Shopper's World

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Heard on the
Wide Streets

by eldon bishop


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HOW THE CITY OF
MESA PUT 300
SMALL BUSINESSES
OUT OF BUSINESS

MESA ARIZONA A CITY OF CORRUPTION & LAWLESSNESS

I opened an Indoor Swap Meet called "Shoppers World" on the Northwest corner of Gilbert Rd. and Main St. in sunny Mesa, Arizona...AKA the city of LDS Mormon Corruption & Lawlessness. “These are the terms that have long been synonymous with the city of Mesa.” “These are the methods it employs to achieve its unholy ends”.

I have learned first hand that the city of Mormon and Corruption will stop at nothing to destroy another human being for economic gain. This is accomplished through lawlessness and lies. It is accomplished through misuse of the police power and misuse of the local Mesa City court. It is accomplished, at public expense, by a power driven and depraved city manager who serves his corrupt brethren and their accomplices, as they in turn serve him. I am a victim of the venal vultures of Mesa, Arizona.

Shopper's World Indoor Swap Meet - Mesa, Arizona - over 300 tenants put out of business through bogus city violations.

HERE IS MY HORROR STORY I WISH ON NO HUMAN

I leased eleven stores in a shopping center and renovated the buildings to make them all one contiguous building unit totaling about 62,000 sq. ft. I submitted plans and obtained all my permits to build Shoppers World an indoor swap-meet. (The City made me jump through hoops before I was able to open, as is the procedure for businesses who are not locally “well connected.") The City of Mesa authorized personnel knew exactly what I was opening. They said they were familiar with my other stores and the TV and newspaper advertising.

So why should I have a problem? .. Because after the contracts had been signed and after all was said and done, 6 months later the landlord wanted the property back! The landlord decided that they had made a bad deal for themselves. About 6 months after everything was under way at Shoppers World, and due in part to my costly renovations, the building was now worth much more; and now that some time had passed, the rental rates were now much higher, many times that which I would be paying for many years. The actual property owner being an ex-Mayor of Mesa (1972-1976) , and a Mormon, whose Mormon buddy is the long time Mesa City Manager, Charles K. Luster, used his political power to sic the City Inspector "dogs" on me, adversely affecting not only myself but the hundreds of tenants that were leasing from me as well.

WHAT THE CITY OF MESA DID TO PUT “SHOPPERS WORLD” AND OVER 300 OF ITS SMALL MOM & POP BUSINESSES...OUT OF BUSINESS

About 6 months after I opened -- after $135,000+ had been spent on TV advertising, after 320 10' x l2' booths were constructed and approx. $130,000 spent in renovations --a representative from my landlord (Main & Gilbert, LLC) came to me unannounced, and said, “the owners would like their building back”. Provided that I would move out in one year, they would give me another one year of free rent. (Since I took the building in an "As Is" condition, and had to invest well over $100,000 in renovations, I had been given one year free rent at the signing of my 25 year lease.)

The landlord wanted the building back because I only would have been paying about 75 cents a sq. ft. right after the free rent period. Today, years later, I would be paying only about $2.75 a sq. ft. according to my lease. In today's market the landlords are now getting over $8.00 a sq. ft.

BY FORCE, THROUGH THE CITY MANAGER'S OFFICE, THE CITY OF MESA PUT ME AND ALL MY TENANTS (WHO PUT THEIR HEARTS AND SOULS INTO THEIR BUSINESSES) OUT OF BUSINESS, CAUSING HARD- SHIPS AND MANY BANKRUPTCIES.

I simply explained to the landlord's representative that not only could I NOT realize my full investment back, more importantly, the tenants have mortgaged their homes and have taken loans out; and, just as I have done, they also have put their blood and sweat into this project. And, where would we move to?

I had a 15 year lease with two 5 year options. Why should we all give this up? “SORRY.... I made a good deal for me and I would like to keep my deal. Thanks, but no thanks.”

Simply, I said no! He got pissed off. He then got up and said, .."One way or another, they WILL get you out. ..You are better off taking the deal."... He then left in a huff.

