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Detroit Declares Bankruptcy

#1 User is offline   SecondHandJets Icon

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 09:37 AM

Mr Jet now is your time to shine. It's the 4th Q, game on the line. The team needs you to post as many in depth articles on this shit as you can google. Also, just for this drive, we're openning up the playbook for you. You can write more than 3 lines. Heck, go for 30. I need to know everything about this from A-Z. How does this affect government programs? What about City and State funded programs like Sec 8? Go for the long bomb on 2nd and short and see if the Economist has any articles on this and the effect on housing prices. Go forth young Mr Jet! Seize the moment!

Everyone else is welcome to. I'm currently in negotiations to buy a package of SFR in Detroit, all were Sec 8 tenants. Naturally the deal is on hold until I can figure this shit out.
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Posted 19 July 2013 - 01:40 PM

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#3 User is offline   Mr_Jet Icon

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 02:57 PM

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Yawn. :beach: How are things in Camden, New Jersey BTW?
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View PostFlyHiJets, on 01 June 2013 - 08:35 PM, said:

You're the scumbag that thinks everyone should kiss the as$es of a bunch of criminals but I'm a dumbass. Yeah okay douchebag. Go give some illegal wetback or Revis another blowjob. But then again.....don't you live in an entirely different country but yet think you can tell us how to live? Go fvck yourself little boy. You're likely still living with mommy & daddy. Pu$$y.


View Postazjetfan, on 02 July 2014 - 03:36 PM, said:

There are a few things I have realized about Mr. Jet over a few topics.

1) He is a racist. By constantly using race as a battling tool.
2) He is an extreme Liberal. If you are on either extreme you are probabaly more wrong than right.
3) He is one of those people who will never admit fault, error or defeat.
4)His life sucks and he takes it out on people who don't share in his views.
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#4 User is offline   SecondHandJets Icon

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 03:12 PM

I guess its up to me, once again, to bring something to the table.

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#5 User is offline   SecondHandJets Icon

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 03:14 PM

Between 2002 and 2008, then-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick ran what prosecutors later described as a "private profit machine" out of City Hall by taking bribes and rigging millions of dollars of contracts for a friend's excavating company. One fundraiser, Emma Bell, testified that she gave Kilpatrick more than $200,000 in political donations, pulling cash from her bra during private meetings. Internal Revenue Service agents said Kilpatrick had managed to spend $840,000 beyond his mayoral salary.

In March, Kilpatrick was convicted of 24 charges, including racketeering conspiracy; he awaits sentencing.

The current mayor, David Bing, who was elected in 2009, began tearing down abandoned buildings as part of a revitalization effort for the city, but he lamented what he called a sense of "entitlement" among some residents who he said were unwilling to accept painful moves, such as leaving homes in abandoned neighborhoods and helping repopulate other parts of Detroit.

Bing has announced that he will not seek reelection when his term expires at the end of 2013.
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#6 User is offline   Jetsfan0099 Icon

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 03:33 PM

I don't get into politics much, but Obama commenting on the Zimmerman case the way he did disgusts me.

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@karentravers 1h
Mea culpa-full quote from Obama "sense that if a white male teen was involved..both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different"

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#7 User is offline   Mr_Jet Icon

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 03:43 PM

View PostSecondHandJets, on 19 July 2013 - 04:14 PM, said:

Between 2002 and 2008, then-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick ran what prosecutors later described as a "private profit machine" out of City Hall by taking bribes and rigging millions of dollars of contracts for a friend's excavating company. One fundraiser, Emma Bell, testified that she gave Kilpatrick more than $200,000 in political donations, pulling cash from her bra during private meetings. Internal Revenue Service agents said Kilpatrick had managed to spend $840,000 beyond his mayoral salary.

In March, Kilpatrick was convicted of 24 charges, including racketeering conspiracy; he awaits sentencing.

The current mayor, David Bing, who was elected in 2009, began tearing down abandoned buildings as part of a revitalization effort for the city, but he lamented what he called a sense of "entitlement" among some residents who he said were unwilling to accept painful moves, such as leaving homes in abandoned neighborhoods and helping repopulate other parts of Detroit.

