Some digging unearthed even more plans for our property, dating back to 2004! While the development name changed to Harbor Shores, the intentions to build on our property have long been underway. These plans feature a town center on our headquarters, and pedestrian trails through our property.
You have to wonder…
Why spend so much time and money designing on a property owned by NPC?
Why didn’t they contact us about purchasing our land?
What were they told?
Interesting to note, these plans show development on other property they did not own: public beach, Jean Klock Park and the not-yet-bankrupt Modern Plastics manufacturer (the triangle just to the right of us on the map).
Plans include a town center and civic plaza on our headquarters
Trail maps blaze through our propert
This plan wasn't an accident. See other plans for our property...
We aren’t the only ones facing problems from Harbor Shores’ shady land deals.
Jean Klock Park
Harbor Shores struck a deal with Benton Harbor to swap public, pristine dunes and Lake Michigan beach front land, part of a nearly 100 year old park, for scattered, contaminated parcels of land. Not exactly the spirit of the use of Jean Klock Park, nor an equivalent exchange. Two separate lawsuits sought to uphold the public interest and the donors’ intent. Federal Court Litigation concerned precarious interpretation of four federal laws. State court litigation concerning the Klock deed was pursued all the way to the Michigan Supreme Court in attempts to regain public use of the beach front property. In the dedication of the park, the Klocks said, “See to it that the park is the children’s.” Are expensive homes and a private golf course what this family donated their land for?
Benton Harbor Dialysis Center
A mitigation parcel, a piece of land that was supposed to be public open space in exchange for Jean Klock Park, was sold to a Dialysis Center. Whether it was a clerical error or a strategic way to leverage valuable downtown land, the result is still a botched land deal. The people of Benton Harbor have been doubly ripped off. They don’t get the use of a beach or a open space downtown. See the news article here.
NPC owns another, non-adjacent piece of property known as Miller Pond (here is the Google Map location). It is downtown Benton Harbor, next to the high school, Saint Joseph River, and the new Whirlpool Headquarters. If you guessed that Miller Pond was named after Walter Miller, our founder, back in the ’20s, you would be correct. Whirlpool/Harbor Shores has had their eyes on this land for some years. They have taken surveys and soil samples–without our permission. We recently found a very detailed planning document selling a downtown revival development. The use of Miller Pond was a key aspect in this planning document. NPC has never been contacted about use or purchase of Miller Pond. Why would they plan a key piece of a development on land you don’t own?
Whirlpool/Harbor Shores has long had their eyes on NPC’s neighbor, Modern Plastics. They spent a lot of time and money conceptualizing uses for the land (see 2005 HS Development Plans), well before the business went bankrupt in 2008. Why would they plan a large tract of housing on land they don’t own? Under the trustee’s watch, the building and grounds went into severe disrepair, and equipment and copper pipes, stolen. It was managed for destruction. Neglected, it could now be a “fire sale,” and Harbor Shores made an offer to purchase it at $25,000. There were no other offers–because it was not marketed. Harbor Shores had no ownership or rights to this property. New Products does. New Products purchased the mortgage note for the property to prevent total encirclement of the Harbor Shores Development, and has filed a legal complaint to oppose the sale.
Now we want to hear from you. Do you know of other shady land deals? Do you know of other ways Whirlpool/Harbor Shores has not followed the legal processes for land acquisition?
New Products Corporation is being squeezed out of local media–especially local media in Benton Harbor. Since September 2011 when NPC filed its lawsuit against Whirlpool and others for stealing the company’s property, The Herald-Palladium, the local daily newspaper, has not published NPC’s news releases or reported on:
It is fair to say that newspapers and other media have the right to not publish or report news they deem is not newsworthy. Since when are 100 jobs and a 92 year old manufacturer in Benton Harbor NOT NEWSWORTHY to the local community? Yet, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and other national news outlets have published news about NPC. As a result of The Herald-Palladium’s refusal to report on issues facing NPC, the company purchased newspaper ads and letters to the community. However, in July 2013, NPC purchased an ad about the company’s offer to lease its property for $1 to the Senior PGA, The Herald-Palladium processed NPC’s payment and then refused to publish the ad. Ask yourself, ask others, ask Whirlpool—why the local media SQUEEZE? You have a right to know.
A Benton Harbor Income Tax voted on November 5, 2013 did not pass. However, it will likely be on the ballot again in the spring of 2014. The proposed tax is bad for business and bad for residents. This measure is not a good way to attract tax-contributing members to this community.
Because the proposed City Income Tax did NOT pass, it means
NPC will be NOT be taxed 1% of our gross revenue. Benton Harbor has already reinstated 10 mills and added another 20 mills
NPC employees who live in Benton Harbor will NOT have to pay 1% out of their paycheck to the city
NPC employees who do not live in Benton Harbor will NOT have to pay .5% out of their paycheck to the city
NPC and other Benton Harbor companies will have even LESS difficulty attracting employees
It will NOT cost NPC and other Benton Harbor companies time and money to process these payroll changes
This tax affects anyone living in or working in Benton Harbor. The proposed tax requires employees and residents to pay a percentage of their income in city tax (like state and federal). Companies in Benton Harbor will need to withhold money from their employees’ paychecks and process payment to Benton Harbor. All employees would be subject to withholding–whether or not they live in Benton Harbor. (Non-resident employees can usually recoup some of their money, but it’s still another form to fill out.) Detroit has a City Income Tax and look at what good it did them. They’re in bankruptcy!
The local radio recently aired a clip regarding NPC’s ‘No’ stance.
