IS IT TRUE? July 17, 2011


IS IT TRUE? July 17, 2011

IS IT TRUE that in 48 hours that the Evansville Redevelopment Commission will once again sit in judgment of the responses of any businesses that have chosen to put in a bid to BUILD AND OPERATE a downtown Convention Hotel that is slated to sit upon the land south of the new Arena and west of the Centre?…that one very real question regarding this bidding process is just why the ERC is the governing body that is sitting in such judgment?…that it may just be worth examining on what authority that the ERC is doing this and how and when that authority was granted?

IS IT TRUE that presumptively this authority is was granted by the Evansville City Council to the ERC in 2009 with the passage of Resolution C-2009-20 and further detailed by the ERC that same month with 09-ERC-40?…that among other things the authorities granted included “supporting activities consistent with and in furtherance of the recommendations set out in the “Market, Financial, Funding, & Site Analysis – Multi Purpose Arena Venue in Evansville, Indiana” including undertaking feasibility studies, planning and design work, site acquisition, site preparation, infrastructure serving sites, site improvements either directly by the activities of the ERC or indirectly in combination with activities of private enterprises”?…that we wonder just which of those things that providing tax abatement and direct financial assistance to a private hotel developer that falls under?

IS IT TRUE that the Resolution C-2009-20 plainly states that “no property tax money will be used” in doing any of the things that the ERC was granted authority over?…that granting a tax abatement or phase-in as some prefer to call it does indeed use property tax money?…that the way it does this is by deferring property taxes for a developer?…that those dollars of property taxes are then distributed into the tax bills of the taxpayers of Evansville to the extent that any overall rate is increased for any of the years of the abatement?…that the only way to escape this Snegal little tactic is to have your property taxes maxed out against the 1% limit before the abatement takes place?…that the ERC does not appear to have the authority to make deals with tax abatements and that the permission granted for the tax abatement agreement that Woodruff Hospitality LLC was granted died when the agreement was rescinded?…that the structure of the deal for whomever rises to the top of the heap of bidders will have to once again go before the Evansville City Council for approval of any and all public assistance included in the package?

IS IT TRUE that it is tradition for political campaigns to seek donations from construction companies and trade unions?…that quite often these companies are the winning bidders in public works projects?…that many of these companies and the unions that they hire do indeed make donations to political campaigns?…that this is another SNEGAL artifact of our accepted way of paying for public projects?…that for a City to pay money to a company for doing a legitimate job and for that company to then donate to the campaign of any of the people who were in office at the time the bid was submitted is a two degrees of separation way to transfer public tax money into the campaign coffers of politicians?…that when such companies are granted tax abatements that any politician that receives a political contribution is basically getting that money from the taxpaying citizens?…that every construction company, subcontractor, union, or other benefactor of public works that later transfers money to a politician in the form of a contribution is part of a practice that runs the price of public projects higher?…that a better system would not allow such things to happen?…that direct payments for jobs are standard operating procedure in banana republics?…that is part of why we call them banana republics?…that this and other RFP’s should ask for a list of politicians that each responder has made in the last 3 years and FORBID any contributions to the campaigns of people who approved any tax abatements for the entire period of the abatement?

IS IT TRUE that we really wonder how a hotel became a public works project and exactly which budget this will be allocated to if and when public money is committed to private project?

IS IT TRUE that we wonder who is GLOBAL SPECTRUM and just why they were not a bidder to manage the new Arena?


    • Global Spectrum is based out of Philly (their company is named from the old spectrum the sixers use to play in). Their company is about the same size as SMG.

      Right now, they’ve got their hands full with Philly Live but they are such a large company they can probably absorb a project like this with the greatest of ease.

  1. Thanks for the inspiration Joe, but who among us can/will, effectively, stand up for the taxpayers and what’s right?
    We need a true advocate; a hero of sorts who will face and defeat this evil Goliath.
    One can only hope that Goliath will grow a conscience or that we grow some courage and savvy.
    Again: Thanks for the inspiration. …

  2. “…that one very real question regarding this bidding process is just why the ERC is the governing body that is sitting in such judgment?…that it may just be worth examining on what authority that the ERC is doing this and how and when that authority was granted?” (CCO)

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    You may find your answer here:

    Pay particular attention to :

    IC 36-7-14-2.5

    IC 36-7-14-41

    IC 36-7-14-43


  3. I find it unusual that an RFP for a hotel in the $30M range is only advertised for one week before the proposals are opened. How can a prospective builder put together a package in this short of a time? They cannot. This is a done deal with a builder, and is a complete waste of time for any other prospective builder to submit a proposal. Can we be assured the winner is indeed the best propsal, or is this another “behind closed doors” deal?

  4. Between the downtown condos, the Whirlpool industrial park, and now this hotel project, I do not believe it is unreasonable for people to wonder about the connection between Ben Kunkel and the mayor of Evansville.

    All of these projects have had a taxpayer component associated with them.

    • The Kunkel Group has done magnificent things for buildings that have been left for dead. The city needs to listen to this group more not less.

    • I do not recall any public money in the Whirlpool deal. There would have been if Kunkel did not do the deal they did with Whirpool but I am sure that is a private transaction.

      On the connection between Mr. Kunkel and the Mayor, it may be as simple as Kunkel is willing to do projects in Evansville and the Mayor wants them to get done. Kunkel may be the builder of last and only resort for downtown Evansville.

      The hotel will be another measuring stick for outside interest. Evansville has not exactly had outside or inside investors beating the door down. Kunkel just seems to hang around and take what is offered when no one else is interested.

  5. @Pressanykey- What city money was used for the Whirlpool project? Newsflash- there wasn’t any.

    As for the condos- the city’s investment was minimal at best in relation to the scope of the project and given the positive impact on the tax base.

    I’ll never understand why people have so much hate for people that try to makes improvements to the community.

    • I do not think the price Kunkel paid for the property has been disclosed. I was aware that before this sale took place there was rumblings of airport expansion as one possible need for the property.

      I will let you mull over the possibilities in your mind.

    • What an honor to finally have a Fan Club ! This is similar to bubbageek having bubbafreak on the C& P site I would guess. In any event, FAN1, just send your posts to me first so I can rubber stamp them. Also, if I have a Fan Club, where are the groupies ??????

  6. You can continue to dwell in innuendo and conspiracy theories. That’s obviously your comfort zone.

    I and other sane citizens will just dwell in the facts.

  7. Let’s cut to the chase: Mayor Whiney-Boy’s reputation is ruined. His fall from grace with his own party and voters was based on gross corruption and negligence. Worse yet, he was crooked long before he became incompetent, and all he has to show for it is a campaign fund with more than one million dollars in it, with no chance of putting it to good use other than to give it to other politicians. The chances of that happening are slim and none, and slim just died…

    • There is always the option of donating the entire campaign to a non-profit. Of course if that non-profit needed to hire an executive director with mayoral experience and use the new donation to pay him wouldn’t that just be peachy?

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