Winnecke, “Hotel to be delayed up to 90 days”

Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke
Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke

The CCO has learned that there will be a delay in construction of the downtown convention hotel in Evansville.

Although administration sources claim that work has already begun on Evansville’s downtown convention hotel,the CCO has confirmed that Dunn Hospitality Group, that also operates a Hilton Hotel on the city’s east side, filed that protest with Hilton.

Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke said today that the downtown hotel project could be delayed for 60 to 90 days while Hilton conducts a market analysis.

Hilton could still pull the franchise, but according to the Mayor HCW Development, is confident that won’t happen.

This is a developing story.


  1. “Hotel to be delayed up to 90 days”

    I am shocked! Shocked I tell you!

  2. HCW:’Why look, right over there. Those are the people who not only loaned me the money but they assure me that Hilton will not look kindly on Mr. Dunn’s complaint. Those guys sure come in handy. I think I’ll put them on full time’.

  3. I wish John Dunn would cut this crap out! He has come off looking badly throughout this entire deal.

      • I don’t think John Dunn is a bad person. I just wish he would stop trying to hold up this project that is good for downtown. I fail to believe that a convention hotel will compete with a typical hotel based next to an interstate on the eastside.

  4. Mr. Dunn is playing hardball. Is it true this could affect the April 11 decision by the IU Trustees meeting in Bloomington to decide where to locate the IU med. school? Is it true the April 11 meeting of the IU Trustees will be televised live the atrium of Old National Bank’s Downtown Evansville headquarters? Is it true the ONB atrium event begins at 11:30 a.m. CDT, with the live-stream broadcast starting at 11:45 a.m. CDT?

  5. Mr.Dunn is a businessman looking out for his money ,and taxpayers to boot
    why should we all have to spend taxpayer dollars on a hotel that we will not get any ROI
    why should Mr.Dunn have to spend his tax dollars on helping to fund the competition ?
    I thank you Mr. Dunn

  6. Do they have the financing or will the city end up paying for the whole thing and get no equity?

  7. On the noon news on WIKY Dunn denied he or anyone else at Dunn Hospitallty had any thing to do with this protest. On the 6:30 news he admitted he did file the protest.

    • Actually he admitted that someone else in the Dunn Hospitality group had filed the protest without his knowledge. Please do not try to make it sound like John Dunn told a lie. He did not.

      • Yeah there’s a big difference there. My opinion of John Dunn is 180 degrees different than my opinion of David Dunn. I don’t appreciate the way David handled the ballfields issue. And while the faces at the ECVB have changed, very little has in terms of how they conduct their business.

        • From the CP tonight:

          “But Mayor Lloyd Winnecke said Tuesday the objection within the Hilton organization could cause a delay in final approval of private financing. That approval is required to obtain a franchise license with Hilton.”

          It looks to me like someone staged a photo op and claimed to have financing when they didn’t. Somebody told a big fat lie and now they are caught. Winnochio’s nose ought to be a foot long after this whopper.

          • Actors use lies to tell the truth. Politicians use the truth to tell lies. That is what the groundbreaking was about, using a bunch of small truths to tell a great big lie.

          • I think you’re right about the financing not being in place, but of course, it will be “right away.” Just “red-tape”, nothing to see here, move along folks!.
            It may turn out that giving cover for this “delay” is the best thing Dunn could have ever done for Winnecke.

          • In light of the HCW guy pointing out the lenders at the sandbreaking, it does look like they kinda jumped the gun again on saying the financing is in place.

            Then again, it probably is in place. It might well be going to stay there.

            Dunn seemed believable when he said he didn’t authorize the complaint. Winnecke had a point when he said Dunn could still rescind it.

            Willard had their money in the bank before they called in the load of sand. The city didn’t.

      • I listened to what he said yesterday evening. Said nothing about laying the blame on anyone else. What I heard today it was someone from his company did it without his knowledge. My question is why it took so long for Dunns group to file the protest with Hilton.