Bing has announced that he will not seek reelection when his term expires at the end of 2013.


So?

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In Camden, Another Mayor Is Indicted on Corruption Charges
By IVER PETERSON
Published: March 31, 2000

The ills of this desperate city deepened today with the indictment of its mayor, Milton Milan, on 19 charges of corruption, ranging from laundering drug money and taking bribes from organized crime leaders to stealing his own computer, collecting the insurance and then selling it to a naive office volunteer for three times its worth.

Mr. Milan, who was elected in 1997, is the third Camden mayor to be indicted in the last 20 years. He was ensnared in a rolling investigation into drug dealing and official corruption that federal officials have conducted for more than a year. As one defendant after another pointed the finger at Mr. Milan, the expectation grew that he would one day follow them into the dock.

This morning, trailing a parade of Cabinet members, other city officials and friends, the mayor walked the two blocks from City Hall to the new federal courthouse on Cooper Street to surrender to a United States marshal. He was handcuffed, and entered a plea of not guilty. After he was released on $150,000 bail, Mr. Milan was jaunty at a news conference on the courthouse steps in which he said the charges against him were unfounded and insisted that he would not step down.

''I'm a fighter; I've always been a fighter,'' said Mr. Milan, 37, who was wearing a Camden Library team jacket. ''And just because you get hit once and fall down doesn't mean I'm not going to get up and keep fighting.''

Later, Robert J. Cleary, the United States attorney for New Jersey, was just as combative. ''The mayor designed his pay-for-play system for his own selfish benefit, and the rest of the public be damned,'' Mr. Cleary read from a statement that touched on elements of the indictment. ''He put the office of mayor in this city up for sale, and anything you wanted, you could buy from him. You want a contract? Buy him a car. You want to get paid faster? Install windows in his house. You want a job? Bribe the mayor.''

The maximum penalties for all 19 counts add up to 119 years in prison, said Renee M. Bumb, the assistant United States attorney and a lead prosecutor in the investigation of Mr. Milan. If convicted, the mayor could also face hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.

In all, 16 local men have been convicted or pleaded guilty to narcotics distribution in the federal investigation. In addition, the city's former municipal prosecutor, Joseph S. Caruso, has admitted to conspiring with Mr. Milan to solicit a $5,000 campaign contribution from the public defender, an action that forms one of the counts in today's indictment. And Mr. Milan's business partner in the Atlas Construction Company, Gholam Joseph Darakshan, was indicted two weeks on charges that he laundered drug money with the mayor.

The mayor has his supporters on the City Council, but this afternoon several Council members said they would try to seek enough votes to force Mr. Milan to step down. Legally, he can remain in office unless he is convicted.

Mr. Milan's indictment is one more blow to Camden, the poorest city in New Jersey. With most of its jobs and money having fled to suburbs like Cherry Hill in the last 40 years, the city teetered on the edge of bankruptcy last summer and required a state financial rescue, along with spending controls. Many city police functions have been taken over by state troopers, and Camden's failing schools were recently investigated by state officials, who urged financial and educational reforms.

Mr. Milan's predecessor, Arnold B. Webster, pleaded guilty to federal wire fraud charges in 1998 and was sentenced last August to six months' house arrest and three years' probation. An earlier mayor, Angelo J. Errichetti, was convicted of federal corruption charges and went to prison in 1981.

Mr. Milan, the city's first Hispanic mayor, rose from poverty in Camden to start his own construction company. He ran as an outsider for City Council and, after being embraced by the Camden County Democratic Party, was elected mayor.

His indictment was handed up by a grand jury on Wednesday, and an arrest warrant was issued this morning. The crimes he is accused of committing either before or after he became mayor fall into six broad categories: fraud, accepting bribes, attempted extortion, wire and mail fraud, illegal currency transactions and money laundering. And perhaps the most serious of the charges -- one that Mr. Cleary hammered at a news conference -- was the accusation that the mayor was involved in taking bribes from associates of the Philadelphia organized crime boss Ralph Natale.

