The City of Kenosha made a sudden announcement on Tuesday regarding a public hearing for a casino deal that was negotiated in secret. The hearing is set to take place today and the City plans to vote on the deal shortly thereafter. The Kenosha County Board also received notice that the County’s Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA), which was also negotiated in secret, will be shared with various committees in the coming days, with a vote scheduled for November 21.
This sudden rush to approve the casino deal has taken many by surprise, including Common Council Members and County Board Supervisors. There is confusion and concern about the lack of public input and time to thoroughly consider the details of the proposal. “There is no local, state, or federal timeline requiring these Intergovernmental Agreements (IGAs) to be fast-tracked. If this is such a good deal for Kenosha County, then why has this process been so cloaked in a cloud of secrecy and deception,” said Lorri Pickens, spokesperson for Citizens Against Expanded Gambling. Pickens also pointed out that the Florida Seminole Tribe attempted to disguise itself as the Kenosha Landco, LLC, adding to the suspicions surrounding the deal.
The public hearing process is meant to gather public concerns and address any issues that may be harmful to the community. However, Pickens highlighted that a significant number of city and county elected officials have been left out of the conversation. The proponents of the casino seem to only care about revenue, disregarding the potential harm to the community.
Citizens Against Expanded Gambling is calling for a slowdown in the process to allow for a full review of the proposal by the city, county, and the public. They are urging Kenosha residents to attend the public hearing tonight at 6:00 p.m. at City Hall to voice their concerns.
The abrupt nature of the announcements and the lack of transparency surrounding the casino deal have sparked skepticism and opposition among residents and advocates. The rush to approve the deal without proper public input or thorough examination has raised red flags, prompting calls for more scrutiny and consideration of the potential impacts on the community.