IS IT TRUE “Weekend Hotel Blues”


IS IT TRUE the reality of maxing out the credit card must have reached out an smacked the Winnecke Administration right upside the head this week?…the Saturday confession that there are some serious financing issues going on in the preparation to fund the City of Evansville’s part of the downtown convention hotel and the IU Medical School?…we cannot emphasize just how much this confession to the public must have rankled the stomachs of the people who have been willing to mortgage the future for a few pieces of brick and mortar jewelry to enjoy martinis in?…even the bond council is warning the City that the revenue streams that are slated to pay for these playthings will be stretched to the limit to service the $77 Million of debt?…no prudent manager would go forward with a warning that if things do not go perfectly for the next 20 years that financial disaster is looming?…we assure our readers that things will not go perfectly for even a year, much less for the 20 years the debt will have to be serviced?

IS IT TRUE the most revealing part of the confession is that “Old National Giveth, and Old National Taketh Away”?…in an unanticipated and unplanned for punch to the revenue stream, Old National Bank has successfully challenged the assessment on their downtown headquarters and have been granted a $1 Million per year reduction in their property tax bill?…this translates into exactly $1 Million per year that will not be available to the TIF district that is being counted on to pay the notes on downtown debt?…ONB was hailed as a model corporate citizen for agreeing to pay $14 Million for the worthless naming rights for the Centre?…that is of course deductible as a marketing expense the way the naming rights deal was structured?…after taxes this $14 Million may actually cost ONB $8 Million in the event that they actually write the check?…the million dollar reduction in property taxes is essentially perpetual and at today’s interest rates is worth just over $30 Million?…that is a pretty darn good trade on the part of ONB?…we would like an offer of roughly 300% return on any cash investment out there? …every taxpayer in downtown Evansville now knows that ONB has gotten a tax reduction of over 50% and are doubtlessly considering challenging their own assessments?…a mass assessment challenge that succeeds is the death spiral for downtown public projects and if a 50% reduction is good for ONB it is good for nearly every building in Downtown Evansville?

IS IT TRUE the other confession is that in the best of circumstances the hotel will feed $600,000 per year into the fund that will be used to pay off the $20 Million in bonds that have been approved by the City Council to gift to the developer?…at the 7% interest rate that the City Council has approved the interest on the debt will be $1.4 Million per year?…even if they somehow get a deal on what will be junk municipal bonds at 5% the annual interest payments will be $1 Million?…the reality is that this deal given the whole confessions of the day has turned into a very bad deal for the people of Evansville and at least two members of the City Council (Friend and O’Daniel) have been warning the Winnecke Administration about these risks for over a year?…we are about to find out if we have a Council with a brain and a spine?…watching this deal unfold will define next years election and the next 30 years of the financial prospects for the City of Evansville?

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    • Stay tuned….Vetren will be around the corner…belt up to see that the other parts of our state will cancel the unwritten agreement which allows us to keep the admission fees from the boat (2.6 mil)..the boat will bargain down the lease arrangement by at least one million and between the two, plus reduction in gaming revenues of 800k…ultimately, 40% lost of Boat revenues….expected downtown TIF plus other tax revenue = 7.2 million…2.8 mil = Med school mortgage payments….1.3 mil = Hotel mortgage….3.8 mil = Ford Center…total = 7.9 mil….and London Witte says it will be tight…what an understatement….Kool-aid anyone???

      • John Friend: you should have considered all of the above in your YES votes to: 1. Arena; 2. Hotel subsidy; 3. IU Med School. Who exactly are you griping about ?

    • The downward spiral is happening faster than anticipated.

      When ONB pays $ 1 Million less per YEAR in property taxes , and that is the cause for politicians to start blaming each other on who spent all the money, we are in trouble.

      It seems preposterous to me that we take the gamble of BOTH the Hotel + Med School at once. It seems if either one of those has a blip, we’re done. Not to mention: the 800 lb. gorilla (Ford Center) had no impact whatsoever in commerce/ additional development–why bet the Ranch on the Hotel + IU Med School being the magic bullet ?

