Davenport official: Property taxes will not pay for casino pursuit


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Originally Posted Online: April 17, 2013, 11:07 pm
Last Updated: April 17, 2013, 11:08 pm
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By Stephen Elliott, selliott@qconline.com

Property tax dollars were not spent ona $387,500 bill related to Davenport's pursuit of a city-owned, land-based casino, city administrator Craig Malin said Wednesday night.

Davenport resident David Haase raised the question during Wednesday's committee-of-the-whole meeting, asking where the money came from. Aldermen last week, on a 6-to-2 vote, tabled paying the accounting firm of Deloitte and Touche LLP for three months of work related to the city's attempted purchase of the Rhythm City Casino from Isle of Capri.

Mr. Malin said money for the bill — included in the roughly $600,000 the city has acknowledged spending on the casino effort — came from other sources.Mr. Malin said the city receives between $1.6 million and $1.8 million annually in casino revenue. Ald. Jeff Justin, 6th Ward, who also chairs the finance committee, said local option sales tax dollars also will be used to pay for the city's work on a casino purchase.

"That revenue (casino revenue) will be able to be dedicated toward due diligence," Mr. Malin said. "That's in the worst case that the city pays for the due diligence and has no one else to pay for it."

Mr. Malin said the Riverboat Development Authority, the nonprofit group holding the casino license, and any potential groups interested in buying the casino, will be able to use the city's due diligence information.

"That's not going to come for free," he said. "We expect to be repaid for it.

"The due diligence bill, specifically, was directed at trying to make sure we (the city) didn't overpay for an asset (Rhythm City Casino)," Mr. Malin said.

Judith Lee, of Davenport, criticized the city for a lack of accountability on its due diligence.

Last week city attorney Tom Warner said Davenport used its casino consultant, Gary Buettner, and the Des Moines law firm of Ahlers and Cooney to oversee the accounting firm's work in determining the $387,500 bill to the city.

"I've been involved in government contracting," Ms. Lee told the council."In the accounting business, that's what we call riding the horse whereeverybody says, 'Oh, we've got some hours left; we don't know who to charge. Let's charge it to these people (city) who weren't really watching.'

"And that's what I'm seeing is going on with this."

Walter Skovronski, of Davenport, complimented the city for at least getting a new casino idea off center. He criticized the RDA, which sent a letter to the city on Monday stating it did not want to meet with city officials at this time to discuss casino options.

On March 4, the RDA publicly stated its desire to seek alternatives to a city-owned and financed casino.Aldermen on Wednesday also discussed a motion directing Mr. Malin to request a joint, open public meeting between the RDA and the city council in the next 30 days.

"You've gone as far as you can go," Mr. Skovronski said. "Now is the time to sit back, smoke a cigar, drink a beer and let this take its course.

"If these people (RDA) are so smart, let them do some work."


















 



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  Today is Tuesday, July 22, the 203rd day of 2014. There are 162 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: Everybody is invited to go on a moonlight excursion next Monday evening on the steamer New Boston. The trip will be from Davenport to Muscatine and back.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The mayor and bridge committee let a contract to the Clinton Bridge company for a $1,125 iron bridge across Sears canal near Milan.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Injunction proceedings to compel the Central Association to keep a baseball team in Rock Island for the remainder of the season were contemplated by some of the Rock Island fans, but they decided to defer action.
1939 -- 75 years ago: The first of the new and more powerful diesel engines built for the Rock Island Lines for the proposed Chicago-Denver run, passed thru the Tri-Cities this morning.
1964 -- 50 years ago: The Rock Island Rescue Mission is negotiating for the purchase of the Prince Hall Masonic Home located at 37th Avenue and 5th Street, Rock Island.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Quad Cities Container Terminal is being lauded as a giant business boon that will save several days and hundreds of dollars on each goods shipment to the coasts. The Quad Cities Container Terminal is the final piece of the puzzle that opens up increase access to world markets, Robert Goldstein said.








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