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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Steven J. Ingersoll: An Assclown...And His Media Circus

Steven J. Ingersoll, Assclown
ASSCLOWN (ás kloun) n.: One whose stupidity and/or ineptitude exceeds the descriptive potential of both the terms ass and clown in isolation, and in so doing demands to be referred to as the conjugate of the two.

Cue the calliope! The circus rolls on...

As your girl Miss Fortune reported back on March 10, 2013, serial entrepreneur/optometrist/charter school runner/real estate hustler Steven J. Ingersoll had received bad news from Uncle Sugar. 

The 501(c)(3)  federal tax exemption for his formerly non-profit, tax exempt Smart Schools Foundation (run out of his Traverse City home, because he really doesn't live in Bay City!) was automatically revoked for its failure to file required its  required financial disclosure Form 990 for three consecutive years. 

Well now Ingy is singin' the blues like Lady Day back in the day over a Bay City property tax kerfuffle that went kerplop and kerplunk at this week's Bay City Commission meeting. 

On April 14th, the Bay City Times reported that Ingersoll was falling behind on tax payments and upkeep at several of his properties.

Three years ago, Ingersoll stood in front of one of 10 structures now targeted by Bay City leaders, promising to turn an aging neighborhood into a reborn “front porch living” community.

It was one of several renovation plans Ingersoll promised when he purchased $750,000 worth of properties between 1991 and 2010. The properties include homes on Bay City's East Side, commercial structures and the Bay City Academy charter school.

On Monday, April 15th, Ingersoll stood in front of the Bay City Commission, explained that he had fallen behind by $29,081.02 total in paying taxes on eight properties that are receiving city and other tax breaks in order to concentrate funds both on a bed and breakfast known as the Perry House, 2230 Center, and Farragut School near the corners of 9th, 10th and Grant streets. He said both establishments would open this summer. (Funny, Miss Fortune hears that activity outside the Perry House is usually just one white panel truck or a single red pickup. Hardly what you'd expect for such a large property.)

Ingersoll receives tax breaks via the state's Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act Exemption — sometimes known as OPRA — and city leaders are considering repealing the commission-approved status on eight properties whose taxes are in default.

The OPRA designation allows Ingersoll to pay 40 percent, rather than 100 percent, of the millage rate taxed on any improvements made at the buildings.
At the meeting, Ingersoll said he won’t challenge the Bay City Commission repealing tax breaks on eight properties. 

“Although I don’t like it, I understand it,” Ingersoll said of the planned repeal vote.

He said, despite the delinquent taxes, he hasn’t abandoned any redevelopment plans.

“Ok, so I haven’t directed my resources how I originally planned,” Ingersoll said. “I’m putting my resources where I know best. These buildings will get done.”

He said, in the last three years, his developments have led to 70 new jobs which pay an average of $30,000-per-person in wages. Ingersoll said he’s paid $118,000 in property taxes and $109,000 in utility fees during that time period, although he provided no documentation to back his claims.

The developer’s financial priorities were challenged by Commissioner Jim Irving at one point.

“It sounds like you may have overextended,” Irving said. “Our priority is the taxes.”

Ingersoll responded, whimpering like a quivering teacup chihuahua:

“That’s my decision. It’s not your place to tell me how to spend my dollar. If you want to make a penalty ... I guess you can do that, but I wonder about the wisdom of laying out an atmosphere that treats a guy like me with that attitude."

Oh, Miss Thing, you are so special! If you listen closely you can almost hear the sound of his tiny feet stomp, stomp, stomping as he speaks! How dare someone make him pay what he owes. He'll spend his money where he pleases, taxes be damned!

Other members of the commission expressed gratitude, and engaged in an egregious ass-kissing interlude for Ingersoll’s "development efforts".

“We’re behind you,” Mayor Chris Shannon simpered. “It's just, we're forced to make a decision.” Chris Shannon is a failed musician, part of a band called the Swaggering Rouges.

Commissioner Lynn Stamiris told Ingersoll he should have been more communicative with city officials regarding his properties’ tax problems.

Ingersoll suggested he stayed low on the radar, in part, to avoid media coverage. (Because you know that's how he got into trouble--it was the damned media!)

He spent portions of his commission address criticizing online media comment forums that allow anonymous commentary, at one point pointing his finger at an MLive reporter in the crowd.

He suggested he was unhappy with comments directed toward him in an earlier MLive report.

“This circus that ends up in our media is really not good for our city,” Ingersoll said.

Well, boy howdy that circus is certainly good for your girl Miss Fortune!

The Bay City Commission granted the 12-year tax breaks at various points within the last five years.

The properties in question include the Bay City Academy, 400 N. Madison; the former Lind Brothers Dry Goods and Groceries, 100 State; the former Wolverine Knitting Mills building, 114 N. Jackson; the former International Order of Odd Fellows Hall, 1900 Broadway; and the E.B. Perry House, 2230 Center, public records show.

