WENY News - KC council members seek financial transparency in plan for new c

KC council members seek financial transparency in plan for new convention hotel

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Daniel Barnett

KANSAS CITY, MO -- For years, there's been back and forth as Kansas City has pursued a new convention hotel.

Now, city council members are saying they want to move forward with the project, but first, they want all the financial details out on the table.

Even though the city would not be backing the bonds to get the hotel built, with $35 million in the mix, they're a major stakeholder.

At a press conference on Tuesday, council members Teresa Loar, Katheryn Shields and Heather Hall said it's time for more transparency.

The trio of council members say they want all the details and put it an ordinance.

"If you went into a bank and said, 'I want to build a hotel and trust me I have all the money,' so, would you make me that $300 million loan," Loar asked.

That's the question the three city council members have for the convention hotel backers. After months of being told they would get the financial information and not having it show up, they took matters into their own hands.

"This is exactly what it is, we are asking for the financing, we are asking for the final documents, we want to know exactly where the money is, where it's coming from and who has it and that the people that do actually want to finance it do have the wherewithal the make those statements before we say yes," Hall said.

Until council members get that information, it would stop any spending from any city source.

While all three members say they want the hotel and that Tuesday's press conference was not a move to try to re-litigate the matter, they do say transparency is the most important aspect of the deal.

"We don't want to end up in a situation where halfway through this we have a hotel that doesn't get built or all the way through we get a hotel that's built but it doesn't have enough funds to operate," Shields said.

Loews Hotels plans to break ground at the location near 16th Street and Baltimore Avenue in January.

Designs for the new luxury convention hotel feature 23 stories with 800 rooms. Officials hope to have the project finished by 2020.

The ordinance will officially be up for discussion by the city's finance committee on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m.

All three council members say since they've brought the push for information to the table, they've been able to get hundreds of pages of documents, so they believe they're on the right track.


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