Dunn stops funding non-profit organizations in favor of downtown - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Dunn stops funding non-profit organizations in favor of downtown hotel

Developer John Dunn tells 14 News that he pulled funding for several non-profit organizations because he feels they supported the city's proposal of a downtown hotel.

Once we showed up with our cameras, Dunn had second thoughts.

14 News Reporter, Allyson Kraemer was going to interview John Dunn, who said he had a lot of information he wanted to clarify and wanted 10-minutes of air-time.

We told him we'd air his interview in its entirety online, and Dunn declined going on-camera.

John says he pulled the funding from four local non-profit museums because of their support of the Downtown Convention Hotel.

He says he called all of the organization leaders, including Lu Porter of the African American Museum, to say he would no longer be a financial supporter.

John tells 14 News the museum is already cash strapped and can barely keep the lights on.

He says it all started when Matt Rowe of the Reitz Home Museum spoke at an open meeting about the hotel on behalf of the organizations.

A portion of Matt's speech reads, 'It was quickly evident that we unanimously support the idea and believe it will benefit each of our organizations.'

But Dunn says several witnesses came to him after the meeting and said Matt misspoke.

According to Dunn, Matt said the group of museums were in favor of the project, which Dunn is against.

But Matt said in a statement, it was to express support for a hotel, not endorse a finance option or developer.

When 14 News asked Dunn how he felt about the already struggling organizations losing funding, he said it's sad, but it's not his problem.

Mayor Winnecke is also disappointed by the issue.

"It's unfortunate that not-for-profit organizations that really depend on visitors and tourism to be threatened in any manner," said Winnecke. "But on the other hand I certainly respect the right of anyone to withdraw their funding. But I think it's an unfortunate position for these not-for-profits to be in."

Dunn says if Matt agrees to recant his previous statement of support for the project or issue an apology, the funding will return.

14 News spoke with Matt, who says he has no such plans.

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