A few years ago, Jim Irsay, owner of the Indianapolis Colts, indicated he was hurting financially and said that eventually the city would have to look at replacing the RCA Dome with a bigger stadium that would increase his team's revenue.
The City and State did exactly as he wished, building Lucas Oil Stadium, soaking Indy taxpayers to pay for it. In the process, the Capital Improvement Board gave away nearly all the revenue off the building to the Colts. As a result, the value of the Colts' franchise increased dramatically making the already wealthy Jim Irsay even more wealthy.
Fast forward a couple more years and the situation is exactly reversed. Does Jim Irsay and his Colts organization return the favor and agree to tweak its contract which would eliminate the need for taxpayers to face additional taxes in the midst of the worst recessions since the Great Depression? Nope. Today, the Indianapolis Star reports on an interview with Jim Irsay in which he arrogantly and falsely declares that the Colts already contributed $100 million to the construction of Lucas Oil Stadium and that his team was not about to pay a dime to help the CIB out of the hole. In the article, Irsay and the Colts organization again give the finger to the taxpayers of Indianapolis, many of which are die hard Colts' fans.
How many times does it take before the Mayor, the Governor, legislators or anyone on the CIB finally stand up to Jim Irsay, the two bit bully?
Not to support or back Mr. Irsay in his intentions over the years to get the State and City to find his financial freedom but he is not the only one that the State of Indiana has blessed with their own cozy deal.
You can blame the previous Mayor if you so wish but you better put the Chief Executive of Indiana on the same bus. Remember he took the stadium control and the State of Indiana built it. If any changes were to be made to any contracts, leases or rents it should have been done then.
Indianapolis and Indiana hoped the economy would stay fast paced and none of this would have ever surfaced. The good old boys would have just kept borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. Now the Legislature is ducking for cover behind the hay bales because the rest of Indiana is hopping mad.
There are other buddy contracts the State has issued that are far worse off than the CIB. Remember the State of Indiana and the Legislature pounded their chests at the crowing gory of the LOS and now they have a mess. The Governor did the same thing with another contract when he stood up and said, " I have thought this over and I told Donald Trump he was fired!". That turned out to be a folly too. To the tune of $250,000,000.00 and a default on the bonds.
Irsay may not have politically stated his piece correctly but he is right a deal is a deal even if the State of Indiana and the City sold the farm and now want it back!
Maybe it is time to have FULL transparency is all the contracts issued and see where each person is getting wealthy from State subsidy.
Lest we forget, neither the depth and breadth of the ongoing maintenance cost NOR the CIB's insolvency were known (at least publicly) at the time the state took over construction financing.
So I think the state got suckered along with everyone else.
And a postscript: Whatever happened to that 'required' extra VIP parking? Resolved? Still looming as the 'other shoe,' to be dropped at a later date?
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