          • Heck yes it is valid. Hilton can’t just take Dunn’s money for a franchise and then destroy his market so they can pocket another franchise fee. That is a form of fraud. Now if HCW were building a 4-Star or above property like a Conrad, Dunn would have no merit as Conrad serves a different clientele than the Garden does. Whatever happened to that 4-Star hotel promise that Weinzapfel made? What an effing liar.

      • Do you seriously believe that Dunn’s COO or CFO, which ever he is, would have filed that complaint with the Hilton organization without checking with the boss first?

        Some things strain credulity. This is one of them.


  8. I’m thoroughly satisfied to see the city facing another round of speed bumps. This is the type of thing they would do so how ironic the boomerang came back.

    With that being said, the ball fields out in the boondocks should be blocked on the grounds of it competing with Kleymeyer. They are different type of facilities but hey if the city is already threatening to close the complex down then I think what is good for the hotel project should be good for the ball fields. Surely we don’t have two hypocritical sides fighting each other.

    And then Jonathan Weaver on the news asking if this complaint was sour grapes. Now tell me Jonathan, who would file a criminal complaint based on nothing but pettiness? Sit down and shut up.


      We,ve heard seen,and agree with your assessment of Kleymeyer vs the apparent ballpark site selection out near Warrick. The urban site you’ve spotlighted would enhance that area throughput due to First avenue and the Diamond ave to downtown interface.
      That site is really acceptable for some advanced Northside CSO control with a sidebar function connected to both the Ball Park theme and the redevelopment of the North main Jacobsville neighborhood. Done right the extended benefit of inducing family retail contact from The Lloyd Expressway to Mill road along First avenue. The Park there could really sport Your Northpark back into the primary focus it should be in, as well.

      Having the Greenway at that point. Going across connecting to Garvin and Bosse field would easily be cinched in with little construction using the Diamond bridge as an anchor point to the flood structure already there. Thus, a very easy and viable connection with multiple pathway combinations.
      I was of the notion back a few, when this was first in highlight that if they had to develop the North green river field it should have been to improve that throughput and increase the timing and functional capabilities of the “Soccer and Lacrosse fields” for extended operations and higher numbers of field availability for those already established sporting events.
      They should’a built an indoor for that there,it would be Smart City Climate change applied forward,real notable for tournaments and heads in beds,everyone doesn’t have that to offer. Also keeps mother nature from sticking a finger in their the pie too.

      This could have put the baseball focus back to its local legacy field where it really belongs to serve the population and commerce features of the given locations there.
      Enhanced throughput,Flood control,Roadways and Greenway construction,along with,Increased Recreational access to all.

      That grows three sports at variations of locations to bloom new timing commerce availability,plus drives the throughput improvements with actual revenue returns. And,diversifies tournaments entertainment offerings throughout the years timing and availability in maximum location spanning,as well .So.

      Not even to say how you could actually work the whole conceptualization forward for a viable student access directly in connection with Southwestern Indiana’s IVY Tech campus location.
      Geez, that would play right square on onto The student throughput corridor for “Any” one of the proposed “viable” IU medical complexes,East at Gateway,West at USI and connected (cross counties) by throughput focus and viable “cost effective” environmental improvements functionally in design to control the largest primary issue the CSO and flood control. Lots of birds with one stone connected with an overall Smart city theme.

      Stay on the horse,someday it’ll pay off bud,might not be evansville but hey.

      • Exactly! The problem is, we’ve got too many people wanting to run for positions like the county council and not enough wanting to build a quality ball field complex.

  9. Wonder why Marsha and Wayne thinks about? Anybody heard from Wayne lately?
    I was told by reliable sources that Some of Marsha Abell campaign committee told Wayne to shut up and stop posting stupid stuff in the CCO. If that is true looks like this request is a little to late. Wayne has killed Marsha’s re-election bid. Game over.

  10. Mr Clark
    You are right it’s not my decision. I didn’t say it was. You ask a question, I gave you my answer. Now let me ask you a question, do you have to be a decision maker to respond to comments on this site? If so that’s going to eliminate about 99% of the people who comment.

