I watched with interest and an open mind N&R editor Allen Johnson’s interview with proposed taxpayer-financed downtown hotel developers Randall Kaplan and Bridget Chisholm.

A couple of things jumped out at me. Kaplan acknowledged the possibility that the hotel would not be able to support the level of debt, but he seems to believe other ownership groups would willingly take on the debt should the original ownership group lose it all. Johnson also asked point-blank how much a room would cost. Kaplan and Chisholm glanced awkwardly at each other before Kaplan said the price “would be all over the place” —taking discounts and packages into consideration —- but that they were running models “averaging in the $155.00 per night range.”

As you can imagine, Kaplan lost me when he noted that the majority of the 100 or so employees could either walk or take the bus to work, so that it will be an “environmentally friendly” hotel. Puh-leaze.

Kaplan and Chisholm assured Johnson that no public money is on the hook for this project. I simply don’t see how this is possible, since the “federal bond money is part of a $25 billion U.S. Treasury fund to help state and local governments finance economic development.” Help me figure out what I’m missing here.

Watch the interview for yourself.