Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog
The newest candidate for a seat on Omaha’s powerful MECA board—real estate developer Jay Noddle—is vowing to steer clear of potential conflicts of interest, including a multi-million dollar deal sitting on MECA’s doorstep.
Noddle’s promises come in the aftermath of conflict questions tied to former arena board member Jaime Gutierrez Mora.
Following investigations by Nebraska Watchdog and the Omaha City Attorney—both determined she did not live in Douglas County as required—Gutierrez Mora resigned from the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority, which oversees the CenturyLink Center, TD Ameritrade Park and the Civic Auditorium.
But many members of the public were more outraged to learn that while on the five-member arena board her company, Midwest Maintenance, held a multi-million dollar janitorial contract with MECA; the contract, which is still in effect, was OK’d a few years before the Omaha City Council appointed Gutierrez Mora in May.
Noddle, President and CEO of Noddle Companies which bills itself as one of the country’s top owners and managers of commercial property, tells Nebraska Watchdog that if he’s named to the arena board he “can’t be on both sides” of real estate deals that involve MECA.
And he says that includes a major downtown development at 10th and Capitol, which involves what city records describe as a “350 room, full-service hotel adjacent” to MECA’s CenturyLink Center.
Omaha city officials and MECA picked Shamrock Development, over Noddle and another bidder, to build the upscale 14-story hotel along with 100,000 square feet of retail space, 250 apartments, office space and a 525 stall parking garage.
While the project continues to move forward—in August the City Council OK’d $35 million in tax increment financing—city documents say it is still approximately “3 years” from completion.
City hall insiders have suggested to Nebraska Watchdog that if Shamrock can’t complete the project Noddle might try to jump back in creating a conflict of interest if he’s on the MECA board.
“I just wouldn’t do it,” Noddle tells Nebraska Watchdog. “If I tried to, that would be inappropriate.”
The Omaha Chamber of Commerce, which backed Gutierrez Mora’s appointment, is urging the city council to appoint Noddle.
And in case you’re wondering Noddle, a registered Democrat, wants you to know he lives in the city of Omaha—near 108th and West Center Rd.
“My taxes are paid, everything’s current,” Noddle said.
Contact Joe Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org
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