I did not know at the time that the actual owner of my property was ex-mayor Eldon Cooley, a devout Mormon and very well connected.

One week later a City inspector, "Marci Rogers," came to Shoppers World and started causing problems, chasing tenants away from under the outside overhang of my building... telling them that they will be arrested if they stay here! These people were selling under the overhang outside, which is legal in a C-3 zone when you have fire sprinklers.

Then, over the next several months, it got much worse. City Inspector Marci Rogers would keep coming down to Shoppers World, going up and down the aisles, making the following false statements to the tenants.

  • That I was setting fires to the building. (insinuating I was trying to collect the insurance)
  • That there was criminal activity going on.
  • That Shoppers World had over 40 violations.
  • That Shoppers World could be closed down at any time.
  • That Ed will be running his business from jail if the place is allowed to stay open.
  • That Ed has been dumping garbage illegally around in back of the building.
  • That Ed had many tenants suing him, that several court cases were now pending.

Note: To this day the city of Mesa has not denied that the city inspector Marci Rogers made these statements.

Any one of the above statements individually would be enough to make any existing or future tenant flee shoppers world.

As a result of the directed actions to "city inspector" Marci Rogers, the City of Mesa could only conjure up issuing 7 bogus citations to me! All bogus. I tell all readers, everything they said was a lie! There was not one of their claims that I was guilty of. EVER! Not even the one ticket I pled guilty to (in the City of Mesa Court) just to save legal fees! This was a ticket for "No use permit for night watchman's quarters." I had put an empty trailer in the back of the building. I left a light on and a radio playing and took a dog off death row and kept it in the shade next to the trailer, all to make it look like someone lived there. This trailer, equipped as it was, stopped the illegal dumping in the rear of the building and stopped the vandalism.

Again, this is a C-3 zone. RV's, boats, trailers, autos and related items can be outside in a C-3 zone. Additionally, my next door neighbor had the same thing in the back of his place for years and was never cited by the city! And someone was living there!

After only being able to make up 7 false tickets, the city of Mesa kept sending down the fire department for inspections on busy Fridays and Saturdays! The fire inspectors could only find a tenant using an extension cord hooked to a cash register! ..(Just imagine what a disruption this was to our entire business) They even commented that I had 20 more fire extinguishers than I needed in the building. The fireman said after the 9th or 10th visit “...I don't know who you pissed off down-town, but we are not getting involved.” I asked him, “..Does that mean you won't be back again?” ..I did not get an answer. They never returned again.

I FOREWARNED THE CITY AT 3 PUBLIC MEETINGS, AND I WENT WITH MY DOG (so people would remember me) TO THE CITY ADMINISTRATORS MORE THAN 20 TIMES! I YELLED AND SCREAMED FOR THEM TO STOP TELLING THE LIES TO MY TENANTS, ...TO STOP THE HARASSMENT. THEY WERE INSTILLING FEAR IN MY TENANTS. "I'M LOSING MY TENANTS BECAUSE OF YOUR LIES, ...THAT I WILL HOLD THE CITY LIABLE IF YOU DO NOT CEASE AND DESIST AT ONCE!"

I forewarned the city at 3 public meetings, and I went with my dog ( so I would be remembered ) to the city administrators more than 20 times! I yelled and screamed for them to stop telling the lies to my tenants and to stop the harassment. They were instilling fear in my tenants. "I'm loosing my tenants because of your lies, ... that I will hold the city liable if you do not cease and desist at once!" By law, I needed to send all of the tenants down to the city's license division to buy a business license, for them to do business in the city of Mesa. When I then sent tenants down to the city to get a business license, they would be told by the city's licensing division that they should talk with zoning enforcement before spending their money on a license. So people hopped in their cars and went over to zoning enforcement, located in the basement of the Mesa City Court building. The City staff there repeated and filled their heads with all the above LIES! Those tenants then went and told the existing tenants at Shoppers World whom they had made friends with before deciding to move into Shoppers World. Tenant meetings were held almost on a daily basis because of the fear of the City's statements. (Talk about stress and aggravation!) I would have food at most of the meetings, and I always ordered 30 to 40 extra portions of food and gave them out to the increasing number of homeless people in the surrounding area neighborhoods.