      • I also noticed that the ONB $ 1 Million reduction would normally be ‘chump change’, and would not even merit mention. The City Administration and City Council are staking out positions to start blaming each other for the forthcoming ‘troubles’. Any day now . . . former mayor Weinzapfel will also start getting large servings of blame, just watch.

        These dunderheads need to scrap the Hotel project. Let private industry build it if the Med School is going to be so great. When your City Controller starts talking about ‘land-based Casinos’ as being the salvation for future bonded indebtedness, it’s time to find a good 12 Step Program.

        I wonder if the softball article in the C&P was an effort to provide cover for Winnecke to quietly cancel the hotel, and then he can say “since the TIF will be less due to ONB, we thought it prudent to hold back on the Hotel, despite the fact that London Witte told us we COULD HAVE bonded it if we chose to”.

  1. I wish the CP hadn’t driven me from their temple. Not that I am one to say told you so.

    • Hi IE, Did the C&P ban you for life or did you decide to protest the subscription requirement? I miss you over there. One thing the CCO does maintain a somewhat semblance of civility even among disagreeing party’s, but…..

      • I refused to pay an indulgence to be reinstated, but I am willing to pay for the value of having a CP account.

    • I hear they have dropped online subscriptions to $2.99/ mo. I may actually pay three bucks to thumb my nose at the morons one more time.

  2. Question: how long can a community financially stand when its mayor is deficit spending at a rate of over $650,000 per month since he has been in office???

    • Could we get that former Mayor of Detroit, Kwame Kilpatrick, in a straight-up trade ? I hear he has some free time currently.

        • Hey, I said he had ‘some free time’ . . . all Kwame needs is an internet connection and he’s ready to roll from The Graybar Motel . . . 3 hots and a cot !

  3. ‘… a mass assessment challenge that succeeds is the death spiral for downtown public projects and if a 50% reduction is good for ONB it is good for nearly every building in Downtown Evansville?’

    Maybe such a move by the downtown property owners would be good for Evansville in the long run if it helps pull the curtain back on the competency level of those now running the show. Continuing the current course is unsustainable. The projects the mayor are cheerleading for are not in the best interests of the people of Evansville. Maybe he can shakedown the attendees of his upcoming ‘Tis The Season Tea’ for some pelf to fund some of his idiocy.

    Winnecke seems intent on running a slate of candidates for city council who will stamp his requests approved. Instead he should put his communications degree from UE to use. Maybe grab a microphone, a blazer and a one-way ticket to somewhere and offer his talents to a radio station or a town in need of crackerjack administration.
    The planned large increases in water rates are not going to cover the 540 million or so it’s going to cost to fix the sewers. Winnecke responded to the EPA’s mandate by further antagonizing them, showing his class. Wonder why he’s stopped talking about that? It was similar to his foot stomping when the city council finally stood up to him and didn’t give him everything he wanted. He has not shown one flash of good stewardship of this city since the Democrat’s petty bickering put him in office. His closed door participation in the secret meeting in Weinzapfel’s office to suspend the Homestead Tax Credit showed what he’s made of. After getting caught he said it wasn’t his finest moment in public service, or something to that effect. Also after getting caught he suddenly became all for its reinstatement.

    It is way past time for him to step down and let a more able person take over.

  4. Come on city council members. We have to count on you to use common sense about this hotel mess. Its like parenting. Sometimes you just have to say No and mean No!! Is promised (but not guaranteed) tourism worth the financial risk? So many previous promises; so much lost faith and trust.

    • I completely agree, Martha. We are losing the best voice of reason on our city council with SBR’s decision not to seek re-election. Now we have the death squad lining up to finish Evansville off. Mercer, Elpers, and Hargis are surely Poop cronies, and I’m putting my money on Jack Schriber to be on that roster, too.

    • I really have trouble with a city that can’t afford to change the oil in the Police cars committing millions to a convention hotel that is doomed to failure. It is sort of like the McMansion dwellers who live on bologna and beans, but give lavish parties. Phony to the bone.

  5. ‘… a mass assessment challenge that succeeds is the death spiral for downtown public projects and if a 50% reduction is good for ONB it is good for nearly every building in Downtown Evansville?’
    Property values downtown are a joke. The only ones selling are government bought. mostly to raise. Anyone who has tried to sell a property downtown will come up short. I think all of us downtown homeowners should do this.

