Tuesday, June 27, 2000

Newport commission agreement puts stop to lawsuit

By Terry Flynn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NEWPORT — The city has reached agreement with Barleycorn's floating restaurant that halts a lawsuit brought by the city that could have ousted Barleycorn's from its location on the Ohio River bank.

        Following an executive session at the start of Monday night's city commission meeting, which involved the commission, the city manager and attorneys for both sides, City Solicitor Michael Schulkens said an agreement had been worked out.

        “This is a settlement of all claims and litigation,” Mr. Schulkens said. “It involves Barleycorn's lease, including the location and fees.”

        He said he could not release the actual agreement until both parties in the suit had signed it. He said Barleycorn's owner, Ken Heil, would not be able to sign the document until sometime today.

        The city filed a complaint in Campbell District Court in February, seeking to evict Barleycorn's from its leased position on the river below the Newport Aquarium.

        The city claimed that Mr. Heil and Barleycorn's were two years behind on lease payments amounting to about $125,000. Mr. Heil countered that the city had not bargained in good faith concerning the lease agreement.

        Both sides were preparing to go to court over the issues.

        In other business, commissioners approved first readings of three orders pertaining to the financing agreement with Newport on the Levee developer Steiner and Associates of Columbus. City Manager Phil Ciafardini said the orders primarily changed the wording of existing agreements.

        Steiner vice president Barry Rosenberg addressed the commission and presented an update on the entertainment complex development that will include a 3-D IMAX theater, a 20-screen multiplex cinema, restaurants and shops, plus a 213-room Hilton Garden Inn hotel with a 900-car parking garage, and a 200,000-square-foot office complex.

        “We will start the (structural) steel work on the complex July 17,” Mr. Rosenberg said. “We're right on schedule to open Newport on the Levee next summer.”


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