I even appeared before the Mesa City Council three times, apprising them that their staff is lying about me and my business, and that if it did not cease at once I will hold the City responsible. More than 20 times I personally went down to the City offices, forewarning the City Manager and other top officials, including the city council members at their offices.

Weeks after I informed and forewarned the city council and their "bosses" of these occurrences, I got City employees on audio tape still saying these things! I also have over 30 sworn affidavits attesting to the fact that City employees were still promulgating all these lies.

The city inspector was a "Higher Authority" then I during this time, City inspector Marci Rogers would still come to Shoppers World and start talking with the tenants, continuing her mission of telling them all those lies. When you tell a tenant that your landlord has set fires, trying to burn the building down, this would be enough to scare any existing or future tenant into leaving Shoppers World. After all, the City Inspector was a "higher authority" than I, and anything that I would say would be meaningless. The City inspectors have a badge and they can write citations. They are considered by the City Manager and his minions as one step below a city cop!

"Chuck" one of the many mom & pop business owners put out of business through Mesa city corruption.

KEEPING SHOPPERS WORLD IN CITY CODE VIOLATION PLACES SHOPPERS WORLD IN VIOLATION OF ITS LEASE ... A REASON FOR EVICTION (loop-hole)

Tenants were scared to stay, or to continue paying rent at Shoppers World. Since there was always a 40% turnover in this type of a business, I could not keep it full after the first 6 months because of the City's rumors, and I was fighting a loosing battle. Business was good for most of the tenants. My store was grossing (for me) at one point over $65,000 a month at the beginning. Today, with rent increases, I would have been doing over $130,000 a month. Why were they doing this? For ex-mayor Eldon? For the new tenant in there now? Excel, a telemarketing company, took over immediately after I left. Unmistakably, this was a done deal before Shoppers World ever closed!
The landlord wanted the building back. If they could keep me in violation of my lease, they could evict me, which they were trying to do. This cost me over a hundred thousand dollars in legal fees. Not to mention the stress on my tenants and me! Here I was employing hundreds of people by giving hundreds of people the opportunity to get into business for only $250 a month with no long term commitment, only a 30 day notice! Some weeks we had over 30,000 people walking through the door, because I advertised in every paper ..except toilet paper. We were on every TV station, too! Where could a tenant get that kind of foot traffic for $250 a month? The tenants were even in the TV commercials. Every week I would rotate the different tenants' businesses, putting their business and them on the TV commercials!

In any city in the USA, a business employing hundreds or enabling hundreds of people to start their own small business would be welcome with big open arms. The city would likely offer incentives to a venture like mine. But NO. With no ethics or conscience whatever, Mesa needed to do a political favor; and, as I was told originally, they will get me out, one way or another.

POLITICAL CORRUPTION IN THE COURTS, WITH NO CHANCE IN HELL OF GETTING JUSTICE

I sued the city of Mesa for damages based on my 15 year lease with 2 five year options, and sued for about 25% of what I would have made over a 25 year period. I have been through ALMOST all of the courts here and have lost every inch of the way! Thus far, the courts have said that it was reasonable, for a reasonable person (the city inspector, Marci Rogers) to say that:

  • Ed was setting fires to the building, trying to collect the insurance.
  • There was criminal activity going on.
  • Shoppers World had over 40 violations.
  • Shoppers World could be closed down at any time.
  • Ed will be running his business from jail if the place is allowed to stay open.
  • Ed had many tenants suing him, that several court cases were now pending.
  • Ed is dumping garbage illegally around the building.

Note: Again, all the above statements the City has not denied!

THE COURTS SAID...

The City said, and the courts agree, that because they have one statement from one (disgruntled) tenant which backs up their claims, that, "it is reasonable for a reasonable person to come to the conclusion that City inspector Marci Rogers did by saying what she did." .. “This did no harm to Shoppers World or its owner” Shoppers World has filed a petition for review with the Arizona Supreme Court on May 21, 1999 CASE #1 CA-CV 98-O271. We're still trying to get our day in court!

