Thursday, February 23, 2012

ER #33: Dutch Treat

City Hall Elevator Rumblings #33

Rider #1: Do you know if ex-mayor Gears is Dutch?

Rider #2: I don’t have a clue. Why do you need to know?

Rider #1: Well, it seems as if there may be a break in the Entertainment Center dike and the Las Colinas Group is going to need their head cheerleader, ex-mayor Gears, to stick his finger in the crack to stop the leak. The letter the LCG sent the council this week stated that they were now willing to compromise on the some of the current terms of the original/amended/amended/amended lease agreement. Where have they been for the last three years?

Rider #2: Some compromise! They said the lease terms could be changed from 100-years to...wait for it -- 75-years. And they thought an escalation clause for the lease payments to the city could now be included. Funny, they still don’t seem to be too concerned about property tax payers being on the hook for potential operating or debt service cost.

Rider #1: What really needs to be done is for the city to scrap the entire lease agreement and have someone other than the LCG, the city attorney and administrative staff draw up a new contract. Someone who knows how to negotiate a contract -- for the benefit of the city, not the private developer -- should be hired. Maybe in a rewrite the citizens could be protected, equity between partners would be established and as a private business, the LCG would assume the risk of the venture.

Rider #2: I agree. The city really doesn’t need to be in the entertainment business or property tax payers opening their wallets when Entertainment Center revenue projections do not materialize. The council can’t even handle the redevelopment business with McDougal. And boy, the finger pointing by the city manager and others on this ‘sacred cow’ is already starting.

A note from counsel: These “candid” elevator conversations have been injected with fabricated nouns, verbs, adjectives, conjunctions, adverbs, modifiers and maybe a few dangling participles….Mark Holbrook