HCW Refuses to Provide Requested Information to Council, Vetting Firm Declines Job

No Secrets

Crowe Horwath, the firm that the Evansville City Council has declined to accept the job due to restrictions that HCW placed on any information that they would provide that would not allow the information to be released to the City Council even under a Non-Disclosure Agreement.

According to Crowe, HCW also requiring the right to review any report before it may be provided to the Council which would impede their ability to issue a report. HCW’s desired NDA strictly prohibits Crowe from sharing HCW data with the Evansville Common Council who is the potential funding agency for the project. The letter from Crowe to Evansville is as follows:

Letter from Crowe-Horwath to City Council and Mayor’s Office


During our call late last week, you asked Crowe to work with the Mayor’s counsel, Ted Ziemer, to formulate a scope of work designed to meet the objectives of the Common Council of the City of Evansville (“Council”). As requested, we provided a draft engagement letter and statement of work to Ted on September 7, 2013. As you know, the developer, HCW, mandated the execution of a Non-Disclosure Agreement (“NDA”) as a prerequisite to any access by Crowe of information necessary to perform the work. HCW’s desired NDA strictly prohibits Crowe from sharing HCW data with the Common Council. HCW is also requiring the right to review any report before it may be provided to the Council. Therefore, we may be impeded from issuing a report.

Crowe cannot accept these requirements and restrictions. As originally discussed, this project envisioned Crowe being a consultant only and not a decision-maker. Crowe is only assisting the City Council by providing an analysis of data so that the Council can make a decision. HCW’s requirements and prohibitions inappropriately place Crowe in possession of information that the Council should have, and HCW’s restrictions provide no way for Crowe to give the Council the information the Council needs to make an informed decision. Crowe cannot proceed on that basis.

While we have diligently attempted to work through these issues, we have determined that we cannot satisfactorily resolve these concerns and, therefore, are not in a position to move forward. As a professional services firm, it is crucial that the Council, our client, have access to all pertinent information so that it can have all information needed for the Council to make a decision and support its deliberations. There can be no concern or perception that our report was based on information not available to the Council or that our report was inappropriately influenced or affected in any way by restrictions placed on us by any other party. Accordingly, Crowe will not be pursuing this particular project any further.

We appreciate your turning to Crowe for your needs. We are sending you this so as not to delay the City or the Council in their efforts to pursue an alternate provider for what is needed.

Best regards,


A. Ridgeway Miller, CPA | Partner
Crowe Horwath LLP
3815 River Crossing Parkway, Suite 300
Indianapolis, IN 46240


Filed Under: Is It TrueNews

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  1. Martha Crosley says:

    Final nail in the coffin. It is dust and done.

    • Gulliver'sRiver says:

      If this is not the last nail in this coffin then we are living in the dumbest town on earth. I can not imagine that even Missy or Weaver would vote yes after this.

      • Yoda says:

        If Winnecke doesn’t come out on Monday and withdraw his support he is either stupider than a mule or on the take. Who gives $37 Million bucks to someone who refuses to release financial information so a good decision can be made?

      • jbyrd says:

        Missy and Weaver are still not smart enough to recognize this freight train that is about to run them and Winneke over.

    • Brains Benton says:

      Yep. The the whole was a huge boondoggle anyway.

  2. Brad Linzy says:

    Bombshell news. HCW is OUTTA here.

    If this Council gives this company money now after this stunt, there is something seriously amiss. The taxpayers should REVOLT at the next election.

  3. Brains Benton says:

    They have NO business plan!

  4. gratefuldead says:

    Here we are, months after Winnecke chose this outfit from the Ozarks and obviously, somebody forgot to request historical financial information? Of course, everything now must be on the “FASTTRACK” kinda reminds we of Russell Lloyd’s downtown baseball park debacle. Maybe Winnecke needs to put some money in his 2014 budget for courses in developing negotiation skills, especially for the magnificent five on the ERC who voted to approve this based on the sizzle, obviously, not on solid due diligent procedures. WINNECKE, WAKE UP…SMELL THE COFFEE!

  5. Metermaid says:

    Why would anybody not give up their tax returns and other financial data if somebody was willing to give them $37,500,000. I would give up my first born for far less.

  6. rk812 says:

    The Mayor and the yes group will start a new spin on this ASAP! I bet John Friend is blamed for the vetting problems because he tried to ask real questions instead of just following the pack!

  7. Crash LaRue says:

    The ERBC Hotel Scheme is now deader than a Bee Slough frog!
    I wonder how the Clown Posse they put together, to back this fiasco, will try to spin this bombshell.

  8. Metermaid says:

    Thanks CCO for this reporting…can’t find on the CP, Ch-25 or Ch-14 websites…can’t find in the CAN (City Administration News) If not for you guys, this adminstration would be getting away with grand larceny…..