  6. Two megalomaniac Mayors in a row have put Evansville on the road to disaster, and the worthless and impotent rubber ducks on the City Council don’t know if they should shit, or bake a cake. They have abandoned their responsibility to their “brothers and sisters,”– that they swore to look out for when they sought office.
    -Pitiful!,–it’s amazing how any of them would have the gall to run again!

    • addendum: SBR, – has shown she is not one of the “rubber ducks”.
      Her voice on the Council will be missed.

      • Is it True that it’s easy to see how good people are run off by the bad people? Even after SBR announced that she would not run for another turn the Evansville Courier and Press continued to take a pot shot at her (kicking her when she was down) by posting that god awful picture of her with her face contourted in mid sentence. As a photographer myself I know how easy it is to take a much better picture with a motor drive on the film camera and with todays DSLR’s it’s even easier to get the picture you want with cameras that can take 5 or 6 images per second. Any good film editor could have culled the photo shots and chosen a much better picture of SBR to put on the front page of the paper. I bet you $100 that they would not have done that to their boss! Maybe they should get a picture of the Mayor like that one of SBR and post it on the front page daily until he comes to his senses.

        • They not only did it on purpose they wanted you to know it. They put a thumbnail of a nice picture of her under the big picture next to a thumbnail of the contorted one they led with. If you clicked on the other one, the nicer one, it enlarged in place of the bad picture they purposely ran. It is as shoddy as anything I’ve seen in a paper short of tabloid fare like the National Enquirer.

          Maybe they just wanted to erase any lingering doubt about what they’ve become. Enoch kept them in line. Once he headed for the doors the clock started ticking down on that rag.

        • If he has any senses to come to, I don’t think our First Lady would allow him to do that. Her real estate cronies need him just the way he is.

  7. The c/p is on it’s third spiral to the left, on it’s way to the awful sewer system. Their treatment of SBR is an act not on her, but against the taxpayers of the city. They would fail even if the print industry weren’t in the toilet. They speak on behalf of onb, vectren, & the exclusive 7th. floor “club”, not us. Our only hope is they eventually HAVE to print the truth.

    • Having opened of the purchased paper/with several donuts from a local establishment today, I realized that if one would combined all which is considered the “news paper”, There is no difference in pages then what the daily paper was 10-15 years ago!

      They mention the retirement of five senior employees that were part of their reporting staff effective last Friday!

      • Good for those reporters. I hope they recover from the torture they’ve undergone in recent years.

  8. Is the CCO complaining about or encouraging correct property tax assessments? If stonedreamer’s post is correct, and I believe it is, it gives bandana’s Dec. 6 post on this thread even more pointed.

    • Indiana’s constitution mandates market value assessments. When a property sells is a market based transaction the assessment should be exactly what the transaction price was. We are for correct market value assessments as the constitution mandates. The housing bubble did indeed cause some drops in value and any propery owner who finds their assessment dramatically higher than recent comps should appeal. For the ONB building to have gotten a 52.6% reduction implies that it was over assessed by 111%. There is no way that a competent assessment of a new building could have been off by that much. That is literally like having a $90,000’home assessed at $190,000. The markets have not move by that much. It will be interesting to see if more downtown properties are over assessed by those amounts.

  9. That snake in the grass Marsha Abell should have to answer for giving away the Centre naming rights, among many other things.

    • It was reported that once the county government makes the final payment on the Centre in 2018, the county out right hands their portion of that “food and beverage” tax money ($450,000) to the city for payment for the “Ford Center” That will be upwards of 28 years @ 450,000 equals 12.6 million of county government money. Add that fictionist $14 million for 30 years. That comes to 26.6 million of county government money that Marsha, Marsha, Marsha gave away, that “she” must answer to!

    • Nick Hermann will never look into it. I’ve always thought it is best to have a non-partisan Prosecutor, but it may be better if we had a Democrat in that office right now.

