2017-05-11 / Letters

To the Editor

O.A. Denard remembered for his love of Washington

TO THE EDITOR:

I was saddened to learn of the recent death of Mr. O.A. Denard. He was a Washington hero.

The City of Washington was faced with a crisis in 2010 when the City Council approved the issuance of revenue bonds in excess of $8 million to guaranty the cost of acquiring the Pope Center and building a 65- room hotel next to it. The City would be guaranteeing repayment of a 30- year bond obligation at $590,000 per year, a total of nearly $18 million.

A group of citizens in Washington banded together to challenge it in court. We were having trouble raising enough money to pay the costs of the legal challenge. Mr. Denard stepped in with a substantial donation. He not only provided the funds necessary to proceed with the case, he stood ready to assist with more money as needed.

Fortunately, we won. Judge Harold Hinesley found that the City had abused its discretion in relying upon “fatally flawed” data in support of the project. We know looking back now that given the prevailing economic conditions, the bond obligation would likely have bankrupted Washington. We dodged a bullet. O.A. Denard made it happen.

We were not able to pay him back and he never asked us to. His generosity was motivated by his love for Washington and his concern for its well-being. We remain indebted to him.

BILL deGOLIAN

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