid tax debt on these properties to the Treasurer, but has to pursue that debt in Circuit Court. In the meanwhile, though, the city still owes payments on those properties to the County, to the State, to the library, to the ISD, to the Community College, etc, because the County Treasurer is not coming in to cover that debt.

    Therefore, by granting a tax abatement, the city is investing in the property twice – first by saying, “We believe this project is important enough to the community to defer our taxes on it for a number of years, in order to make it happen,” but second by saying, “…and apparently, by floating you a loan to cover your tax debt if you don’t pay us the remainder.” As I said, I think this is a legislative oversight. The intent of these abatements is only the first half of that: foregoing revenues to enable a project. (And, importantly, revenues that don’t exist but for the project – by granting the abatement, the City is not giving up any revenue it already has.) The second piece of that, the loophole that forces the City to shell out its own funds to cover the taxes that are still owed, is definitely not what the City has in mind when it grants an abatement.

    A few years ago, city staff noted that owners of tax-abated property (and not just Mr. Beal) were taking advantage of this – twice a year, city staff had to put a lot of effort into chasing down these parties to get them to pay their taxes. The City Assessor even noted cases where owners of multiple properties would come in and pay on time for all of the *other* properties, the ones that the County could enforce collection on, but not the abated ones.

    We found that the PA198 tax abatement for industrial facilities handled this situation: in case of non-payment of taxes, an administrative process was provided for automatic revocation of the abatement. OPRA was a little more fuzzy, though, saying only that the local legislative body *may* revoke, by resolution, on a finding that the project had not been completed in the time agreed to, or if the owner “has not proceeded in good faith with the operation of the facility”. (Again, I think it’s a legislative oversight to have not included an auto-revoke clause for unpaid taxes.)

    It’s my opinion that non-payment of taxes is a clear violation of good faith – if the City is investing in your project to the tune of 80% of your taxes over 10 years, you shouldn’t turn around and decline to pay the remaining 20%, treating it as a loan from the city that you’re taking out unilaterally and without the city’s consent. However, we didn’t want to suddenly begin pursuing revocation of these abatements, and so instead came up with a policy clearly stating that non-payment of taxes qualified as failure to operate the property in good faith – and a “two strikes” policy that gave every abated property one more chance to not pay their taxes and only get a slap on the hand before we would revoke their property.

    The City sent every owner of tax-abated property a notice by certified mail outlining this new policy and offering to meet with the owner in person to answer any questions about the policy. This occurred in the fall of 2008. In the summer of 2009, a few abatement holders did not pay their taxes – including Mr. Beal on 208 W. Michigan. From the materials given Council, it looks like the City’s Treasurer sent notice (again by certified mail) to these tax-delinquent owners reminding them of the policy and of the fact that the abatement would come up to Council if they skipped payment again. This notice looks like it went out about two months after the deadline to pay taxes, and Mr. Beal came in and paid his 2009 summer taxes on 208 W. Michigan some time later.

    As I understand, Mr. Beal’s property at 208 W Michigan was not the only tax-abated property to fail to pay taxes and draw this warning in 2009, but was the only property that did it again the next year. The abatement was sent to Council for revocation, exactly as Mr. Beal and other abatement holders had been told it would.

    Yes, Council initially opted to give the property at 208 W. Michigan yet another chance, then reconsidered and revoked the policy – I believe part of that change was that staff did not adequately explain the consequences of missed tax payments on the property when Council first discussed it: the fact that the debt cannot be turned over to the County, and that the City is placing its own cash on the line to cover the property’s debt, mean that this is a matter of financial risk, and not just a matter of whether or not to “support” the project. Several councilmembers were newly elected, and had not received the full presentation in 2008 about these consequences of unpaid taxes.

    I think the Council made the right decision by revoking the policy. This is nothing personal against Mr. Beal or against his property – I feel it’s an impersonal, administrative action to say, “If taxes are not paid, that is a violation of the tax abatement, which is a partnership between the city and the property owner to get a property redeveloped, and, after having given the property owner several notices to that effect, we’ll take away the abatement.” In fact, I think the revocation policy is *supportive* of development, rather than the contrary: having a procedure in place to address problems like unpaid taxes – and applying that procedure faithfully – allows the city to continue supporting redevelopment. If the city had no procedure in place, or did not enforce it, it would be dangerous for the city to support future projects with abatements, because of the exposure and vulnerability to the developer’s debts. Applying the policy faithfully (and impersonally) to the property at 208 W. Michigan may look on first glance to be anti-development, but it’s what the City has to do if it doesn’t want to lose the tools it has to support development.

