Pro-Hotel Facebook Admin Alleges John Dunn Buying Councilmen & Councilman Friend of Improper Accounting Practice


Pro-Hotel Facebook Admin Alleges John Dunn Buying Councilmen & Councilman Friend of Improper Accounting Practices



The mudslinging has truly gone beyond the norms of civilized discussions in the wake of this weekend’s revelations about the stalled vetting process of the hotel agreement with HCW. Not only has the Mayor’s Office released a clarification statement by Rob Hunden but the administrator of the Facebook page “Citizens of Evansville for Progress on a Downtown Hotel” has accused John Dunn of a crime and Councilman John Friend of improper accounting practices on the Courier and Press comment site. Both posts are included in this article for our readers to make their own conclusions:

Community Comment

In the last 24 hours numerous allegations of a serious nature have been flying freely in comments on both the Courier Press, article entitled “Consultant Refuses to Review Hotel Developer” and now the Pro-Hotel Facebook page.

In a post dated September 16th at 12:57pm, pro-hotel Facebook group Administrator Phyllip Davis alleged on his page that hotelier John Dunn is “buy[ing]” Council votes and/or paying Council members to obstruct the process.

“What I’m most amazed by in this is the number of people still with Dunn on this,” said Davis. “If it were a movie, it would be unbelievable. A rich, hotel tycoon is against a competitive project in the city that will help the city because it affects his plans for growth on the east side. He then turns on several community organizations and ends his support of them. He buys Council members to do his bidding and people stand with him like he smells like roses. Unbelievable.”

In another comment on the Courier Press article entitled “Consultant refuses to review hotel developer” Davis alleges improper behavior specifically on the part of Councilman John Friend: “They should have been capable of vetting HCW without having to give John Friend, who is rumored to be associated with Dunn, their financials.”

Bribing a public official is a serious crime in the State of Indiana, a felony in fact, and may even come with Federal charges as well. If there is any merit to this most serious of allegations, Mr. Davis and others should present whatever evidence they possess to our County Prosecutor, the Indiana State Police, and the State Attorney General.

If no such evidence exists, we would remind Mr. Davis and anyone else thinking of making such allegations of felony activity in a public forum their words may be considered libelous if they are not true and the offended parties wish to litigate.



  1. This is the same man who has been bullying, harassing, brow beating and belittling everyone and anyone who disagrees with him on any Facebook page that he can access. He jumped all over folks on Lloyd Winneckes personal FB page, as if he owned it, along with other downtown city office workers. Is he auditioning for a job or what is his feverish agenda?

    • Phyllip Davis is an uneducated buffoon with no common sense who has found a senseless audience in the society circles of Evansville. They always seem to seize on an African American that is looking to make a name for himself to carry their water for them. Davis knows nothing of hotels, economics, or development. He is just the convenient idiot of the month for the beautiful people of Evansville. When this is over they will have nothing to do with him. I hope he enjoys his 15 minutes of fame but don’t look for Mr. Davis on the guest list down at the museums.

  2. I have been pretty nuetral on this whole saga. I see the need, but I also see the concerns. Sitting in my seat with the popcorn seems more appropriate for me.

    With that said, I really don’t see the problem here. He is entitled to his opinion, and frankly, my first thought on Friend was what was his relationship with Dunn. And it is certainly fair to say Dunn is bullying whoever he can with this. Threatening support for non-related charitable casuses is out of bounds IMO. I’m sure he would feel differently if people started cutting off Holly’s House for the same non-sensical reasons.

    I have also seen plenty of suspect accusations from the CCO as well. It is what makes this an interesting read. I guess adding “Is it true” in front of it makes it different.

    • You say mr Dunn may be bullying who ever he can ? If he is in fact at least he is using his own money
      Where as the evansville mayors have been bullying us with our tax dollars that we pain in.
      I for one don’t like crap shoved down my throat like the mayors are doing
      Mr Dunn hasn’t cost me 1 thin dime yet

      • John Dunn and John Friend should sue this loudmouthed tool into the stone age. His statements will cost them money and his allegations are based on nothing but emotional “we deserve it” drivel.

      • Evilletaxpayer…you claim that Mr. Dunn is using his own money…maybe he’s using the money that he made when he bought the parking lot next door to the McCurdy for $125,000 and sold it to the city a couple of months later for $600,000!

        • So what, he bought it at public auction and sold it to the ERC based on the average of 3 current appraisals. The real question is where was the city when the parking lot was auctioned. If there had been a master plan in place the city could easily have outbid Dunn and gotten the parking lot for way under $603,000. I guess whomever was running the city at the time was just doing things willy nilly instead of following a plan.

        • So how do you think some of our former members of the City Council like Curt John, Kieth Jarboe, and Bagbey would have liked it if someone accused them of being “owned” by some rich guy who “bought” them? I don’t think any of them would have taken that laying down.

  3. John Dunn and John Friend are not just “associated”, they are related. They share the same name for gosh sakes !

  4. I don’t think John Friend is being bought off at all. I think he’s pretty comfortable financially to do something that stupid. If he were bought off, he’d be out there fighting this just to be fighting it but he’s not. He’s giving valid and pointed facts and reasons that the Winnecke camp can’t even answer the most basic ones. It wasn’t Friends that ran off Crowe & Horwath off, it was HCW and their non disclosure agreement.

