May 26, 2014
Baltimore’s mayor and city council once again gave John Paterakis a little “gift” from the taxpayers. This time, it was only $200,000 – for utility work on property he owns in east Baltimore. But the city, with financial problems that caused it to cut back on fire stations and recreation centers, has already helped turn Paterakis into one of the biggest developers in the region.
Paterakis may have made his first millions from his family bakery after it became a major supplier of rolls for McDonalds. But he made much more money when he turned his eyes on “redeveloping” the area near his bakery, around the city’s harbor.
In 1999 the first city tax break went to Paterakis for the Waterfront Marriott hotel. That project cost the taxpayers about 30 million dollars in property taxes over the next 25 years. A former Paterakis executive is now developing the Harbor Point waterfront project. It is receiving hundreds of millions in tax breaks called PILOTs (payment in lieu of taxes) and TIFs (tax increment financing).
All that money, including this last $200,000 could have kept fire services open and provided more hours at the city’s rec centers. Among other things.