Although today's indictment was voluminous, it did not mention any of the accusations of drug dealing by the mayor that several of the convicted dealers had made from the stand. And although Mr. Milan is accused of taking tens of thousands of dollars in cash and services, the federal document paints a picture of a corrupt mayor with small-bore ambitions to skim a dollar here and a dollar there -- a trip to Florida with his girlfriend, some free carpet for his home -- rather than a man bent on a grand criminal scheme.

The indictment charges that Mr. Milan began accepting bribes from an unnamed associate of Mr. Natale as early as March 1996. In exchange, it alleges, Mr. Milan helped crime figures win city contracts that directly benefited Mr. Natale.

In all, Mr. Milan took more than $30,000 from the Philadelphia mobster's organization by trying to funnel city business to Cosa Nostra operatives, the indictment alleges. Mr. Natale is in prison on a narcotics conspiracy conviction, and newspaper reports have said he is cooperating with federal agents in their Camden investigation.

For example, the indictment alleges that on Oct. 30, 1997, the mayor met in his office with a Natale associate, called an unindicted co-conspirator by federal officials, to discuss the associate's desire to win a contract to be a collector of fines and other charges by the Camden Municipal Court. When the city's chief judge later objected to the contract, the mayor wrote a letter asking him to reconsider, and a week later the Natale associate, called Individual No. 2 in the indictment, paid $1,433 for the mayor's Florida vacation, the indictment alleges.

The indictment also says that the mayor accepted two vehicles from a towing operator with a contract with the city, and that a second contractor seeking city work performed a garage demolition worth $4,000 and installed $700 worth of carpet in the mayor's home.

A third contractor is said to have installed 25 new windows in the mayor's North Camden home for the cost of materials only, in exchange for getting speedier payment from the Camden Housing Services Department. In another count, a city heating and air-conditioning contractor is said to have installed a $3,346 central air-conditioning system in the mayor's home.

The money-laundering charge accuses Mr. Milan of borrowing $65,000 in drug money and then, with his partner Mr. Darakshan, parceling the money out to numerous friends to evade the $10,000 federal threshold for reporting cash deposits. The friends then wrote checks in the amount given them to Atlas Contracting, and the money was used as a surety deposit on a home-building project, the indictment says.

The mayor collected $4,743 in insurance for a staged theft at the Atlas Construction office in 1997, the indictment charges. He then sold one of the ''stolen'' computers, worth $500, to a mayoral intern for $1,500, the United States attorney said.

''These crimes, described in painstaking detail, show a mayor more interested in serving himself than serving the people of Camden,'' Mr. Cleary said in a statement, adding later, ''We believe this indictment is an important step forward for Camden.''


Not that I give a shit about Detroit so I have no idea why you always try to connect me with Detroit.
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View PostFlyHiJets, on 01 June 2013 - 08:35 PM, said:

You're the scumbag that thinks everyone should kiss the as$es of a bunch of criminals but I'm a dumbass. Yeah okay douchebag. Go give some illegal wetback or Revis another blowjob. But then again.....don't you live in an entirely different country but yet think you can tell us how to live? Go fvck yourself little boy. You're likely still living with mommy & daddy. Pu$$y.


View Postazjetfan, on 02 July 2014 - 03:36 PM, said:

There are a few things I have realized about Mr. Jet over a few topics.

1) He is a racist. By constantly using race as a battling tool.
2) He is an extreme Liberal. If you are on either extreme you are probabaly more wrong than right.
3) He is one of those people who will never admit fault, error or defeat.
4)His life sucks and he takes it out on people who don't share in his views.
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Posted 19 July 2013 - 04:03 PM

View PostJetsfan0099, on 19 July 2013 - 04:33 PM, said:

I don't get into politics much, but Obama commenting on the Zimmerman case the way he did disgusts me.


lol what does this have to do with the topic?
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#9 User is offline   Jetsfan0099 Icon

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 12:00 PM

View PostHarlemHxC814, on 19 July 2013 - 05:03 PM, said:

lol what does this have to do with the topic?

