By Roger Utnehmer, DoorCountyDailyNews.com President and CEO
The Sturgeon Bay city council is soon to settle a pending lawsuit filed by developer Robert Papke for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Before that settlement takes place, taxpayers who ultimately foot the payout bill are entitled to some answers.
How was Robert Papke misled and by whom? The answers to those questions are just as important as any provision in a settlement agreement with Papke.
He claims to have had rose petals thrown at his feet. If he was misled, lied to and kept in the dark about the ability to build the proposed Sawyer Hotel on the west-side waterfront, courts will probably rule against the city and in favor of Papke. Sturgeon Bay taxpayers will be footing the bill for those rose petals thrown at Papke's feet. The cost will be in a settlement for several hundreds of thousands of dollars and higher insurance premiums for the city's future coverage. Before the money flows questions should be answered.
Who in city government and the office of Door County Economic Development said what to Papke and when? As the city council continues to mull over settlement discussions in closed session after closed session one wonders if the names of those making promises to Papke will be disclosed with the same transparency as his incurred expenses for which he demands reimbursement.
The settlement talks are taking place behind closed doors in secret. The very least the public deserves when this is resolved is to know who in city government and the office of Door County Economic Development is responsible for another big dollar lawsuit and stain on the reputation of Sturgeon Bay. Who said what to Papke and when did they say it?
That's my opinion. I'd like to hear yours.