Breakthrough Web Design - 515-897-1144 - Web sites for businesses
News & Entertainment for Mason City, Clear Lake & the Entire North Iowa Region

Founded October 1, 2010


Council OK’s $24.5 million in General Obligation bonds for Renaissance Project; Max Weaver says citizens were lied to (video)


This news story was published on February 23, 2018.
Advertise on NIT Subscribe to NIT

Max Weaver speaks Feb. 20, 2018

MASON CITY – The Mason City council on Tuesday night gave final approval to sell $25,400,000 in General Obligation bonds and the city named a new source to help pay off the burden – a debt service levy on the backs of city property owners.

Debt service levies are taxes assessed on property owners to pay off bonds. For much of last year and through the fall  elections, the citizens of Mason City were told by the aggressive, well-funded, sometimes-vicious “YES” campaign that the hallowed Renaissance Project would not be a burden on taxpayers.  They repeatedly promised Mason City citizens that sources such as state grants, TIF revenues, local option sales tax, and developer repayment fees would cover the cost to repay bonds sold by the city to raise funds to build the downtown project, which consists of a hotel, arena, pavilion, skywalk, museum and convention center.

John Lee was absent from
the regular council meeting, but
magically appeared on the phone
for the closed session immediately afterward.
What kind of games are being played here?

However, as former Councilman Max Weaver pointed out Tuesday night, citizens were potentially misled or outright lied to about the potential pitfalls in the project. City documents and the council meeting packet itself now list a future debt service levy as a funding source to pay off the $24.5 million in General Obligation bonds the city intends to sell. Tuesday night at the regular city council meeting, John Lee (completely absent) and Tom Thoma (on the phone) were not in their seats, but a quorum was present. The agenda item authorizing the sale of about $30 million in General Obligation bonds for the Renaissance Project and other projects passed 5-0 with little discussion.

At the meeting, only one citizen spoke to the council with concerns about this massive spending spree backed up by taxpayers.  Former councilman Max Weaver rattled off some of the “YES” campaign members who allegedly helped spread falsehoods that taxpayers would not be on the hook to payoff the Renaissance Project.  He named Robin Anderson the “pied piper” who led the charge.  In his remarks and later in conversations, he also pointed to underwear runner and wine-drinker Lonnie Dirksen, smug banker John Prebeck, “wives” of city councilmen who relentlessly argued in favor of the project, fake news professor John Skipper of the Globe Gazette, Ventura’s Darlena Barz of KGLO radio and her employee Robert Fisher, also of KGLO, where much of the “YES” campaign was masterminded, social media campaigns, websites, illegally placed signage and more that combined together orchestrated the myth of no burden to taxpayers.  He alleged the “YES” crew “rigged” last fall’s elections, as well, to ensure the council was stocked with persons who would not ask questions or challenge the project.

“It’s like we were brainwashed,” Mr. Weaver said.

Southbridge Mall needs upgrades

Mr. Weaver also said the Music Man Museum is a bad idea and not many people will care enough to go; he offered that a law enforcement / police museum would be a better idea.  He says Southbridge Mall needs serious upgrades and fixes to accommodate the arena and pavilion and questioned whether mall owner Michael Kohan would invest in the structure.  He pointed to Kohan’s dubious track record with his other properties.

The council, immediately after the regular council meeting, went into closed session to discuss the status of 5 candidates for the city’s vacant City Administrator position. In that meeting, John Lee joined the council via phone – he was absent for the regular meeting. Sources tell NIT he pushed for consideration of a certain person for the job who may or may not have been on the list of 5 candidates brought forth by consultants.

The city council packet shows that a debt service levy will be imposed in the future to retire the bonds.

YES campaign mailer in city water bill mailings.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

 characters available

52 Responses to Council OK’s $24.5 million in General Obligation bonds for Renaissance Project; Max Weaver says citizens were lied to (video)

  1. Max is right Reply Report comment

    June 29, 2018 at 9:12 am

    Mason City Council – unqualified morons acting like the good ‘ol boys elected by a majority stupid population running what’s left of this town into the ground. It’s the citizens of this town that will eventually get screwed cause they are dumb, lazy and stupid to stand up and do anything about it. They are scared ‘cause they might get singled out by the idiots they voted into office.

