The Star rightfully argues that the CIB ought to not give much ground at all to the Pacers in negotiations. A little late for that since the CIB already made clear it intends to help out the Pacers to the tune of $15 million.
The Star notes the CIB has been running a deficit since 1999 and notes the overly favorable deal that the CIB negotiated with the Colts. Most of that can be laid at the feet of Fred Glass, former CIB chairman. Yet didn't the Indianapolis Star endorse his selection as IU athletic director because of the supposed good work he did at the CIB? The Star might want to revisit that editorial. The Star also notes that current CIB President, Bob Grand, inherited the fiscal problems. True, but those financial problems have also grown much worse under his watch.
Matthew Tully of the Star starts off writing a good column questioning the Colts' sweetheart deal, and points out the the need for the Colts to give back some of the favorable provisions, including the guaranteed annual payment for non-football income. He also talks about the need to take a tough position with the Pacers.
Then Tully loses it:
"Grand is exacty the guy you'd want handling the behind-the-scenes negotiations. Managing partner at the law firm of Barnes & Thornburg, he is one of the state's most influential backroom dealers. When it comes to matters such as this, he's exactly the kind of influential tough-guy negotiator the city needs."One wonders if Tully has been following the troubles at the CIB at all with that statement. He seems oblivious to the fact that the Simons, who own the Pacers, are Bob Grand's clients. He seems to have missed the fact that the CIB has already showed its plans to give the Pacers $15 million more. (A tough negotiator doesn't tell his opponent the bottom line at the beginning of negotiations.) Tully seems to have missed that Grand has publicly stated that he would not ask the Colts to renegotiate the sweetheart deal the team received. Tully seems not to know that Bob Grand is on the board of the Indiana Sports Corporation which receives a substantial amount of funding from the CIB. That is only a beginning of the list of conflicts Bob Grand has as President of the CIB. Also, if Tully thinks Grand is "influential" over at the Indiana General Assembly he might want to talk to the many legislators who view Grand and his abrasive personality as anything but influential.
As a taxpayer, I could not think of a worse representative to have in my corner than Bob Grand. He might be a "tough negotiator" for his clients or his own interests, but he has repeatedly shown zero interest in standing up for taxpayers. A positive first step Mayor Ballard could take to clearing up the problems at the CIB is to ask for the conflict-riddled Grand's resignation and appoint someone who, on behalf of the city's taxpayers, will finally stand up to the Simons and Irsays. That person certainly won't be Bob Grand.