    With all of that being said, I do agree with the overall feeling that Mr. Davis is implying and that is that Dunn Hospitality is getting a free pass here. This used to be the site of Opus One, now it’s a Dunn Hospitality war room. What we’re basically hearing from the no group is that financing sprawl is ok, but financing indemnification for those areas devastated by the sprawl is not. It’s gotten so bad that I felt like I had no choice but to leave the group against the hotel.

    It’s one thing to oppose a hotel project that is marked up at a significant premium and doesn’t match market demand. It’s quite another to turn into a blatant hypocrite over it. It kind of reminds me of that old Jesus quote about what good does it do to conquer the world if you loose your soul in the process.

    • Rails,

      1) Did Dunn Hospitality really receive taxpayer funds for the “sprawl” you claim they have built ?;

      2) If Dunn built in other parts of the City and decided NOT to put hotels Downtown, isn’t that his prerogative if he is using his own money ? If as a result of building in other areas of the City, instead of Downtown , isn’t that just CAPITALISM in action ?
      In other words, if the Downtown was “devastated by the sprawl”–so what, that’s just business (and savvy investing) ?;

      3) I do agree that CCO has picked Dunn as the winner, just as C & P has picked the City Administration as the winner. Can you start an independent, unbiased newspaper to break the tie ?

      • 1) Lord yes, the amount of money the taxpayers had to shell out to construct I-164 was unprecedented (and now they want to waste more by making it another interstate), not to mention expanding the Lloyd & Eagle Crest.

        And that’s just the roads aspect of it. How much has it cost to run extra sewers out there? How much of those funds could have been used on existing sewers if the city had decided not to build infrastructure all the way out to the Warrick Co line?

        How much has it cost to extend medical, fire, and other gov’t services?

        Those who look at these issues from what’s best from a taxpayer’s wallet standpoint never see the hidden costs and indirect costs associated with development. If they did, the east side would never have been allowed to turn into the mess it has. It’s time to reign in this disaster of an urban planning plan.

        2. If the University Parkway had not been built, do you think we would be talking about Majestic Place? Of course not, you wouldn’t even be able to walk to it. This is the same situation just different side. And sooner or later, if the city has any desire to tackle its serious issues such as finances, health, and the environment, there is going to have to be a concerted effort to return to the core. Not to mention, this is now a massive trend shown by young professionals that everyone keeps talking about as the fountain of youth for this city’s future.

        This is not a free market, it’s a gov’t has chosen to sprawl instead of smartly grow market. The demise of Evansville has paralleled that of its sprawl expansion.

        3. First of all, I would not be breaking the tie as I don’t support either. However, if starting a new paper were as easy as you make it sound I would have. I learned through my creation of the group Tri-State Tomorrow just how apathetic this city is and just how unwilling this city is do something that goes to the common good and not to personal wallets or careers.

        It takes money and several political kiss ups to do something like that. I have neither.

        I will say I was proud of Phyllip Davis for starting the City-County Celebrator. I thought he was trying to do just that. But as I read a comment he has made about me on facebook, I am kind of disappointed in his actions.

        • I don’t believe I-164 was built for the purpose of providing a road for Dunn’s hotel ! That bypass was desperately needed. No surprise, a LOT of people use that highway. And guess what, if a capitalist wants to place a hotel next to a much-needed highway, that’s OK to me.

          Not to be argumentative, but I don’t think a check for $ 37.5 Million and building an essential bypass are in the same league of ‘subsidies’.

          • Oh no, I’m very much against the $37.5 mil subsidy. I think it’s a completely lopsided deal and outside of Mr. Phillip Hooper I really don’t have any confidence in those representing the city to get a good deal.

            I am not arguing in favor of constructing a facility that is too large for market demand. What I am saying is that the Dunn group is arguing that this hotel will take away business from their hotels and my opinion is who cares, its business that they took away from downtown to begin with. And yes the construction of the interstate as well as multiple other roads was one of the main factors.

            The bypass was not needed at all. There was a bypass and its US 41. Now it’s been left as a death trap. But of course, instead of going ahead and downgrading it to a boulevard, the city is going to waste over $13 mil more to do a full four leaf clover at the Lloyd. So now it’s going to be stuck in the middle.

            Even if a bypass was needed, a growth boundary should have been put in. That saved the city of Lexington many times over and I’m sure Ann Arbor is the same way. But instead, the Lloyd, N. Green River, and Burkhardt are all being upgraded to encourage this mess, and so we watch as hotel, after hospital, after restaurant bolts to the east side in a manner that is nothing more than a shift, not growth.

    • After discussing in great length the goals of the No group with the main admin of the No group, I have decided to rejoin their group with the idea being that he is fighting the current proposal and nothing else.

      Although I am very much in favor of shifting all development back downtown, I am also very much against funding this project to the tune of $37.5, a figure that appears to have literally jumped up nearly $30 million over night with no explanation. Therefore, my support goes from neutral back to NO.

  5. Phyllip has no idea what he’s talking about. Where was he the previous 3 tries? If we need a cheerleader we have plenty of them to call Phyllip but thanks for the effort.

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