Hotel hubbub: Candidates squabble over the project

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Lisa Helget, city supervisor candidate, took exception Monday to criticism from a developer and said she told the truth as she understands it regarding a hotel chain coming to Carson City.

“I told the truth as I know it,” she said.

Supervisor Karen Abowd, the incumbent being challenged by Helget, at the same time said different things were involved in comments made last week by each of the Ward 1 candidates at a Chamber of Commerce candidates’ forum.

Helget issued a Monday statement in which she questioned whether Abowd “deliberately falsified her statement about the existence of a letter of intent.” Abowd, meanwhile, put on her campaign Facebook site a comment she had been talking about a different matter, which Helget called “lame.” Abowd expanded later on her Facebook comment and in the process challenged Helget’s assumptions.

“The entity that she named,” said Abowd, “is not the entity that we have the LOI (letter of intent) from.” Her Facebook website put it this way: “The letter of intent I mentioned at the Chamber of Commerce candidates’ forum was not in reference to the project my opponent has referred to, but an entirely different project.” She capitalized the word different.

Helget said at Wednesday’s forum the Hyatt is coming to Carson City. Matt MacRitchie of MacCompany’s, a real estate development firm, indicated on Friday that was premature and could jeoparize negotiations. The Chicago developer said it could put the Hyatt’s eventual decision and the project at risk. His comments also encompassed Supervisor Jim Shirk, who earlier made a similar reference to Hyatt.

Helget contended that as a community, Carson City residents “need to see if this is a good fit.” She said supervisors, with the exception of Shirk, have “seen fit to keep this project ‘under the table’” despite continual talk.

“City officials have been whispering about the Hyatt for months,” she said. She cited a July Nevada Appeal article in which Shirk named Hyatt when he divulged a Hyatt Place hotel could be part of a downtown development. But MacRitchie on Friday said neither he nor Hyatt has signed any letter of intent document.

Abowd on Monday not only made her Facebook statement, but later added the development concept for property behind the Carson Nugget is large, adding, “how many entities are involved in it, I don’t know.” Non-disclosure wishes in the private sector keep Abowd from expanding about details, such as any or all of those involved.

Helget, for her part, amended her earlier assertion Hyatt was definitely coming but didn’t back down, saying this: “It’s a great thing the Hyatt may come to Carson City, but all the subterfuge is unnecessary.”


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