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Opponents of downtown Hyatt hotel file lawsuit

Posted at 5:25 PM, Dec 14, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-14 18:25:15-05

Citizens for Responsible Government has filed legal action in Jackson County Circuit Court asking a judge to put the public financing for the downtown Kansas City convention hotel before voters.

Dan Coffey is with CFRG and says private developers and not tax payers should pay for the new downtown development.

"I'd be happy to see them build a hotel downtown. just not with tax payer money, or at least no so much tax payer money." said Coffey.

A development firm wants to build an 800-room Hyatt convention hotel near Bartle Hall, a $311 million project that's financed partially through tax abatements and taxes generated by the hotel.

RELATED | City Council votes against Hyatt hotel petition

CFRG had gathered enough signatures to force a public vote on the project. City leaders said what their petition sought to do was illegal because the city had already entered into binding contracts with the developers.

Mayor Sly James said the legal maneuver did not surprise him, but he's not worried.

"This is an effort that is illegal and unconstitutional. And city council agreed with that advice and voted to keep it off the ballot." said Mayor James.

The city has 21 days to respond to the lawsuit. The developers are still acquiring land and looking for investors for the project.

City leaders are confident that the project will move forward.

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Lisa Benson can be reached at lisa.benson@kshb.com.

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