- Associated Press - Saturday, April 29, 2017

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - A city councilwoman wants to know who stands to profit from a city-backed, mixed-use parking project in downtown Sioux Falls.

The Lafayette Journal and Courier (https://argusne.ws/2pYHHAm ) reported Councilor Theresa Stehly in February requested a list of investors in Legacy Developments, the city’s private partner. She wants to guarantee that public officials and their family members don’t have financial ties to the developer. The community development office’s director responded with an email saying no public officials or employees would benefit from the project.

“At this time we are negotiating a development agreement and have assurances that city employees will not be part of the investor group, and they have agreed to contractually be obligated to that condition,” Community Development Director Daren Ketcham wrote in a March 3 email to the city council.

The city has yet to approve funding for the project and Stehly said she won’t consider supporting it until she can see a full list of investors.

“Taxpayers have a right to know who the city is getting into bed with,” she said.

City ordinance prohibits public officials, employees and their families from having financial interests in city contracts.

“We have to ask these questions and demand that we see what’s going on behind the scenes,” Stehly said. “It’s called accountability to the public.”

The city will contribute as much as $18 million toward the multi-story parking ramp that will include retail, office and residential elements.

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