Also included are addresses at 108 S. Linn, 606 Grant and 620 Grant.

Ingersoll by 2010 purchased 18 residential homes and half a dozen commercial properties around the city, ranging from storefronts on Linn Street in the Midland Street Historic Business District to Victorian-era homes destined for the wrecking ball on the city’s East Side.

In a separate issue, two Ingersoll-owned historic homes on Van Buren Street in Bay City may in fact face the wrecking ball because officials deem the structures blighted.

Ingersoll also addressed those properties during Monday’s meetings, saying neither should be demolished.

Did you ever wonder, like many people have, how he floats all those investments? Well, he doesn't...his LLCs do.

For every property Ingersoll purchases, he creates a Limited Liability Company or LLC. A limited liability company is a hybrid type of legal structure that provides the limited liability features of a corporation and the tax efficiencies and operational flexibility of a partnership. Unlike shareholders in a corporation, LLCs are not taxed as a separate business entity. Instead, all profits and losses are "passed through" the business to each member of the LLC. LLC members report profits and losses on their personal federal tax returns, just like the owners of a partnership would. LLCs offer a level of asset protection against creditors, too.

Here's a short list of Ingersoll's Michigan corporate registrations, including his LLCs:

*Madison Arts LLC (the Academy)

*Front Porch Renaissance Builders (for the renovation of distressed properties in the Bay City area). The web site for this LLC was developed and registered by Ohno Design of Bay City, but there's been no activity or updates since early 2012.

*Smart Schools, Inc. (general business entity)

*Smart Schools North LLC

*Smart Schools Foundation (state records are up-to-date, but IRS revoked the foundations exempt status in 2009)

*ISPECS Online LLC (for an optical factory that was supposed to be built in Bay City's ; web link (ispecsonline.com) links to a Go Daddy parked domain

*GTAS, LLC (Grand Traverse Academy)

*Perry House LLC: associated with Ingersoll's purchase of a home at 2230 Center Avenue in Bay City. Property records show a purchase price at REO/bank sale of $179,000. However, State of Michigan OPRA (Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Exemption) records show that in 2011 Ingersoll received a 12 year tax credit based on as estimated investment of $480,000. In addition, Ingersoll received a 6 year school tax reduction.

*Banks Front Door LLC: established for purchase of commercial property at 100 State Street in Bay City. Ingersoll received an OPRA credit for this building based on an estimated investment of $274,000. The purchase price is listed $9,000. The current owner is listed as Lind Studio LLC, and while there's no record under that name as a business entity in the State of Michigan records, the owner address shown in the Bay County property record database is the same as the rest of Ingersoll's businesses.

*Wolverine Arts LLC: established for the purchase of 114 N. Jackson, the former Wolverine Knitting Mills building. This building was to be the home of ISPECS, the optical factory that did not fully launch.

All of Ingersoll's businesses are registered at this address: 6739 Courtland Drive NE Suite 101, Rockford, MI 49341-7217
And here's the LLC Ingersoll recently created when he purchased Bay City's former YMCA building. 

Notice the LLC's creative name--Old Y.

 Property Address [collapse]


BAY CITY, MI 48708-6432

  Owner Information [collapse]

OLD Y, LLC Unit: 160


TRAVERSE CITY, MI 49686-7906

Property Class: 701 - EXEMPT FEDERAL PROPERTY Assessed Value: $0

School District: 09010 - BAY CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT Taxable Value: $0

State Equalized Value: $0 Map #


Searched for: OLD Y, LLC
ID Num: D7626N
Type: Domestic Limited Liability Company
Registered Office Address: 6739 COURTLAND DR NE STE 101    ROCKFORD   MI  49341
Mailing/Office Address:          
Formation/Qualification Date:5-9-2012
Jurisdiction of Origin:MICHIGAN
Managed by: Managers
Status: ACTIVE    Date: Present   

So, where does Ingersoll really live? Not full time in Bay City!
Steven J. Ingersoll spends most of his time here, in his Traverse City home. Property records show that the 4 bedroom, 3.5 bath home was purchased in 2005 for over $500,000.
And the property taxes? Paid!


  1. This is an informative and amusing piece. Is it just me, or does it seem that the citizens of Bay City are gathering their pitchforks in advance of paying the good doctor a house call? Between scrutiny over his charter school operation and his investment properties that are prone to spontaneous combustion, he appears to be most deserving.

    1. Ingersoll is in the middle of a media storm, and the sudden departure longtime employee Ryan Schrock is starting to raise eyebrows. Look for more information as disgruntled Grand Traverse Academy people come forward with tales of janitorial and snow removal duties!

  2. What makes me sick is he owns my precious 606 N. Grant that I gave up due to an unsupportive spouse, he has let something I put countless hours and a lot of money into in my attempts to make it look like it use to. I was too young and did not yet have much in the way of a business sense. I had 610 N. Grant as well and both of those properties are now so dilapidated that it makes me want to cry.

  3. You may be able to purchase them for a good price. IRS might be selling soon.