The e-mails below show correspondence between the author and an MEDC public relations officer concerning several questions the author had about recent MEGA reports. One of these questions involved the meaning of "Jobs to be Created" data (see the discussion under "MEGA's Annual Reports to the Michigan Legislature" in the main text above — particularly the first footnote). Although the final e-mail is dated June 16, no MEDC official has responded as of Aug. 28.

From: LaFaive, Michael D.
Sent: Monday, June 01, 2009 4:29 PM
To: 'beckmanb1@michigan.org'
Subject: Questions
Importance: High

Trace Graham:

Are MEDC (including "Corporate") expenditures fed into the state's MAIN computer system? In 1999 the then spokesman James Tobin said they would be excluded from the system.

Does the MEDC need to run its contracts through the State Administrative Board for approval? That was not the case in 2000 and I have seen nothing to suggest a change mandating that they be run through the State Administrative Board.

All MEGA Projects Spreadsheet and MEGA Credits spreadsheet had been abandoned in April 2008 according to past correspondence with Trace Graham.

The fiscal 2008 annual report, published in October is almost identical to the All MEGA Projects Spreadsheet. Who is responsible for creating this spreadsheet and why would it be so hard to update this monthly for those request it? Can that be done for us? Only three columns are really missing when you compare it with the All MEGA Projects Spreadsheet.

On the annual report to the legislature regarding the MEGA program (see attached) there is a "jobs to be created" column, which is good. But it doesn't say whether those are direct, indirect, or both. Can you clarify what that represents please?

I have been informed that the per-company detail for the value of abatements received by company and by year are now considered confidential and that this order came from Treasury. Can you please tell me who gave this order and why, after 13 years such data must be held in confidence?

Why do the columns in the April 2008 and October 2008 annual reports to the legislature actually change? For instance, the last column in the April spreadsheet reads "Revenue Foregone: MEGA Costs" and the October edition does not have that column.

Moreover, is this EXPECTED revenue foregone or actual? I find it hard to believe that 100 percent of the deals that took place during the period. OR...

Does this report represent ONLY those MEGA deals that resulted in claimed credits? You will notice that the October 2008 doesn't have a column for foregone revenue.

Does the MEDC/MEGA maintain a document or documents that tracks the precise incentives offered up by local units of government? I used to pull them from annual reports and Briefing Memos but the numbers aren't in the annual reports anymore and the briefing memos have become increasingly vague-perhaps that's on purpose.

Thank you for your time and attention in these matters.

Michael LaFaive

From: LaFaive, Michael D.
Sent: Thursday, June 11, 2009 3:30 PM
To: 'beckmanb1@michigan.org'
Subject: Questions
Importance: High

Bridgett,

Regarding the MEGA program: Does your new database system down there give you the ability to extract the value of local incentives offered by some local unit/agency as part of the overall MEGA deal in a report that I could request through FOIA? Typically, these incentives come in the form of property tax abatements, but not always. I've seen local incentives that included landscaping and golf members too. If it does not, is it tracked in a way that would allow me to obtain the data in some other format? For that matter, the same question applies to subjects such as the state's CDBG/RF commitment, any state education property tax relief and job training commitment.

You may recall that I had long been waiting for whatever new software was going to allegedly replace the "All MEGA Projects" and "MEGA Credits" spreadsheets used by MEDC/MEGA. In response to my requests I was sent a 300+ page report that contained a lot of data found in the "MEGA Credits" spreadsheet (but not all), and an even smaller percentage of what could be found in the "All MEGA Projects" spreadsheet.

I suspect you'll have to talk to your computer guys - Eric Hanna? - before you can get back to me.

I thought it might be easier to contact you or Eric directly for answer, rather than issue a FOIA. I'll call too, just to see if you need any clarification.

Michael LaFaive


From: LaFaive, Michael D.
Sent: Friday, June 12, 2009 12:15 PM
To: 'beckmanb1@michigan.org'
Subject: Return 1:30

Hi, Bridgett,

My voicemail to you said I'd be back at 1:00.

Actually, it has been extended to 1:30.

If you could call me after 1:30 I would appreciate it.

Thanks.

Michael LaFaive


From: Bridget Beckman [mailto:beckmanb1@michigan.org]
Sent: Friday, June 12, 2009 5:36 PM
To: LaFaive, Michael D.
Subject: RE: Return 1:30

Hi Mike,

We've had several similarly worded questions and requests come in multiple ports of entry recently from you/your staff and it's caused some confusion as to who's responding, whether they're currently in the FOIA queue or if they've already been handled. We don't want to waste your time nor duplicate efforts on our end, so we'll be sorting through these early next week, cross-checking for duplicate inquiries, reconciling with pending FOIA requests, etc. and then we'll get back with you.

Thanks.

Bridget


From: LaFaive, Michael D.
Sent: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 11:50 AM
To: 'beckmanb1@michigan.org'
Subject: Email

Bridget,

I received your Friday e-mail. Naturally, I am a bit disappointed, since my questions were submitted to you on June 1.

When might I expect a response this week based on your meeting? Today? Tomorrow?

The good news is that after months of being told that "All MEGA Projects" spreadsheet no longer exists, we learned yesterday that it is still maintained. That's good news for all of us.

Michael LaFaive