Guest view: Fiduciary duty keeps alderman from voting for Shrine development

When elected as an alderman, you take an oath to represent the people. One key duty is my fiduciary duty — a legal duty to act solely in another party’s interests, that is, the taxpayers.

There has been must discussion on the Shrine’s TIF district and business development (higher sales tax) project.

I’m not a fan of new TIFs; however, even if I were, an alderman has fiduciary duties to protect the taxpayers. Since Feb. 16, I have sent emails and memos to the mayor and city attorney concerning this business development. The city attorney answered legal concerns and referred all financial questions as it relates to vetting the developer to the mayor.

I have no response from the mayor. I asked if “industry standards” studies were done to ensure a hotel-restaurant of this magnitude would have the clientele to make this a success. I asked to see the developer’s letter of credit to prove the developer has the financial backing.

I have been shown the city’s potential return on its investment, but that is based on numbers given by the developer that have not been vetted. I asked if we have referenced the developer with other communities. I have been told the Oblates, who own the Shrine, thoroughly investigated them. As a Roman Catholic, I trust their knowledge on theology, but the city should not dismiss its fiduciary duty to any third party. I asked to meet with the developers and have gotten no answer. That’s why I have voted no on this project.