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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Monday, April 10, 2017

Phillips "Disappointed"That DaVinci Failed to Disclose Competing Project

Hayden "The Colonel" Phillips
The Da Vinci Science Center, located on the west end of Allentown, is considering an expansion into Easton. Executive Director Lin Erickson gave Northampton County Council an overview of the project in December, claiming it would bring education, tourism and economic development to Northampton County.

Easton, which has agreed to contribute up to $30 million of the projected $130 million cost,  already has an agreement to purchase Days Inn. That aging hotel will be demolished and replaced with a 170,000 sq ft facility that includes a science center, a 500,000 gallon aquarium with large view panes, an Aquarium Restaurant and event center with seating for 500, an immersion theater, a creativity studio or "Fab lab," classrooms and offices.

But Erickson never bothered telling NorCo Council, when she pitched successfully for a $50,000 grant, that a similar project was under consideration in Monroe County. Nor did she tell them when she later came back in a failed attempt for  another $50,000.

So on Thursday, she was back before NorCo Council again.

 "I'm happy to entertain any questions you might address," she said. .

Hayden Phillips  told her he was "disappointed" that she said nothing.

Amazingly, Erickson only knew about this because Diane Donaher, NorCo's former Director of Community and Economic Development, told her. Donaher told Erickson, but never bothered to tell Council Erickson explained that she had no idea of the plan was moving ahead or not, so she never told Council. Phillips found that explanation to be "disingenuous."

"I am so tired of lies and speculation it's unbelievable," echoed Bob Werner.

Glenn Geissinger,however, supported the radio silence.He said it is "absolutely unreasonable to have asked you to notify us of a project that may or may not exist."

Whether it exists or not, NorCo Council should have been told about it before being asked to shell out $50,000 in what is almost certainly wasted public money.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very unattractive behavior for a nonprofit director. Fifty thousand dollars for a study without revealing a Pocono possibility? A big thank you to Mr. Phillips.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for what? he already gave them the 50Gs 2 meetings ago

Anonymous said...

Geissinger was right - it is not her job to tell them about other projects she has no involvement with. It is their failure for giving money out without properly researching first.

Jeffrey Fox said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff Fox said...

Anonymous on April 10, 2017 at 8:32 AM

referring to Mr. Phillips..."Thank you for what? he already gave them the 50Gs 2 meetings ago"...

According to the meeting minutes "he" did not give them "50G's 2 meetings ago." Northampton County did award the DaVinci Center a $50,000 grant toward a feasibility study. When Ms. Erickson wanted another $50,000 from Northampton County, it is my understanding they were not awarded any additional county monies.

Anonymous said...

its a scam of the taxpayers money..... SCAMMING the taxpayers.... meanwhile over at Gracedale the slide in care is so sick and at the courthouse we have the hover riding popcorn eating slough of an HR Director? SICK

Anonymous said...

DaVinci Center is described by nearly every kid that goes there as lame. Extremely lame.

Anonymous said...

The attraction is the aquarium. It doesn't work without. Easton already had a science center, Weller. It closed. To be successful, an attraction has to survive on its own. You cannot play off Crayola. Welled tried and ended by closing its doors. Crayola is a full day experience.

Anonymous said...

This is silly. Phillip sis attacking a woman whom has no responsibility to the county council to tell them of a project she knows nothing about.

OK. Seriously, this is what you get from the 20% tax increase guy?

Anonymous said...

It sounds like he should address his self-righteous rage against Brown and Donaher, not DaVinci. It was the Admisntration's job to tell if asked. These guy passed for the money and then ask, what kind of due diligence is that? So he attacks DaVinci for not telling them of another possible project in another county that was only learned of from the county.

Sorry but in your haste to torpedo this project you only make the county leaders look like idiots.

Anonymous said...

Sorry but in your haste to torpedo this project you only make the county leaders look like idiotA

He does that on a meeting by meeting schedule

Anonymous said...

If the voters put the executive and county council back in office, they get the government they deserve.

Anonymous said...

Panto's fish tank is just a wet dream. There is no way the Easton aquarium can compete with another one less than 50 miles away that has a hotel and huge water park attached to it. Feed this dumb idea to the fishes. And stop wasting any more taxpayer dollars in trying to advance this boondoggle.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I'm inclined to agree.

Anonymous said...

DaVinci has been giving a VERY scripted and incomplete picture of the whole project, including the Pocono Acquarium, which they've known about for a while.

That's fine if you're putting your own money on the line, not so much when you're asking for the kind of public money they are. I think you owe the public full and complete disclosure when you're asking the taxpayers for money.

Norco would be wise to look at this more closely, and cut their losses now.

Anonymous said...

DaVinci was also negotiating with the Slate Belt for the aquarium site before Easton became an option. The whole thing stinks. A money grab of tax dollars at the very least. Easton should walk away now as well as the county before more is wasted on this pipe dream.

Anonymous said...

What Scavello wants..he gets and this region be damned.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I believe Erickson has been dishonest in her dealing with the county.She had every obligation to tell the county that someone else is interested in an aquarium nearby. That omission on her part should mean an end to any county assistance, regardless of the desire by Geissinger and Ferraro to curry favor with the blue bloods.

Anonymous said...

With private dollars, the Kalahari aquarium would be open years before the flood zone aquarium proposed for Easton. That will put Uncle Sal's fish tank at a huge competitive disadvantage. The Kalahari aquarium will be twice the size, and be attached to a destination resort. No contest! Give up this stupid DaVinci fantasy.