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Des Moines officials: “We do not have any details” on Mason City’s so-called “contingency plan” for downtown hotel


This news story was published on October 20, 2016.
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Eric Bookmeyer desperately wants a hotel built in downtown Mason City, and seemingly will stop at nothing until this happens.

Eric Bookmeyer desperately wants a hotel built in downtown Mason City, and seemingly will stop at nothing until this happens.

MASON CITY – State officials are in the dark – just as the people of Mason City are – on any idea of what city hall is doing with a “contingency plan” connected to a downtown hotel project the mayor and council seem hell-bent to see to the end, at any cost.

Leveraging tax increment financing (TIF) and state dollars as well as some private investment, officials in Mason City want a new downtown hotel built – a hotel that would compete with existing hotels (the brand new Hampton Inn owned by Kinseth, for example) in town that are already paying taxes to the city. If that hotel goes ahead, the city might be able to spend another $12 million or so on upgrades to Southbridge Mall – which was recently snapped out of the bargain bin for $1.5 million by a New York company with a shaky history – to build an ice arena. City council members like Travis Hickey claim this ice area will fill the mall with new businesses and restaurants. A parking ramp, pavilion and mixed-use building round out the $36 million “Renaissance” project for Mason City’s downtown.

Travis Hickey was awake long enough at recent city council meeting to ask Brent Trout why the council has been largely left out of Bookmeyer's downtown dealings.

Travis Hickey was awake long enough at recent city council meeting to ask Brent Trout why the council has been largely left out of Bookmeyer’s downtown dealings.

Critical to the “Mason City Reinvestment District project” as it is known to the state of Iowa is $10 million the city has asked for from them. They won’t hand out the dollars without a viable hotel connected to the project. Time is running out on G8 Development and Philip Chodur, picked by Mayor Eric Bookmeyer years ago as the hotel developer of choice. Chodur has been seen around city hall earlier this year with Bookmeyer and the late Alex Kuhn, even driving around town together in Kuhn’s BMW. These three appear to have been working closely together since perhaps 2014 or maybe even 2013 on this hotel development, when it was first announced (but never went anywhere despite promises that ground would be broken in Spring of 2014). City council members have questioned City Administrator Brent Trout as to why they were excluded from intimate knowledge of the on-going saga connected with this development. Mr. Trout has answered, publicly, that it was due to to Bookmeyer’s high level of interest in seeing the project through that the council has been largely left out of the process (Mr. Trout is owned by Bookmeyer – some say he fears the mayor – even though the council decides whether he keeps his job in city hall).

Philip Chodur

Philip Chodur

Now, NIT has learned that as city hall has lost confidence that Philip Chodur (who’s office is in a trailer park) will break ground on his proposed Marriott Hotel (the site is next to city hall in a parking lot) by October 31. That would essentially jettison him from the project and leave the city in the lurch on the hotel. As the confidence level in Mr. Chodur dwindled, NIT has further learned that Eric Bookmeyer – again, hell bent on the hotel and the Renaissance project – has sought and come to some kind of agreement with a developer out of Illinois with ties to the Mason City Chamber of Commerce. This appears to be the “contingency plan” that Mr. Trout has let slip in utterances at city council meetings.

NIT has asked Mr. Trout a number of questions in recent days about this development and others.  Mr. Trout has not responded.

As NIT and by default the people of Mason City are left searching for knowledge as to the latest backroom dealings of Eric Bookmeyer and city hall, so too are state officials whom have the final say on the $10 million the city needs to help the $36 million Renaissance project come to fruition.

Today, NIT was told that even as city officials (most likely, Bookmeyer, Mr. Trout, and possibly others) will be in Des Moines Friday to meet with these state officials who hold the purse strings, those officials have no detail whatsoever on the city’s “contingency plan”.

Des Moines, Iowa's capitol city, where Bookmeyer and his servants will be Friday.

Des Moines, Iowa’s capitol city, where Bookmeyer and his servants will be Friday.

“The board meets tomorrow and will get an update on the Mason City project,” NIT is today told by Tina Hoffman, Marketing and Communications Director at the Iowa Economic Development Authority. “They may take action, but there is a possibility they could delay that action as well.

“Our staff is aware that there is a contingency plan in place, although we do not have any details as to what that is,” Ms. Hoffman continued. “Perhaps the representatives from M.C. will share more about that with the board tomorrow.”