Nothing, but I didn't feel like creating a thread for it. lol
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#10 User is offline   SecondHandJets Icon

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 12:15 PM

I don't give a shit about Camden NJ, why are you bringing it up? You're from Michigan, your state's largest city. You're very much into politics with an emphasis on social issues. The largest city in your state declaring bankruptcy isn't something you're interested in? Please. If anyone but me made this topic you'd have written a Moby Dick size version of a synopsis but because its me, you're sitting there acting like you're too cool to care. Stop it. We know you want to unleash your fury on your keyboard. Have at it.
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#11 User is offline   Mr_Jet Icon

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 02:43 PM

View PostSecondHandJets, on 21 July 2013 - 01:15 PM, said:

I don't give a shit about Camden NJ, why are you bringing it up? You're from Michigan, your state's largest city. You're very much into politics with an emphasis on social issues. The largest city in your state declaring bankruptcy isn't something you're interested in? Please. If anyone but me made this topic you'd have written a Moby Dick size version of a synopsis but because its me, you're sitting there acting like you're too cool to care. Stop it. We know you want to unleash your fury on your keyboard. Have at it.



My point was I care as much about Detroit as you do about Camden. I have only been to Detroit a hand full of times in my life. I'm being totally honest when I say I know nothing about Detroit's city politics beyond Dave Bing is the current mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick is the former mayor, Coleman Young was the mayor in the 70s and 80s, and Monica Conyers was on the city council and once called a fellow council member "Shrek." Beyond that I don't follow the goings on when it comes to political matters in Detroit that closely. Your post here is when I first found out about them declaring bankruptcy. My studies and work have focused more on federal and state political and gov't matters, I've never focused on city governments much beyond my own. Any info about Detroit that you want from me I would just be getting from a source you could find yourself just as easily as I could. I'm hundreds of miles away from Detroit so I have no inside information. Now if you want to know what is going on in Lansing (the state's capital), I can probably help you out there. But Michigan is not Maryland, it's a large state and there is more than just Detroit in the state.
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View PostFlyHiJets, on 01 June 2013 - 08:35 PM, said:

You're the scumbag that thinks everyone should kiss the as$es of a bunch of criminals but I'm a dumbass. Yeah okay douchebag. Go give some illegal wetback or Revis another blowjob. But then again.....don't you live in an entirely different country but yet think you can tell us how to live? Go fvck yourself little boy. You're likely still living with mommy & daddy. Pu$$y.


View Postazjetfan, on 02 July 2014 - 03:36 PM, said:

There are a few things I have realized about Mr. Jet over a few topics.

1) He is a racist. By constantly using race as a battling tool.
2) He is an extreme Liberal. If you are on either extreme you are probabaly more wrong than right.
3) He is one of those people who will never admit fault, error or defeat.
4)His life sucks and he takes it out on people who don't share in his views.
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#12 User is offline   azjetfan Icon

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 01:38 PM

Is section 8 housing government assisted? If so?????

1) Why in the hell would you want to have tenants who cant pay their rent?
2) How are you going to pay to repair all the shit they break?
3) How are you going to evict them (see #1)?
4) What dumb ass bank would do such a stupid loan?
5) Why would you ever buy real estate in Detroit? No its not coing back. EPA and unions will not allow it.

Sounds like a poor choice from start to finish regaurdless of the cities financial woes.
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Posted 22 July 2013 - 06:54 PM

View Postazjetfan, on 22 July 2013 - 02:38 PM, said:

Is section 8 housing government assisted? If so?????

1) Why in the hell would you want to have tenants who cant pay their rent?
2) How are you going to pay to repair all the shit they break?
3) How are you going to evict them (see #1)?
4) What dumb ass bank would do such a stupid loan?
5) Why would you ever buy real estate in Detroit? No its not coing back. EPA and unions will not allow it.

Sounds like a poor choice from start to finish regaurdless of the cities financial woes.


Shit they break? :hysterical: Yeah I know when those old and disabled folks (the people who make up the majority of section 8 recipients) get drunk off of all that Geritol they drink, they go berserk and break up a bunch of shit.

*Sigh.....facts.

Yep throw all those old farts and cripples and retards out on the street since they can't pay their rent. f***ing leeches on society. Compassionate conservatism, an oxymoron if I ever heard one. Now who wants to talk about all the corporate welfare in the farm bill that the House of Representatives just passed?
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View PostFlyHiJets, on 01 June 2013 - 08:35 PM, said:

You're the scumbag that thinks everyone should kiss the as$es of a bunch of criminals but I'm a dumbass. Yeah okay douchebag. Go give some illegal wetback or Revis another blowjob. But then again.....don't you live in an entirely different country but yet think you can tell us how to live? Go fvck yourself little boy. You're likely still living with mommy & daddy. Pu$$y.


