EDITORIAL: The Time For Full Disclosure Concerning The Downtown Hotel Is Now


    Over the last several months we have been watching, with interest, the political exchange between members of City Council and Mayor Winnecke and his staff pitching back and forth a political football called the Downtown Convention Hotel.

    Last week the Mayor rebuffed City Council President, Dr. Dan Adams’ requests for an update on the present status of the revised plans for the Hotel? Mayor Winnecke’s response was a polite “no”. The Mayor’s response was startling, because this was the Mayor who promised open and honest government to the people who elected him Mayor. The people of this community took him up on his promise and indeed elected him Mayor of this great City. However the Mayor has broken his promise by rejecting the opportunity to make a detailed presentation of the overall status of the newly re-designed Downtown Convention Hotel.

    We feel it’s time that not only the City Council, but also the taxpayers of this community demand the Mayor make public the redesigned plans for the Hotel and the new projected cost of this project. We also wonder if the cost for the foundation, footers, sidewalk, street and landscaping are included in the new bid price? We also feel the taxpayers need to be informed about how much these additional add-ons to this project are going to cost? If the Mayor continues to deny the City Council’s respectful request for him to appear before that body, they should consult with the City Council Attorney for legal remedies that will force the Mayor to define the new project.

    Somehow we missed it. We believed when the legal financial entity of city government, the City Council, appropriates $20 million dollars of taxpayer money to a project (Downtown Hotel) the taxpayers have all the right to Demand Transparency and accurate information about the new design and cost changes. of the Hotel. We are wondering what is the Mayor trying to hide from the taxpayers about this project? Its time for City Council and city taxpayers to publicly Demand Full, Honest and Accurate Disclosure concerning the proposed Downtown Convention Hotel!

    This is the DEFINING MOMENT for the Mayor to demonstrate his respect for good public policy by agreeing to release the details of the amended plans for the Downtown Convention Hotel. It will be an honest and much needed display of being a good steward of the public trust. Bottom line, this issue is all about open and transparent government. The time for full disclosure concerning the Downtown Hotel is now! The public deserves no less.

    Please take time and vote in todays “Readers Poll”. Also we just posted the current City County Observer TRI-STATE VOICES TV show for you’re viewing pleasure. Copyright 2015 City County Observer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


    1. ” We also wonder if the cost for the foundation, footers, sidewalk, street and landscaping are included in the new bid price? We also feel the taxpayers need to be informed about ”
      Yes, and the additional rotten combined sewers load and that’s still an mandated infrastructure upgrade. That’s the core issue in old downtown Evansville, the outdated archaic infrastructure has been consistently neglected year after year, while cronies fueling fluff projects breeze through as if nothing including the horrible logistical accesses didn’t even exist.
      Poor show Evansville, and very poor leadership as well.

    2. The Natives are restless to say the least,–their valid concerns about his Administration’s Financial schemes and shenanigans, will ultimately have Wennecke facing “Pitchfork” diplomacy from the Voters this November, and sporting a well deserved– Suit of “Tar&Feathers” on his retirement trip out of Town..

    3. The other side of disclosure and honesty could fairly be said to be hiding stuff and lying.

      Let Winnecke know at election time where you think he lands on that important measure of mayoral rectitude.

    4. If there was a solid deal in place, Mayor Winnecke would be chomping at the bit to provide updates via Facebook, Twitter, press release, ground breaking, and testimony before the City Council. There may even be free T-shirts for all. This hotel is not a done deal yet. If it was it would be announced already.

    5. Predictions; The total cost to the taxpayers . . .

      1. Footers = 3.5 Million

      2. Streetscape = 2,7 million

      3. Garage = 11.2 million

      4. Sewer System = 4.8 million

      No indoor Pool

      No UV windows.

      In room window air conditioning

      No Roof top bar/lounge

      Elimination of 17 rooms

      No nice ten story structure . . . elimination of the apartment tower (why, because HCW doesn’t have the funds)

      Why is it that everybody is surprised? This Mayor has never written one payroll check . . . never took one business course in college . . . banker, hell . . he was hired to cut ribbon . . . never was part of a loan committee . . .never read or analyzed financial statements . . and now he is directing Millions and Millions of our tax money down the crapper . . . oh yes he has worked hard to deserve the name Santa Lloyd!!!

      • of course you left out the fact that the original development agreement with HCW had a guarantee to them (HCW) in the amount of $7.5 million and the guarantee is now $9.9 million and . . . so where is the extra money coming from increase in the garage cost was 5.6 million and now 10.5 million and 1700 less students . . . it sure looks like this Convention Motel will be costing us $32,000,000 not $20,000,000 as the council originally voted on…

        • This is driven by desperation on the part of the Winnecke Administration and an unwillingness to hold their feet to the fire by the City Council. As I recall the original agreement was for the City to put up $17 Million and the County to put up $3 Million for a total of $20 Million of incentives. The outcome was to be a 10 story 4-Star hotel, a parking garage, and an apartment building. The price has gone up and the outcomes have been reduced. The deal as it is moving forward without opposition from the spineless City Council is not a deal that is worthy of public investment.

    6. Where does Gail stand on this issue? We need to hold all of their feet to the fire.

      • She has said she wants a hotel downtown. I don’t think the embarrassing and dishonest way the mayor is going about it is what she had in mind or would have done. As far as I know she has no culpability for the Winnecke Hotel Debacle. Accordingly, her feet shall go unsinged.

        The city council could pretty well stop this if they wanted to. Given Winnecke’s track record it would be a wise move on their part. The council should collectively be made to walk on hot coals for their cavalier disbursement of public money and failure to claw it back once the deal changed significantly and that became indicated.

        Given the real possibility of a new mayor after the election, the hotel should now be tabled.

        • What will she do different to build the double stack Riecken Arms? The plans for this low-temperature should fuel the fire for the foot fetish inquisition.

          • Don’t know. Consulting with someone who knows the business would be a good start. We have some in Evansville. Trying to get the public behind it would be nice. That could be difficult with the city’s infrastructure crumbling and the EPA mandate that has given rise to pocket-pickery via fancy water meters. People might remember the panicked downsizing, the money flushing with no remorse, the long faced press conference, the mayor’s hilarious shovel events, the parked bulldozer play-acting, the outright dishonesty and serial deadlines chiseled in Jello. Lloydie and his mighty crew have loosed bad hotel vibes on this town.

            I hope if Gail Riecken is elected she’ll take a very deliberate approach and then shit-can it. It is apparently unneeded or Dunn would have found a way to plop one down there.
            You mean those (current) plans should be summarily stomped by a pair of Doc Martens or the oversized foot of a gigantic supermodel? The Pancaked Hilton itself has already taken a terrible pruning in the service of ensuring there is enough money to go around. There are a lot of hands out with a project like this. The horde of conventioneers will be likely be treated to stained sheets and a watered whiskey bar, old hookers, room airconditioning (Phoenix on call) and a view of nothing. They might actually prefer that to having to limp across the street to the Events Plaza. Ho ho ho.

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