More to come on this developing situation.

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35 Responses to Des Moines officials: “We do not have any details” on Mason City’s so-called “contingency plan” for downtown hotel

  1. Wayne Jr. Reply Report comment

    October 31, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    Ok now you get it do you. Booky fail’s us again. This is like what, the #4 or #5 big time crap he pulled on us. The incenarater thing then he tries to fire our sanitation workers. Plus the Prestage and ect. All of it bad and wrong for us. This fatso would of got away with alot of even more bad stuff if it would not of had of been for Max and the nice young man Kuhn and a couple other watch-dog’s, thats on to his bad ways. You remember the Harley deal. Ok . So Booky got the Council gave away our money to the Minert’s on count of that spoiled rotten Republitard crack head, he helped Booky get elected. I want to know if Stevie pays his buddy Blodgett off in money or drugs. Drugs I bet. No more of this, we must demand he has to quit. He has to quit now, I think. Just let Schickel take over till next year then vote in who you want, anybody will be better then what we got not.

  2. Rahmbo Reply Report comment

    October 26, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    All these public-private partnerships are scams to funnel government treasury funds to insider cronies of the pols.

    In other news–Mason City is a dying city like many small cities in the Midwest and the South that formerly had at least some industrial base. Fancy pants remakes of downtown will benefit very few. At some point the pols need to be honest, and retrench with some meaningful economic development other than minimum wage service jobs. I don’t even know if this is possible, but what they propose and have done has zero potential for any sort of widespread community prosperity.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      October 26, 2016 at 5:26 pm

      We had our opportunity with prestage

      • Anonymous Reply Report comment

        October 27, 2016 at 6:59 am

        We had an opportunity, to accelerate the downward slide towards the point of no return, with Prestage. It would have been a turn…..for the worse.

  3. Joshua Reply Report comment

    October 24, 2016 at 9:40 am

    Simply build the North Iowa Events Center complex into something more desirable. Update all its buildings and roads and facilities. Discontinue all boards and have the GM answer to the County supervisors(hopefully Tim Latham as one). Allow hockey to have building year-around. Build a new horse complex for a fraction of the coast of this downtown remodel. Hire someone with real experience to run the Olson Building for rental and concerts. Allow a GM to run the rest of the complex.
    The county already owns the land and utilities. Upgrading buildings/roads and interior facilities is much less expensive them building multiple buildings. Easy answer.

  4. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    October 22, 2016 at 6:54 am

    Forget about asking Branstad for the moola – ask Hitlery – tell her the new hotel will be a undercover mosque.

  5. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    October 22, 2016 at 6:51 am

    Ask for Donald Trumps advice and logic . These phonies planning this are a bunch of Clintonites looking for a kickback from someone somewhere. If they were not to enrich themselves this boondoggle would never been considered.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      October 23, 2016 at 8:17 pm

      Seriously….these city movers (bookmeyer, hickey) are republicans. The state program is rolled out by a republican administration plenty to blame on the dems but not everything is their fault.

      • Pee wee Reply Report comment

        October 31, 2016 at 5:43 pm

        Your wrong, I do not know any Republicans that wants all them moocher’s here in Mason they make babies we have to feed and they are lazy. I am Republican and my wife. Our kids to, and our friends. We want them D boyz ran out of here, we are tired seeing them make more babies with fat white girls and then their kids grow up and steal, do drugs. Sell drugs. Democrap’s done this, all this welfare. Yes Abe Lincoln might of turn them loose ok but he did not toss out food stamps and Wick to them people. Yes you Democrap’s done this your the problem.

        • Anonymous Reply Report comment

          October 31, 2016 at 6:01 pm

          Pee Wee, I could go into a lengthy dissertation as to what is wrong with you, but there is not enough room in all of cyber-space for that.
          Suffice it to say that you are a dumbass.
          I can see why you consider yourself a Republican as they tend to cater to the ignorant & stupid.

  6. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    October 22, 2016 at 6:05 am

    JUST REMEMBER THIS WHEN IT COMES TO ELECTION DAY FOR THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL PERSONS., THROW THEM OUT

  7. Peter L Reply Report comment

    October 22, 2016 at 5:39 am

    I’m glad that Mayor Bookmeyer irritates so many of you like he does. People who comprise the NIT base definitely deserve what they get. Your elected officials are a reflection of you as a people, including your sins and ignorance when u get bad leaders. Gives me comfort knowing so many of you on NIT are unhappy. You don’t deserve happiness or a good community.

