by William Skink
Back in October I wrote a post about Missoula’s Sultan of Sound, the benevolent Lord Checota, and his family’s business roots in Wisconsin. The title of the post asks the question Is Nick Checota’s Family History A Cautionary Tale For Missoula?.
I took a keener interest in Mr. Logjam Presents after Mayor Engen joyfully announced that this innovator in monopolizing cultural creation in Missoula was the new savior of the Riverfront project.
If the vision of Checota’s Big D(rift) comes to fruition, he will be able to add an event center to his catalogue of venues, which currently includes the Top Hat, the Wilma, the Kettle House amphitheater and the baseball stadium.
The public will add another parking garage to the tune of 16.5 million dollars in public TIF money. How many of these spaces will be privately leased spaces? I was shocked the other day when someone told me how many spaces in our other parking garages are now private.
It was the use of TIF money for this project that really motivated me to better understand where Lord Checota is coming from. Did I get it all wrong? Is Nick Checota a self-made man who received “not a dime” of help from his dad, Joe Checota?
I put that “not a dime” in quotes because this lowly blogger has recently been graced by nobility. That’s right, Lord F. Checota himself issued a decree in the comment section of the above-linked post that I have it all wrong and am just making stuff up.
Like a mixed-use development project, I am having some mixed-use feelings. Part of me is humbled and honored to be addressed by someone so beyond my own social status, and yet part of me is left perplexed at some of the claims. So let’s get into it, shall we?
I’m going to address Lord Checota’s decree in sequential chunks, starting with this:
William, this continues to show what a dishonest and misinformed person you are. You know nothing of what you are talking about.
I quote primary news sources, like the Milwaukee Business Journal, and I provide links for my readers to check out those sources. That is me attempting to be honest about where I am getting my information from.
I had nothing to do with the prior companies, and I was the main engine behind building Landmark. When I started, it had a negative net worth. I built that company. I took the risk. I borrowed the money.
Checota does not specify which prior companies he is referring to here, but I assume it’s his dad’s companies, which I have written about in the above-linked post.
Because I didn’t do exhaustive research into the Checota Wisconsin clan, I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t somehow confused about the provenance of Landmark, so I went to their website. Here is a helpful screenshot promoting family ownership and control. Notice no mention of our Lord, Nick Checota:
I have no reason to doubt the word of my Lord, but I am operating on very limited knowledge. Our Lord continues:
Personally, my wife put me through grad school through hard work. We started with no money (again received no money from my family). We both work our ass off. I work more hours in a week than you probably do in a month.
I work a 40 hour work week. Next.
With respect to Joe, I have never received a dime from him, or inheritance. I have no trust fund. All the money to build my company came from my work, not from a family. Where is your proof in what you are writing? What evidence do you have to your fiction?
As reported by the Milwaukee Business Journal:
Landmark Healthcare, led by former politician Joe Checota, has designed and built physician office buildings, ambulatory surgery centers and other non-hospital health care buildings since it was founded in 1995 as a successor to Checota’s Integrated Medical Buildings development company. The firm will now seek to own many of those structures in a shift from traditional real estate developer to developer and landlord.
The efforts are expected to boost Landmark’s revenue from its 2004 estimate of about $45 million, company officials said. Checota declined to give a specific revenue goal, but said the improved bottom line also will help the firm almost double its work force in the next 18 months, from 26 employees currently to near 50 by the summer of 2006.
“It’s a shift, but it’s a welcome shift,” said Nicholas Checota, Joe Checota’s son and Landmark’s chief operating officer.
Your article is totally inaccurate and shows you have zero journalistic integrity. You did not even attempt to reach me for comment. You are fundamentally misguided person and are totally dishonest in what you present. You continue to use untrue facts to create a false narrative to meet you uniformed understand of growth, development and urban planning.
It’s true, I made no attempt to reach Lord Checota for comment. I don’t bill myself as a journalist, though the legal protections for people like myself who could be considered “citizen journalists” is a relatively new legal landscape. I refer to myself as a poet and political cynic who provides commentary on topics that interest me.
And the accusations that I am creating “a false narrative” and that I use “untrue facts” is of particular interest to me.
Our Lord concludes:
When facts are not on your side, make stuff up. Frankly, journalism is not a word that can even be used in the same sentance as your name.
I would love to know exactly what I am being accused of making up. But if I were a noble Lord consolidating regional control of culture production, I would probably abstain from making further accusations that could negatively impact the artistic brand I am trying to establish.