MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — “Do you not think you got your money’s worth?”
That was David Rachie’s response to Middletown Mayor Nicole Condrey after she asked for the public release of a “predevelopment plan” that the city paid $250,000 to create. Rachie, one of three founding partners in Main Street Community Capital LLC, had just finished a three-hour presentation of the project at an Oct. 5 council meeting.
Rachie didn’t take kindly to the mayor’s suggestion that his dream team of consultants had fallen short of the “fully vetted and written” report he promised the city in a February contract proposal.
“This cost way more than $250,000,” Rachie said. “You’ll get a follow-up written report. But I don’t know where you’re going with this.”
Betsy Hanavan was shocked by Rachie’s response.
“I found it incredibly rude, incredibly disrespectful,” said Hanavan, a pharmaceutical sales rep and mother of three who has emerged as one of the project’s biggest critics. “As a citizen, I’m sitting here thinking, ‘This is the guy we want to give seven and a half million dollars to?”
Hanavan wasn’t the only Middletown resident who rose to the mayor’s defense. In the weeks that followed that October meeting, Hanavan and another Middletown mom, Amy Chupka, joined an informal group of citizen activists that conducted extensive research on Rachie, his partners and the city officials who championed his $1.3 billion vision for Middletown’s riverfront.