  9. Boy O Boy
    Posted April 30, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    call it “oversight” or call it “loopholes.” Why does it take a book and an army of lawyers and politicians to figure it out? Read the above “explanation” and see why so many American’s are discouraged from even trying to be an entrepeneur. I have dozens of job creating business ideas that are stopped by fegulations like the above. KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). People with income pay minimal taxes for “services”. People with income vote on what those services are. After that the government gets the hell out of our way.

  10. Peter Larson
    Posted April 30, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    One does not have to have an income to vote in the United States.

  11. Boy O Boy
    Posted April 30, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    And therein lies the problem Peter. Check your history. It’s not how the Founder’s planned it and it doesn’t work otherwise.

  12. Brainless
    Posted May 1, 2011 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Wow. Just wow.

  13. Mr. X
    Posted May 2, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    There’s now an article about Beal’s lawsuit against the city on annarbor.com.

    http://annarbor.com/news/a-new-front-opens-up-in-the-war-between-developer-stewart-beal-and-the-city-of-ypsilanti/

  14. notoneofthecoolkids
    Posted May 5, 2011 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Great Post Murph! Very informative!
    I am amazed that you spoke out against your buddy.

  15. Andrew Jason Clock
    Posted May 5, 2011 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Did anybody else catch that there, folks, where Boy’O plainly stated that wealthy white land owners should be the only people allowed to vote in the United States, just as the framers of the Constitution intended?

  16. Boy O Boy
    Posted May 5, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    New lows at twisting words Andrew Jason Clock I did not say “wealth” “white” or “landowners” I said “people with income” which means People decide how their money is “spent” instead of having other people spend their money.

  17. kjc
    Posted May 5, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Boy O Boy, you should definitely be in charge of the Keep It Simple, Stupid campaign.

  18. Posted May 5, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Beal has shown himself to be arrogant, self-centered and plays the victim like a violin. He entered into agreements and he should honor them. The way he behaves is an insult to honest business people in Ypsilanti. It appears he will be the Kircher of the future, except of course he has better grooming. I must say I was interested to learn that Bin Ladin flew a plane into the Thompson Building and started the fire that has caused so much disruption at ground zero….the corner of Cross and River.

  19. Nancy
    Posted May 5, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    Citywatch: certainly not arrogant or self centered when compared to the council members. Also wasn’t he the victim? Reputation? Monetary? It was his building that burned, not yours.

  20. Posted May 6, 2011 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Nancy, you need to take a good look at his history with the city over the last several years. He has been expanding his holdings and businesses without tending to paying taxes on what he already owns. Then he sues the city when he is asked to do what you and I have to do as a matter of course. If we did not pay our taxes what would happen to us? The city cut him plenty of slack and has tried to work with him. He is not the victim. He has had plenty of time and warnings etc. Don’t trash the council for doing what they have to do to get him to comply with his obligations.

    Finally, I go by the Thompson block corner every day, and unless and until the city is applying pressure on Beal no work gets done there. I was a supporter of his to start, but I have been watching him carefully and come to know him better.

  21. Andrew Jason Clock
    Posted May 6, 2011 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    You said as the framers of the constitution intended boyo. The framers intended to give the vote to landowners, who were almost entirely rich and white.

    Fortunately, over the years, we’ve realized that you can’t have a true democracy unless everyone is enfranchised.

    I’d like to know who you are proposing to leave out of voting? The poor? The elderly? College students? Just who fits your criteria?

  22. Posted May 6, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    notoneofthecoolkids – I always find it interesting when loyalties are attributed to me. But like I said, I don’t consider myself to be “against” Stewart or his property on Michigan Avenue – if anyone, the larger part of my criticism in the Michigan Ave OPRA situation was Council, for needing two tries to apply their own policy.

    If we want to have tools available to us to rebuild our community, we need to be clear and consistent in our dealings with developers and our applications of those tools – and to protect ourselves against liabilities. Failing to apply the tax revocation policy would have weakened the city on both the clear dealings with developers and self-protection fronts.

  23. Hubcap
    Posted May 6, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    I strongly agree with Murph’s post of May 6. I wish the council showed a stronger sense of direction in its dealings with property owners and developers. (The same goes for the Ann Arbor city council, for that matter.) Remember the on-again, off-again fines that were supposed to be levied against the owner of the Starkweather house on Huron River Dr? Establish ordinances and policies, then enforce them clearly and consistently. All I can say is, I don’t think the city would have let *me* obstruct the sidewalk or the street in front of my house for over 1 1/2 years, not to mention maintaining an eyesore!

