The city's agency for operating major downtown sports venues will shoulder up to $2 million of the cost for new luxury suites and related improvements at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The CIB, which owns the facility, will pay for the first $2 million in costs. That's expected to cover most if not all of the project. The Colts would pay any overages.
Only in the wacky land of the CIB is trading $70,000 for $2 million a good deal.
Members of the Capital Improvement Board of Marion County voted 6-1 Monday afternoon to approve an agreement with the Indianapolis Colts that would add two new upper-level luxury suites and convert two food pantries into cooking kitchens.
The suites expansion is part of a wider agreement related to the long-standing dispute over concession costs between the Colts and CIB. The deal approved Monday provides a formula to differentiate between expenses for preparation and sale of concessions during Colts and non-Colts events.
The Colts have agreed, in accordance with the new expense payment formula, to pay the CIB $70,000 to cover concession expenses from 2008 through the end of 2012.
The vote was 6-1 in favor of the $2 million giveaway. Council President Maggie Lewis voted against the deal as a member of the CIB. Lest anyone think Lewis was showing fiscal responsibility in voting to protect the public's money, it should be noted that she was a leader in putting together the deal which put more tax dollars in the pockets of the CIB by raising the car rental tax by 50% and the admissions tax by 67%. While the CIB was evasive about what it planned to use the extra money for, it is now apparent that the purpose was to give yet more money away to billionaire professional sports owners like Irsay.
It is apparent that the CIB President Ann Lathrop and board members, plied with free suite tickets to Colt and Pacer games, and probably not paying income tax on those tickets, have no interest in being fiscally responsible with the public's money. The General Assembly needs to get involved and simply disband the incompetent and conflicted CIB completely.