Providing Greater Lancaster with an Alternative Source for Local News and Commentary  _________________________________________________________
  October 24, 2006                                         Publisher: LLC                              Volume 1, Number 12
Commonwealth Court
Next Stop?

At press time, there was not time to obtain a legal analysis of Judge Madenspacher's ruling on the various issues being litigated concerning the Convention Center.

Instant analysis by the monopoly newspapers claimed that the decision favors the project sponsors.

Given the intensity of the local controversy, the ultimate finding of fact and law will likely and more suitably be made at the level of the Commonwealth Court.

Serious remaining issues are other pending litigation and the $27 million budget gap.

Make Your Voice Heard.
Write a letter, make a call:

Mike Sturla, State Representative
(717) 295-3157

J. Richard Gray, Mayor,
City of Lancaster
(717) 291-4701

Clyde Horst: Lancaster Newspapers
"has created a county-wide fear
of intimidation and retribution."

In a letter to the County Commissioners telling why he withdrew a lawsuit against the convention center/hotel project, veteran Lancaster County businessman and civic leader Clyde W. Horst sharply criticized Lancaster Newspapers for attacking opponents of the $160 million publicly funded project.

"[T]he Lancaster Newspapers' 44 percent interest in the proposed hotel project," Horst wrote, "has created a bias in its coverage of the convention center project and those who are opposed. The Lancaster Newspapers attack any individual or organization opposed to the proposed project and, as a result, it has created a county-wide fear of intimidation and retribution."

Horst explained that Horst Hotels Company and Ephrata Motel Partners withdrew the suit because:

"Neither of us have the resources to resist [the counter] suit funded by the hotel tax. The reality is that the legal system is being manipulated, at public expense, to deny the rights of those who dare disagree with the Lancaster County Convention Center Authority."

The multi-generation Horst Group has long been a regional leader in the realms of construction, property management and insurance.

Horst resigned earlier from the board of directors of the parent company of the Fulton Bank, a co-sponsor of the convention center / hotel project.
New Era / Sunday News attack
LeCrone to Villify Commissioners

BIAS: Lancaster New Era, Oct. 19, 2006: "One week after Thomas C. LeCrone began his job as interim county administrator, his job duties have been radically reduced in scope. LeCrone will be responsible for the 2007 budget and little else, County Commissioner chairman Dick Shellenberger said Wednesday."

The above is news? Note below what the Lancaster Newspapers previously had reported:

Intelligencer Journal, September 26, 2006: [Shellenberger] said. "Right now I'm focused on getting an interim person in place, taking care of the (2007) budget, and then we can see where we go from there."

Lancaster New Era, Sep 26, 2006: LeCrone's primary role as temporary administrator will be to oversee creation of the county's 2007 budget, which will approach $300 million.

Lancaster New Era, Oct 11, 2006: "He’s very capable and will be primarily focused on the budget process that has begun," said Commissioner Molly Henderson.

Intelligencer Journal, Oct 12, 2006: "Coming into this, his primary focus will be the budget, of course, and I am confident he will be able to get us through this," [Henderson] said.
County Asked to Approve Another
$14 Million for Convention Center
Convention center / hotel project planners are proposing to increase the Convention Center/Hotel Tax Revenue Bonds from $40 million to $54 million.

After months of claiming that the county taxpayers' risks will not increase, the sponsors now propose to increase the Convention Center Authority bond by $14 million. The bond is funded by County hotel taxes and partially guaranteed by the County.

The budget gap results from High Construction's construction bid exceeding partner High Associates' estimate by $37 million!

City Taxpayers Out an Additional $497,000

The City of Lancaster -- which has a reported deficit of $7 million -- recently waived $497,000 in fees for a building permit to benefit the Convention Center project. (Obtaining a permit now may have been for morale purposes given the funding gap and the remaining legal obstacles.)

$497,000 may seem paltry when compared to $64 million in other costs and guarantees to which city households would be committed, described herein several weeks ago (

Indeed, $497,000 appears modest next to the $27 million funding gap indicated from recent court testimony. (

And $497,000 is only about one-sixth of the loss to city taxpayers of the $3 million parking garage which was to be gifted to the City Parking Authority as part of the project. (

Nevertheless, $497,000 will not be available to provide needed city services that otherwise would be funded.