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20120305-NEWS--1-NAT-CCI-CL_-- 3/2/2012 3:40 PM Page 1 $2.00/MARCH 5 - 11, 2012 Spire contractors awaiting unpaid millions With no takers on financing, sports complex runs short on cash By JOEL HAMMOND Just as Spire Institute gains traction as a top-flight destination for bigname athletic events, the sprawling athletic complex just off Interstate 90 in Harpersfield Township has run into significant cash flow issues. Six mechanic’s liens against Spire were on file in the Ashtabula County Recorder’s Office as of last Tuesday, Feb. 28. The liens range from $71,161 owed to Air Control Products Inc. of Broadview Heights to an $8.57 million lien filed by Hughes-Roller Building Co. of Ashtabula. Hughes-Roller boasts prominently on its website that it’s “proud to be design/build general contractors for Project GaReat,” the acronym for the Geneva area Recreational, Educational and Athletic Trust, the nonprofit that has adopted the Spire identity. The liens, filed by contractors involved with the 160-acre sports complex, total $11 million. Contractors generally file mechanic’s liens to protect their interests in a project. The disruption in payments to contractors is a recent occurrence, with each lien filed since December. The most recent lien, for $1.03 million, was filed last Monday, Feb. 27, by HAVE Inc., an Ashtabula mechanical contractor. See SPIRE Page 10 FILE PHOTO/MARC GOLUB The 5,500-seat football stadium and outdoor track at Spire, where contractors collectively are owed millions. Ohio City group will replicate ‘ambassadors’ Osborne’s legal woes deepening Property owners recognize value of ‘clean and safe’ program downtown By STAN BULLARD Oil and gas bankruptcies, real estate suits weigh on well-known investor A decline in natural gas prices and a sagging real estate market have entangled companies formed by high-profile stock investor, real estate developer and oiland-gas man Richard M. Osborne in court proceedings. Three of Mr. Osborne’s companies in the oil-and-gas business — Oz Group, Great Lakes Exploration and publicly traded John D. Oil and Gas Co. — filed for Chapter 11 reorganization Jan. 11 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Erie, Pa. In the most detailed court filing, Osborne John D. Oil and Gas said it has debts of $11 million and assets of $8.2 million. The three bankruptcies, which borrowers have asked the court to administer jointly, are related to two loans totaling $30 By JAY MILLER Ohio City Inc., the nonprofit community development group that supports its namesake neighborhood, is partnering with the Downtown Cleveland Alliance to clone the latter’s successful “Clean & Safe” program as the West Side neighborhood prepares itself for a landmark year and a blossoming of the retail business district along West 25th Street and Lorain Avenue. Neighborhood property owners in Ohio City last year agreed to create a special improvement district, or SID, and assess themselves a fee to pay for a higher level of security and maintenance than the city of Cleveland provides. Ohio City Inc. will oversee the SID and contract with Downtown Cleveland Alliance to provide the kind of street cleanup, graffiti removal and visible security presence that has improved the image of downtown. “With the level of services they provide downtown, (the decision) was a no-brainer,” said Jeffrey Verespej, director of operations and advocacy at the Ohio City group. Services will begin in April after 10 See AMBASSADORS Page 11 See OSBORNE Page 21 WOMEN OF NOTE Crain’s seeks nominations PHOTO PROVIDED BY DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND ALLIANCE Armond Hill, a special projects ambassador in downtown Cleveland, uses a power washer on East Fourth Street. Crain’s Cleveland Business is seeking nominations for the women it will profile in its annual Women of Note section, which is scheduled for the July 23 issue. Nominations can be submitted through CrainsCleveland .com by clicking on Women of Note under the Features tab of the toolbar. Nominations also can be sent via email to editor Mark Dodosh at, or via regular mail at 700 W. St. Clair Ave., suite 310, Cleveland 44113. The deadline for submissions is Monday, March 19. 0 NEWSPAPER 74470 83781 7 SPECIAL SECTION Crain’s profiles some of the area’s most promising technologies in its annual NorTech Innovation Awards ■ Pages 15-18 Entire contents © 2012 by Crain Communications Inc. Vol. 33, No. 10

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