Aldermen Respond To Heated Davenport Casino Meeting - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Aldermen Respond To Heated Davenport Casino Meeting

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An informal meeting on Wednesday to discuss Davenport's plan to buy Rhythm City Casino spiraled out of control. The Mayor and residents had a heated exchange over the city trying to buy the casino. The meeting was organized by a group of local business owners who are worried about Davenport getting into gaming.

"It's very hard to analyze this project, because there's nothing certain yet. You don't know what the costs are, you don't know what the revenue estimates are, and you don't know how financing is going to be arranged. It's all critical obviously," says Former RDA Co-Chair John Gardner.

The group says they want answers about what buying the casino means for tax payers and none of those questions were answered. City leaders were invited to the meeting and they are trying to figure out why the meeting got out of control.

"It works in Dubuque, it's worked in Wichita, it may work in Davenport! "Mayor Bill Gluba yelled to the crowd at the meeting.

The informal casino meeting didn't start out with yelling and name calling.

"I thought it would be a very healthy, productive meeting with some good questions and good discussion," says Alderman Gene Meeker.

Alderman Meeker says the discussion became heated after the city was unable to answer questions about casino numbers.

"All of a sudden it just seemed like the emotion must of taken over for a lot of people," adds Meeker, "All of a sudden voices began to grow loud and it just kind of lost control unfortunately."

Alderman Bill Boom left the meeting after he realized there were too many city officials there, which would have violated the open meetings law. He says as he was leaving things started to get ugly.

"People in the audience were calling out to city officials that we were cowards, because they either didn't attend or left like I did," says Alderman Bill Boom, "I think that's quite personal and quite degrading."

Alderman Boom says he questions why the meeting was even held.

"It was an organized mob," adds Boom, "I think people were invited and told to get out of hand."

Nothing was accomplished at the meeting. The city says it's not far along enough with the purchase to answer questions about financing.

"There are so many unanswered questions and yet people want answers," says Meeker, "We aren't there quite frankly."

City leaders say they would like all future casino meetings to be more productive.

"It would have been good if there were some type of forum where someone could have taken some leadership," adds Meeker.

The next casino discussion is next Monday at "Riverboat Development Authority" meeting.

Our camera was the only one inside this meeting.  You can look at the raw video here.  There is an edit because our photographer did not roll on every moment of the meeting. However, this is representative of what happened Wednesday, Feb. 27th.

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