Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Why Can't the Media Ask the CIB's Paul Okeson and Anne Lathrop A Tough Question?

Yesterday morning I had the chance to listen to a radio interview with Paul Okeson, Treasurer of the Capital Improvement Board and lead "negotiator" for the CIB with the Pacers. The interview went on for about 15-20 minutes. The interview consisted of one softball question after another. No calls were taken from the public.

That "homer" interview was not exactly unique. With the exception of the Indianapolis Business Journal, virtually every other reporter in town approaches CIB officials with kid gloves, fearful of asking even a mildly tough question about the possibility of forking over millions more in tax dollars, every year, to the Simons. Since those reporters can't seem to come up with a tough question to ask CIB President Anne Lathrop and Okeson, let me come up with a few for them?

1. What proof do you have that the Pacers are losing money?

2. What records have you personally examined that show how much money, if any, the Pacers are losing money?

3. Please tell me under what circumstances the Early Termination provision in the contract is triggered?

4. Does the contract allow the Simons to relocate the team before the end of the contract?

5. Here is a copy of the contract...can you point me to that provision?

6 Please explain to me how the penalties for the exercise of the Early Termination provision work.

7. How much would the penalty for Early Termination be if it were exercised in 2010?

8. Are you claiming that the Pacers are entitled to a set off against the penalty?

9. If the answer to #8 is "yes," please point to the provision in the contract that says

10. There have been a number of academic studies done which shows that local governments subsidizing professional sport teams is a bad investment. (Discuss a couple of the studies.) Are you claiming that: a) those studies are wrong and if so why or b) that the Pacer situation is different. If the answer is "b" please explain in detail why the Pacers are not like other professional sports teams that have been studied.
My guess is that if Okeson and Lathrop was ever confronted by a reporter asking these types of questions, the interview would end real fast.


Melyssa said...

We should also ask why most of our city council can't ask these questions.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Exactly, Melyssa. Elected officials should be asking these questions.

Marycatherine Barton said...

I hope that Channel 6 News, and the other channels, congtinue to use Paul for commentary on Marion County government. i much appreciated what you had to say tonight, re the spending decisions of our Sheriff, Paul.

Wes said...

Abdul didn't ask the tough questions of anyone in the Ballard administration. Color me shocked.