New Products requests protective covenant language in the new cottage deeds acknowledging that there is an industrial facility next door. Buyers could file formal legal complaints, that would obligate New Products to defend themselves. Cherie Miller, CEO of New Products Corporation, says “buyers should acknowledge existing operations.”
These overnight guest “cottages” are adjacent to New Products’ industrial facility that runs a three-shift die casting operation. Anticipating that owners of the cottages could potentially complain about noise from the plant’s operations, NPC requested that protective language be added that would recognize the company’s operations and restrict noise complaints. Appeals were made to both Michigan’s Governor Snyder and to Benton Harbor’s EFM Tony Saunders to request the language be amended. These appeals were ignored and the Planning Commission and the Emergency Manager Tony Saunders did not allow the additional language. New Products is currently appealing to Michigan Governor Snyder.
This is a reasonable and normal request that would be immediately granted through a normal city approval process.
New Products Seeks Guaranteed Access to its Facility for the week of the Tournament in May 2014. “It was a major hassle getting access on public streets to our facility for the 2012–it took 10 months! We finally received passes days before the event. We should not have had to go through that then. We should not have to go through that now,” says Cherie Miller, CEO of New Products.
Shortly following the announcement of the return of the Senior PGA Championship to Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, New Products Corporation announced via a press release that it was offering to lease its property on the 18th Fairway for $1 to the Senior PGA. When the local news failed to publish New Products’ offer, the company purchased an ad (image at left) to be published in The Herald-Palladium. Although the company’s ad payment was processed, New Products was notified less than a day before the publication date that the publisher would not publish the ad. This is one of a series of media SQUEEZES.
New Products is concerned about the 2014 event because of the extraordinary efforts made to do business as usual during the 2012 Senior PGA. In advance of the 2012 Senior PGA, New Products was notified that all roads surrounding its property would be closed to public access before and during tournament play. Because of the company’s three shift operation and daily inbound and outbound customer deliveries, New Products requested details–over a period of 10 months–to assure that access to/from NPC would not be impeded. It was only a few days in advance of the tournament that NPC received details and assurance that employees and deliveries would have access to its manufacturing operations.
Whirlpool wants the rest of our property too! Whirlpool has been busy planning a new community–WITHOUT US IN IT! With a few strokes of a pen, they are trying to write us out of existence. How can they do that?!
Recently a graduate student completed an excellent scholarly thesis, “Democracy & Despair.” Tyler Reedy gives the background of racial tensions, Whirlpool’s Harbor Shores project–dreamt of since at least the 1980s–and the current governance with an Emergency Manager. New Products’ fight for its land is described on page 56.
Benton Harbor, MI (July 30, 2013) – Harbor Shores is blockingNew Products Corporation (NPC) rights to a jury trial according to the Michigan company’s attorneys. In September 2011, New Products Corporation (NPC) filed a lawsuit against Harbor Shores, Whirlpool and developers of the Harbor Shores Golf Course for taking the company’s property which is now part of the 18th fairway.
“A jury trial is not only essential to protecting our company’s rights but the rights of others as well,” said Cheryl Miller, president and CEO of New Products Corporation. “This is just one of many roadblocks Harbor Shores and Whirlpool have attempted throughout the process.”
Harbor Shores petitioned the Berrien County Circuit Court for a bench trial to deny NPC’s Constitutional right to a jury trial. Attorneys for New Products Corporation (NPC) filed an appeal to the Michigan Court of Appeals after Berrien County Circuit Court granted Harbor Shores’ motion to limit a jury trial.
“It’s apparent that Harbor Shores’ strategy is to divert time and resources from the main issue that prompted this lawsuit—taking property that doesn’t belong to them,” said Miller. “It adds insult to injury when Harbor Shores and others fail to recognize and acknowledge our 91 years of continuous manufacturing operations in Benton Harbor and our many contributions to this community.”
New Products Corporation Points to Harbor Shores Development Plans Showing Development of Its Property and Neighboring Modern Plastics. Company questions Whirlpool’s long-term strategy to squeeze out local businesses.
Read 1-14-13 press release...
Benton Harbor, MI (January 14, 2013)–Concerned for its property and company’s operations, New Products Corporation (NPC) is pointing to Harbor Shores’ plans that date back to 2005, showing residential and other development on its land. Plans also reveal Harbor Shores’ development on Modern Plastics’ property, the neighboring company that is now in bankruptcy along with beachfront improvements adjacent to Benton Harbor’s water plant property.
“It’s important for the public to be aware that the developers of Harbor Shores have had a long term strategy to encroach and take over our property and our neighbors in Benton Harbor,” said Cheryl Miller, NPC’s president and CEO. “If it can happen to us, it can happen to anyone. We refuse to be run over and forced to close our manufacturing operations.”
In September 2011, NPC filed a lawsuit against Harbor Shores and developers of the Harbor Shores Golf Course for taking the company’s property without asking. It is now part of the 18th fairway. This lawsuit is still pending in Berrien County Circuit Court, as the parties engage in discovery.
More recently, NPC took action to help protect its own operations and creditors of its neighbor Modern Plastics, which was forced to close its doors in 2008 and file for bankruptcy. When NPC, a creditor of Modern Plastics, learned about the proposed bankruptcy sale of Modern Plastics real estate on North Shore Drive to Harbor Shores for only $25,000, NPC made a counter offer. A bankruptcy court hearing date about the proposed sale that was scheduled in Kalamazoo on Wednesday, January 9, 2013, has been postponed until March 6, 2013. “It’s interesting that our attorney was only notified by the bankruptcy trustee of the bankruptcy court hearing postponement via email on Tuesday afternoon, January 8, with no reason given,” added Miller.