Dispute continues between Rio Nuevo board and Tucson City Council

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Tucson's mayor and council are sharply criticizing the Rio Nuevo board and its threat to file a $47 million lawsuit against the city.

And Wednesday night whatever progress had been accomplished between the two panels is again at a standstill.

Tucson's Convention Center needs major help, but that help can't come if Rio Nuevo and the city don't come together.

"The tossing in of a lawsuit is political posturing.  It's nothing more than that, it does nothing to move a project forward," said Councilwoman Karin Uhlich.

Mayor and council are frustrated with Rio Nuevo's decision to file that $47 million claim.

Just a few blocks away, the Rio Nuevo board also held a meeting of their own. The board maintains the claim is a way to move forward.

"The hope was it would make things come together in a positive environment even though the question is are you going to file a lawsuit," said Rio Nuevo board member Jodi Bain.

But if a positive environment was the goal.

"To tell you the truth, this is unconscionable," said Councilwoman Regina Romero.

It doesn't look like its working.  Council members voted unanimously to suspend any sort of negotiation with the district, until the claim is resolved.

"It would be inappropriate to sit with someone who's trying to sue you," said Uhlich.

That includes pulling out of a joint task force to talk about improvements to the TCC.

Rio Nuevo chair Jodi Bain says they're disappointed the city pulled out, but they won't change course.

"It doesn't mean the process stops.  The board decided to move forward even though the city doesn't want to move forward with us," said Bain.

So while both groups refuse to talk.

The TCC continues to wait for badly needed repairs.

"The public is not going to benefit until we work together to see those investments through," said Uhlich.

For now it's clear that council and board won't be working together, until a multi-million dollar lawsuit is off the table.

The council did not legally respond to Rio Nuevo's claim Wednesday.

City Attorney Mike Rankin will offer the council legal advice in an executive session slated for next week.