  2. Another business leaving town Reply Report comment

    February 24, 2018 at 5:43 pm

    This is as funny as eating a fudge popsicle while sitting on the toilet. 🙂

  3. i'm telling you Reply Report comment

    February 24, 2018 at 4:21 pm

    When this little G8 entity fails to raise the private $10M minimum required by state law for this Hotel project the IEDA Board Will have to cancel it’s recent contingent approval of the MC Renaissance Project.

    Thus there will be no hotel and no $9.6M over twenty years of diverted state sales tax assistance to MC toward re payment on the City’s General Obligation bond debt.

    But don’t fret.

    By voting to approve all those millions of GO bonds last November, voters gave the Councils for the next 20 years full authority to levy new debt service property tax on all of the taxable property in the city.

    Thus at the 2/20/18 council meeting the truth had to be included in the list of revenue sources the city expects to tap into to retire this massive new GO bond debt. Including new debt service
    property tax on you dear citizens.

    So who lied to who in 2017?

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      February 24, 2018 at 4:38 pm

      False.

      If G8 is unable to provide the required private investment, the project is dead in the water and doesn’t progress

  4. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 24, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    I did alot of research nation wide and don’t give me that FALSE politically correct bullshit – it’s property tax funds or did you grow the millions of dollars in your back yard ? Not say you are or are not a weedie – you know like a snake in the weeds.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      February 24, 2018 at 4:07 pm

      Where did you do your research? You can’t even correctly tell me the source of TIF revenue (hint: it’s not property tax payers), so why the heck would anyone care about your ‘research’ ?

  5. pay taxes or buy med's I can't have both Reply Report comment

    February 24, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    NIT once again exposes the truth – we were all lied to, bigly, by these knuckledraggers. Would someone please call the Attorney General’s office on Monday and get this thing stopped!

  6. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 24, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    Politicans and shysters sure can twist the truth/fact – Must have learned that from liberal democats like the ones that own the Main stream media cnn/abc/cbs/mcbs – Bill Mayer like sleazeballs.

  7. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 24, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    TIF – this TIF grant etc Money).what ever came out of the general fund used to pay city expenses – The money was put there buy property owners so how can you say city taxpayers are not funding TIF – Oh yea after 10 years the city will start collecting property taxes from these property owners –IF they are still here – plus the skating rink and overhead walk will generate no future taxes as they are public property. But you will probably will tax them anyway and divide the cost to each tax payer. Good old game if your the owner or an official we would say.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      February 24, 2018 at 4:05 pm

      TIF isn’t grant money, genius. The TIF funds in this project are repaid by the hotel operator and the mall owner.

      The multi purpose arena and skywalk will absolutely contribute property tax revenue to the city – both are indeed privately owned facilities which must pay property tax.

      • my ankles are swollen so i cant skate real good Reply Report comment

        February 24, 2018 at 4:08 pm

        gangster kohan will reap thousands and thousands of dollars a year in lease fees for the arena, right out of the city coffers – let the scam commence

        ps will he ever pay his overdue taxes?

        • Anonymous Reply Report comment

          February 24, 2018 at 4:17 pm

          Who cares if he pays his past property tax?!?! I sure don’t as it won’t affect the funding of the River City Renaissance one way or another. Tax liabilities are not dismissible, the city and county will get the money one way or another (by tax sale in the worst case scenario).

  8. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 24, 2018 at 11:06 am

    TIF is part of your property taxes – anyone saying different is a liberal liar.and probably on the take $$$$

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      February 24, 2018 at 11:34 am

      False

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      February 24, 2018 at 12:59 pm

      You really should do some research before you make comments on things you know nothing about. You’re only proving to everyone what kind of the on educated fool you really are.

  9. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 24, 2018 at 10:20 am

    You had the vote numnuts but it corruptly said NO G O bonds with a tax levy attached would be issued – Therefore nummy that agreement is void due to corruption and lies as any Conservative judge would read and prosecute such perpiTRATIORS OF THE FRAUDULENT DOCUMENT.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      February 24, 2018 at 4:13 pm

      Completely false. GO bonds have been a part of the funding source since day one and ballot language (which was overwhelmingly supported by the voting public) was congruent with this intent. A property tax levy has not been created to repay the GO bonds related to the River City Renaissance. You are being misled by poor ‘journalism’.

  10. Joey Bats Reply Report comment

    February 24, 2018 at 9:47 am

    step away from crayon box. Roflmao

  11. BEST IDEA YET Reply Report comment

    February 24, 2018 at 9:35 am

    DISGUSTED
    Reply Report comment

    February 23, 2018 at 9:26 pm

    Our house is going up for sale and we are getting out of Mason City.

