Davenport Aldermen Appoint 7 Members To Casino Non-Profit Board - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Davenport Aldermen Appoint 7 Members To Casino Non-Profit Board

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The City of Davenport plan to buy Rhythm City Casino for $46-million has taken another step forward. Wednesday evening city council appointed members to the 7-person non-profit commission that will run the casino.

The Davenport Community Improvement Corporation or DCIC board is a mix of city officials, Riverboat Development Authority board members and community leaders.  From the city, City Administrator Craig Malin, Police Chief Frank Donchez, and Alderman Jeff Justin will serve on the board. From the RDA, President Mary Ellen Chamberlin and Board Member Christine Frederick will be on DCIC. Board members from the community are attorney and local business owner Kelli Grubbs and Rory Washburn, who is an executive director for a local trade council.

"We've talked to a number of individuals and I think this a pretty good selection of a potentially very effective board," says Mayor Bill Gluba.

The 7 board members were chosen based on the DCIC's by laws. The City Administrator and Police Chief have to be on the board and the RDA told the city they wanted to 2 seats. The 2 community members will serve staggered 3-year terms and the Alderman position will serve 2 terms.

"I think this a great cross section of our community," says Alderman Ray Ambrose, "I know all of these people love the city of Davenport and they want what's best for the community."

However, some Aldermen worry about having RDA members on the DCIC's board, since the RDA holds the gaming license and distributes funds from Rhythm City to local charities.

"I'm a little concerned that some of the people have maybe a little conflict, especially with the RDA being a separate entity that's going to get millions of dollars from the DCIC," says Alderman Mike Matson.

Another worry is the city has agreed once 60% of the debt from buying the casino is paid off, the DCIC will become a separate entity, even though the city will still own the casino.

"If we're having staff members, 3 of them on this board out of 7, we're not separating," adds Alderman Matson.

However, other city leaders say it will work out.

"I did have an opportunity to check whether there might be a conflict of interest with corporate council and he assured me there would not be," says Alderman Barney Barnhill.

Alderman pointed out if people who don't have a stake in the casino are not involved, everyone will pay the price if something goes wrong.

"My point is if something happens and it doesn't take off it is the taxpayers of the city of Davenport that will have to pay that bonds off," adds Barnhill.

 In other casino news, the city is asking Isle of Capri for an extension to engage in negotiations with the RDA. The current agreement expires on Friday. Mayor Gluba says the attorney's are still working on due diligence and it's taking longer than expected.