Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard issued a statement Feb. 10 about Hotel Carmichael’s price tag that told the rest of us taxpaying Carmel citizens to basically suck it up.
His statement was tone deaf, lacking any bit of contrition about letting a public/private project go $18 million over budget. He suggested we thank (Carmel Redevelopment Commission Executive Director) Henry Mestestky and the CRC rather than criticize. He clarified that he is the one with oversight, not anyone else.
As well, he noted that the CRC’s freedom comes from the state legislature’s setup of independent redevelopment commissions to help municipalities redevelop underused areas of their cities and towns. Using this as justification for keeping secret what he and Mestestky are up to raises another question: How was the hotel’s prime real estate footprint considered “underused” in the first place?
Mestestky and Brainard have shown they need oversight, and the city council should be one body to provide it, in addition to independent auditors. Please don’t try to tell me how happy I should be with the bloated, over-the-top hotel, Mr. Mayor.
Catherine Hughes, Carmel