Lance: To Westmoreland County's former Democrat commissioners' “investment strategy.” They sunk taxpayers for more than $8 million in losses stemming from a “risky” (to say the least) investment approved five years ago. This so-called “swap option” bet on interest rates rising. Sure, as the nation in early 2008 lunged into a recession. Shrewd.
Lance: To the Jeannette state check caper. Since news of a missing $65,000 state grant broke weeks ago, we've learned that Jeannette used the Department of Community and Economic Development money for a steel structure that was never built — six years ago; that the check supposedly was deposited by the president of a now-defunct sheet metal company, who said he made a down payment to another firm that he can't remember; and that Jeannette apparently never filed a requisite “closeout” report on the money, contrary to DCED policy, yet continued to receive DCED grants. And still nobody can answer the central question: Where's the money?!
On the “Watch List”: The Monessen “artist community” deal. Westmoreland commissioners have postponed action on a Monessen proposal in which the county would sell the city 271 unclaimed properties — mostly broken-down houses and unusable lots — that would aid in the former mill town's envisioned renaissance. The fly in the proverbial ointment is that if this land deal goes through, who's going to pay to convert these properties into a utopian artists colony? No word yet on private developers lining up for that opportunity.
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