by Lance Turner
Posted 11/27/2013 09:22 am
Updated 11 months ago
Contractors have filed $300,000 in liens against the Arkansas Convention Center in Texarkana, Ark., owned by Hiren Patel, who's building the project with incentives championed by ousted-but-then-re-hired City Manager Harold Boldt, according to a Texarkana Gazette story in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette today.
Arkansas Business' Luke Jones has been following the ongoing saga of Boldt and his pet economic development project, the Crossroads Business Park near Interstate 30. It includes the $18 million convention center, one of two being built on either side of the state line, and a $40 million water park (also owned by Patel).
Before he was ousted -- and subsequently re-hired -- Boldt has asked the city board for more money for the convention center and water park. "Due to several factors, the city does not have the cash available to fund our costs at this time," Boldt told the board in a January letter.
He asked the city to increase a $487,000 short-term note to $1.06 million and to pledge sales tax revenue and additional franchise fees to pay the additional debt. He also said he would ask the city's Advertising & Promotion Commission to contribute $500,000 to Texarkana Hotels LLC, the private company belonging to Patel. Boldt brought in Patel when he realized the city would never be able to pay for all that development itself.
Flash-forward to now, and the convention center project faces a laundry list of unhappy contractors seeking payment. Boldt tells the Gazette that he didn't know about the liens. Patel didn't comment.
The Texarkana Gazette story, which ran locally Sunday but appeared in central Arkansas' Democrat-Gazette today, also has what's likely to be one of the best quotations of the year, from one of the project's disgrunted contractors:
"I may be a redneck, but when someone takes $90,000 of my money, I am mad," Peek said."Pay me my money. It's Christmastime, and my kids want the G.I. Joe with the kung fu grip."