The Davenport Community Improvement Corp. showed its growing pains Monday at a meeting of the recently expanded board, narrowly supporting a casino proposal that is the city council’s apparent favorite.

Along with its support of the casino proposal from Ingenus Management and Consulting and Financial District Properties, the board also wrangled over an operating agreement with the Riverboat Development Authority and how to go about finding a casino operator.

The Davenport Community Improvement Corp. would oversee the operation of a land-based casino. The city is in the process of acquiring the Rhythm City from Isle of Capri for $46 million. The city will lease the casino to the corporation.

Davenport resident Doris Unterzuber was critical of what she witnessed at Monday’s meeting, saying the board appeared divided.

“I think you need to get your act together,” she told the board. “If the board is going to run a casino, I would like to see this group become a group that works together.”

Corporation chairwoman Kelli Grubbs said the board is feeling its way with some decisions looming as new members John Roche and Randy Rathje were seated Wednesday.

“I think we are coming down to crunch time,” Grubbs said. “There is nothing like a deadline to get things going.”

Davenport Police Chief Frank Donchez, a board member, agreed.

“When a group is in its infancy, it has its struggles,” he said.

The nine-member board voted 4-3 with two abstentions to show its support for a casino proposal submitted by Ingenus, a Brainerd, Minn., company and Financial District Properties, a Quad-City development company headed by Rodney Blackwell. Grubbs, Roche and Mary Ellen Chamberlin voted against it.

Donchez, Rathje, Christine Frederick and Rory Washburn voted for the Ingenus proposal.

Davenport Alderman Jeff Justin, 6th Ward, and City Administrator Craig Malin abstained from the vote because of the council’s consideration of whether to go into negotiations with Financial District Properties.

Grubbs said she couldn’t support the proposal without seeing more revenue projections, while Chamberlin and Roche voted against it because they said they didn’t want to limit the city’s negotiating options.

Along with the Ingenus proposal, the city also has considered a downtown casino proposal from Restoration St. Louis, which restored the Hotel Blackhawk downtown along with other properties. The city received a proposal from Atrium Holdings for a casino in the downtown Radisson Quad-City Plaza, but it has been eliminated.

Davenport aldermen meet Wednesday in a special session to move for negotiating with Financial District Properties on a development and for the Davenport Community Improvement Corp. to negotiate on a casino operator.

“It is a starting point,” Donchez said. “We need to start moving forward somehow, some way.”

The corporation’s board also voted to hire an attorney to review the operating agreement between it and the Riverboat Development Authority. The corporation will consider the agreement at a meeting Wednesday morning ahead of a lunch meeting of the RDA board.

Before voting, the RDA board would like to know how the corporation board will vote, Malin said.

“The RDA would take comfort in the DCIC approving this before they vote for it,” he said.

The corporation is voting on an agreement that will govern it that was negotiated by the city and RDA, so an independent attorney’s review is proper, board members Roche and Rathje said.

“I want to make sure we have our DCIC hat firmly in place,” Rathje said.

The board spent considerable time in its hour-long meeting discussing options for a casino operator. Although Ingenus is part of the proposal, it may or may not be the operator, or an operator could be hired for the short-term to run the casino boat until the land-based casino opens.

The management team that currently runs the Rhythm City could be an option, Malin told the board.

Chamberlin added that the city is likely to operate the riverboat for about two years until a land-based casino is built.

(12) comments


Cat got your tongue Images? Don't worry its only the DCIC Bi Laws.Who cares about Bi Laws?


QCI and everybody else:
The following is from page 11 of the DCIC Bi Laws = A majority of the members have a conflict of interest and can not vote...because they are employees and members of an entity that has an "economic benefit"..... It was downloaded from the City of Davenport web site...........
Section 11.1. No Vote On Conflicting Matters. Every Director of the Corporation owes
a duty of loyalty to the Corporation. Further, it is imperative that each Director avoid any
conflicts of interest with his or her duties as Director. Accordingly, no Director shall vote on any
matter which grants, confers or otherwise conveys economic benefit to such Director or to an
entity of which any Director or any member of his or her immediate family is an officer, director,
shareholder or employee. On an annual basis, and on a form approved by the Corporation's
Board of Directors, each Director shall confirm in writing that he or she (and his or her family)
have no conflicts of interest with the Corporation or, if so, the nature of such conflicts.


Malin and Justin abstained. Who else do you think is in conflict?


If the Gills had not fought with the unions on their Renwick project, they would not be losing the casino development project. The unions are supporting Blackwell and they are powerful in this decision. Short sighted is what Amrit Gill was being. And it's too bad for downtown, the Gills and Davenport.


So now what are we going to do with a city block in the heart of downtown Davenport that essentially is not generating any tax revenue for the city?


Good to see someone paying attention. The Chamber voted to move months ago. It was working behind closed doors directly with the city to give the Gills the time necessary to secure an entire city block. The so called brain trust of the Chamber is still moving. They have spaced rented over the QCCVB in Il. This of course is by design. As soon as Joe retires the Chamber will attempt to swallow up the QCCVB. Really hope this doesn't happen. Tara Barney is no Joe Taylor by a long shot. So, instead of the Chamber membership posers moving to New ventures they most likely will have to stay put on the corner of second street. Leaving would just be another huge public embarrassment. Downtown still gets its casino but the Chamber and Malin screwed over the Gills for a second time on a casino. Pretty soon the chamber board is going to have to wake up. They're running out of fingers to count the failures on.


Ingenus will still have a casino component downtown. If a casino is the draw the Gills believe it will be, why wouldn't they go ahead with their project if they believed it to be so vital to the 'defense' of downtown Davenport?


Take a good look at that barn shaped truckstop that we're going to be stuck with. Take another look at the Blackhawk and imagine an entire city block renovate and constructed to that level of quality.

Then think about the hundreds of thousands of dollars the city spends to subsidize the River Center, and realize that this new interstate casino will be competing with the Adler and River Center by holding its own events just like Bettendorf's convention center. So in order to make $500k more a year, who knows how much more we'll be paying out to an emptier River Center. Smart thinking folks...


It's not $500K more per year. You are not very smart. It's $11 million per year AFTER debt repayment on the interstate vs $10.5 million BEFORE debt repayment downtown. Read the proposals.


I have read the report and that does not seem to be what it says. That said, Alderman Justin responded to an email from me and says that the half million number isn't right either. I'm awaiting further info, but its certainly safe to say that the QCT and the City aren't making any of this very clear to the public.


If Restoration St. Louis truly believes that their multi-faceted casino/theater/restaurants/shopping development was so vital to the 'saving' of downtown Davenport then they should proceed regardless of the casino component. Does not getting the casino component suddenly make the entire project irrelevant?

Arc Angel


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