    I am tired of paying for this kind of BS. I am not going to reveal who I am but I suppose if you watch the houses sold in the future you may be able to figure out who I am. I am betting there are going to be more like me that are just plain tired of being scammed

  12. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 24, 2018 at 9:34 am

    Iowa code (law) 384.26 – cities with populations of 5000 to 70000 cannot issue general obligation bonds in excess of $700,000.00 without a public vote.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      February 24, 2018 at 9:44 am

      We already had the vote!!!!! It passed with a overwhelming majority!!!!! Gawd, this site finds the dumbest of the dumb!

      • Watchdog Reply Report comment

        February 24, 2018 at 10:31 am

        I question the legality of that vote. So many things have changed it should have went to another vote whether it is still legal or not.

        Someone should challenge it in court. I would contribute!

        • Anonymous Reply Report comment

          February 24, 2018 at 11:37 am

          You question the legality of over 60% of voters approving the measure?!?! The only material changes to the project since the vote have been to the betterment of the City, so what would be the basis of your suit? Is sour grapes a legal theory??

  13. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 24, 2018 at 8:40 am

    Easy read – if tax levy is issued then contract was broken and such parties responsible for this fraud are open to criminal prosecution.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      February 24, 2018 at 12:56 pm

      It’s too bad biased and misleading ‘journalism’ cannot be criminally prosecuted.

  14. Joey Bats Reply Report comment

    February 24, 2018 at 8:38 am

    Vain. lol

  15. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 24, 2018 at 8:15 am

    Do like the corrupt demorats did – get a FISA warrAnt and clean house on the corrupt politicians and the people who paid them – FOLLOW THE MONEY !

  16. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 24, 2018 at 7:52 am

    Clear lawful statement – NO ! G O bonds repayable with debt service property tax levy WILL be sold – Now they say their will be a tax levy issued for these bonds issued ? EASY ONE – they just broke the contract so get a judge to nullify the contract as it was breached – falsified – corrupt. Sue them to stop this bullshit.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      February 24, 2018 at 9:06 am

      How are you so easily manipulated? The river city renaissance GO bonds are not repaid by a property tax debt service levy. You’re just being misled by NITwits.

  17. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 24, 2018 at 6:05 am

    Once again Matthew gives voice to his mistress Robin A. She lives on forever occupying rent free space in Matts head

  18. anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 23, 2018 at 10:20 pm

    If the details of this article are true,
    “the city named a new source to help pay off the burden – a debt service levy on the backs of city property owners”
    then yes, it appears we have been lied to.

  19. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 23, 2018 at 6:17 pm

    I told you folks. They can never be trusted. The school board is the same way.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      February 23, 2018 at 7:05 pm

      Who can’t be trusted? North Iowa Today? Weaver??

      • Here Is The Facts Jack Reply Report comment

        February 23, 2018 at 9:20 pm

        Weaver and NIT CAN be trusted and there is no questioning that.

        It is the Mayor, City Council, and the do gooders that can’t be trusted. In Mason City the big shots are out to fleece the taxpayers out of their money.

        • Anonymous Reply Report comment

          February 24, 2018 at 5:33 pm

          You trust the guy that sent away the casino, target distribution, and Prestage and lobbied for strip clubs?!?!

      • DISGUSTED Reply Report comment

        February 23, 2018 at 9:26 pm

        Our house is going up for sale and we are getting out of Mason City.

        I am tired of paying for this kind of BS. I am not going to reveal who I am but I suppose if you watch the houses sold in the future you may be able to figure out who I am. I am betting there are going to be more like me that are just plain tired of being scammed!

      • Anonymous Reply Report comment

        February 24, 2018 at 9:03 am

        You really are dense, or else you are just a asshole. Obviously the city government and the school board can’t be trusted and will lie to get what they want.

  20. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 23, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    There is a Music Man Museum in Music Man Square, but no one goes in it.

  21. Barney Fife Reply Report comment

    February 23, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    What would Loni say” Well once my hubby gets that job as the county auditor I wont give a hoot. “Bring on the wine and craft beer folks”. Let’s parteeeeeeeeey.

  22. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 23, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    Is the author of this article purposely trying to be misleading or is the author a dullard? From day 1, the funding source was always a general obligation bond. Weaver himself created the petition to mandate a vote on said general obligation bond.

    The general obligation bond will not be repaid by Mason City property tax payers. The GO bond is repaid by state grants, TIF financing, and developer fees.

