Taking it all back about the IDA

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 28, 2002

Editor, the News-Herald:

I wrote last week to praise those members of the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) who appeared to have the wisdom and foresight to avoid putting Suffolk’s taxpayers in the Hotel business. It then appeared that those members of the IDA who voted against pouring more of our money in the Mudflats Money Hole understood that banks wouldn’t loan money on the project because it is a dead loser that will never be able to repay the loan.

But it appears I was wrong in thinking the IDA’s opposition would stand up to the heat of the City employees and certain City Councilmen. This week I write to take it all back.

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What a difference a week makes! What happened this past week to make the Constants Wharf Boondoggle a good deal for Suffolk in the eyes of all but one IDA member? Was it a week of arm-twisting, cajoling, and bullying? Did the members of the Council Power Bloc &uot;explain&uot; to the members who changed their vote that IDA members serve at the &uot;pleasure&uot; of the Council Member who appointed them? Were the vote-changing IDA members told to forget about the massive failures of city-financed hotels? Were they instructed to ignore Portsmouth’s waste of taxpayer money on the beautiful but essentially bankrupt Renaissance hotel/restaurant on the downtown waterfront?

What about Hampton’s identical experience with the Radisson Hotel which can’t meet its required payment schedule?

But I keep forgetting, it’s not their money. When the &uot;developers&uot; of the Mudflats Money Hole have raked off their part of the pie and left for greener pastures, and after the city employees who orchestrated this resume-padding deal have moved on to higher paying jobs with other cities, Suffolk’s taxpayers will be paying for this gross mismanagement of a public trust for a long, long, time.

C. L. Willis, P. E.