City Council Demanding Answers To Stalled Electric Works Deal
One month after Fort Wayne’s redevelopment commission unanimously agreed to terminate the economic development agreement with RTM Ventures over the major Electric Works development, City Council is escalating requests for transparency.
Dozens of residents -- all masked and spread out -- joined council members Glynn Hines (D-At-large) and Tom Didier (D-3rd) on the plaza of Citizens Square to announce the body’s intention of launching an investigation into how the project fell apart.
Hines stated that as of 11 am, Mayor Tom Henry, Deputy Mayor Karl Bandemer and Redevelopment Chair Christopher Guerin have not responded to requests to meet before City Council. The body was hoping to do this as early as its August 18 meeting.
Hines also noted that while he was initially skeptical of the Electric Works project, he was fully on board as soon as Do It Best, Corp. agreed to locate its headquarters at the site and bring nearly 500 jobs to Fort Wayne. He says members of City Council were as blindsided as the rest of the public over the termination.
“There was something that happened behind closed doors. So what this will do, it will allow us to ask the questions to those who were in the room, or in the backroom, that made the decision to end that EDA at that day at that time without proper notification," Hines said. "No consultation with Council, no consultation with county commissioners, no consultation with the CIB, no collaboration like there was on the front end.”
The launch of an investigation by City Council would give the body subpoena power should their requests to meet continue to be evaded.
Didier spoke to the fact that many residents voted for him and Hines and Henry because of the promise and potential of Electric Works, and if the project can’t move forward, they at least deserve a clearer explanation why.
“We’re not trying to be punitive but it is our responsibility to get the answers that we need to move forward,” Didier said.
Hines says he’s confident they have the five votes to establish an investigation via resolution, and a discussion and possible vote over this is expected to take place at Council’s next meeting on Tuesday.