MRHD Cuts Back on Donations to Non-Profits

Since their falling out over a year ago, the Argosy casino has been withholding payments to its former partner, Missouri River Historical Development, which has now partnered with the new Hard Rock Casino.

For years MRHD divvied up those payments among charities, non profits, and other groups in the community, but now that's come to an end.

A new twist is being added to the casino saga, and it's other organizations that will suffer the consequences.

MHRD has voted to temporarily suspend its charitable grants for the year.

President Mark Monson told us today that until the Argosy Casino upholds its contract and pays 3 percent of its earnings to the board, MRHD can't fund grants. That's at least $900,000 worth of funding that won't go to several emergency services, schools, medical facilities, and service programs.

The Food Bank of Siouxland is one of them. It got $50,000 from MRHD last year.

"We just really are sad that the controversy is going to hurt the community, not just the food bank, but all the work that MHRD has done over the years. It's really unfortunate that controversy is getting in the way of good work," said Food Bank of Siouxland Executive Director Linda Scheid.

The Food Bank now must look elsewhere for funding, but some organizations like St. Luke's College of Nursing are still on solid ground. MRHD paid for ten thousand dollars in scholarships this academic year.

In a statement to Siouxland News, Chancellor Mike Stiles said:

"The project funded by the grant has been completed. St. Luke's College also appreciates MRHD's support of our students by funding scholarships. Those scholarships have been awarded for the current academic year to Woodbury County students enrolled today at St. Luke's College."

While St. Luke's may have received its funding, many others won't, with the exception of the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, which is operated by MRHD. It will still receive over half a million dollars for its operations.

When we asked how MHRD plans to help more than 30 organizations that depended on this funding in 2013, Monson said he hopes there's an immediate resolution so that the Board can distribute funds again.

A resolution could be on its way. A hearing is set for January 30th. That's when an Iowa district court judge will decide if the Hard Rock can keep its state-issued license to operate in Sioux City.

That license was granted in April after MHRD signed a contract the Hard Rock's developer, Sioux City Entertainment.

The Hard Rock is scheduled to open this summer.