Councilman Friend fires back at Ed Hafer over Refusing to Supply Financial Data to the City Council (Lender of Last Resort)

City Councilman John Friend
City Councilman John Friend

The following email was sent by City Councilman John Friend to Ed Hafer, the appointed chairman of the Evansville Redevelopment Commission regarding his refusal to provide material information to the City Council with respect to a $20 Million gift to build a downtown hotel.


Over the evening, I have had additional thoughts on your refusal to make
available the business plan of the hotel. We are the lender of last resort, of
course. As it been said many time by you and this administration, that no one
would construct a hotel unless subsidized by the taxpayers of Evansville. That
being said, we are the bankers!! And, as such, all lending institutions requires
business plans, especially when they are asking for 20 million dollars. And
another thing, what is the deal with not requiring a performance bond that would
protect the taxpayers of Evansville. Now, Ed, I and other members of council are
the elected body, and You and the other ERC members are appointed. Your refusal
to provide information as important as the Business Plan, pro forma and
assumptions and assertions is NOT acceptable. Obviously, you and the ERC has had
this information for sometime and, now at the eleven hour, we are denied access
to the this information. As you are aware, this administration seems hell-bent
from relinquishing crucial information to this council relative to very
expensive Hotel and, as Mr. Danks has emphasized many times, information
requested by the Council is mandated by State Law. Again, meeting with Mr.
Huffman is fine and I expect to do so, after I and others on Council, have had
the opportunity to have a copy of this report.

Thanks, John
Finance Chair
Common Council of Evansville, IN


  1. Thanks Mr. Friend for standing up for the taxpayers of this community.

    Mr. Hafer should be ashamed of himself.

  2. Hafer should be run of town. He’s a big know it all political puppet.

    Three cheers for Councilmen Friend for standing up to this bully.

    The Mayor should also be ashamed that he appointed this idiot to the ERC.

  3. City Council members, You HONESTLY know in your Hearts,—IT’S TIME TO SAY,,—–NO!
    Evansville needs to get it’s priorities in sensible order.
    The Buck stops with the Citizen’s ELECTED representatives.
    Pressure’s on! it’s getting Late!–Look in the Mirror, and Govern like Men and Women of Character!

    • Dear Crash….there is lays the challenges…organized labor will be out in force, just like the last time…remember the Johnston Control debate….the council chamber packed with trade members, with their button saying “Build them Both” and when the vote came down, and crowd with a smile, they , in unison, all got up up, left the chamber, knowing that both they and the taxpayer got their, the unions, a paycheck, and the taxpayers, the bill. Now, here they come again, its never ends, but, Detroit thought the same, home values in the toilet, the city in shambles, but, the union guys with the big smile. I can’t criticize anyone trying to get employment, and applaud those who get off their ass and find work, so be it, but, why are these fine folks not going to the private sector, will , maybe the current national atmosphere is discouraging the private sector investors from investing in project that employ those folks. Maybe more time lobbying for pro business initiative and less BS in agendas that discourage investments would be better served.

    • Mr. Friend or should I call you Poopdeck Pappy, you are not the lender of last resort. What the City Council is being treated like by the Winnecke administration is the SUGAR DADDY of last resort. Banks won’t loan money to this stupid venture, private investors won’t invest, and you Mr. Councilman are not being asked for a loan. You are being asked for a damn handout for no payback and no ownership. On top of that the panhandler that is asking you doesn’t even respect you enough to share the plans with you. Only a complete idiot would vote yes for this handout under such conditions. This is like a drug crazed child asking the parent for a handout and refusing to tell that parent what the handout is for. DON’T BE A DOPE! TELL THESE JACKASSES NO.

  4. This sort of arrogance on the part of the Evansville Redevelopment commission is nothing unusual, as the members serve at the desire of those who appointed them, with the mayor having a convenient majority of the appointments.

    If you still do not understand: Redevelopment Commissions are set up and maintained as a partnership between the local chamber of commerce and local government to initiate projects that have large public funding components.

    As John Friend points out, the business model is turned on its head in these projects as the taxpayers are always the financiers, however, they have no say in the project.

    So yes, it is now and always has been incumbent upon the Common Council to protect the interest of the taxpayers by the use of the Council’s power over the purse strings of local government.

