The Warren Convention Center Authority (WCCA) might be on its way out.
But it wants paid first.
The authority sent a letter to Warren City Council dated June 19 updating council on the authority's current situation.
Recognizing that the developer Warren Development Group (WDG), LP no longer wishes to utilize state funding through an Infrastructure and Facilities Improvement Program (IFIP) grant, the authority doesn't think that dissolving is in its best interest quite yet.
Listed as "responsibilities regarding the close-out of the working relationship between the WCCA and WDG," the letter states that "WDG... will provide funds to the WCCA as reimbursement for expenses occurred with the IFIP and incurred as a result of the WCCA's participation during the time which the hotel/convention center project was being developed as a public private partnership."
The letter then lists expenses that the authority alleges WDG owes it, including "Reimbursement of obligations paid by the City of Warren on behalf of the WCCA...in the amount of $9,613."
In addition, the authority is seeking payment for audits from 2011 and 2012 as well as the cost of the authority's insurance policy.
Those items total, according to the letter, $6,500, with a grant total around $16,000.
The letter also calls for WDG to cover any legal expenses that may be accrued "in closing out the affairs of the WCCA in regard to the IFIP."
The authority also noted that it informed the state Department of Community and Economic Development, the governing entity of the IFIP grant, that the grant will no longer be used in this project.
The letter also petitions City Council for further direction.
"The WCCA requests direction from City Council, in a matter deemed appropriate by the City Solicitor, to determine the future status of the WCCA," the letter said. "It is agreed by members of the Authority that it would be premature to consider any plans to dissolve the authority prior to such time as the above-referenced reimbursements are received in full from the Warren Development Group, LP."
City officials expect council to meet with the authority in the near future.
Council has debated what to do with the authority in council meetings since WDG notified the authority that the IFIP grant would not be used.
Regarding dissolving the entity, "The initiative should come from the authority," City Solicitor Andrea Stapleford said at June's council meeting. "Absent any breach of any duty or any use of discretion, the city, at this point, I don't think has any grounds to do that," indicating that the authority was "created independently and separately by the city."
But Council Vice President Maurice Cashman asked if the authority has no further use "is that even reasonable" to keep it in place. "Should we be petitioning the authority because we see no reason for them to be there?" he asked.
"If there's no future, and they see no future, both parties should proceed," Cashman added.
At May's council meeting, councilman John Lewis said the authority should be disbanded "at its earliest convenience...According to a statement from Mr. (Tim) King, it is of no further use. It really is a bad idea for the city to be involved in it. Let the private sector drive the development. Let's terminate it and be done with it."