Wednesday, January 5, 2011

ICVA Chief Don Welsh Heads to Chicago; City Leaders Failed to Include Non-Compete Clause in Welsh's Contract

Don Welsh, President and CEO of the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors' Association is headed to Indianapolis' nearest competitor for tourism business, Chicago. Welsh had been hired in 2008 for the job, having been recruited while holding a similar position in Seattle.

The move, which came as a surprise to Indianapolis officials, came only three weeks before the opening of the newly expanded convention center and while preparations for the the 2012 Super Bowl are increasing.

Regular readers of this blog know I'm no fan of Don Welsh. Welsh is part of the professional beggar class, those men and women in suits who regularly line up for taxpayer handouts. They are no different than the panhandlers on the street...except they are better than those folks at getting their hands on the public's money.

During his brief regime, Don Welsh actively pushed for higher taxes to bail out the Capital Improvement Board, which oversees the local sports venues. Welsh also advocated for the $33.5 million bailout from taxpayers, even though the bailout wasn't necessary given the harsh contractual penalties that awaited the Pacers should they have attempted to leave. Welsh claimed that Indianapolis would suffer dire financial consequences if the Pacers left, a claim regarding the economic impact of professional sports that is contrary to virtually every economist who has studied the subject.

Welsh was grossly overpaid for his role in bilking taxpayers. Although the Star reports his salary at $280,000, his compensation was much larger than that. According to recent tax returns, his total pay was around $400,000.

What is most troubling about this move is that Welsh's Indianapolis contract contained no "non compete" clause which would have prevented him from going to a competitor city and immediately seeking Indianapolis' visitor clientele. Now Welsh is moving on to Chicago, Indianapolis' nearest major competitor for visitor business, armed with insider knowledge of how the Indianapolis visitor business is run, knowledge not only of the strength but of weaknesses that can be exploited.

According to news reports, a non-compete clause is not typical in the convention business. Bunk. We should insist that a non-compete clause be part of the next ICVA Chief's contract if someone wants to be considered for the job.

7 comments:

Cato said...

Why wasn't I born with the sleazeball gene, allowing me to steal from people and profit handsomely from it?

400K? That's serious cash. Is there a want ads section for these kind of people? How do I find out about these jobs? What qualifications do I need for these jobs?

guy77money said...

depending on who you are addressing at the particular moment in time. You have to wear nice suits and be able to plead poverty. Of course when things get tough you have to whine about how ratty the carpet is and that you will have to lay off janitors and maintenance workers if you don't get another 20 million.

I wonder with Illinois going broke maybe Daley was impressed at how Don was able to extort all of that money out the taxpayers of Indiana.

Advance Indiana said...

Welsh is one of those guys who is a master at taking credit for other people's work and then moving along quickly to a new job before people figure out he is nothing but a big bag of wind. He got the hell out of Seattle after the city lost the Sonics. Welsh knew he couldn't fill up the expanded convention center with the number of events it will take to offset the added expense. Also, other downtown hotels are already suffering in new bookings because the ICVA is directing all of the new business to the J.W. Marriott at their expense. Welsh is taking credit for the new airport and expanded convention center, neither of which he had anything to do with. He won't last long at all in Chicago. He has no idea what he is getting into up there.

guy77money said...

Lets try this again:
Some of the qualifications would be:
1. You have to learn how to smile and lie at the same time.

2. You have to be able to make up CIB buget figures on the fly depending on who you are addressing at the particular moment in time.

3. You have to wear nice suits and be able to plead poverty.

4. Of course when things get tough you have to whine about how ratty the carpet is and that you will have to lay off janitors and maintenance workers if you don't get another 20 million.

I wonder with Illinois going broke maybe Daley was impressed at how Don was able to extort all of that money out the taxpayers of Indiana.
He should fit in perfectly with the good old boys in Chiago.

Bill said...

Or how about the no bid "marketing contract" that he gave to his friends at Y&L.

Contract was worth over 2 million,think that he got a kiss from Y&L ?

Or use ofthe Y&L vacation condo in Naples?

Indy,,,raising the bar?

dcrutch said...

I'm with you on the clause. But, listening to this guy at the lone CIB meeting I've attended, he was and I guess basically is a shill for whomever needs taxpayers misled.

Unfortunately, that seems to be an area of vast employment.

Citizen Kane said...

Well, if you think his salary was outrageous, wait until the next guy / gal is hired. Obviously, we couldn't keep someone of such high quality; therefore, we really will have to up the ante to attract and retain a quality CEO for this vital convention industry that is the economic engine of Central Indiana (not sure why anyone else needs to work). So, don't be surprised at a half million dollar+ salary plus super perks.