Alderman wants joint meeting with RDA

2013-04-10T04:30:00Z 2013-04-10T05:14:18Z Alderman wants joint meeting with RDAKurt Allemeier The Quad-City Times

Hearing nothing and seeing little from the Riverboat Development Authority was too much for Davenport Alderman Bill Edmond, 2nd Ward.

He wants a joint meeting with the city council and RDA board about known casino proposals, or he will seek approval of the council, and then Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, to move ahead with a land-based casino plan.

Edmond would move for approval of a memorandum of understanding with Ingenus Management and Consulting, which has proposed a city-owned casino off Interstates 80 and 280.

Alderman Ray Ambrose, 4th Ward, agreed to second the request. An updated proposal from Ingenus is $70 million less than the first one the city and operator were negotiating.

The two other proposals are from Peninsula Pacific and Pollina Corporate Real Estate Inc. Edmond's request would be on the next council cycle, starting with the Committee-of-the-Whole meeting on April 17.

"If they don't respond in a reasonable amount of time, I suggest we go to the IRGC with an (memorandum of understanding) in hand from Ingenus and state that we're ready to build a casino on I-80," Edmond wrote. "At that time we could offer the IRGC $20 million for the license. That ought to get somebody off dead center."

The city has rated the three proposals through its due diligence matrix and found Ingenus the most favorable to the RDA and city, followed by the Pollina and Peninsula Pacific proposals.

The RDA agreed in early March to take on the task of finding an operator that would acquire the Rhythm City casino from the Isle of Capri and build a land-based casino in Davenport. That put the city on the sidelines after announcing last fall that it was trying to acquire the Rhythm City for at least $51 million but running up against opposition led, in part, by members of the RDA.

"It has been six weeks now," Edmond said Tuesday. "It is time for them to do something.

"I’m extremely frustrated with the RDA, to say the least. If the RDA doesn’t want to hold a joint opening meeting, what’s to keep us from going to the IRGC?"

Ambrose wouldn't call Edmond's request an ultimatum.

"We’ve been begging them to talk with us as a city council so we can get both sides on the same page, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere," he said. "They don’t seem interested in working with the city council. It is a little frustrating.

"We’re not making any demands. We are just asking for some dialogue."

RDA president Mary Ellen Chamberlin hadn't heard of the council proposal on Tuesday, saying she hasn't had any contact with city staff in more than a week.

"Until we have some type of formal request, I don’t know what to make of that," she said "If they want a meeting, we’ll have a meeting."

The RDA is limited by confidentiality with the Isle of Capri, Chamberlin said, so she doesn't know what the response would be to the city's request. The RDA committee looking for an operator is scheduled to meet Monday.

RDA secretary Don Decker, who has been on the opposite side as the city on the casino issue, opposing city ownership, said he shares Edmond's frustration with the RDA.

"I think we’re on the same wavelength," he said. "We should push it. I'm open to anything that moves this thing forward."

Mayor Bill Gluba called Edmond's proposal premature but well meaning. He doesn't think it will get a consensus of the council.

"I don't think the council wants to move in that direction," he said, noting he also frustrated with the RDA. "Maybe they should spend some money evaluating their proposals. Why haven’t they had a public meeting about these?

"They asked to put it in their court."

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(3) Comments

  1. ExQC911
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    ExQC911 - April 10, 2013 10:48 am
    Just remember when a private company runs the casino that all that money they make could have gone to the city for "streets and sewers".
  2. CGE
    Report Abuse
    CGE - April 10, 2013 7:38 am
    Right. If they are not responding then they are not interested in the proposal and neither are the citizens of this City! But a few on the council seem to care about that.
  3. DportWatcher
    Report Abuse
    DportWatcher - April 10, 2013 7:12 am
    The citizens of Davenport are tired of spending money on this boondoggle. $650,000 dollars could have been spent on streets and sewers. Thank goodness there is a city council election this fall for citizens to really speak their voice on this issue.
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