Judge rules petitioners not entitled to public vote on building, financing new downtown hotel

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Voters in Kansas City, Mo., wanting to challenge financing on a new downtown hotel won't get their say because a judge recently ruled petitioners are not entitled to a public vote.

The judge ruled the ballot language wasn't clear enough, it conflicted with state law and would have caused a breach of contract with developers, and therefore, it should not go on an election ballot.

The group petitioning wanted the voters to decide if the city should be allowed to build and finance the new 800 room convention center hotel. The city is calling the decision a win and Mayor Sly James says he hopes they can move forward with the project in hopes of attracting large conventions.

“The judge ruled in favor of the city on a three points and said the plaintiffs in the case were incorrect in their assertion and our interpretation of the law was absolutely correct," Mayor James said.

The opposition has 30 days to ask the judge to reconsider, then 10 days after to appeal. Without any more hurdles construction for the $311 million hotel could begin this fall and be ready for business in 2019.

“I haven't been able to talk to the development group or anybody else, so I really don't know, it's still too early to know that at this point, all I know is that we won,” Mayor James said.