Monday, March 23, 2009

Indianapolis Colts' "Help a Hoosier" Campaign: Jim Irsay's Hypocrisy Knows No Bounds

On Friday, the Indianapolis Colts kicked off their "Help a Hoosier" campaign.

According to the website:
The spirit of this initiative is the basis of what makes a Hoosier. Giving freely of yourself for the goodwill of another. Print out one of these cards by clicking on the image to the left and then pass it on to the person for whom you do your act of service.
The website then goes on to suggest ways YOU can help out:
  • Have a clothing drive at work to donate to a homeless shelter.
  • Volunteer with your pet for pet therapy at a nursing home or children’s hospital ward.
  • Pay for a kid to play in a youth sports league.
  • Visit a nursing home.
  • Donate your kid’s old toys to charity.
  • Buy lunch for an intern.
  • Share your umbrella with someone who doesn’t have one.
  • Volunteer at your local elementary school (field trip chaperone, read to 1st graders, etc.)
  • Take a homeless person out for lunch.
  • Write a supportive and caring letter to a friend

The website plays an annoying, condescending video about how people need to help out their fellow Hoosier during these hard times. Jim Irsay even makes an appearance where he exhorts Hoosiers to help one another.

Let's recap. This is an organization that after the floods and the tornado on the east side of Indianapolis last year, contributed a miserly $50,000 to relief efforts...and even that donation was conditioned on the public matching the Colts' $50,000.

This is an organization that got such a sweetheart deal with the Lucas Oil Stadium that the Capital Improvement Board has been left running huge deficits, so much so that Indianapolis' taxpayers face yet more tax increases to bail out the CIB. Jim Irsay could with a wave of his hand ask that the agreement be changed so as to eliminate the CIB's operational deficit on Lucas Oil Stadium and wipe out the need for a tax increase for Indianapolis residents. Irsay won't even consider that. His spokesmen arrogantly dismiss renegotiation, and claim they are merely "tenants" in the building. Of course, the Colts are tenants that get all the advertising revenue inside and outside the building and 1/2 the revenue from non-football events, while the CIB pays for full-time employees to run the building.

Instead of trying to shame Hoosiers in a lame PR effort to score points while not actually shelling out any of his own money, Jim Irsay might try showing some generosity to Hoosiers by bending on his position against renegotiation of the Lucas Oil Stadium deal. Simply winning on the playing field is not enough. It is time for the Indianapolis Colts to step up and finally become good corporate citizens.

FYI, you'll notice that in the YouTube version of the video they direct you to off of the website, they have shut off comments. The Colts PR folks undoubtedly knew they would have faced a barrage of negative comments about the organization's own lack of generosity and failure to help Hoosiers.


Downtown Indy said...

In that video, ol Jimmy looks like he just came from one of those 'intense' CIB negotiations sessions.

Jon said...

Since we have never seen a signed contract of the Colt's agreement how do we know they are paying rent? The unsigned agreement has a figure of 250k per year but who knows what and if they are paying.

Paul K. Ogden said...

There is an unsigned version of the Colts contract in the Indy Star library archives. It's a little hard to find.

As I recall, the rental amout was about $1000 per month, but I could be wrong.

Paul K. Ogden said...


You do bring up a good point though. Whenever these types of contracts are on-line they are never signed.

Jon said...

Section 2.2 of the agreement says $250,000 per year for 10 or fewer games. Back to the unsigned part, why aren't the signed contracts available and online? The CIB is a governemntal agency and should be subject to freedom of information requests but why do we have to ask?

Paul K. Ogden said...


I'll take a look at that section. I'm sure you're right. Of course $250K is a drop in the bucket in terms of the taxpayer money running the other direction.

I think all city contracts, including those entered into by the CIB, should be on-line. The open records law is not enough. From many of these agencies it's very hard to get public record. The CIB is notoriously secrective.

briefs said...

Let me fly in the face of the landslide here on this site and suggest that I liked the video. I know you guys and Gary over at Advance Indiana have it out for the Colts and the financing they have arranged through public means ... but frankly you've got it pretty good in Indy.

Try a day in NW Indiana for a change. Come on, we all want to be in Indy for dinner and a game ... and yes we gladly pay the sales tax, it's less than Chicago.

Keep your eye on the ball, throwing Carson out of office, working over weak kneed legislators on tax caps, working toward a gradual reduction of property taxes and toward consumption based ... those are good fights.

Beating up on the Colts for offering "only" $50,000 is a bit of a waste of your time and energy. IMHO

Jon said...

Reply to Mr. Briefs; consider that the Colts and hence it's owner Mr. Irsay earn about 41 millon dollars per year from the facility we built and will pay for the next 30 years. Take the median family income of Indianapolis (2000 census) of $48,755 and divide that by his 41+ million bucks comes out to 0.0012 or take the $48,755 times the 0.0012 and you get $59.46. Hey, you are exactly right it is a little deal after all.

Leslie Sourwine said...

So why isn't there a petition going around to get Indiana Legislature to do an amendment to the State Constitution to allow for a "recall" in city government. Ballard and the council may very well behave differently if they knew taxpayers could take them out just as quickly as they put them in. Recall is the only answer for a mayor and other council members who refuse to follow taxpayer's wishes. As it stands right now the mayor and city-county council still have two years to continue to waste taxpayer’s money. With a recall of city government citizens don’t have to worry about surviving an indifferent mayor they can just recall him and elect another. Elected officials answer to the people or the people get rid of them!
Leslie Sourwine