Nebraska, your tax dollars at work: Promoting a new outlet mall

A new outlet mall officially opens in Nebraska Friday, and shoppers will be enticed to buy Coach purses and Nike shoes with the help of $16.7 million worth of public subsidies for marketing and communication alone.

The grand opening festivities for Nebraska Crossing Outlets began Thursday with a fashion show featuring former Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne and continues Friday with live remotes, deejays and giveaways including Husker tickets and a Land Rover Evoque.

It’s not clear which of these grand opening festivities might constitute your tax dollars at work, however, since Gretna city officials refused to divulge much information about how the $16.7 million in subsidies for “marketing and communication” is being spent.

In possible violation of the state open records law, Gretna failed to turn over any documents other than a single memo in response to Nebraska Watchdog’s open records request seeking specifics on how the money is being spent. Apparently, there’s not one document at Gretna City Hall related to how $16.7 million worth of incentives will be doled out.

Instead, the city clerk and city administrator simply responded with a memo written by Lincoln attorney Kent Seacrest, who was hired by the city to work on the financing plan and redevelopment agreement with the mall developers, Rod Yates of OTB Destination and Frank Krejci of Omaha’s Century Development.

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