Chesterton Tribune



Pavilion Partner principal Kaiafas drops out

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Peter Kaiafas, owner/manager of Avalon Banquet Center in Merrillville, has resigned as a principal of Pavilion Partners, LLC.

The news was revealed by Partners’ spokesperson Deb Butterfield during Thursday’s presentation at the Memorial Opera House hosted by the Porter County Tourism Board. Kaiafas dropped out due to backlash that has ensued over the banquet center that Pavilion Partners has proposed next to the Dunes Pavilion, Butterfield said. “(Kaiafas) is so vilified he’s decided to step aside. I’m embarrassed to say it,” Butterfield said.

Butterfield told the audience that Kaiafas was “never an investor in the project” but joined the group to help operate the business.

Opponents of the project had criticized Kaiafas in their comments Thursday, questioning why he was not at the presentation as well as fellow principals Tom Collins Jr., senior vice-president of Luke Oil, and Ryan Richardson who operates County Line Orchard.

Butterfield said they could not attend due to other commitments.

Representing Pavilion Partners at the meeting was Chuck Williams, who sits on the tourism board, and architect Scott Virtue.

Opponent and Chesterton resident Pam Rearick said the state form Pavilion Partners’ submitted for an alcohol permit indicated 41 percent of the ownership is out-of-state investors and that she wanted to know who all the owners are.

Williams said that information and answers to other questions submitted Thursday will be posted on the Indiana Dunes Tourism website.

The question was brought up again with one opponent saying he saw two boxes checked on the alcohol permit form, one that at least 60 percent of the owners are in-state residents and another that 41 percent or more are out-of-state.

Looking at a copy of the document on his cell phone, Williams said the only box he sees checked is for 60+ percent ownership by state residents and that currently there are no out-of-state partners.

Also, Williams said he named himself sole-owner on the original document registering Pavilion Partners as a business before the rest of the principals came aboard.



Posted 7/17/20015




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