      • Like let’em go Levco? Makes no difference who is in office the results will be the same. Regardless of party affiliation the office holders will be beholden to unions and a few others in the in crowd. SBR and RD are prime examples of what happens when someone strays from the political crony path. This whole thing with Evansville would be funny if I didn’t live here. Speaking of prosecutors it would have been nice to have had a republican as prosecutor in office when the sheriff Ray Hamner, a democrat, was caught with his hand in the taxpayers pockets to the tune of $63,000. And his Chief Deputy, Brad Ellsworth, claimed to be totally unaware of the theft. So other than SBR where could we find an honest lawyer in this town to be the prosecutor? We had a chance to make a major change in the sheriff’s dept and failed.

  10. Kleptocracy is an obstacle to democratic progress. It undermines faith in government institutions and steals prosperity from the people.

    The people behind the scenes, who constantly push for, and benefit from, local government spending have had generations to build their local network. This network has been extremely effective. It is also in danger of taking the city of Evansville into bankruptcy. However, it will not be their names that get dragged through the mud if bankruptcy occurs. It will be the names of the willing accomplices they elevated to political office with their deep pocket fund raising and ownership/control of the media.

  11. Eventually the parasites kill the host. In this case, they can move to warmer climates and live out their days off stored blood.

  12. Let’s face it people, when the Poop “speaks a discouraging word” and Jack Pate allows it to be printed, we’re in deep doo-doo, CSO events or not.

    • good point. But you have to wonder . . . this administration is of the ilk they would NEVER admit anything was wrong, until the point where the moving van pulled up in front of the Civic Center and started loading up the desks and computers. Prediction: HCW or Hunt Construction will come back and say “we need more subsidy to get the loan” or “the costs have risen”; since it’s now public that money is tight, that gives LW cover to “postpone” the hotel, to be revisited “after my reelection or the completion of the IU Med school, whichever happens first”. There was little substance in the C&P article. It sounded like damn the torpedoes, we’ll make this work and London Witte says we can ! If that’s the case, then why run the article ? Someone getting cold feet, looking for the exit ramp ?

    • Yep, and what’s “not so good” about all this is solutions “are” at hand. Its just not the way those in that locale, the people, or commercial entities of the so called “machine” have planned for. “That’s all there is too it”.
      All those archaic Utility problems, the cost for those zombies have compounded over time, as well as, now they’ve been built on, and planned over.

      Its not off the horizons visuals to address problems like your town has, anywhere that occurs. There they’ve chosen those old biased pathways, as usual there. Today, and forward on planet Earth, that’s just not going to work that way, anymore. The people are more informed, the biased media doesn’t hold squat for balance by todays educated communications standards. Its over.

      Next up for balancing of the extreme incursions/ per./ The __ord center, Berry’s downtown footprints, and a large number of medical facilitations that contribute, and suffer, as well, from that mess infrastructure at present.
      The overall failed utility infrastructures and failed logistical value has been pinpointed, presently, and ongoing. Heck, even some of the older EVSC properties, and the counties newer facilities, fail with validity in valued infrastructure footprints environmental profiles, everyday.
      From this point on, our national global assets aren’t going to let up a single notch, maybe even post the observed values to the national media if needed, good social economic climate change stories make the mainstreams every week. ” Everybody knows that*.” ” Ok, but, did you know*?

      Fix it Evansville, that’s pretty easy stuff. “Cheap” in comparison as well.

      Not a good picture, however; it all has the same base solution, as well. We’re extremely firm with those observed aspects. This needs real action, right now.
      “Forty years ago might have been appropriate”, per the communities expressed social economic environmental livability needs. You’ve had to wait, that’s beginning to rear up ugly head everyday now. “Well being polls” and the real stuff which seems to be kept at a lower volume due the local media mainstreams.

      The citizens of Evansville need way more transparency, some, are already standing up to be counted, its past time for the count. Seriously. That’s just the American way, isn’t it………….

  13. Corruption causes bad decisions which only benefit individuals. Not confronting corruption means it grows and spreads.

    Benefitting individuals means you don’t build good managers, just patronage.

    Not having good managers means you don’t have the skills to dig out of a hole.

    Not having skills to be able to dig out of a hole means failure.

    Therefore, corruption = failure.

    • Exactly. All of the recent crying about City Council “micromanaging” city departments is coming from bad managers who are in their positions because of cronyism.

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