  8. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    October 22, 2016 at 12:55 am

    One shady deal after another, that’s our mayor. So, if there’s no hotel, then what about all the property that our council has given to this Chodur fellow.

  9. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    October 20, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    Bookmeyer, most of the council & Trout need to be run out of town..

  10. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    October 20, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    Bookmeyer games the system to increase tax base. New government subsidized buildings for low pay jobs. Jobs which are often difficult to fill. This unsustainable growth puts existing property and business owners at a disadvantage. His time in office has seen one plan after another exposed with developers of questionable histories as he attempts to grow the tax base without growing the work force.

  11. Dixie Wrecked Reply Report comment

    October 20, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    Again I have to ask…what exactly is the attraction in Mason City that all of these motel rooms are needed for again? Are people scheduling vacations to go to Southbridge Mall? Sightseeing? nothing to see. Hunting? Most hunters camp. 4th of July at Clear Lake? Maybe, but what about the other 51 weeks of the year? I guess the rooms will have to be rented out as meth labs like the rest of the rooms in the area…get a grip leadership, and spend money on improvements the townspeople can benefit from. Or learn small town governance from somewhere that knows how to do it, like the lake.

    • Loser Reply Report comment

      October 20, 2016 at 5:19 pm

      Naw, Brookmeyer is trying to lure the San Diego Chargers NFL franchise here with a revitalized downtown area…

      • N.E.MCMAN Reply Report comment

        October 20, 2016 at 8:26 pm

        Right idea, wrong sport. They are trying to get the Walla Walla Washington Wafflers of the NWL (National Wiffleball League) to play in the mall arena during the summer when the ice is out. Hockey in the winter, wiffleball in the summer. The mall will be so busy all year long they will need to expand the lower parking lot.

  12. Allen Reply Report comment

    October 20, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    It’s called, transparent government at the lowest level.

  13. Dick Neely Reply Report comment

    October 20, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    Why doesn’t the city build a new horse arena (for a fraction of the cost of a new ice arena) at the old abandoned North Iowa Event Center? Then they could leave the ice in year round for the hockey players. Then they could seek out some solid investors for a hotel if they really want one, instead of this shady Chode fellow. A downtown hotel, with a beautiful city view of all Russ Hardy’s dumps, what a silly idea.

    • JHMC Reply Report comment

      October 20, 2016 at 3:36 pm

      “a beautiful city view of all Russ Hardy’s dumps…”

      How rude! I’d be willing to bet there are many, many property owners who own/manage property in the downtown Mason City area. Why would you single just one of them out to complain about? I’m personally aware of several properties in sad repair owned by people other than Mr. Hardy.

      • Anonymous Reply Report comment

        October 20, 2016 at 6:07 pm

        I agree with you JHMC. One person should not be singled out.

        • Anonymous Reply Report comment

          October 24, 2016 at 8:06 am

          Hardy There are others but he started the mess and continues to be the was and is the worst of the worst.

      • Anonymous Reply Report comment

        October 20, 2016 at 10:24 pm

        Oh Jodi, yes many other people own these swag uptown living quarters. But Russ probably owns more than anyone else.

        • JHMC Reply Report comment

          October 21, 2016 at 10:08 am

          You know, there are ways of finding this information if one is truly interested in the facts. Properties can be looked up, by address, at our assessor’s website.

          • Dick Neely

            October 24, 2016 at 7:47 am

            I apologize, but I have neither the time nor a care to waste as to whom wears the crown of reigning Slum Lord these days.

          • Anonymous

            October 24, 2016 at 8:14 am

            Russ Hardy is the worst of the worst. A total slum lord and slimeball.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      October 21, 2016 at 7:18 am

      if you are going to insult someone spell his name right it is Chodur not chode

      • Anonymous Reply Report comment

        October 21, 2016 at 4:10 pm

        I believe “chode” is referring to the bottom skin on a scrotum, or the skin piece that runs from ball sack to butt hole.

  14. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    October 20, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    Will we be able to Flush these crooked people along with Hillary and the crooked demorat mafia that has been destroying our country ?