Rapid City developers want mayor to stop talking
RAPID CITY (AP) — Developers of a planned $50 million downtown revitalization project in Rapid City want the mayor to stop talking to potential funding sources.
Mayor Sam Kooiker has publicly raised questions about the developer's efforts to secure up to $25 million in tax credits to help finance President's Plaza, a 15-story mixed development of retail shops, condos, a parking garage, convention center and hotel.
The development team, which includes Dream Design International President Hani Shafai and local developer Pat Hall, has sent a letter to the city attorney demanding that Kooiker "cease and desist" from probing further into the project's financial ventures. The City Council's legal and finance committee plans to review the letter on Tuesday, the Rapid City Journal reported.
Shafai said the issue is the mayor talking directly to potential funding sources while trying to discredit the project.
"His continuous negative campaign against this project is not asking questions," Shafai said. "The mayor does not have his facts straight. We don't know what the mayor does and what he does not do. He does a lot of things behind the scenes that we're not aware of."
Kooiker said the request amounts to a gag order. He said he supports the plan but thinks transparency is also important.
"I'm puzzled by President's Plaza's reaction to simple questions. They're basically saying, 'Give us the public funding and don't ask questions,'" he said.
The letter was made public when it was added to the committee agenda.