View Postazjetfan, on 02 July 2014 - 03:36 PM, said:

There are a few things I have realized about Mr. Jet over a few topics.

1) He is a racist. By constantly using race as a battling tool.
2) He is an extreme Liberal. If you are on either extreme you are probabaly more wrong than right.
3) He is one of those people who will never admit fault, error or defeat.
4)His life sucks and he takes it out on people who don't share in his views.
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#14 User is offline   azjetfan Icon

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 09:42 PM

View PostMr_Jet, on 22 July 2013 - 06:54 PM, said:

Shit they break? :hysterical:/> Yeah I know when those old and disabled folks (the people who make up the majority of section 8 recipients) get drunk off of all that Geritol they drink, they go berserk and break up a bunch of shit.

*Sigh.....facts.

Yep throw all those old farts and cripples and retards out on the street since they can't pay their rent. f***ing leeches on society. Compassionate conservatism, an oxymoron if I ever heard one. Now who wants to talk about all the corporate welfare in the farm bill that the House of Representatives just passed?

Never said they don't need place to live or they should not get help. I just stated that as a business venture it's a horrible idea. It. Is set up to fail from day one, And yes most low income tenants will not treat things as nice as higher income. This business will never cash flow and would rarely qualify for any type of loan even salable. This would have to be a portfolio loan which not only will have higher rates but also have a balloon every 3-5 years. Not to mention you may be limited on rental income you can charge regardless of how much money you have to dump into it. Banks that would do this loan are the same piss poor banks that needed TARP and we know how we all feel about that even though when pressed for specifics most know very little about it. Anyway stay away Secondhand. Cheap is rarely good. It's cheap and available for a reason.
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Posted 22 July 2013 - 10:28 PM

I'm sure that redlining is likely still going on in Detroit too and that doesn't help them fix their problems either.
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View PostFlyHiJets, on 01 June 2013 - 08:35 PM, said:

You're the scumbag that thinks everyone should kiss the as$es of a bunch of criminals but I'm a dumbass. Yeah okay douchebag. Go give some illegal wetback or Revis another blowjob. But then again.....don't you live in an entirely different country but yet think you can tell us how to live? Go fvck yourself little boy. You're likely still living with mommy & daddy. Pu$$y.


View Postazjetfan, on 02 July 2014 - 03:36 PM, said:

There are a few things I have realized about Mr. Jet over a few topics.

1) He is a racist. By constantly using race as a battling tool.
2) He is an extreme Liberal. If you are on either extreme you are probabaly more wrong than right.
3) He is one of those people who will never admit fault, error or defeat.
4)His life sucks and he takes it out on people who don't share in his views.
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#16 User is offline   SecondHandJets Icon

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 09:40 AM

View Postazjetfan, on 22 July 2013 - 02:38 PM, said:

Is section 8 housing government assisted? If so?????

1) Why in the hell would you want to have tenants who cant pay their rent?
2) How are you going to pay to repair all the shit they break?
3) How are you going to evict them (see #1)?
4) What dumb ass bank would do such a stupid loan?
5) Why would you ever buy real estate in Detroit? No its not coing back. EPA and unions will not allow it.

Sounds like a poor choice from start to finish regaurdless of the cities financial woes.


No, they're not Sec 8 tenants. I wanted to know if Sec 8 would be affected because if it were, it would totally submarine housing prices. As it is, prices are probably going to drop to less than $10K per unit.
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#17 User is offline   azjetfan Icon

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 01:07 PM

View PostSecondHandJets, on 23 July 2013 - 09:40 AM, said:

No, they're not Sec 8 tenants. I wanted to know if Sec 8 would be affected because if it were, it would totally submarine housing prices. As it is, prices are probably going to drop to less than $10K per unit.