    The problems of course are politics, and cronyism, and greed.

    When someone shows up in the Mayor’s position who has larger political ambitions, caution and conservatism can fall victim to ego. When your city council is comprised of 8 or 9 members of your own party that can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how you use that advantage.

    It has been my personal observation that the period of 2004 to 2012 lacked the sort of mature leadership that would have benefited Evansville most. Mr. Weinzapfel’s vision for Evansville lacked consensus. He had virtually total political power in the city and he knew how to use that power to achieve his singular goals.

    At some point the voters, if they wish to break the cycle of this system which is still in existence, will have to stand up and say: “No consensus?…No more funds!

    We may also want to give serious consideration to abolishing the Evansville Redevelopment Commission just as Governor Brown abolished them in California and returning to a more traditional “elected” form of government.



  5. If the taxpayers of Evansville are serious about stopping this budget busting give-away, you need to be on the phone and e-mails to your ward councilpeople. No point in going to the meeting on Monday, as it will be stacked wityh well wishers and back-slappers of the present administration. If you do not get on the phone and express your concerns about this project, then you have no backbone. Don’t expect others to do this for you. The councilpeople listen to your concerns, although they may not agree with you, at least you will have had your say. Why wait? Do it now, ring their phones off the wall. The wheel that squeaks loudest gets the grease. Let the representatives know of your concerns, and that you will be the one people paying the bill. Have you ever called your ward rep??? What are you afraid of? Some of the council are on the fence, and this is your ONLY chance to give them ammunition to stop this project.

  6. When this Hafer guy comes in the Civic Center people avoid him because is thinks he the brains behind the Mayor. We just sit back and laugh at him because its obvious he is all show.

    Thanks John Friend for taking on Hafer head on. Hafer is no more than a personal business lobby for Vectren. Check out where his plush office is located on the seventh floor of the Veteran building. Also check and see what title he has on his letterhead, business cards and office doors. Its time the CCO to check to out and see if we don’t have another public appointed official that may have a conflict of interest by serving on the ERC board.

    • Thanks for the information Blue Badge. We find information in your post extremely interesting. We shall follow through and see if your claims have merit.

      We must agree that the alledged location of Mr. Hafer office is extremely interesting.

  7. Let’s see if the council “rolls over” again. I hope that don’t – but probably will.

  8. You Go John!! You represent my ward and I appreciate you email. For all of you on the city council, how about having one long meeting and stepping back to prioritize and rate by importance to ALL citizens of Evansville the big needs that exist now. How much would each cost? Over what time frame? From where can the funds come on a predictable basis? Then sit down with the mayor. Leave the politics at home and ask Mr. Fifth-Third what his suggestions are to balance the books, to pay for the most important of these listed items and what expected income will the city have to do so. Be sure to leave a bit for an emergency fund as we all have to do in our households. budgets. Might want to start by asking Mr. Hafer about lowering the Vectren bill for all city and county facilities and all charitable organizations while you are at it. Better yet, what about Vectren giving $20 million to the hotel folks. Very direct and eliminates the city all together.

  9. Commissioner Friend:

    You really don’t need the Business Plan.

    Just vote ‘NO’.

  10. You know what’s sad? This is nothing new.

    The mayor’s office has done this for 10 years now – all of which has occurred during Friend’s tenure on the City Council. He’s not looking out for us taxpayers.

    He’s looking out for his own political future. He’s going to run for mayor.

    And then we’ll see his mug shot from his arrest on TV commercials, billboards and TV ads 24/7 and he’ll lose and we’ll be stuck with Winnecke again.

    If Friend did this when Weinzapfel was mayor it would be another story. But he didn’t – so that tells us his true colors.

  11. I do not see any room for drama here as much as we would all like to see someone stand up and make a real difference.

    Monday night, 8-12-2013, will be the “informational” meeting, and Winnecke wants a vote the following week on 8-19-2013.

    The common council may put on some theatrics for the uninitiated but the vote will go the same way the recent vote on the Water Dept./ JCI contract vote went. Svengali has probably already signed off on the delivery of this one.


  12. Business plan? Business plan?

    We don’t need to show you no stinking business plan!

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