Metro tried to placate foes by trading a plot of land, worth $2.5 million, for a pledge to drop lawsuits.
BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
Metro tried to placate opponents by trading a plot of land — worth $2.5 million — near the Convention Center for a pledge to drop lawsuits blocking construction.
The lawyer for Aspen Lodging, which is behind a bevy of lawsuits aiming to block the taxpayer-subsidized hotel, countered with an offer to buy the Convention Center hotel itself. Hyatt will manage the holding once the hotel is constructed.
Jim McDermott, the attorney in charge of the group opposing Metro, said in an OregonLive.com story that officials aren’t thinking in the public interest.
“Instead of accepting a settlement that reduces the public subsidy, Metro wants to end the litigation by actually increasing the public subsidy,” McDermott said in an email Friday. “That’s poor stewardship of taxpayer money.”
Metro officials said they’re pursuing a settlement but declined to say what they had offered. As the lawsuits drag on, the agency stands to continue incurring legal costs, and the risk associated with the litigation could hurt the value of the revenue bonds it plans to sell to subsidize the project.
From Willamette Week:
“We are doing what we can to clear away hurdles to completing the project,” says Andy Shaw, chief of staff for Metro Council President Tom Hughes.
[Provenance CEO Gordon] Sondland’s attorneys say they’ve rejected the counteroffer. John DiLorenzo, who represents a hotel coalition fighting the project in court, says Sondland offered to reduce taxpayer costs, and Metro responded with an offer that would increase the public expense.
Construction should be completed in 2018.