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 10:55 PM

View Postazjetfan, on 23 July 2013 - 02:07 PM, said:

See line 5


The property I'm looking at is currently on the market for $180K, that was the price before this whole bankruptcy thing pretty much gave all of Detroit real estate leparcy and now no one is going to buy anything there. I plan to offer $90K and stand firm. Lets say I get it for $100K, 20% down (I'll be buying it in an LLC with my personal self as a cosignor). I'll go for an $80K mortgage, which might be a little low for commercial but lets assume its not (I'll likely find a lender willing to do the financing with 20% skin in the game, or I'll go 25%). The mortgage payment on $80K is roughly ~$600/month. I got the leases in my inbox, haven't gone through them yet. My research tells me that the average rent for 1BR in that area is $370, an they're getting $400 per unit. I'd also like a live-in super (since I don't plan on going to Detroit), so take one unit out. Assuming a 10% vacancy, take another unit out. Annual taxes $7500. The way I see it, I'm taking in $4800/month, minus $600 for mortgage and lets say another $600 in utilities (each tenant pays their own electric and gas, landlord pays heat and water).

I'll be netting about $3000 a month. I'll have my initial investment back within seven months.

I can also not have a live in super and instead hire a management company for about 10% of rents, which roughly comes out to the same as 1BR rental.

There's also a coin operated laundry that makes like $100/month which I didn't include in my calculations.
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#19 User is offline   azjetfan Icon

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 07:29 AM

View PostSecondHandJets, on 23 July 2013 - 10:55 PM, said:

The property I'm looking at is currently on the market for $180K, that was the price before this whole bankruptcy thing pretty much gave all of Detroit real estate leparcy and now no one is going to buy anything there. I plan to offer $90K and stand firm. Lets say I get it for $100K, 20% down (I'll be buying it in an LLC with my personal self as a cosignor). I'll go for an $80K mortgage, which might be a little low for commercial but lets assume its not (I'll likely find a lender willing to do the financing with 20% skin in the game, or I'll go 25%). The mortgage payment on $80K is roughly ~$600/month. I got the leases in my inbox, haven't gone through them yet. My research tells me that the average rent for 1BR in that area is $370, an they're getting $400 per unit. I'd also like a live-in super (since I don't plan on going to Detroit), so take one unit out. Assuming a 10% vacancy, take another unit out. Annual taxes $7500. The way I see it, I'm taking in $4800/month, minus $600 for mortgage and lets say another $600 in utilities (each tenant pays their own electric and gas, landlord pays heat and water).

I'll be netting about $3000 a month. I'll have my initial investment back within seven months.

I can also not have a live in super and instead hire a management company for about 10% of rents, which roughly comes out to the same as 1BR rental.

There's also a coin operated laundry that makes like $100/month which I didn't include in my calculations.

You may want to research how commercial loans work. They do not work like a traditional mortgage. Is this a single family home? How many apartments. If it is more than 4 it will not be a traditional mortgage. It will have to be a commercial loan (portfolio ) loan. These typically have a 3 or 5 year balloon where the rate will reset and you will need to reprove your credit worthiness . I still would tread with caution. They are not selling because there is no market and probably won't be ever again. What are your reserves for repairs and maintenance? The bank will require this.
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Posted 24 July 2013 - 09:32 PM

You want an in depth article? Here's one I just stumbled across as I was reading Salon.com.

Quote

Tuesday, Jul 23, 2013 01:00 PM EST
Don’t buy the right-wing myth about Detroit
Conservatives want you to think high taxes drove people away. The real truth is much worse for their radical agenda
By David Sirota

In the wake of Detroit’s bankruptcy, you may be wondering: How could anyone be surprised that a city so tied to manufacturing faces crippling problems in an era that has seen such an intense public policy assault on domestic American manufacturing? You may also be wondering: How could Michigan officials possibly talk about cutting the average $19,000-a-year pension benefit for municipal workers while reaffirming their pledge of $283 million in taxpayer money to a professional hockey stadium?

These are fair questions — and the answers to them can be found in the political mythology that distorts America’s economic policymaking.

As mythology goes, the specific story being crafted about Detroit’s bankruptcy is truly biblical — more specifically, just like the fact-free mythology around the Greek financial collapse, it is copied right from the chapter in the conservative movement’s bible about how to distort crises for maximum political effect.

