by William Skink
Someone commenting under the name “Antman Lamp” has come to the defense of Nick Checota. Here is Antman’s first comment:
Nick – you are an honorable person and a great human. I have witnessed you and your teams build mission and values based companies that provide meaningful careers/jobs for hundreds, if not thousands of people. I’ve witnessed you do all of these things with you taking 100% of the risk and with no financial backing of any kind from your family. I was present for 20+ years and witnessed your commitment and work ethic. I also was there and know all of the facts – and knowing these facts means that I know for certain that not every source of journalistic information states the facts or the complete story. There is zero reason for anyone to take cheap shots at you or diminish your accomplishments. Please keep doing what you are doing and continue to build, create and give-back. Your proven track record speaks for itself.
I responded that there were 16.5 million reasons to diminish Nick’s hoped-for accomplishment with his Big D(rift). Antman didn’t understand this reference because he’s not from Missoula and probably has no idea about the housing crisis we are currently experiencing.
Why? Because Antman is a business buddy of Nick Checota from Milwaukee and his name, according to his email address, is Anthony Lampasona, of Catalyst Healthcare Real Estate.
Anthony Lampasona made another comment, imploring me to reach out and hug Nick Checota:
Not sure I follow your comment. If I was your friend and you were a good person – I would support you. Nick has earned the support he has done countless great things that have helped and served many of folks. Rather than mock him (continuing to call him names) and take cheap shots at him, why don’t you hug him up? What do you have to lose? You started this thread by stating by asking if his family history is a cautionary tale. It’s a valid question. Nick’s track record so far should significantly diminish the concern. Why hate things are great? Why not salute the efforts, the risk-taking and the personal and financial investment? Have you ever spent a day with Nick? Why don’t you approach him and ask to see what a day-in-the-life is like for him. You would be surprised by what you learn. Dude lives in a modest house, drives older cars, etc. He avoids most material excess and certainly he could afford it. These are honorable qualities – why the vitriol?
Before addressing the question “why the vitriol” I have a question for Mr. Lampasona: why is your developer pal in need of 16.5 million in public money to see this project through?
Maybe 16 million dollars isn’t a lot of money for Milwaukee developers, but in a little mountain town with an affordable housing crisis, 16 million is a big chunk of change that could do a lot more for this community instead of helping line the pockets of a Wisconsin developer.
While I appreciate that Nick Checota has at least one friend willing to come to his defense to better the optics for his business dealings in Missoula, the fact this guy is a business buddy from Wisconsin is interesting.
Despite the rapid gentrification and growth in Missoula, we are still a small mountain town, and stories about how people operate in this community circulate accordingly. Since covering Checota’s expanding Logjam monopoly, I have heard plenty of stories from people in Missoula, and none of them put Nick Checota in a very good light.
The use of the Tax Increment Financing to help build Checota’s event center/hotel/condo tower and the alleged public benefit of using public money is the real issue here, not whether or not a wealthy developer drives flashy cars or not.
As this project gets set to break ground this summer, stay tuned to this blog for glimpses of the counter-narrative that runs underneath the PR propaganda pushed by corporate media and our doe-eyed elected leaders who are too dazzled by development and expanding the tax base to remember their responsibility to ALL their constituents, even the ones who can’t afford to donate to their political campaigns.