Chattanooga in dispute with Delta Queen operators

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) – Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke has ordered the historic Delta Queen to leave the city’s downtown by the end of the month due to an ongoing dispute over rent payments.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports (http://bit.ly/1aQeTxa) that city documents shows the Delta Queen owes more than $11,000 in rent. Riverboat operators, however, say the debt has been paid and accuse the city of bad accounting. City officials say the records are “100 percent accurate.”

The Delta Queen arrived in Chattanooga in 2009. The historic boat offered cruises up and down the Mississippi River until 2008 when Congress failed to extend a waiver that let the steamer keep sailing even though its superstructure of wood violated the 1966 Safety of Life Sea Act, which deemed wood structures unsafe for overnight passengers.