“There are three kinds of lies,” Mark Twain allegedly said. “Lies, damned lies, and statistics.”
Economic analysis is a particular subset of statistics. Economic Analyses are conjectural, and probabilistic. What comes out depends on what you put in.
Those Economic Analyses are like circus dogs. You can make them do anything. Dance. Walk on their hind legs. Ride a pony. Jump through hoops.
So you have to be careful about who you get to do your Economic Analysis. Ideally, your economic analysis will be done by some disinterested third party. Someone with no skin in the game. Someone who can give you an honest, arm’s length opinion on the likely outcome.
So it’s curious that the City chose JLL to perform the Economic Analysis for the Great Wolf Lodge waterpark resort they’re trying to build on the city’s west side.
Wikipedia tells us that JLL stands for Jones Lang Lasalle. Here’s what else the online encyclopedia has to say:
“JLW and LaSalle Partners formed Jones Lang LaSalle in 1999, which was the largest international merger in the real estate industry at the time.”
And this from the Wikipedia listing for local billionaire William Sanders:
“In 1968, he founded the real estate firm LaSalle Partners, in El Paso, Texas, and years later he partnered with real estate tycoon, Ron Blankenship and founded, the Security Capital Group (1990) and Verde Realty.”
Curious, isn’t it, that the City of El Paso would depend on an economic analysis performed by a firm influenced by a local billionaire for a project involving another local billionaire? Aren’t there other real estate consultants who could have done the job?
Maybe it’s straight, but it looks bad.