Here's the rub that will really make you raw. The CIB plans to renegotiate the lease with the Pacers , giving the Simon family an additional $15 million a year subsidy for its Pacer franchise. CIB Vice President Pat Early discussed the Pacers lease since CIB President Bob Grand is conflicted out because he personally represents the Simon family. O'Shaughnessy explains Early's explanation for why we must give more subsidies to the billionaire Simons:
Pat Early, the board's vice president, said the Pacers are expected to use their option to renegotiate their lease this year. He said the CIB will have to take on more of the expenses of running Conseco if it wants to keep the team in Indianapolis."All we've established is that the business model we're working with now can't work in the long term," Early said. "We havent' figured out a solution, but I believe it's in the best interest of the city to have the Pacers stay in that building."Bull! This team can't make money because the fans won't attend their games. They got sick and tired of a team full of players with nothing better to do than shoot up the town, get into brawls, hang out with drug dealers and frequent strip clubs. It is absolutely unconscionable to think that the taxpayers should have to dig deeper into their wallets to pay for the bad business decisions of this franchise. How greedy and self-serving can the Simons be to the people of this community. Thousands are being laid off every day because of this deep recession and these people think the taxpayers should shell out more to subsidize their playground.
Despite the CIB facing bankruptcy, President Bob Grand refuses to ask Irsay to make some concessions in the one-sided agreement Mayor Bart Peterson and his predecessor, Fred Glass, negotiated with the Colts. "Grand said he was not ready to ask the Colts to renegotiate a deal that many have criticized as too generous," O'Shaughnessy reports. "He said the board will review grants for the arts and other groups, work with others and find a way to manage the facilities."
O'Shaughnessy notes that the CIB's Treasurer Ann Lathrop expressed the dire financial condition of the CIB. "The situation is so dire that board treasurer Ann Lathrop said auditors are reviewing the CIB's finances as a "going concern," a term used to suggest that its near-term viability is in question," O'Shaughnessy said.
It's obvious that neither Grand nor Early are on the taxpayers' side. They are in the pockets of the sports team owners and the people who financially benefit from their presence in this town. Mayor Ballard needs to find a new team to run the CIB. If these guys can't tell the Simons and Irsay that enough is enough, then he needs to find someone who can. That is, if all of those free, front-row tickets he and his family have accepted over the past year hasn't completely corrupted his thinking.
UPDATE: Is Bob Grand violating his pledge to Mayor Ballard to wall himself off from any discussions concerning the Pacers' lease at Conseco Fieldhouse? Check out this quote from the IBJ: “The challenge is to renegotiate,” CIB President Bob Grand said of the lease. “[The Pacers] have an option to have these discussions.” I guess only a fool would have ever believed that Grand would abide by the agreement, effectively removing nearly one-half of the CIB's business from his plate. Note that Grand had to move for a reconsideration of a vote taken at an earlier board meeting at the CIB's December meeting approving a long-term parking lease agreement with Wellpoint. It slipped Grand's mind that the nation's largest health insurer was one of his firm's client when he voted on the parking lease agreement. His law firm is registered to lobby for Wellpoint. Grand is one of many lobbyists employed by the firm. He is also the firm's managing partner.