  9. inquiring minds says:

    you betcha….they will teach Friend and lesson or two…don’t muck with the powers to be….

  10. bubbageek says:

    For all those who blindly/foolishly/irresponsibly fell for this project:

    Crow: It isn’t just for breakfast, …anymore. …

    Crow Casserole
    12 pieces of crow breast meat (no bones) (6 crows)
    2 quart sauerkraut
    6 slices of bacon
    1/3 cup of chopped onions

    Brown the crow breasts in a skillet with butter or oil. When browned, place them in a casserole dish on 1/2 inch layer of sauerkraut. Lay a 1/2 strip of bacon on each 1/2 breast and sprinkle the onion on them. Next, add another layer of sauerkraut and some of the juice. Bake at 350 degrees for 2 hours. Makes 2 servings.

    Now, if you need something to wash that crow down with, Murder of Crows cocktail made with good, ol’ Kentucky Old Crow Bourbon. Yeah, that helps a lot!

  11. jbyrd says:

    I predict that the City Council meeting will be the best reality show on TV again this week

  12. alefellow says:

    Sorry that this CPA firm is so difficult to work with.

    Just build the damn Hotel, and trust our leadership’s instincts. We need, no, we DESERVE this Hotel, and it has already taken too long to get this ready for VOTE.


  13. Indianaenoch says:

    I say the mayor plows on forward with the project. He’s a visionary like that.

  14. bubbageek says:

    In other news:
    The main gyro on the Courierpress spin machine has destructed due to heavy, unbalanced load.
    Story of HCW refusal delayed. …

  15. John Doe says:

    What a mess for Winnecke. If he gets reelected we really do live in the dumbest town in the midwest.

  16. Pressanykey says:

    Sounds as if HCW is asking the wrong entity for a NDA. Shouldn’t they be seeking one from the city Common Council? I am fairly sure that Crowe Horwath, as a matter of policy and ethics, does not release any information collected to any party other than the one agreed upon in the contract, in this case the Common Council.

    So let Crowe Horwath do their job and hand their work product to the common council so the CC has the information essential to making an informed decision. Let HCW be very specific about what information they consider private and why it needs to be protected by a nondisclosure agreement. I am sure the council does not want to find itself in litigation over violating the NDA.


  17. bubbageek says:

    What’s with the “switcheroo?” City Council engages Crowe Horwath, then Ted Ziemer (the mayor’s council) gets in the middle?

    IMHO: This vetting lost it’s credibility when Council was circumvented by the administration.

    “Trust; it isn’t everything, but when it’s gone, there isn’t much left.” …

  18. Brad Linzy says:

    For those saying the Mayor will trudge forward and try to spin this, how can he? Crowe has specifically faulted HCW in its letter. The Mayor needs to be pressured to withdraw support from the HCW deal. That’s his only play if he wants a chance in hell at winning reelection. His play now should be coming out with a statement lamenting the failure of the vetting process and agreeing transparency is important in his Administration.

    “The developer and the administration are ready to move forward,” Winnecke said. “We have a greater comfort level than the council. To say there is no frustration is not exactly accurate. But on the other hand, we certainly appreciate the fact that council has outstanding questions. We think it’s our role to facilitate to make sure they get their questions answered.”

  19. Jay says:

    I think old blue the dog could beat Winnecke in the next election..I would be ashamed to say I voted for this guy..

  20. AroundTheWorld says:

    I can’t find Wayne Parke on here anywhere. He’s always on here trying to explain Fort Wayne, the gov’t gifting, and Winnecke’s vision. Where’d he go?

  21. danny p says:

    He’s busy trying to figure out how to answer the question concerning the $10,000 political donation.

  22. Hog_Head 63.1 Gallons says:

    WOW, doesn’t this make Dan McGinn look rather foolish ? He supported this even BEFORE the vetting began; now, the Developer won’t allow the Council (i.e., him) tp look at requested documents, but HCW will allow the CPA firm to see them ?? Wow, and I mean WOW !

    Mosby & Weaver were always foolish. McGinn made a large error on this one, he may be highly vulnerable in the next election.

    • Brad Linzy says:

      Unless someone else steps up in the Primary, I’ll be running against Mr. McGinn for his seat.

      It’s not too late for him to come out and oppose this plan in light of the latest news. In fact, if Missy Mosby and Dan McGinn don’t do a quick and deft about-face on this, especially since they voted for the vetting to continue, they will run the serious risk of looking like stooges.

  23. ddye says:

    Thanks to John Friend we won’t have one of those let’s Sign it then see what’s in it boondoggles like OBAMACADE

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