Ohio City Reaches Deal With Casino Developer

     COLUMBUS, Ohio (CN) – Casino developer Penn National Gaming will recoup $15 million paid for roadway improvements and environmental cleanup costs connected to its lawsuit against after Franklin County and the city of Columbus allegedly threatened to shut off the water supply to delay development.

     Penn National had sued the city for allegedly conspiring with the owners of the Columbus Dispatch to move the casino outside of city limits and threatening to shut off the water supply to the land if the company refused to file for the annexation.
     U.S. District Judge Gregory Frost approved a settlement between the parties on Friday. As part of the settlement, Columbus will pay $15 million once Penn National and its subsidiary, CD Gaming, file to annex the site from Franklin Township, effectively relocating the casino to Columbus and generating tax revenue for the city.
     The agreement says that the $15 million will be used for “certain documented public purpose expenses including, but not limited to, expenses relating to public roadway improvements … and environmental remediation of the property, both of which serve a valid public purpose for public expenditure.”
     Additionally, “the City waives all right to oversee, permit, approve, or otherwise regulate the construction of the Casino and related facilities on the property.”
     Columbus and Penn National also agreed to donate $2.5 million each toward the creation of the Westside Community Fund. The agreement says that “these funds shall be used for a variety of projects related to the neighborhood(s) immediately surrounding the property and/or the citizens thereof, including but not limited to job training, minority affairs, economic development and/or capital projects.”

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