  24. kjc
    Posted May 6, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    as Beal explained, anyone who has a beef with the scaffolding only “occasionally” walks to Depot Town anyway.

    Related question. Now that the scaffolding has been moved in slightly, are two lanes open at that intersection or just one? When only one was open, it was clear that the leftmost lane was not left-turn only (as marked). But now I don’t know anymore.

  25. wetdolphinmissile
    Posted May 6, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    @ kjc AGAIN…the eastside neighbors, myself and my neighbors…are sick of the neglect they have watched over many years and owners of this building. I know children from the neighborhood that wandered the site after the fire. We want the situation resolved, are sick of the eye sore and yes we go by it every day. We all hope the activity means completion, one way or another. Beal smeal, it is the bight stupid.

  26. wetdolphinmissile
    Posted May 6, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    meant to say…Beal smeal, it is the blight stupid

  27. kjc
    Posted May 6, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    @wetdolphinmissile i was being facetious. i’m one of your neighbors and i too pass it all the time. i just think it’s interesting that SB thinks everyone who claims to be bothered by the blight is being disingenuous. We’re all really at the mall.

    so…two lanes or one there?

  28. wetdolphinmissile
    Posted May 6, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    wow sorry kjc…I am admittedly slow sometimes, I turn left going north onto river, but I think it is still one lane

  29. kjc
    Posted May 6, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    no problem, wetdolphinmissile. it’s hard to tell sometimes on this blog, ironic as we all are. ;)

    I think you’re right about one lane. I’ll stop bitching and write Brian Robb, who’s my rep. It’s not safe. AND i walk my dog there. So I’m glad the covered walkway is gone…but um, now there’s nothing.

  30. kjc
    Posted May 6, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    and for the record, to be truthful, i mostly AVOID walking my dog there. It doesn’t feel safe or easy. But I do it at times so as to sit on a bench in front of Woodruff’s (for example), at midday, and watch my fellow citizens. It’s fun.

    I feel long-term about all the torn-up sidewalks. There’s a project in place. It sucks, but something’s happening. But I don’t believe anything’s happening with Beal. His dishonesty angers me. And when he claims the side of historic preservation, I *really* get pissed off.

  31. Mike Bodary
    Posted May 6, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    I was the one who brought back the question of the Beal 208 W. Michigan Ave. OPRA. Yes I knew I would face criticism about changing my mind. I thank Murph for pointing out how we were not following Council’s own rules by not enforcing this reasonable requirement that avoids putting the delinquent taxes on all of us Ypsi citizens. I was new to Council and did not realize this consequence to our liabilities. I am frequently amazed by the brilliance of this young man.
    As Murph points out, we do not get support from the County on collection, only from Circuit Court action. This process is only advantageous to Mr. Beal who gets free legal representation from his mother. The City must pay for legal costs from your scarce funds.
    The tax advantages of an OPRA should make prompt payment a no-brainer to a wise businessperson. Mr. Beal’s own manager admitted that late payment was not an oversight in open council discussion. Fully aware that this was the second violation he thought we would not face up to his arrogance. Without having the backbones to stick with our own well crafted policies we fail to send clear messages to those wishing to get tax advantages in the future.

  32. Cooter
    Posted August 31, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Anyone see the new paint job on the Thompson Block?

  33. K2
    Posted August 31, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Beal is trying to make it pretty in hopes that he can sell it back to Kircher when he gets out of jail.

  34. anonymous
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    “fluent in english is not something i would suggest you put on your resume, although i am going to interview him just to see how good he really is.” -Stewart Beal

    http://blog.mikeambs.com/post/11790813096/fluent-in-english-is-not-something-i-would-suggest

  35. kjc
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    what an asshole. i hope one of his “friends” calls him out.

  36. kjc
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    and shame on all you assholes who “liked” that status too. so nice to see Andy Garris was one of them. nothing like anti-immigrant sentiment to bring people together!

  37. Posted October 24, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Stewart Beal isn’t even 30 yet. He’s young enough to know better.

  38. kjc
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    he says Mike Ambs can’t take a joke. I thought jokes were supposed to have humor in them somewhere.

  39. Posted October 24, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    All racists say shit like that.

  40. Posted October 24, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    OK, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, maybe he’s not a racist.

    He claims that the guy did put “proficient in kickboxing” as a skill, though Mr. Beal should think before posting.

    I retract any implications of racism pending further evidence.

  41. Andrew Jason Clock
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    Yea, you’re going to have to put me down for being shameful. Maybe you’ve never had to look through a stack of resumes or applications to try to glean something useful from them. Let me tell you, it can be sad, discouraging, and, if you’re really lucky, funny. You find yourself rejecting people out of hand for all sorts of reasons, hoping you only have to hire once.

