Facts about the Cabela's cabal
How to become a corporate welfare queen for fun and profit


City Council delays Cabela's decision
By Susan Voyles, Reno Gazette-Journal

After hearing complaints from labor leaders, the Reno City Council delayed until Aug. 22 a decision on whether to issue $40.5 million in sales-tax backed bonds to help Cabela's build its giant sporting goods store at Boomtown.

Paul McKenzie, of the Building and Construction Trades Council, claimed several subcontractors hired by Layton Construction Co., Cabela's general contractor, are not licensed in Nevada. He also contends several subcontractors and building consultants on the project did not turn over employee records to the city to prove they are paying prevailing wages as called for in the city's agreement with Cabela's.

"Ultimately, we don't think Cabela's deserve the STAR bonds," McKenzie said. Over 20 years, up to 75 percent of sales taxes generated at the store can be used to pay off the bonds.

Mayor Bob Cashell said he doesn't want to make a decision until the Nevada State Contractors Board completes an investigation under way on whether Layton, based in Phoenix, illegally hired any subcontractors not licensed with the state in the building project.

Cabela's would be the first in the state to take advantage of the special financing. John McIntyre, the city's redevelopment consultant, said he was initially given outside legal advice that employee reports were needed only for work be covered by the bonds. Then he found out otherwise.

Three months ago, he said all of the employee reports had been turned in as required.

The unions contend some of the reports might be phony.

Kevin Rhodes, Cabela's real estate director, declined to comment on the labor issues and said Layton would have no comment either. But he told the council Cabela's would have a problem if the city decides to reduce the promised bonds for the project.

Councilwoman Jessica Sferrazza said she wants to know if Cabela's violated the intent of state law that set up the financing. She said she doesn't see how hiring an outside contractor is a benefit to the local economy.

The council asked the city attorney to explore all of these issues and whether any of them is cause for the city to break its agreement with Cabela's signed earlier this year.

Council members also expressed concern over the Sheels sporting goods store that will be built at the Sparks Marina as a competitor, and want more financing details.


Copyright © 2007 Reno Gazette-Journal

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Links to Reno Gazette-Journal stories are now rarely provided as most quickly become stale with Gannett randomly nuking its subsidiary newspapers' archives as a way to save disk server space — which should erode their web traffic and thus negatively affect profitability. And all this time I thought all they cared about was money.]


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