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DUE NEGLIGENCE: City officials ignored Tiger Hotel owner's troubles to approve TIF

KOMU report reiterates cross-country chaos; St. Romaine says city found no problems

 COLUMBIA, 10/28/12 (Beat Byte) -- In a surprise revelation to KOMU news, assistant Columbia city manager Tony St. Romaine said dozens of news accounts from cities in Canada, England, and the US about Tiger Hotel owner Glyn Laverick's troubled business dealings "weren't true at all."

The Tiger Hotel is a historic landmark in downtown Columbia Mr. Laverick has been renovating with a public financing package since Spring 2011. 

Columbia officials considered information about his chaotic past mere "rumors," St. Romaine told KOMU last week.

They transferred a $1.8 million TIF to Laverick from former Tiger Hotel owners John Ott, Dave Baugher, Renae Sapp, and Al Germond after a unanimous thumbs up from Columbia City Council members nearly two years ago.

The hotel's former owners, who hold an owner-financed note on the building, loaned Laverick $400,000 to continue the renovations earlier this month.


The Columbia Heart Beat originally broke the story about Laverick's failed projects, which include two historic theaters in the cities of Toronto and Oshawa, Canada.  Guests in September charged the Tiger Hotel with bait-and-switch tactics that prompted room charge refunds after Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster investigated.

The two-part KOMU report, which aired Thursday, followed Laverick's history from England to Canada to Marshall, Missouri.  Reporters interviewed Marshall city administrator and former Marshall Mayor Connie Latimer, who recalled the rise and fall of Laverick's Full Circle Leisure.

The Marshall-area concert promoter went bankrupt in 2004, leaving 81 complaints with the Missouri Attorney General's office and $837,634.00 in debts, many to small area businesses.

And that was just in Missouri.


Before concluding the stories were falsehoods, city officials investigated "previous investments by this developer that might have gone south," St. Romaine told KOMU. "Obviously, we did our due diligence," he insisted.

If that's true, they must have seen our stories, and this overview from the Columbia Daily Tribune:

Failed projects dot history of hotel's backer

City officials must have seen these stories from Oshawa, Ontario newspapers about the collapse of the Regent Theatre:

Regent Theatre still not ready to open

Columbia officials would have read the harsh comments from Oshawa Mayor John Gray, about the "path of destruction and disappointment" Laverick leaves wherever he goes.

Mr. St. Romaine doubtless read that Mr. Laverick's clients were  "shocked" by his "filthy theatre," and that his landlord threw an entire audience out over unpaid rent. 

"The Regent Theatre opened its doors for the first time in 10 months this past weekend, but the show didn't go on," news accounts read.   "The downtown venue has been mired in controversy since current owner Glyn Laverick took over in 2007."

If Mr. St. Romaine is correct, Columbia city officials must have seen these stories about the collapse of the Danforth Theatre from Toronto-area news media:

Danforth Music Hall shuttered

They would have seen this story too, about a roughly $125,000 loss Laverick incurred in the UK after a failed concert:

Promoter faces big loss as trust calls off concerts

And last but not least, these stories, about Laverick's collapse in Marshall:
In KOMU interviews, Mr. Laverick laid blame for the failures elsewhere.  Not enough people bought tickets in Marshall, for instance, and his landlord in Canada wanted to raise the rent beyond reason, he explained.  


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