CAMDEN COUNTY, Mo. — A lawsuit against the entities that fund the Tri-County Lodging Association has temporarily stopped the TCLA from receiving most of its revenue.
On Aug. 6, Judge Deborah Daniels ordered the collectors of Camden and Miller counties to withhold June lodging tax revenues from being disbursed to the business districts and TCLA until Aug. 20. A hearing is set for Aug. 18.
The TCLA receives lodging tax dollars from the lodging tax districts in Camden, Miller, and Morgan counties, and is commissioned with using that money to promote tourism at Lake of the Ozarks. The association came under fire in 2019 after an ultimately failed campaign to raise the lodging tax in all three counties to 6%, for the purpose of funding a destination soccer complex. Voters defeated that issue at the ballot, and not long afterward, TCLA Administrator Jim Divincen announced he was stepping down.
In the wrangling leading up to the November 2019 vote over the proposed lodging tax hike, a coalition of community members, lodging establishment owners, and vacation home owners began crying foul about what they claimed were illegitimate or illegal practices within the TCLA. Specifically, they raised concerns about the way board member elections were being conducted, and that is the subject of the lawsuit filed by Gail Griswold of Shawnee Bluff Winery and Laura Salamun of Point View Resort, against Miller and Camden counties and the business district that funds TCLA from those counties.