City council members worry about rising costs linked to the Hard Rock Hotel site

Updated: Feb. 4, 2020 at 7:11 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - The Hard Rock collapse remains of a major scar on the city’s skyline, as well as its budget and New Orleans city council members worry about the rising costs linked to the collapsed Hard Rock Hotel site, which is now close to $12 million.

This is not their only financial concern as they also try to recover from December’s cyber-attack.

“As I checked last night, no bills have been paid currently,” New Orleans Chief Administrative officer Gilbert Montano said.

The city's spent nearly $12 million on police, firefighters, and other costs, and so far, the CAO says 1031 Canal, the Hard Rock owners haven't paid a dime.

“We will go through the collection process, very similar to others who have not paid,” Montano said.

The current plan remains to bring the Hard Rock down next month and councilmembers now worry about future costs on top of current expenses.

“Obviously we're going to have to deal with the demo...any projections,” New Orleans City Council President Helena Moreno asked.

“Much of those costs will be borne by the private responsible parties,” Montano said.

The city's CAO says hard rock expenses so far have been paid from existing general funds, and he's not anticipating a raid on the city's $30 million rainy day fund.

City councilmembers are also trying to get a handle on cyber-attack costs, and though the city has already spent $4 million, more expenses are on the way.

“We have the need to purchase new computers, and need 500 computers on the first onset, that did not come back to life,” Montano said.

The city is still determining how much additional insurance it might purchase to help cushion any future cyber-attacks, but the exact cost of that insurance is being held close to the vest.

“Why give the blueprint to those who want to do harm,” Montano said.

For now, city officials worry about the present, and future costs, associated with the cyber-attack, and Hard Rock.

“I would hope the owners pay up for the damages,” Council Budget concerns Jared Brossett said.

And litigation is a possibility.

“At this time, the city has not filed a lawsuit, but that is an option going forward,” Council Budget concerns Sunni Laboef said.

Councilmember Jared Brossett is also asking the administration to conduct a study on costs related to business interruption around the Hard Rock

He says the city should play a role in making sure impacted businesses are compensated for their losses. We reached out to 1031 Canal, the Hard Rock owners for a response to this story, but have not heard back.

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