The City inspector knew that the 1 (one) tenant, who gave the 1 (one) statement, "Mary Laing," was a disgruntled tenant who did not pay rent for 3 months and who owed money for co-op advertising she signed up for. "Mary Laing" was then legally locked out of her business space for non payment of rent!

In all my 6 years in this type of business, I have gone through over 900 tenants, only locking out 3 tenants in total! The tenants all knew how easy I was on letting people slide on the rent. I always worked with the people!

MY PERSONAL BELIEFS

I have always had a "live and let live" philosophy in dealing with people: tolerant and accepting of people whose culture, background or upbringing was different from my own. We are a melting pot in this country, and I always had a strong distaste for bigoted or derogatory remarks about other people based only on race, national origin, religion or even sexual orientation. Adherence to the Golden Rule and treating others fairly and squarely is a code of conduct that I practice in all business and personal endeavors. It's also common sense, because I believe narrow minded people often cutthemselves off from their own potential for success. Before I began Shoppers World in Mesa and was new to the area, an acquaintance made a derogatory remark about Mormons to me, and I chewed his ass out for being such a bigot. ..I didn't know then what I know how. ..I threw him out of the Shoppers World store! If I could find this man, I would apologize. I would fly him to New York and kiss his ass in Macy's window in an effort to show him how sorry I am and how wrong I was!

I AM NOT ALONE! ..READ HOW OTHERS HAVE SUFFERED THE WRATH OF CITY MANAGER CHARLES K. LUSTER.

Since I was forced to close Shoppers World, I have learned that I am not alone. In this city of Mormon and city of Corruption called Mesa Arizona, others have also been victimized. Many others have been subjected to the deception and fraud and a criminal mindset that is perpetrated by networking Mormons and a power hungry city manager who is void of conscience.

Underneath the goody-goody veneer exists hate and exploitation, hypocrisy and secrecy, and an air of omnipotence that is unable to withstand scrutiny by those who cannot be bought off.

I learned of the corruption within the Mesa police department, the "Elliget case," which was finally brought to light in the early 90's and which had been covered up for years by Mesa's city manager, Charles K. Luster.

When I was doing all I could to ward off the harassment from Mesa City hall (so set on putting me out of business in order to fatten the bank account of an unscrupulous Mormon "brother") I naively went to Mesa City councilman Jim Stapley who was always available to listen to my woes. I didn't know what he was all about.

CORRUPT MORMON COUNCILMAN FORCED TO RESIGN

In 1997 he was forced to resign from the city council only because the outside media was uncovering a pattern of his own criminal wrongdoing. He interfered in a criminal case against one of his cronies by an intimidating call to the city prosecutor handling the case. To a landlady who was evicting his son, he used a false name and claimed to her face that he was his son's lawyer. He then attempted to retaliate against the landlady by misusing City employees of the tax and licensing division to further his own ends. He again interfered in the criminal justice system with an intimidating phone call to the Mormon judge who was handling the eviction case of his son. To top it off, a fellow city councilwoman charged him with improper advances and sexual harassment of herself and other women. (It should be noted that Stapley was avidly supported by his Mormon peers because he had a "temple recommend.") Then an incident from early 1995 came to light, one which had been covered up for 2 1/2 years by the Mesa city manager, and Stapley finally resigned. He had impersonated a real narcotics detective at the Pinal County courthouse, even flashing a phony badge, in a quest to see a search warrant that had been served on another son.

Yes, Councilman Jim Stapley was the one I was telling my problems to about the unlawful harassment by the City of Mesa at Shoppers World.

In 1996 another Mormon Mesa councilman, Farrel Jensen, was forced to resign his long-held position as director of a taxpayer funded Mesa food bank after many improprieties were discovered including a missing $1.7 million. When it was later learned that he had also double billed the food bank and the city for hotels and meals from a few seminars he'd attended out of state, he too was forced to resign from the Mesa city council. This guy Jensen was on the Mesa City council when I aired my grievances publicly to the city council about the misuse of the police power directed towards me and my tenants at Shoppers World, and Jensen was also chairman of the city council police committee, something I later learned.