In the conservative telling of this particular parable, Detroit faces a fiscal emergency because high taxes supposedly drove a mass exodus from the city, and the supposedly unbridled greed of unions forced city leaders to make fiscally irresponsible pension promises to municipal employees. Written out of the tale is any serious analysis of macroeconomic shifts, international economic policy failures, the geography of recent recessions and unsustainable corporate welfare spending.

This is classic right-wing dogma — the kind that employs selective storytelling to use a tragic event as a means to radical ends. In this case, the ends are — big shocker! — three of the conservative movement’s larger long-term economic priorities: 1) preservation of job-killing trade policies 2) immunity for corporations and 3) justification for budget policies that continue to profligately subsidize the rich.

Pretending Detroit and the NAFTA era are unrelated


The bait-and-switch on the first two objectives is fairly easy to see.

Detroit isn’t just any old city — it happens to be the biggest population center in the state hit the hardest by the right’s corporate-written trade agenda. Indeed, according to the Economic Policy Institute, the state lost more jobs than any other from NAFTA (43,600, or 1 percent of its total job base) and lost another 79,500 jobs thanks to the China PNTR deal. And that’s just two of many such trade pacts. Add to this the city’s disproportionate reliance on American auto companies which made a series of horrific business decisions, and Detroit is a microcosmic cautionary tale about what happens when large corporations are allowed to write macro economic policy and dictate the economic future of an entire city.

If told, this cautionary tale would likely spark a discussion about revising current trade deals, regulations, public investment and industrial policy in general. That is, it would spark precisely the discussion that the conservative movement and the corporations that fund politicians don’t want America to have. So the right works to make sure that discussion is short circuited by a narrative that focuses the Detroit story primarily on taxes and public pensions.

That is, of course, by design. The less Detroit prompts serious questions about trade policies and the auto industry, the less Detroit can be used as a rationale for changing those conservative, corporate-enriching policies and that industry. Likewise, the more taxes and retirement benefits can be blamed for Detroit’s downfall, the more Detroit’s tragedy can be used as a clarion call by the right to slash both.

Focusing on pensions to protect corporate welfare and tax cuts


That brings us to how this all plays into the right’s push to enact ever more regressive tax cuts, protect endless corporate welfare and legislate new reductions in workers’ guaranteed pensions.

These latter objectives may seem unrelated, but they all complement each other when presented in the most politically opportunistic way. It’s a straightforward conservative formula: the right blames state and municipal budget problems exclusively on public employees’ retirement benefits, often underfunding those public pensions for years. The money raided from those pension funds is then used to enact expensive tax cuts and corporate welfare programs. After years of robbing those pension funds to pay for such giveaways, a crisis inevitably hits, and workers’ pension benefits are blamed — and then slashed. Meanwhile, the massive tax cuts and corporate subsidies are preserved, because we are led to believe they had nothing to do with the crisis. Ultimately, the extra monies taken from retirees are then often plowed into even more tax cuts and more corporate subsidies.

We’ve seen this trick in states all over America lately. In Rhode Island, for instance, the state underfunded its public pensions for years, while giving away $356 million in a year in corporate subsidies (including an epically embarrassing $75 million to Curt Schilling). It then converted the pension system into a Wall Street boondoggle), all while preserving the subsidies.

Similarly, in Kentucky, the state raided its public pension funds to finance $1.4 billion a year in tax subsidies, and then when the crisis hit, lawmakers there slashed pension benefits — not the corporate subsidies.

The list of states and cities following this path goes on — but you get the point. In the conservative narrative about budgets in general, the focus is on the aggregate annual $333 million worth of state and local pension shortfalls — and left out of the story is the fact that, according to the New York Times, “states, counties and cities are giving up more than $80 billion each year to companies” in the form of tax loopholes and subsidies.”

The mythology around Detroit, then, is just another version of this propaganda.

So, for instance, from the administration of right-wing Gov. Rick Snyder, we are hearing a lot of carping about the $3.5 billion in pension obligations that are part of the city’s overall $18 billion in debt. The focus leads casual onlookers to believe that — even though they on average get a pension of just $19,000 a year — municipal workers’ supposed greed single-handedly bankrupted the city. What we aren’t hearing about, though, is the city and state’s long history of underfunding its pensions, and using the raided money to spend billions of dollars on corporate welfare.

