Monday, November 18, 2013

Keystone's Ersal Ozdemir Shells Out Another $5.5 Million For Downtown Building To Be Converted Into Luxury Hotel

The IBJ's Scott Olson is reporting that Keystone Construction, the company owned by the mysterious Turkish immigrant businessman Ersal Ozdemir, has purchased yet another downtown building for $5.5 million with plans to convert it to a luxury, 5-star hotel. The downtown mafia says that Indianapolis still needs a 5-star hotel as a Super Bowl host city in 2018 since the $25 million taxpayers spent on the Conrad Hilton just down the block fell short in those efforts. Ozdemir has apparently been designated to step up and make that happen. According to Olson, Ozdemir purchased the Illinois Building at the corner of Market and Illinois from an affiliate of HDG Mansur, whose principal has gone through a very public bankruptcy. The land under the building was under separate ownership. Ozdemir somehow managed to close a deal that normally takes months using conventional financing in a mere 30 days according to Olson.

Ozdemir's purchase of the Illinois building follows on the footsteps of his landing of a professional soccer team he plans to call Indy Eleven. Ozdemir is one of three finalists that submitted bids to the City of Indianapolis to acquire and redevelop the former GM metal-stamping site just west of White River near downtown where his plans include a new 10,000 seat stadium for his soccer team, which will temporarily play at IUPUI's stadium. The IBJ claims Ozdemir has very deep pockets, but people who know him say he was virtually broke no more than a decade ago. The source of Ozdemir's funding remains largely a mystery within the Indianapolis business community. His next door neighbor, IBJ publisher Mickey Maurer, vouches for him, and according to Ozdemir, his American mentor after arriving in the U.S. was Beurt SerVaas, successful industrialist, former City-County Council President and a former OSS officer who maintained close ties to the CIA throughout his fascinating international business endeavors that spanned many decades.

This blog has noted the striking similarity between Ozdemir's arrival and rise on the Indianapolis landscape to that of Tony Rezko in Chicago. Both were Middle Eastern immigrants with backgrounds in civil engineering. Both experienced seemingly meteoric growth and success as real estate developers. And both developed very close relationships with their respective state and city's most powerful politicians, showering huge campaign contributions on them in exchange for public subsidies for their real estate development projects. Rezko, who was very close to Rod Blagojevich, Barack Obama and Richard Daley, was convicted and sentenced to 10 1/2 years in federal prison for his role in a scheme to shake down businesses for campaign contributions in exchange for doing business with Illinois state government. Later reports revealed that a corrupt Iraqi billionaire with close ties to the CIA, Nadhmi Auchi, had been the source of funding for Rezko's American real estate ventures and lavish campaign contributions as part of an effort to gain influence over the American government and the people elected to run it. Rezko's early bankrolling of Barack Obama's political career was a key to his later success in getting elected to the U.S. Senate and the Presidency.


Anonymous said...

Only the truly observant will notice that the Colts are being handed wins, 2007 style.

The opposing team is allowed to play the first half, but that's where their fun ends.

The NFL is trying to get Indy to whoop up more public support for a massive transfer of taxpayer dollars to the NFL by hosting another Super Bowl.

I don't see the day-to-day clamor for people wanting to come to Indianapolis and stay at a downtown hotel.

What has been promised to Ersal behind closed doors?

Gary R. Welsh said...

The answer is pretty clear. Ersal will get tens of millions in funding from the downtown TIF district to convert the building to a luxury hotel. The CIB will use some of that more than $70 million in cash reserves it has accumulated while the city struggles to fund basic city services to help build his new soccer stadium.

Anonymous said...

So the TIF gives money to Ersal. Ersal gets back more than 5.5 million from TIF payments, giving him a hotel for free. Right?

Ersal then reciprocates by giving money to Ballard and perhaps other Republicans?

Who is Ersal's law firm?

How does the CIB get paid in this deal?

Gary R. Welsh said...

Admissions tax imposed on tickets to Indy Eleven's games?

Anonymous said...

Indy Eleven will draw as well as the Indiana Fever.

They're going to need all that money to keep up the stadium.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Not sure which law firm represents Ersal. I know which one it should be given how handy that $6.5 million for his Broad Ripple Parking garage came in handy.

Gary R. Welsh said...

I disagree. Professional men's soccer is much more popular than women's professional basketball. I could easily see them drawing crowds similar in size to the crowds the Indians draw to their games.

Anonymous said...

Instead of writing that Ozdemir "shelled out" I think what you might rephrase the act instead as "converts taxpayer dollars into one big fat cat payday via another sham enterprise"

guy77money said...

Not sure if I would go that far Gary. If they do draw well they need to get a few Mexican players to entice the Mexican community to come out and support them. I suspect there will be a lot of cheap tickets to be had for games. Hmmmm who will pick up the tab for the lost revenue? ;)

Gary R. Welsh said...

I believe Indy Eleven is marketing heavily to the Hispanic community.