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Several city council members not happy with city officials’ reason to terminate Electric Works contract with developers

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne's NBC) - Members with the Fort Wayne City Council talked with a member of the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission, City of Fort Wayne, and RTM on the future of the Electric Works project.

On August 3rd, the members of the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission terminated the Economic Development Agreement with RTM, the original developers of the project.

Officials with the Redevelopment Commission said the developers did not meet the full private funding within the agreement by the deadline.

However, the developers said they had documentation to show a bank was willing to support the remaining amount.

Officials with the Redevelopment Commission said the documentation was not an official document they were willing to accept.

The termination of the agreement caught several members of the Fort Wayne City Council by surprise.

On August 5th, members of the Fort Wayne City Council sent a letter to Nancy Townsend, the director of the Redevelopment Commission about their concerns.

Within the letter, city officials shared concerns including the decision to cancel the agreement with the developers happened before the council was notified, along with transparency concerns around how the project is being handled by the Commission.

The letter was signed by the following members:

  • Paul Ensley
  • Russell Jehl
  • Tom Didier
  • Geoff Paddock
  • Sharon Tucker
  • Michelle Chambers
  • Tom Freistroffer
  • Glynn Hines

On Tuesday, Tim Haffner with the City of Fort Wayne and Nancy Townsend, the director of the Redevelopment Commission, and leaders with RTM attended the city council meeting.

Officials with the City of Fort Wayne shared their thoughts on what led to the termination of the original Economic Development Agreement with RTM. They said they gave the developers multiple extensions and chances for them to succeed, and the documentation provided by the developers was not enough to convince them they had secured the full funding as agreed within the contract.

Leaders with RTM said they have the full funding as agreed within the original contract to move the project forward.

Several members with city council asked questions and shared their concerns after hearing Haffner and Townsend explain their reasoning.

Members of the city council introduced a bill Tuesday to formally investigate officials of the City of Fort Wayne. They said under the new bill, officials would be required to tell the truth under oath, otherwise, they may face charges.

"We have people who say they were lobbied, the Redevelopment Commission members that they were lobbied to vote a certain way, and today they say that didn't occur," said Councilman Glynn Hines. "Under sworn testimony, anyone who makes a false statement, stands to purger themselves, so I think we'll get more truth in that point in time."

"We really didn't get the answers we were wanting," said Council President Thomas Didier. "We want to hear from the administration on the exact reasoning why."

Council members said the council will vote on the bill in the upcoming weeks.

Louie Tran

Louie Tran is the weekend anchor for Fort Wayne’s NBC at 6 and 11pm and a weekday general assignment reporter. To share story ideas, please email him at ltran@wpta21.com.

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