No check, no word from Motown

More than two months after agreeing to reimburse the city of Vandalia for a traffic study, Motown Technology & Sports Facility Inc. has not submitted that payment.

And, Motown officials have not responded to recent attempts by the city to contact them.

Motown and the city signed on Dec. 7 an agreement that gave the Michigan-based group six more months to provide the city with proof that it has financing for its proposed $300-million sports and entertainment complex.

One term in the agreement stipulated that Motown would submit at that Dec. 7 meeting a $17,500 check as reimbursement for a traffic study in the area of the city’s western Interstate 70 interchange.

Motown CEO Kenneth Bardwell pointed out that he had brought a check to that meeting. Four days later, however, the city learned that the check had been returned, with insufficient funds being stated as the reason for the reimbursement.

Both Motown and Vandalia Director of Economic Development JoAnn Givens said that the check was not returned because of insufficient funds, but because Bardwell did not have all of the signatures needed for proper authorization.

Motown representative Emmett Traylor told The Leader-Union a month ago that the matter would be cleared up when the Motown board met on Friday, Jan. 29.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the city still had not received a check from Motown, according to Mayor Rick Gottman.

Also, he said, the city has attempted to contact Motown, but had not heard anything from them as of Tuesday afternoon.

“We’re just sitting back, waiting (to hear from them),” Gottman said.

While the mayor did not express an opinion on the status of the city’s relationship with Motown, he said he’s hopeful that the group follows through on its promises.

“We’ve negotiated with them in good faith, and we would like them to meet all of their obligations,” he said.

The city has agreed to provide land south of the western interchange for the sports and entertainment complex, but it’s not ruled out the possibility of that land being used for any other kind of development.

“We’re not spending any more money (on the Motown project) until we see something happening, and we’re continuing to market that property,” Gottman said. That land is being marketed to potential developers on “a first-come, first-served” basis, he said.

Attempts to contact Motown on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning were unsuccessful, and the group did not return a phone message as of presstime on Wednesday.

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