Rapid City mayor and downtown developer at odds over letter - KOTA Territory News

Rapid City mayor and downtown developer at odds over letter


Rapid city council members acknowledged a letter from the developers behind the President's Plaza project. It was sent to Rapid City Mayor Sam Kooiker two weeks ago, asking him to stop talking to potential funding sources.  

Mayor Kookier put the letter on the agenda of the city Leagal and Finance Committee meeting because he said it's important that council members are aware of the letter, which he calls a gag order.

Hani Shafai, developer of the project, said the letter was simply a request to keep him in the loop regarding every financial aspect of the project. Shafai said he hopes the miscommunication doesn't jeopardize potential funding.    

"When it involves in financing the project, especially the people who are involved in the financing process, we want to be there to make sure all issues are addressed in a very professional manner," said Shafai.

While Mayor Kooiker said he is in full support of the project, he said transparency is important which is why he wanted council members aware of it.    

"President's Plaza has adopted the position of give us the public funding and don't ask any questions and that's something the city council and the community needed to be aware of," said Mayor Kooiker.

The Rapid City council recently voted to extend the contract of the downtown project by two years, with construction starting within the first six months of 2016.

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