Dear Mayor Newberry,
Thanks for asking Dudley Webb to come before the LFUCG this Tuesday to address the community's worries about the ghost hotel and its phantom financier.
A couple weeks ago, Mr. Webb released a letter [PDF] from Richard P. Crane, a big-time Los Angeles lawyer, announcing the death of CentrePointe's financier. The Herald Leader reported:
Webb said Crane's letter was sent to quiet any skeptics and dispel rumors that the project, which was supposed to be under construction by December 2008, has collapsed.Let's be clear: Dudley Webb wanted to quiet rumors and silence hearsay so he revealed some undisclosed person in some undisclosed country had unexpectedly died.
Specifically, Webb was upset by comments he said were made by Vice Mayor Jim Gray "that our financing is dead."
That's like telling a curious child that Santa Claus is no longer with us but, don't worry Kid, you'll still get your presents anyway. And don't ask any questions.
Jim, we're worried this new information will not close the door on rumor and innuendo.
So we thought we'd try to help. We figured if we could identify Dead Financier X, well, there'd be no need for secrecy and the questioning would stop.
Here's what we know from Richard Crane's letter: The person who died had $250 million lying around that was not subject to the current wild international economic downturn; This person died an untimely death; And this person had no will. This is like a freaking game of Clue!
Here's what we found...
Shaikh Ahmad Maktoum died in March. He's the uncle of the first lady of Dubai -- so his neice's husband owns a horse farm in the Bluegrass and has lots and lots of money. Is he Dead Financier X?
Well, he's dead, rich and foreign, so he fits Dudley Webb's description... but we remain unconvinced.
Rashid Mu'alla died in January. He was the ruler of one of the other United Arab Emirates. He, too, fits Webb's description -- dead, rich, foreign -- but can you give us another hint?
Does Dead Financier X have a moustache? Is he bigger than a bread box? Are we thinking about this wrong? Recent rumors suggest not all dead rich foreigners are Arab.
What about Andrea Pinifarina? An Italian, he died unexpectedly last August in a car accident. He's got loads of money and his company is related to a sunroof factory in Lexington.
Are we getting warmer?
Frankly, Jim, It's a morbid game and we'd rather not be playing it. Ultimately, your guess is as good as our... because, well, Dudley Webb won't give us the answer.
As you know, we're in the midst of global financial crisis. Hell, we keep our money in the sock drawer and even that's depreciated in value. Meanwhile, as Financier X's family dukes it out in probate court deciding who gets what, we're expected to believe that no matter the outcome, $250 million is still coming to Lexington, Kentucky.
If any of this seems slightly odd to you, Jim, maybe you can ask Dudley Webb to clarify things on Tuesday.
At the very least, you could help Dudley dispel all the pesky rumors his letter only helped perpetuate.
Just since this news was released, we've heard several nutjob conspiracy theories.
One guy told us that Dead Financier X was... Bea Arthur! We dismissed this because Sophia always seemed like the brains behind that operation and, regardless, an anonymous source tells us Sophia was the foreign one.
Someone else suggested the Webbs just wanted to rent some bulldozers and a wrecking ball and demolish a city block for the fun of it. While we appreciate the reckless spirit of this theory, the back-end of the rumor -- that the Webbs could then later sell the land for well more than they'd paid for it -- just seems too crazy.
Still another piece of hearsay has it that, in fact, we are the financiers. According to this one, the Webbs were going to sue us for libel and collect $250 million. Unfortunately, we are neither dead nor foreign, and our sock drawers are more full of socks than money.
Let's face it, for all we know the Webbs hatched this CentrePointe project -- with its 91 million dollar condos and its 4 Star Hotel and its giant suites with 360 degree views -- back in 2007 when Steve Beshear was promising to bring gambling to Kentucky.
Maybe they were trying to capitalize on this legislation. Maybe the dead financier isn't really foreign or even a person -- maybe this dead financier is Steve Beshear's gambling initiative?
And maybe Richard P. Crane isn't just some high powered LA lawyer but a lawyer who specializes in high end "gaming"?
Are any of these rumors accurate, probable, possible?
Well, Jim, we just don't know. Until we get some answers, it's all speculation. And until we get those answers, that speculation will just keep growing.
If Dudley Webb is as offended by hearsay as he claims, he can go a long way toward setting the record straight on Tuesday.
But he won't answer questions that you don't ask.
Jim, it pains us to write this. We've traveled down many roads together, and, well, we always come back again. We sometimes criticize you, but we think your heart is true.
You are a pal and a confidante.
Thank you for being a friend.