    • NIT Publisher Reply Report comment

      February 23, 2018 at 1:36 pm

      It was drug out of city hall after much prodding that these were GO bonds backed by property taxpayers – don’t try to re-write history here.

      • Anonymous Reply Report comment

        February 23, 2018 at 2:01 pm

        No re-writing of history to be done. From day 1, these were always general obligation bonds backed by the full faith and credit of the City of Mason City. Nothing has changed, liabilities have not shifted, and its the very same deal that Weaver petitioned a vote for.

        • Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

          February 23, 2018 at 2:13 pm

          Of course the GO bonds were always on the table. The problem is, you all lied about it and tried to conceal that fact and even went so far as to say no liability or chance this would fall back on taxpayers. Now, city hall says the debt service levy is ready to go. Citizens had to drag the truth out of city hall, and even then, it was ignored – until now, when there is no going back. Congratulations, scam artist.

          • Anonymous

            February 23, 2018 at 2:23 pm

            Here is the EXACT ballot language that the citizens voted upon and overwhelmingly approved. you may note the the 13th, 14th, and 18th words in the ballot language are ‘general obligation bonds’. What is deceiving about this?!?!? This is exactly what Weaver petitioned for and the citizens approved.

            Shall the City of Mason City, State of Iowa, issue its taxable general obligation urban renewal
            bonds in an amount not exceeding
            the
            amount of $14,000,000 for the purpose of aiding in the
            planning, undertaking, and carrying out of Urban Renewal Projects
            under the authority of Iowa
            Code Chapter 403 and the Urban Renewal Plan for
            the
            Downtown Reinvestment Urban
            Renew
            al
            Area, as amended from time to time, including those costs
            associated
            with
            the
            acquisition,
            construction
            and equipping of
            a
            Performing
            Arts Pavilion, construction of skywalk connections
            between various
            buildings
            and facilities and other related and supporting public infrastructure
            improvements, including streets,
            intersections
            , sidewalks, traffic signals and sewer
            improvement
            s; renovation,
            reconstruction
            ,
            improvement and equipping of The Music Man
            Square Complex into a Convention/Conference Center, and the
            construction
            and
            equipping
            of a
            new Museum Facility, and financing one or
            more economic development grants to
            fund
            the
            acquisition,
            construction
            and
            equipping
            of a new Hotel Facility?

          • Matt Marquardt

            February 23, 2018 at 2:36 pm

            YES campaign mailer. I think it speaks for itself.

            Sad that MC is chock full of liars and deceivers.

          • Matt Marquardt

            February 23, 2018 at 2:47 pm

            A campaign of lies and confusion to dumb the voters out of the process is what you accomplished. 4 years of fiasco. Mix lies and the truth until folks check out. Say one thing at one meeting, then something else at another, stick a lie in a flyer, then slip something else on the ballot itself. Have a glass of wine while your at it – it’s no big deal, right? Doesn’t matter what’s on the ballot at that point, a lot of people stayed home, but not the 70% of ~30% total that voted – your diehards. Why don’t you ask Jesus to forgive you for your deceitful ways? Do you go to church?

          • Anonymous

            February 23, 2018 at 3:29 pm

            Your mailer says ‘no general obligation bonds payable by the property tax levy’ and this is indeed still the case and has not changed since day 1. It doesn’t say ‘no general obligation bonds’.

            The GO bonds are not repaid by property taxes (they’re repaid by state grants, TIF, and developer fees), but are backed by the full faith and credit of the City of Mason City.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      February 23, 2018 at 6:07 pm

      You forget the the Yes voters were told this was a done deal by some of the council members, then the faisco with Chorder happened. So the Yes voters were lied to.

  23. Dick Neely Reply Report comment

    February 23, 2018 at 1:12 pm

    Did anyone really doubt that it wouldn’t eventually come to this? Ha, these are the people, the few voters chose, to run our town. Gloom, doom and despair.

  24. sad but true Reply Report comment

    February 23, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    can we just scrap it all already? Everyone knows its going to fall on the back of the taxpayer, it always does.
    Youth hockey has ZERO chance of raising 2.000.000 as well

    • NIT Publisher Reply Report comment

      February 23, 2018 at 1:38 pm

      That was another lie perpetrated – that the hockey people would rise $2 million – it was later subtly changed to $2 million which includes “equipment” and such … just saying, there is no more truth or honesty left in some of these people; they will say or do anything to get their way.