    Everyone commenting here is fluent in English (taters isn’t here). Would you put it on a resume? I sure as hell wouldn’t, because, last time I checked, English was still the first language around here. You build a resume based on the job you want. Immigrant or no (this guy wasn’t, if you read Beal’s response) the ability to speak the local language is kind of assumed, don’t you think? And as far as doing this sort of thing “in respect to all the unemployed in Michigan”, um, that’s exactly why you reject resumes you don’t feel live up your standard, because there are people that are taking finding a job much more seriously. Harsh? Sure is, but them’s the breaks. I redid my resume several times trying to weed out things that don’t need to be there in favor of other, more useful information. Sometimes I did it for each specific job.

    So, maybe you don’t find any humor at that post, but as a person who has had to dig through that pile of resumes, I found it pretty amusing. I didn’t “like” it at the time, but I did laugh.

    If someone asks me to borrow a pen to fill out an application, it automatically goes into the rejected pile. What does that make me?

  42. Andrew Jason Clock
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, but of all the things you might get mad at Stewart Beal about, this post ranks somewhere around “I don’t like his shoes”.

  43. kjc
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    this has nothing to do with how many resumes anyone’s seen. or the larger philosophical issue of “whether there could ever be a funny resume” (lord). sorry, i just noticed the fb reply. so silly.

    if it’s not an immigrant candidate, it’s a different issue. I can see humor there. i’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. but as written, considering the larger social issues, it’s potentially highly offensive. i’m glad he explained himself. i’m sorry he didn’t see what could be offensive about it. and i’m sorry he thinks it’s about me and mike ambs.

    as for “of all things you might get mad at Stewart Beal about,” it has nothing to do with Stewart Beal. it’s not personal. if anyone i knew said something like that, i’d say wtf.

  44. Dan
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    My company recently received a resume for an administrative assistant that included facts like “I drive a Subaru” and “I founded AmeriCorps”

  45. kjc
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    and dan solves the philosophical problem.

  46. anonymous
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    As much as Beal says he’s a self-made man, the truth is, he inherited a family business, and he’s never had to apply for a job in his life. He has no idea what it means to be without work, having to knock on doors and beg for employment. While I’m sure he might find it funny to bring this man in to assess his language skills, I doubt that the man applying for the job will appreciate the fact that he’s been asked in for that reason.

  47. Andrew Jason Clock
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    I’ve had to do all of those things anonymous. No one handed me anything, and as I live in Michigan, I’ve had to work like hell to get a half-decent job. And I’ve still brought in the occasional candidate that I didn’t see any real potential of hiring, just to see what they have to say. For all you know, somewhere else on the resume, there were reasons he wanted to talk to him. Or, he could have not really brought him in at all, and was making a joke.

    I’ve looked at hundred if not thousands of resumes, and I have never once seen “fluent in English”. I think the fact that the resume is, you know, IN ENGLISH, pretty much demonstrates that already. And again, English is our language here in the United States, even in California. I’ve seen plenty that demonstrated the author was not fluent in English, and I rejected them. Fluent in Spanish or another language? Relevant information. Fluent in the common local language? Useless information.

    Sorry kjc, anonymous (mike?), I’m going to have to call you overly sensitive on this one. Hiring managers find humor in things like that because, if you don’t, you start to go crazy. Just because you don’t see the humor, doesn’t make it offensive.

    I also find it pretty interesting that this went “straight to blog”. If you saw this on FB, you must be FB friends with Beak or someone who “liked” the post. So, you’re angry, but not angry enough to say something to Beal, only angry enough to mock him?

    I don’t really know why I chose to jump in on this one. I clicked on here to see what exactly was being brought up no on a thread this old. I thought it might be something relevant. I guess that someone taking such offense at something so silly offended me a little, as a person who has found himself saying similar things.

    May the person who has never found humor or made a joke based on something someone else said or wrote throw the first stone.

  48. kjc
    Posted October 25, 2011 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    sorry, Andy, you’re missing the point on this one. big time. as for not commenting to him on his fb, i would have, but it’s not allowed since i’m not his friend.

    and if you don’t see the potentially racist aspect of that post, i’m kind of shocked.

    in any case, you’re more wound up about this than i am. I still think it was a stupid post without context, i still think nothing you’re saying has anything to do with that, and if you think the potential racism there is just silly, then fine.

    again this is not about seeing humor or going through resumes. duh.