  11. Mr. Waldroup,

    I appreciate your response. I was responding to your response in the same way you were responding to mine. You know that I never said you have to be a decision maker to respond to comments. Even though you know that, you still made that false inference. You also did this regarding Mr. Dunn. You made false claims regarding his statements.

    Personally, I think everyone’s posts should be allowed. That includes yours, Mr. Waldroup. I may not agree with you on some issues, but I would never attempt to inhibit your postings. I think having divergent views available on this site is extremely important. I hope you continue to post your opinion.

  12. Winnochio: With all due respect, how are you so sure Dunn’s claim is valid? There are at least two types of franchises; one being of territory in nature, and another that is location specific. I am sure you can discern the difference. Which does Dunn possess? Naturally, the territorial franchise is not popular with the franchisor, so those are going to be limited in number. I’m neither for or against Dunn’s actions, but I can understand his wanting to protect his investment against competition, more specifically public funded competition. Mr Dunn is a sharp guy. If it turns out he never had a legal leg to stand on, do we view his actions as being taken for the sole purpose of delaying/stopping the Winnie hotel?

    • I assume that there is some level of protection for Dunn through their deal with Hilton. If there is nothing in their franchise agreement that would merit the complaint they filed it should be a very short process to get this complaint dismissed. The fact that Winnecke knew enough to say it could take 80 days to mitigate, it is safe to assume that there are protection clauses and that the market study that is supposedly going to be done is needed to determine whether or not that clause is being violated.

      On the other hand, Kunkel was going with the Sheraton brand. Why couldn’t HCW just do an agreement with either Sheraton or Hyatt and be done with it? If they have their financing in order that could happen quickly. HCW has the solution in their pocket and have not pursued it. I wonder why? Market study not good? Financing not in place? Looking for a delay tactic is more like it.

      • Doubletree’s standard franchise agreement has no provisions for granting a protected area or territory. HOWEVER, like Hilton Garden, there is a provision for a restricted area. It seems the size of the area is tightly controlled and for a limited duration of time. As far as loan approval being required to be granted a franchise, “did you see the size of that document?” Heck, a person might as well sit down and read the ACA.

        • Yes I did see and that is why I did not spend the night to read the whole thing. I did scan it though and did not find any such references. From a common sense perspective it would seem like a bank would require a franchise agreement to be in place before funding a loan for an unbranded generic hotel with no proven operations agreement in place. A franchisor requiring loan approval does not make sense.

  13. The public needs to know what is really transpiring with this, because the media has missed the mark. The “protest” that Dunn Hospitality sent to Hilton was in fact a response to Hilton’s questions about the impact of the proposed new hotel on the existing Hilton branded hotels in the market. This is standard practice when an application is submitted for a new hotel in the market. What this means is that HCW just recently APPLIED for the license from Hilton to operate the hotel as a Doubletree. They have been calling it a Doubletree for about a year now, without Hilton’s permission!!! Most likely this was because they did not want to pay the $150K application fee until financing was secure…but they were willing for the city to hold a ceremonial ground breaking for them before that.

    As far as why Dunn Hospitality has expressed its concern to Hilton over the granting of this franchise…DHG had invested millions of private dollars in the development of 2 Hilton-branded hotels in Evansville. Those hotels, along with the other Hampton Inn in town depend greatly on the business of the Hilton loyal customer (HHonors Members) for their success. HCW has stated publicly that a new Doubletree would rely heavily on those same HHonors Members for their success. With the Hundon Study stating that 70% of the new hotel’s business would come from the existing business in the market, that puts about a $4 million bullseye on Dunn’s 2 Hilton hotels. Let me ask you, what private businessman would NOT speak up in objection to that type of threat to his business?? He would be a fool not to. This is not even an issue of private vs. public funding…this is just a severe business threat.

    Most likely, Hilton will send in their own people to look at the market and evaluate the impact themselves. Then they will make their decision. But instead of blaming John Dunn for any delays in this project, we should be asking HCW why they waited so long to even apply for the franchise!!! They are the ones that have caused this timing snafu.

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