It's clear that a feud exists between Warren Mayor Mark Phillips and at least two members of the current Warren Main Street Board of Directors -Julia Tarr and Dan Ristau.
The set-to has been played out at a recent City Council meeting, in the Readers Forum section of this newspaper, and in private communications that have been less than private.
So far, the back-and-forth has produced nothing in the way of resolution to the mysteries and convolutions of the failed anchor building project (ACA Project) that continues to exist as a blight on downtown Warren. One side has made thinly veiled accusations, while the other has simply outlined the timeline - the landscape, if you will - of the demise without detailing what killed the flora.
Additional information, Phillips said, would be better presented in an independent audit of the books. That audit is apparently either underway now or soon to begin at the request of the state Department of Economic and Community Development, which provided the city with $500,000 to loan the project and create a revolving loan fund from the repayment for future economic development projects.
All that is known for sure is that the loan wasn't repaid, the building was never finished, and the contractor never received all that he was due. Even the status of GRO-Warren, the public-private partnership that was supposed to administer the project, remains a bit hazy, despite the fact that its board of directors closed up shop some months ago by resigning en masse.
What's needed here are facts, and the only way to obtain those facts without the taint of suspicion is through an independent audit. Only then will we know whether the accusations bandied about are worthy or simply innuendo.
We won't hazard to predict the outcome of the audit or the consequences of it, but it represents the best chance to unravel the tangle that is the ACA Project.