Developer's CEO weighs in on proposed downtown hotel holdup - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

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Developer's CEO weighs in on proposed downtown hotel holdup

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Over the past few weeks, Evansville City Council members, community leaders, and Mayor Lloyd Winnecke have all shared their views, both for and against, the proposed downtown hotel project. 

Now, the developer's CEO is weighing in.

HCW CEO Rick Huffman says they are ready to get the project off the ground and start construction before the weather turns. 

Before that can happen, city council has to vote yes, and right now, there is no vote in sight.

"I believe this is just a just a kind of a ploy to maybe stall things a little bit by Councilman Friend," Huffman said.

That ploy Huffman's eyes is a request by Evansville's City Council for a third party review of the developer's personal finances. Something both Huffman, and the Winnecke administration, don't feel is necessary.

"We have done many projects around the country with different cities over the last 40 years and this is the first time we've ever been required with this much information to be turned over. We feel like it's probably going overboard," Huffman said. 

Huffman says his company's already provided substantial information about their finances-- and they're willing to share even more under one condition.

"We have no problem releasing our personal financial statements or our tax returns to a third party. We're just not going to release them in an open records situation to where they become public record, and I don't believe anybody in the country would do that," Huffman told 14 News. "We'd like to get the problem solved as best we can, we'll work with council on it. It's a lot of jobs for the city and it'll increase some tourism for the city, so we're ready to get started."

With a vote still up in the air, is there a chance HCW may back out?

"We've put a lot of time, money and effort into it and we want to do it. Obviously there will be a point in time where we need to channel our resources somewhere else, because with the economy picking up, we are busy right now," Huffman said. "But as for right now, our full commitment is behind this project."

Mayor Winnecke posted a new video Tuesday where he addresses the hotel project. Watch it here.

The mayor plans to meet with city council leaders about the project on Wednesday.

A poll is also attached at the top of the story. Let us know what you think by voting.

Related Stories:

Mayor Winnecke shares concerns about future of proposed downtown hotel
Councilman says city is unable to continue hotel project
Mayor Winnecke addresses concern some have on downtown hotel on YouTube
Dunn stops funding non-profit organizations in favor of downtown hotel
Vote on Evansville downtown hotel postponed indefinitely

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