For a good sense of some of the most expensive, absurd and utterly wasteful boondoggles in the Detroit area over the last few decades, read this piece from Crain’s Detroit or see this 2011 article entitled “Detroit’s Corporate Welfare Binge” by Detroit News columnist Bill Johnson. Alternately, recall this is in the heart of a region whose governments infamously spent $55 million of taxpayer money in 1975 (or a whopping $180 million in inflation-adjusted dollars) on one professional football stadium, then spent another $300 million on yet another football stadium, then sold off the original stadium for just $583,000. Or, just note that Detroit is the largest city in a state that, according to the New York Times, spends more per capita on corporate subsidies — $672 or $6.6 billion a year — than most other states.

By focusing the blame for Detroit’s bankruptcy solely on workers’ pensions, rather than having a more comprehensive discussion that includes both pension benefits and corporate giveaways, the right can engineer the political environment for the truly immoral reality mentioned at the beginning of this article — the one highlighted this week by the Associated Press story headlined “Arena Likely Still On Track, Business As Usual For Sports Teams Despite Bankruptcy Filing.” Yes, that’s correct: at the same time government officials are talking about slashing the meager $19,000-a-year pensions of workers who don’t get Social Security, those officials are promising that they will still go forward with a plan to spend a whopping $283 million of taxpayer money on a new stadium for the Red Wings.

Notably, a political environment that encourages these kind of immoral decisions is beneficial not merely to the corporate interests who directly benefit from such giveaways, but also to the Wall Street investors who still own the outstanding bonds that financed some of the subsidies. Taken together, then, a skewed discussion about budget shortfalls that excludes scrutiny of these subsidies and focuses only on worker pensions predictably ends up prioritizing the financial interests of corporate welfare recipients and Wall Street bondholders over municipal retirees.

It’s the same dynamic on taxes. From the right, Detroit is being cited in the discussion about budget shortfalls as proof of the need for austerity. Yet, we aren’t hearing much about why in the face of such shortfalls Snyder just devoted $1.7 billion to a new corporate tax cut that will likely exacerbate the state’s deficit, nor are we hearing much about why state law compelled Detroit to forfeit other desperately needed tax revenues. Again, the goal here is to make sure that the conversation is one that only is about cutting retirement benefits — not one that adds the prospect of progressive tax reform to the debate.

For his part, Kevyn Orr — the unelected “emergency manager” imposed on Detroit by Snyder — insists he will be evenhanded in distributing the pain of the city’s bankruptcy. But with Wall Street bondholders intensifying their push to make sure all the pain is felt by public employees, and with the right’s blame-the-workers narrative preventing any real discussion of corporate subsidies and tax policies, it’s a good bet the $19,000-a-year pensioners are going to bear a disproportionate share of the sacrifice. After all, out of all of this situation’s players — corporations that want public subsidies, bondholders, rich folk who want more tax cuts, right-wing Synder administration officials and municipal workers — the retirees earning benefits just above the poverty line have the least amount of political power.

So, as always, they probably won’t be at the negotiating table. Instead, they’ll almost certainly be where they usually are: on the menu, exactly where the conservative movement wants them.

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View PostFlyHiJets, on 01 June 2013 - 08:35 PM, said:

You're the scumbag that thinks everyone should kiss the as$es of a bunch of criminals but I'm a dumbass. Yeah okay douchebag. Go give some illegal wetback or Revis another blowjob. But then again.....don't you live in an entirely different country but yet think you can tell us how to live? Go fvck yourself little boy. You're likely still living with mommy & daddy. Pu$$y.


View Postazjetfan, on 02 July 2014 - 03:36 PM, said:

There are a few things I have realized about Mr. Jet over a few topics.

1) He is a racist. By constantly using race as a battling tool.
2) He is an extreme Liberal. If you are on either extreme you are probabaly more wrong than right.
3) He is one of those people who will never admit fault, error or defeat.
4)His life sucks and he takes it out on people who don't share in his views.
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