Gluba: “I smell a rat” in casino dealings

As plans to build a land-based casino in Davenport move forward, Monday, Mayor Bill Gluba said he “smells a rat” in the negotiations.

Those thoughts, which aldermen said have been boiling under the surface for awhile, came to a head Monday night at a council work session.

“Kehl was chosen by Isle of Capri through their consultants. And I think lack of competition is a concern, and the Federal Trade Commission ought to be looking at some of this stuff,” said Gluba. “I’ll say what I want. They [the Riverboat Development Authority] don’t let you talk. I smell a rat when I smell a rat,” he said.

Gluba and some other aldermen said there has been too much collusion in the casino dealings between developer Dan Kehl, the Isle of Capri, and the RDA. What the council has the power to do about it, though, remains less clear.

“I don’t know if there’s anything we can do,” said Alderman Bill Boom.

Earlier Monday, the RDA – which holds the gaming license – finalized its deal with Kehl.

“I don’t see any friction with the city. As I mentioned, the city has to negotiate their own agreement with Mr. Kehl, the Isle has to negotiate their own agreement with Mr. Kehl, and we, representing the RDA and the people of Scott County, negotiated our agreement,” said RDA chairman Gary Mohr.

And Kehl said he can move forward even without an agreement with city leaders.

“We’re not asking the city for anything, so getting a development agreement from the city is not necessarily something that we have to have,” said Kehl.

Mayor Gluba, though, says not so fast.

“Somehow, he has to get the license from the Isle. We hold some say in that. We decide whether that license is transferable or not. So, Mr. Kehl’s getting poor advice from somebody,” said Gluba.

On Wednesday, development agreements with both Kehl and Rodney Blackwell will be up for discussion. The council’s finance committee can then forward one or both of the agreements for consideration by the full council next week.

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