Palm Springs to potentially make yet another terrible deal with downtown developer

According to the Desert Sun, the city of Palm Springs could potentially strike another terrible deal with the shady development company that it keeps striking terrible deals with.

Grit Development, which changed its name from Wessman Holdings shortly after all those bribery charges came rolling in, would give the city some land a new library in return for the city settling its potential Government Code Section 1090 claims.

If approved, the settlement would include the transfer of 73 acres west of Highway 111 from Grit to the city and construction of a new library adjacent to Belardo Road in exchange for the city settling its potential Government Code Section 1090 claims of conflicts of interest, according to the city.

The city has preserved its rights under Section 1090 to potentially “claw back” millions against Palm Springs Promenade and Grit relating to funds it formerly paid to Wessman and other downtown projects.

Any contract in violation of the Section 1090, which states government officials cannot be financially interested in contracts made by them, is void, according to the city.

The deal, which would also include the site of the proposed “Boulders” development and the reimbursement of over $5 million the city paid for the future home of the downtown park, would allow Grit to secure more financing and would mean the Rowan Hotel could continue getting a gigantic 75% transient occupancy tax rebate for the next 28 years (!), according to the paper.  The estimated value of that rebate is $36 million.

The value of the land and library is $30 million – which, I am no math wiz here, is $6 million less than $36 million.  Oh, and that doesn’t even take into account the $46 million of taxpayer money the city dedicated to the construction of the development.

What a well run city.


  1. It’s funny how a guy who accepts ad revenue for his income generating website… I mean blog…. from the St Regis. Amazon and Rocket Mortgage pretends to be a man of the people local sage. If Casey had bothered to read the proposed settlement on the city website he would learn that just like in Walter Clark hit and run ads avoiding litigation and receiving a guaranteed settlement is far more cost effective, not only for the city but for the future of residents and visitors. Despite his tragically misguided/faux local angst the Downtown Development is an unqualified, award winning success that supports hundreds of local working families who do actual work instead of clapping away on a snarky keyboard. Getting more of that will be great for everyone who lives in Palm Springs, except of course for online sages who are proven so wrong.

  2. Do the crime and do the time? Well I guess not in Wessman’s case. He did the crime and well I guess will bribe the city to get off the hook once again. Hey Mr. Meaney and Mr. Pougnet, come up with a little cash and you can get on the GO FREE, GET OUT OF JAIL train as well.

  3. Wow! I sometimes disagree with Mr. Dolan, but ad hominem attacks are always inappropriate, Mr. Brugeman. There’s no need to add to the blight of incivility we face each day.

    It does seem the city is in this situation — having to litigate or seek a settlement — only because it chose to entangle itself with bad actors, Mr. Wessman and Wessman Development. The name change to Grit Development and transfer of control to Mr. Wessman’s son-in-law (the Jared Kushner of Palm Springs) doesn’t give me a lot of comfort. Why would the city enter into this settlement agreement that extends the relationship? And why does David Ready, the city manager under whose watch all the bad stuff happened, still have his job, especially at such an exorbitant salary?

  4. Wessman,Meaney,and Pougnet NEED to go to prison.They committed a crime.The city needs to follow through with this.It has been going on far too long….and the city of Palm Springs and state of California has to set an example of not being milktoast and put these guys away.Period.I love this town.

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