  49. Andrew Jason Clock
    Posted October 25, 2011 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    You see it as potential racism. Mike seemed to think it was a dig at workers. I see it a a comment on people who don’t know how to write a resume. Maybe I’m not PC enough because I don’t go looking for racism in everything someone says. I’m sure if we looked long enough, we could find things you or me or Mike or Mark, or almost anyone has said that could be interpreted as racist. I choose not to look through that glass unless I see a reason. And making fun of the statement “Speaks fluent English” on a resume in a place where English is the first language doesn’t rise to that level, in my opinion. Can you seriously tell me you’d suggest that someone put that on a resume for any job in the Midwest that didn’t involve translation? I’d like to point out that Beal has hundreds of FB friends, including at least a dozen people I know post here, and more that blog on their own. One chose to see racism in this, and you chose to agree with him. So yea, I’m still going to have to say this is a gross overreaction. I’m not missing your point. I think your point is a little ridiculous.

    But again, I’m not the PC police. duh

  50. Andrew Jason Clock
    Posted October 25, 2011 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    If you think someone with a foreign sounding last name might have to clarify that they speak English, who’s thinking in racist terms, anyway? What country is this?

  51. kjc
    Posted October 25, 2011 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    yeah it’s all about being PC. that’s so typical I can’t even take it seriously. In any case, one thing I know you’ve not done is apply for a job as a non-Native speaker. so if you can’t imagine it from that perspective, fine. i keep saying fine fine andy you can’t imagine it any other way than your own take. got it. don’t start acting like employment discrimination doesn’t exist or that it can’t take this very form.

    anyway, i’m moving on.

    p.s. despite your desire to be the ultimate arbiter of meaning, you realize you’re not calling balls and strikes right? you see it one way, i see it another.

  52. kjc
    Posted October 25, 2011 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    “apply for a job as a non-Native speaker”

    syntax problem there. kind of funny. i see humor! i thought i couldn’t see it!

  53. gary
    Posted October 25, 2011 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    beal’s not a racist. he hires more foreign day laborers than any business in southeast michigan. he should be celebrated as a person and a boss. not vilified by the jealous 99%.

  54. kjc
    Posted October 25, 2011 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    i didn’t call him a racist. nor am i going to celebrate him as a person. haha.

  55. Andrew J. Clock
    Posted October 25, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Call me crazy, but blowing a joke from someones FB page this out of porportiom seems like the definition of being overly PC. I guess I just like to see this kind of effort to slander someone reserved for actual discrimination or racism. This was also the consensus in my work place, where english is a second language for much of our staff. (We have 3 or 4 languages going on any given shift)

    And yes, I realize you are fully entitled to your opinion. Clearly, so am I.

  56. Brainless
    Posted October 25, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    We just hate the little prick, Andrew. Let us have our fun. Last time I checked, none of my friends had any vaguely racist jokes on their FB pages, either. We’re just too damn PC, I guess. But it’s mighty [insert race/religion/creed/color here] of you to point it out (even where it doesn’t exist).

  57. kjc
    Posted October 25, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    haha Andy. let me poll everyone at my job.

    man you just can’t let it go. as for slander, bullshit. neither of you can see the other side of the issue and LET’S JUST SHUT UP ABOUT IT. honestly i think your PC defense is crap and i question the integrity of Beal and you at this point. and anyway, can’t he defend himself?

    no, please don’t answer that. or wait, ask everyone at your job.

  58. Andrew Jason Clock
    Posted October 25, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    Of course my integrity comes into question. I’m guessing that’s because I don’t agree with you?

    For the record, I have nothing to do with Beal, other than the occasional social contact. Certainly none pertaining to this. I just happen to enjoy debating things, and the length of my posts has nothing to do with how worked up I am or am not(I’m not). And I can see your side of it. I just think its bullshit. The guy made a joke about something he, and several others, found humorous. How terrible! What an asshole! We must bring this to the public’s attention right away! He’s said something that could be interpreted as discriminatory! I do wonder though, have you stopped to consider my point?

    And actually, it was a funny little conversation we had at work. It was slow, we were bored. I thought you might find it relevant, given I had the conversation with non-native speaking job holders. We did agree that “Fluent in English” would have a place on a resume in an English speaking country if it was attached to “Fluent in (insert other language(s) here) and English”. Otherwise it just makes you stick out in the wrong way. That came from someone who speaks English as a third language.

    So, please, feel free to mock me for debating and disagreeing with you. I really could care less. I am still a little curious what your point was, but I don’t want to get you any more worked up.

  59. Posted April 29, 2013 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    Beal and company …major JERKS…stay away from them people……….

  60. frank
    Posted February 12, 2016 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Is it true that Beal s now completely out of the Thompson block project? Will it be sold again?

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