Saturday, January 24, 2009

CIB To Blame Economy For Budget Shortfall

You could see this one coming from a mile away. CIB officials, facing a $20 million operating deficit for the Lucas Oil Stadium, are portraying the problem as an economic-driven problem. The IBJ's Scott Olson writes in the business newspaper's latest edition:

Members of the Capital Improvement Board are expected Tuesday to address budget challenges driven by a weak economy and $20 million operating deficit for Lucas Oil Stadium.

The cash-strapped CIB also manages and operates the Indiana Convention Center, Conseco Fieldhouse and Victory Field, as well as provides some funding for the Cultural Development Commission, Arts Council of Indianapolis, Indiana Black Expo and Indiana Sports Corp.

“We put together a budget, and we’re in the middle of evaluating what we’re going to do,” said Bob Grand, CIB president. “With the significant economic decline, we’ve got a lot of questions to address.”

Grand declined to speculate on what funding decisions might be made.

This budget problem has nothing to do with the state of our current economy. It has everything to do with a deliberate decision by Mayor Bart Peterson and former CIB President Fred Glass to give away the store to Colts' owner Jim Irsay, even after they learned the legislature would not give the CIB authority to use revenues intended to retire the bond debt on construction of the new stadium for operating expenses. Irsay pays no rent on the stadium and pays nothing to maintain and operate it. He collects all of the game day revenues and half of the non-game event revenues. He also pockets one hundred percent of the advertising revenues from the stadium.

Watch also for the CIB to use the funding problem for the arts as leverage to convince the legislature it needs a state-funded bailout. Olson writes, "The city’s Cultural Development Commission, which has drawn $12.5 million in grants and public money to promote Indianapolis’ artistic side, also could learn how much support it will receive from CIB." “We’ve been in negotiations with them about their needs,” Grand said.

The answer to this problem is really simple. You go back to Irsay, just like Peterson and Glass should have done before construction began on the new stadium., and tell him he will have to give back some of the taxpayers' money. Sorry, Jim, but you are the biggest welfare recipient in the state of Indiana. You're going to have to cut back on your lavish lifestyle just a little and share this burden with the rest of us.


Paul K. Ogden said...

Amen, Gary, amen.

That deal struck by Fred Glass and CIB was memoralilzed in one of the most lopsided contracts I have ever seen in my practice of law. It can be found through

Actually the Colts do pay rent though. Something like a thousand dollars a month. It's in the Agreement. One wonders why they would have put that token rent in the contract. Maybe some sort of tax break.

Thanks for exposing the CIB's tactics, Gary.

Downtown Indy said...

The floodgates are open - everybody 'needs' a bailout these days.

I agree, Irsay needs to cough up some scratch.

Thanks to us giving him a new stadium and numerous revenue streams, his company got top ranking in NFL value - over a BILLION dollars. This, I think, amounted to a doubling of his net worth.

Wasn't the fee for IHSAA around $150K for one tourney? Yet, the Colt's rent works out to something like $1,200 per game day.

Now the question is: Is the CIB
too big to fail?' More succinctly, are they too 'connected' to fail?

Concerned Taxpayer said...

Well, of course it's the economy, stupid!

It certainly couldn't be Bart Peterson's fault!

Even while this was in the initial planning stages, there were reports of how convention business was down 20% across the country. But conventions was the excuse they used for having to build the new Irsay Palace.

Patriot Paul said...

There is no secret about the previous revelation that the CIB never factored in the operating cost of the stadium. This red brick monstrosity that blights our skyline for it's limited use will see few concerts because of the lack of acoustics and sanitary facilities.
The Artsy crowd has gone on record as wanting to sidestep the City council & public atmosphere, and go directly to the CIB for $. For an arts crowd, there seems to be no creative bone in their body. Why not go on our local public network with a telethon and auction. They would be surprised at the intake with matching contributors. (Finally, if Ann Dancing signs and tire retread artworks are still be promoted as indicative of Hoosiers, maybe they have been on Sugar Cream Pie too long.

Anonymous said...

Instead of demanding millionaire Ir$ay pony up the money, I am going to demand president Obama force Ir$ay (and the other $250K min wage NFL players) to "spread the wealth around." I think a 30% hike in income taxes on those who make over $400K/year should be passed immediately.

Downtown Indy said...

No PPaul, it was no secret - well half of one, since they doubled the original estimate (that is, so far).

Unknown said...

The think about Fred Glass and the CIB and the ICVA and Peterson etc etc is that everything they said was a lie.

Bob Bedell was the ringleader of ICVA until recently, and the cr*p he pulled here is exactly what he pulled in St Louis - massive spending on hotels and conventions pace that never amounted to what he and his cronies promised.

Correction though, the Republicans, late-comers to this party, are just as guilty as the Democrats. The ludicrously malinformed Luke Kenley led the charge from the right to give Irsay everything he wanted.

It will be a deep depression before Hoosiers wake up and realize that a $650 million investment in a football stadium - that is only used for 8-9 real games a year plus the occasional mud bog rally - is the biggest waste of money I69. I fought this for a few years when doing, I said it before and I'll say it again, people are idiots. You can point out what a waste of money it is to tear down MSA and build Conseco, and they just grin and mumble something about needing to "step up" and be a "world class city".

The city is broke.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Actually, Kenley is the one who denied Peterson's and Glass's request to use the tax revenues to pay for operating/maintenance expenses. He told him them to figure out another way to pay for it.

Downtown Indy said...

Have you been keeping tabs on the 'in use 250 days per year' that was touted for the stadium? Want to know where that figure comes from? They book small rooms for conferences, weddings, and so on. We sure don't get 250 days of full-scale stadium events. That's actually an impossibility because such use will always require 3-7 days of setup and teardown which means at most there can be 50-60 events. REAL events, that is. And we aren't getting anywhere near that.

M Theory said...

Let that creep Ir$ay make up the difference.

Unknown said...

Advance - the larger point is that Kenley was, quoting, "a leading figure in getting the legislation passed to build the stadium..."

As for the 200 events a year, yes, go look at the ICVA site or the Conseco Fieldhouse site...during June-July, NOTHING goes on at Conseco. The WNBA was invented to fill up some dates to make it look like these taxpayer-funded b-ball arenas aren't as big a waste.

Downtown Indy said...

Roger that was source. I looked over the schedule for LOS a while back. A smattering of small gatherings that merely got booked into suites (I assume) at the stadium.

Things that would easily and more efficiently been booked into any of the numerous existing hotel meeting rooms, but weren't. So the net effect is LOS sucks that business from established hotelier, hurting their bottom lines.