Monday, March 28, 2011

Jake Zimmerman's brand of Crony Capitalism

KMOX has news about the St. Louis county assessor's race this morning. The race pits Jake Zimmerman (D) who was elected to the state house last November against forty year real-estate veteran Chip Wood (R). (No word yet on what office Zimmerman will be pursuing on the August ballot.)

The flap involves Zimmerman's dad, Stu Zimmerman. Apparently, Charlie Dooley's minions in the assessors office were able to work a sweetheart deal for the elder Zimmerman:
Democrat Jake Zimmerman was asked about his father’s Clayton home, which is being re-assessed for tax purposes at a lower value, down 16.5% from $687,000 a year ago to $572,000 now. “I don’t think this is a legitimate question at all,” Zimmerman said. “I haven’t spent a minute’s time looking at that. I’ve got better things to worry about.”
As wrote last week, Charlie Dooley has been noted for squandering county tax dollars on nepotism again, so there's little surprise about this turn of events. Additionally, commented on the favorable assessment last week noting that Stu Zimmerman's new assessment of -16.5% stands in stark contrast to the assessments of his Clayton neighbors who saw re-assessments ranging from +4% to -4%.

While the issue originally involved the favorable re-assessment, Jake's response is problematic. If he genuinely does not think that this is a legitimate question, that implies that Jake would be unwilling to investigate why this favorable tax assessment came about. Perhaps this is a legitimate assessment of Stu Zimmerman's property. Perhaps it's the result of a clerical error. Or, perhaps, the assessor's office is an extension of Charlie Dooley's crony capitalist empire.

Jake's dismissal of the question implies that he's more interested in having his hand on the tiller than investigating who has a hand in the till. St. Louis county deserves better. St. Louis county needs Chip Wood.

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