On Tuesday, the City of Kenosha announced a last minute public hearing had been scheduled for today on a secretly negotiated deal for a Kenosha Casino. Shortly thereafter, the Kenosha County Board was notified that the County’s IGA, also negotiated in secret, would be shared with the whole committee on November 14, the legislative committee on the 15th, and the finance committee on the 16th. The agreements will likely be voted on by the City tonight after the hearing and the County on November 21.
According to several sources, these abrupt announcements came as a surprise to many, including several Common Council Members and County Board Supervisors, who struggled to understand why there is suddenly a rush to approve a casino without any public input or time to consider details of the proposal.
KCE has spoken to four County Board Members that are wondering what the rush is. Supervisor Laura Belsky, who represents the County’s fourth district told KCE, that she is upset with the lack of transparency. “Not only are the residents unaware of the details, but neither are their elected officials. I don’t know the details,” said Laura Belsky. Supervisors Stocker, Franco, and O’Day are also opposed to the urgent nature of the project.
“There is no local, state, or federal timeline requiring these Intergovernmental Agreements (IGAs) to be fast tracked. If this is such a good deal for Kenosha County, then why has this process been so cloaked in a cloud of secrecy and deception- starting with the Florida Seminole Tribe’s attempt to disguise itself as the Kenosha Landco, LLC?” asked Lorri Pickens, spokesperson for Citizens Against Expanded Gambling.“ “Conveniently, the county will likely vote on the IGA a few days before Thanksgiving, the biggest American holiday.” said Pickens.
The public hearing process is intended to collect public concerns and mitigate issues that may be harmful to the community. “Alarmingly, a significant number of city and county elected officials have intentionally been left out of the conversation. Locally elected proponents of the casino seem to only care about revenue at any cost” said Pickens.
“It’s time to slow this process down to give the city, county, and public time to fully review this proposal,” Pickens said.
Citizens Against Expanded Gambling is encouraging Kenosha residents to attend the public hearing tonight at 6:00 p.m. at City Hall, 625 52nd Street, Room 200.
See some top concerns here: Questions-about-Casino-Proposal.pdf (citizensagainstgambling.com)