The Capital City Development Corporation has plenty to say about the very public City Center project. It just prefers not to talk about its financing in public.
At noon on Sept. 15--the exact time that tons of dirt were being pulled from the Grove Plaza to make way to for the $21 million project--CCDC went into executive session to talk about how to help pay for the development. Simply put, CCDC commissioners asked everyone to leave the room, exercising Idaho Code 67-2345, allowing the agency to "communicate with legal counsel regarding pending/imminently-likely litigation."
And there's plenty of litigation to talk about in the shadow of an Aug. 28 ruling from 4th District Judge Melissa Moody, who said the deal crafted between CCDC and the Greater Boise Auditorium District to finance the project through millions of dollars in bonds violated the Idaho Constitution (BW, Citydesk, "GBAD Plans Tried to Circumvent Constitution," Sept. 3, 2014).
"There were holes she was not comfortable with," said CCDC legal counsel Ryan Armbruster.
Moody ruled that too many questions remained in what, as she put it, "subterfuge for what is actually a conditional sales contract." In particular, the judge pointed to the uncomfortable "open-ended" promises in GBAD's lease agreement with CCDC.
Boise City Councilman David Eberle, also a CCDC commissioner, quizzed Armbruster. "Does this contemplate a change in ownership [of the City Center] or does this rectify the judge's ruling?" asked Eberle.
"We'll talk about that in executive session," said Armbruster, not wanting to show the agency's hand--at least publicly.
Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, also a CCDC commissioner, tried to crack some sunshine on what was rapidly becoming a mysterious conversation.
"So, where are we in the court case?" asked the mayor.
Armbruster wouldn't take the bait.
"We'll talk about that in executive session," said the attorney.
The only thing that CCDC legal counsel would publicly reveal is that CCDC wants to pursue requests from outside financial agencies to front the City Center financing deal.
"We always believed that this deal was financeable as long as we had legal authority," said Eric Heringer, a CCDC consultant on the City Center project.
Just how that financing comes together will be hard to gauge, unless the public entity that is CCDC starts sharing more with the public that it serves.