Is it any wonder that I could get no help or satisfaction from these elected councilmen, Stapley and Jensen, over the lies and abuse my tenants and I were encountering at Shoppers World and about the focused drive by the Mormon city manager to put me and my tenants out of business? Like a den of thieves, they were "all for one and one for all."

SEX CRIMES COVERED UP

Since then I've also been told from insiders at the Mesa police department that crimes committed by Mormons, particularly incest and child molesting, are kept under wraps and covered up. With their polygamous history, that shouldn't be surprising.

ZONING ENFORCEMENT FOR NON MORMONS ONLY

Mesa's sign and landscaping laws are strictly enforced for non-Mormon businesses, but are largely ignored for Mormon businesses. Just take a look around and ask the right questions, as I have done. Preferential treatment to Mormons is a rule of thumb for those administering the codes. According to City Laws, ..Those Big, Old and very high signs must come down and new landscaping requirements come into play when you rebuild or rehabilitate more than 50% of a building or new construction goes up on any property. ..BUT NO! ...Not for the Mormons and their buddie's projects. There are too many to mention.

Where are the laws in this country? Equal opportunity and treatment for everyone is supposed to mean equal application of the laws for everyone.

MESA CITY COUNCIL SELLS MAYOR WAYNE BROWN'S BROTHER $2 MILLION CITY PROPERTY FOR $1.00 AFTER TELLING THE PUBLIC IT WOULD BE PAID FOR AT FAIR MARKET VALUE!

The coup of coups was the 2 acres of prime downtown property that was cleared and purchased by the City of Mesa, reportedly worth over $2 million, then given to the present mayor's brother, Henry Brown, for $1.00 for his Brown & Brown Chevrolet dealership. Brown threatened that he was going to move from downtown if he didn't get more space downtown for his cars, even though the City was renting him prime space downtown for pennies.

Meanwhile, the public never knew Brown had already sold the dealership for millions, waiting to close on this property give- away first to finalize the sale price. Long before he threatened to move, he knew he was selling! Brown & Brown advertises as the LARGEST Chevrolet dealership in the WORLD! Why would the largest dealership in the world ever move? Yes, the Browns are also Mormon, whose father was also a Mesa mayor for many years as well.

FAMILIES DISPLACED BY BROWN & BROWN CHEVROLET NEVER GET THE FUNDS PROMISED TO HELP WITH MOVING COSTS.

The Mesa city council set aside thousands of dollars to help the unfortunate displaced tenants from this crooked property takeover and give-away. People have begged for the funds. Fortunately or unfortunately they are not Mormon. More than a year later, not one penny has been given to these property owners. These are victims like the people in Kosvo chased from their land and homes ..The only difference is they are not being physically raped & shot. .. that we know of!

BORN & BRED MORMON

From an early age those born and bred into Mormonism are trained to think alike, to stick together, and later to vote as a block for a fellow Mormon. I have learned over the recent years that the Mormons will lie for one another. They teach and brainwash that if you are doing business with a non-Mormon, and a Mormon owned business comes along, you simply do business with the Momon's. Although they are a minority in number, this clannish socialization is evident even in the schools, sometimes mean spirited and arrogant towards fellow students. Those who are bullies go unpunished. I hope they have learned the lessons of recent school violence across the country. Mesa is an incident waiting to happen.

Mesa, Arizona is a corrupt city out of control ... benefiting a few at the expense of the many. My commitment is to the Mesa population at risk.

I am committed to reversing the Mormon corruption here by airing their dirty laundry nationwide, before I die.

These many illegal property takeovers mentioned in this story and in other stories can be found on the web site www.ripoffreport.com. This is a web site dedicated to reporting everything from bad business practices, restaurants with bad service or food, to corrupt police and other government agencies. Anyone can enter their own Rip-Off Report or you may read the Rip-Off Reports before doing business with a person, place or business.


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