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R.R. The Question of HemisFair’s Bills San Antonio HemisFair, the six-month run of fun and games that lost $6.5 million’, is now a dark, little-used restaurant and amusements area with an uncertain future that haunts the San Antonio city council. Most recently the city council resolved to give a whopping 24 acres of the 90acre HemisFair site, which it leases from its own urban renewal agency, to the state for a four-year universityagainst the advice of its city attorney. But since some of the buildings and improvements in the site were never completely paid for in the fair’s semi-secret financial flip-flop which saw its own underwriters lose $5 million, four building contractors are now suing the city for $863,000, Any legal action on the fu Mary Beth Rogers ture of the site will have to wait until these suits are settled by the court. These contractors received only partial payment and thousands of $2 admission tickets for their work in the area from Fair, Inc. 2 \(the private, nonprofit cortend that wording in the city’s lease agreement with Fair, Inc. entitles them to collect the fair’s debts from city taxpayers, since the Fair, Inc. was designated the city’s legal “agency” 3. This is based on the 1964 lease agreement in which the city gave Fair, Inc. use of the 90-acre urban renewal site in return for title to all permanent improvements in the area developed and built by HemisFair. San Antonio city attorney Harold Walker concedes the contractors have a valid argument. In a so-far unpublicized letter 4 written to the city council Oct. 10, Walker said, “The terminology used in the ordinance and the lease agreement is indeed unfortunate from the standpoint of the city for it has given the contractors a legal point on which to base a suit against the city for money judgement. What the court will look to in construing these ordinances is the intent of the council in passing them. “If the court thinks it was, indeed, the intention of the city council in passing these ordinances to make the Fair, Inc. the city’s agent for the pupose of putting on the Fair, then the ordinances very likely violate a number of principles of mu Mrs. Rogers is an Observer contributing editor and a close follower of San Antonio public affairs. 8 The Texas Observer nicipal law, including provisions in the state constitution …. Thus, in order to seek to defeat liability \(for the contracurge that action taken by the city council was illegal and therefore void. Our asserting this, especially if we are successful, could lead to serious consequences. However, if we are not successful the consequences may be even more serious,” Walker said. The lawsuits, then, create double trouble for the city in determining post-fair use of the area. If the courts hold the lease agreement invalid, then the city does not own the Fair. Inc. permanent improvements in the area \(with the exception, of course, being those taxpayerfinanced city, state and federal governmental buildings to which it has clear have trouble contending successfully that we own the buildings under our HemisFair lease, yet should be absolved of any responsibility for paying for them,” Walker wrote. If the initial lawsuits against the city are successful, a floodgate of similar liti Usually reliable news sources Have it That stockholders in the good life Gilt girdled and bow tied Solid citizens Milling the lobby of The Palacio del Rio Hilton In San Antonio Next door to Hemisfair 68 Looking for life to happen In their image and likeness Were Shocked Stunned Ruthlessly chilled Unalterably dismayed Last night When Two youth garbs shoeless In He-hair and She-hair Came unannounced into the gold carpeted Lobby of the Palacio del Rio -Hilton And presented themselves before A portrait in oil of one H. B. Zachry Patron Saint Builder of the Palacio del Rio Hilton And late-called-in Messiah To save Hemisfreak from The powers of economic darkness Where they made first gation could result, with the city having to pick up the tab on many of HemisFair’s debts. UNKNOWN TO MOST taxpayers, the city has already spent its tax money on part of the HemisFair operation, according to city attorney Walker. “To date the city has expended on the fair tax moneys estimated at one-half million dollars. These expenses include police security cost and numerous manhours of labor expended by other city departments.” This, in spite of promises repeatedly made to local taxpayers that they would not have to bear the fair’s expenses. “The fair itself will not cost the city of San Antonio a thin dime,” Mayor Walter McAllister, Sr., said five years ago. 5. “Contrary to misleading charges, the fair will not cost the taxpayer any money,” said Zachry three months ago 6. Walker’s letter raises more questions about the ultimate cost to the taxpayers when the city has to purchase from the urban renewal agency the land it leased An Allah Be Praised obeisance In front of said portrait And then dropping on one knee Performed a duet Genuflection Shaking beads and prayers in The general and specific direction of H. B. Whereupon they made exit Padding quietly silently Out through a paralyzed lobby To their waiting air And were swallowed up in the dark night A lady in evening wear Waiting with her husband In his penguin disguise To go in to dinner Is reported To have suffered An expulsion of urine Of such consequence Behind her St. Laurent pussy cover She had to be Assisted groaning Into the La Corte Room At which time It was discovered, Two brandy frappes Applied locally Were sufficient To stop the flow Of the idea San Antonio 74 Zeceeefto a~ tie peedepte44 \(4 a Pete &waren