Time to pull the plug on Motown

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By Rich Bauer, Managing Editor

Two months ago, we asked that the city of Vandalia seriously consider discontinuing its relationship with Motown Technology and Sports Facility Inc. We’re glad to see that city officials are moving in that direction.

Alderman Mike Hobler suggested at Monday’s city council meeting that the city look at initiating legal action against the Michigan-based group, and Alderman Larry Bennett agreed.

Mayor Rick Gottman turned the matter over the city’s legal counsel, which will look into the city’s options. Those options, we assume, could include seeking the initiation of deceptive practice charges. Those options could also include taking the first steps to terminate the Motown agreement.

Either option seems appropriate, because Motown has failed to make good on a bad check it gave to the city in December.

Even worse in our mind is the fact that since it came to light that the reimbursement check for a traffic study was returned, Motown representatives have failed to respond to phone calls and e-mails from the city.

Those actions lead us to believe that the proposed $300-million project is not going anywhere, that the Motown group will – like it has in other communities before – just go away quietly.

Those actions tell us that this is not the type of developer that we are comfortable dealing with.

Sadly, we think that Hobler’s right when he says it’s time to see whether the sheriff in its home county, by serving the group with some type of legal document, can get Motown Technology’s attention.

This project can no longer be considered viable, based on the group’s actions, or lack thereof, in recent months.

As we’ve said before, when some individuals within the city’s leadership have said that the problems with Motown stem from our unfavorable coverage about the group, its best response is to prove us wrong.

The city could wait and see whether Motown Technology meets its contractual obligation of providing proof of funding by the beginning of June.

But, at this point, we’d like to know whether the group even has enough funds to cover its bad check.