Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The CIB and Sports Venues Continued

This morning, Brendan O'Shaunnessey of the Indianapolis Star had an expanded version of his article published on-line yesterday.

The first thing, I noticed is the placement - front page and above the fold. That's prime time in a newspaper. Very happy about that.

The next thing I noticed was the subheading "Board Could Try to Renegotiate with Teams, Seek New Taxes." In the newspaper business, the editors write the headlines and they are supposed to concisely summarize something in the story. In the story though, Bob Grand, President of the CIB, said he was not planning on trying to renegotiate the Colts' sweetheart deal. The CIB's only other plans regarding renegotiating was to change the Pacers' Conseco Fieldhouse contract to give the Pacers more money. So the the suggestion of the subheading that the renegotiation of the sports venue contracts to cut the deficit is on the table does not follow from the article or the CIB meeting I watched.

Near the end of the article, O'Shaughnessey unfortunately repeats the bogus City-CIB spin that they were caught unaware of how to pay for these operating costs because they had planned to pay for them with a Downtown casino. While during negotiations Mayor Peterson tossed out the idea of a downtown casino to generate revenue, it would have required legislative approval and never even got to first base. It is disingenuous to suggest that the City was somehow caught off-guard because the downtown casino didn't happen.

The Colts would be wise to come to these discussions with a much better attitude than the "let them eat cake" type suggestion Colts Vice-President Pete Ward offered last year. Outside of winning games, the Colts' organization has done little to develop positive PR in the city. The minute those wins stop coming, Indy residents are going to want to run the team out of the City on a rail.

See also: CIB plans to Seek Money from Indiana General Assembly to Cover Losses (1/27/09)

Advance Indiana: CIB Bankrupt: Grand Won't Ask Colts to Shoulder Burden and Early Wants to Give More to the Pacers (1/27/09)


Patriot Paul said...

Bob Grand's name keeps popping up alot of places. I'm getting a picture that he has become an incompetent busy-body that's creating alot of debt to this city. Is there any way to stop this? Open to suggestions.

Gary R. Welsh said...

That downtown casino idea has been floated for years, Paul, primarily by the Simon family, dating back to Steve Goldsmith's administration. The one thing that was always clear in those discussions was that it would not happen unless the Simon family had a stake in it. The usual suspects were over at the State House pushing Peterson's idea, but it never got to first base. No lease agreement was ever reached with the Colts to finance Lucas Oil with a casino except in the imaginations of the state's sleaziest State House gambling lobbyists. I don't know if Brendan is conveniently forgetting the facts or what, but the Peterson/Glass plan at the time of the passage of the state legislation was to divert the tax revenues intended to service the bond indebtedness to pay operating/maintenance expenses. They knew the tax would generate more than enough to service the bond debt. Daniels prominsed the taxpayers that the additional revenues would be used to pay the debt down sooner rather than divert those revenues to pay operating/maintenance expenses. Those facts were all documented in the Star at one time or another during those discussions.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Patriot Paul, in problem after problem with the Mayor's office Grand's name pops up virtually every time. It is astonishing. Even when you get into something that you think that's not related, you follow the trail and it invariably leads right back to him.

I don't think he's the only person who is a problem, but he is the one who spearheaded the takeover of the Mayor's office during the transition and is clearly calling the shots now.

Ideally I think the Mayor needs is an intervention...some Republicans coming to him and telling him the truth...namely that these people (Grand and Loftus in particular) he thinks are helping him, are in fact helping themselves and their friends and do not care squat about the Mayor's re-election.

Unfortunately, I don't think the Mayor would listen for a second to us. He's been told repeatedly that these Republican naysayers are against him, and that we are just a bunch of nutball, conspiracists. It isn't true of course. We are in fact want the Mayor to succeed and know that those people who are selling out the Mayor are costing him his chance at re-election and an any chance the Republicans have of retaining a majority on the council in 2011.

Paul K. Ogden said...


I just think the idea of borrowing to pay operating costs of a facility is the most ridiculous idea one could suggest. That's like using your Visa to pay your electricity bill.

Gary R. Welsh said...

That's exactly what happened with the RCA Dome. That is one of the reasons we owed more than what it originally cost to build when we tore it down.

Paul K. Ogden said...

AI, Don't you love the people who insist that the RCA Dome was paid off? Yeah, it was paid off exactly like the existing mortgage is paid off when you refinance your house. The debt was simply rolled over.

Downtown Indy said...

Just think how great it WOULD have been, had the media cast a furrowed brow in the direction of these yahoos at the outset. But no, it was all sugarplums and sweetdreams, and talk of a likely superbowl coming our way.

The saying goes, 'It's better to ask forgiveness than to seek permission.' In our case, it's been enhanced greatly. They stall the 'ask forgiveness' stage until there's virtually no alternative than for us to go along with them.
Or so they hope.

M Theory said...

How can they be caught unaware? As a citizen without any government insider experience whatsoever, I knew about the the stadium deficit back in 2006.

Bob Grand is a damned liar.

M Theory said...

It's time to organize protests at both Stadiums and the homes of both team owners.

M Theory said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Citizen Kane said...

Frankly, all of these financial machinations should be illegal; they clearly are a crime against the taxpayers.

The whole idea that the Colts were ever going anywhere else was ridiculous. Notice, Los Angeles still doesn't have a team, but somehow life goes on.