I'm having trouble with this claim that the Dome's turf, seats and lockers belong to the Colts. I found an AP story from February 15, 2005 reporting on the CIB's decision to purchase new turf for the RCA Dome. "The city's Capital Improvement Board has approved $800,000 US for a new field for the Indianapolis Colts along with $900,000 for a hard cover to protect the turf when the RCA Dome hosts non-football events," the AP reported. "The eight-year-old AstroTurf in the downtown stadium was voted the worst surface in the league, according to a survey of 1,514 players by the NFL Players' Association two weeks ago," the AP report said.
When the CIB re-negotiated its lease on the RCA Dome with the Colts back in 1998, these facts were reported on the deal by the Star:
LEASE TERM: 20-year lease at the Hoosier Dome, renewable for up to 10 additional years. The Dome is operated by the Capital Improvement Board (CIB), a city agency.
RENT: Colts agreed to pay the CIB $250,000 annually plus $25,000 per playoff game. Colts pay the CIB five percent of gross ticket sales through an admissions tax, amounting to about $465,000 annually. Colts pay CIB's expenses for ticket-takers, security guards and other personnel on game days, about $200,000 annually. Rent paid to CIB per game between $90,000 and $100,000.
TRAINING FACILITY: CIB to provide temporary training and office center for Colts at the former Fall Creek Elementary School. CIB to build a permanent facility costing $3 million to $4 million, which Colts can buy for $4 million.
GUARANTEES: For 12 years, CIB guarantees Colts annual revenue of $7 million from ticket sales and broadcast revenues of more than $800,000. If not met, CIB pays Colts the difference.
LOAN: Colts have $12.5 million loan for ten years at 8 percent interest from Merchants National Bank. CIB pays difference between prime rate and the 8 percent level
LOCAL CONTROL: CIB can try to match any offer to buy controlling interest
in the Colts.
SUITES: Colts receive first $500,000 annually from suite rentals at the Hoosier Dome. LEASE
RENEGOTIATION: On Jan. 14, 1998, the Colts and the city agreed to a renegotiated lease which would give the team $8.9 million from advertising, parking and suite revenues at home games. The city also agreed to spend up to $18 million to upgrade the RCA Dome. The city retained a lease expiring in 2014 that ties the Colts to Indianapolis through at least 2007. Beginning in 2007 the Colts may buy out their lease for $11 million for each year remaining on the lease. The city can prevent this by ensuring that the Colts' revenue equals that of an average grossing NFL franchise.
The City agreed to spend $18 million on improvements to upgrade the RCA Dome under the terms of the 1998 lease deal. You may recall that the CIB had to pay a $48 million breakup fee to the Colts as part of the new lease on the Lucas Oil Stadium, which I never quite understood. Supposedly we had to build Lucas Oil Stadium to prevent the Colts from leaving town, but we had to pay tens of millions of dollars to the Colts in order to terminate the old lease so we could have the privilege of giving them an even better deal with a newer and bigger stadium. Am I missing something here? Why are two nonprofit entities entitled to the more than $10 million the sale of these items is expected to raise?
UPDATE (3/19): It looks like the finger pointing has begun. The Peterson administration is saying the decision on the sale was made by the Ballard administration and vice versa. There is also a question of whether the CIB ever took a formal vote approving the sale of these items in this manner. An amendment to the taxpayers' lawsuit is likely to occur if it is confirmed this property is being auctioned off without a vote approving the sale by the CIB.