Perrysburg Heights residents also contend that Craig has a long-standing dream to see the neighborhood redeveloped at their expense. They fear Perrysburg Township Trustees will cancel a long-term lease PHCA holds on the community center over the brewing controversy. If that happens, the door may open to redevelopment in the neighborhood, which is a landlocked pocket of real estate between I-75 and I-475/U.S. 23 interchange and across Route 25 from Levis Commons.
“He sees that he will be the individual who will profit if we lose this community center,” said Ms. Sánchez-Serda, alleging that Craig owns or has control of 16 properties in the immediate vicinity.
Ms. Sánchez-Serda and others have stated Craig has openly discussed what he would like to see happen to the neighborhood, including his future plans.
“This whole neighborhood is going to become an extended rec center, that he’s going to put a pool in and apartment complexes where people can just tie in to this neighborhood,” alleged Ms. Sánchez-Serda. “He truly believes that what his opportunity will be is that a developer will someday come and he will be a partner and become very rich and leave us all out on the streets.”
“Shame on you, Jason. Shame on you for moving here from Illinois, thinking that you’re better than everybody here,” said Ms. Sánchez-Serda. “This community came together and became a family. Culturally, that’s almost impossible to see back in the ‘50s. “He’s totally destroyed the camaraderie here in this neighborhood,” she said.
The brewing controversy has drawn the attention of Perrysburg Township Trustees, who released a statement over the weekend trying to reassure Perrysburg Heights residents:
“Upon being unexpectedly confronted only weeks in advance of a concert event projected to have thousands of attendees at the Perrysburg Heights Community Center, the most immediate concern of Perrysburg Township government was to ensure the safety of the neighborhood and concert goers. Thanks to intense planning, coordination, and execution by multiple local public safety agencies, the event occurred without significant incident and the most pressing concern was met with unqualified success. Even prior to the event the township trustees were preparing to undertake efforts to address the concerns of the community regarding the Perrysburg Heights Community Association (PHCA).
“The township has been concerned for years with the diminishing financial accountability of the PHCA and growing instability of the PHCA leadership. Perrysburg Township is the owner of and one of the most significant investors in the community center. It is important to distinguish between the community center as a physical facility intended for supporting community programs and the PHCA, which is an organization separate from the center itself.
“The PHCA has operated the community center under a lease for approximately 18 years. The township trustees will not stand by and allow the community center to fail in its mission because the PHCA is unable to sustain a viable organization. The township is reviewing its legal options and intends to act to save the community center for the community. The township trustees remain committed to the long-term success of the community center and the improvement of the Perrysburg Heights community.”n and execution by multiple local public safety agencies, the event occurred without significant incident and the most pressing concern was met with unqualified success. Even prior to the event the Township Trustees were preparing to undertake efforts to address the concerns of the community regarding the Perrysburg Heights Community Association ("PHCA").
The Township has been concerned for years with the diminishing financial accountability of the PHCA and the growing instability of PHCA leadership. Perrysburg Township is the owner of and one of the most significant investors in the Community Center. It is important to distinguish between the Community Center as a physical facility intended for supporting community programs and the PHCA, which is a community organization separate from the Center itself. The PHCA has operated the Community Center under a lease for approximately 18 years. The Township Trustees will not stand by and allow the Community Center to fail in its mission because the PHCA is unable to sustain a viable organization. The Township is reviewing its legal options and intends to act to save the Community Center for the community. The Township Trustees remain committed to the long-term success of the Community Center and improvement of the Perrysburg Heights community."
PERRYSBURG TOWNSHIP TRUSTEES
Craig has not returned calls for comment to address the allegations or whether refunds will be issued to concertgoers.
Craig—the PHCA operations director—told the Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune that he plans to cover an estimated $35,000 of accrued bills personally by selling rental properties. Craig also was quoted as being “duped” by event organizers who never obtained signed contracts with the headline acts advertised to appear.
In that same interview, Craig blamed promoter Tim Corser for suspicious dealings and claimed he was not closely involved in the show until just a few weeks before the event.
“I didn’t know what he was doing behind the scenes,” Craig told the Sentinel-Tribune. “Those artists weren’t booked.”
The PHCA operations director stated he did issue some refunds to ticketholders at their request. But he called the situation complicated because of the distribution of free tickets.
“Clearly I dropped the ball by not keeping my eye on things a lot better,” he admitted to the Sentinel-Tribune.
Jesse Spier, president of the PHCA board of trustees, did release a brief statement: “While the festival did not achieve our financial goals, we will ensure that all of our financial obligations are met. A complete review of the event, including its financial accounting, is being conducted.”