Falls residents join subcontractors to discuss Radisson

Several people disapprove of loan made to troubled hotel

July 6, 2012

Menomonee Falls - The Menomonee Falls Village Board room was nearly full July 2 as residents turned up for the public comment portion to discuss the Radisson Hotel.

Though public comment was limited to 15 minutes, two things were clear after eight speakers addressed the board: the subcontractors want to be paid, and the public does not want the village's investment in the hotel to fall on their shoulders.

"My advice for you is get out of the private sector. What were you thinking? You all need to be thrown out of office," Menomonee Falls resident Mark Rattan said.

The village of Menomonee Falls lent $17.65 million to Lodging Investors of Menomonee Falls for the Radisson Hotel that opened in June 2011. The village is still owed a majority of its principal loan.

Steve Welcenbach, president of the Menomonee Falls Taxpayers Association, asked the Village Board to work together with the association and the community to fix the problem that is the Radisson Hotel. The MFTA is a nonprofit organization that formed this year with a mission to keep taxes and spending in Menomonee Falls down. Its goal is to also stop the community from providing financing to private businesses.

"There is no place for the community providing financing for business ventures, which this demonstrates," Welcenbach said, referencing the Radisson Hotel before the meeting. "That's something our community has been doing lately and it's something we have to turn around."

Still waiting for payment

While taxpayers don't want the financial burden to fall on them, subcontractors are asking the village to pay them for their work.

Thomas Malzewski, who owns Heritage Glass, said he is hoping he doesn't lose his company as a result of not being paid for the work he did on the Radisson. Malzewski has lived in Menomonee Falls since the late 1960s and has been hit hard by the lack of payment from the hotel work.

"I know my taxes are going to be going up and I hope you all do what you think is ethical," he said.

Mark Mouradian from the food service equipment company Edward Don & Company is still waiting to be paid $80,000 for the work done on the hotel.

"As a group of contractors, we're interested in finding out that if those of us who are hurting and trying to make payroll can apply for the grant that the hotel seems to get to cover their payroll," said Barry Bloom, a representative from Assured Power, a subcontractor for the Radisson Hotel.

Rattan did not want additional burden placed on the taxpayers and said the village, as a lender to the project, should not be held responsible for paying subcontractors.

Former Menomonee Falls Village President Jefferson Davis told the Village Board to pay the contractors and "do the right thing."

"Whatever the end game is for you, I hope you're not part of it because quite frankly you can't be trusted. You have brought us this. You brought disgrace to this community and we're all going to pay $18 million," Davis said.

Village Officials did not comment on what was said during the meeting.

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