Sunday, July 26, 2009

Tony George Bitter Over Ouster At IMS

The tensions between Tony George and other family members manifests itself in a statement the former IMS Chief posted on his racing team's website. This is part of George's statement at Vision Racing's website:

That being said, I continue to be perplexed by the board’s recent decision to relieve me from my responsibility as CEO of the enterprise. To date, I have not received a reasonable explanation as to why; the statement they released to the press not withstanding, I feel as though after 20 years I am entitled to one. I understand that maybe they don’t feel that they owe me an explanation.

One thing I can tell you is that I stood resolute in my conviction on the direction we needed to go and that the measures we have taken since January are only a beginning. A complete review of how we are structured and operate is necessary. Beyond my being dismissed, I am unaware of any changes that are being contemplated that will have a meaningful impact on the organization.

I have been replaced in my role as manager by two individuals who have been with the company for many years. In that time they have also been members of the executive management team and have participated in all of the strategic decisions that have been made over the last 15 years, so they are well aware of the challenges ahead. My question for the board has been not one of who is going to manage the company, but rather, who is going to lead it? There is a distinction.
George still sits on the Board of Directors with other family members, including his mother, Mari Hulman-George, who chairs the board, and his sisters. Attendance at today's Brickyard 400 apparently weren't so hot. Now that has a major economic impact on the Indianapolis hospitality industry, but don't expect to hear any concerns expressed by the downtown elites, who are totally consumed with the payola scams for the Simon's Pacers and Irsay's Colts, which don't even come close to matching the economic impact of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The IMS receives no public subsidies.


Paul K. Ogden said...

That would be an interesting family reunion.

Wilson46201 said...

What's the property tax bill of the IMS? Are any of their properties tax-exempt?

Gary R. Welsh said...

Property taxes are paid on the IMS facilities and have been from the beginning.

varangianguard said...

My completely unscientific and outsider opinion boils down to this.

No matter Tony George's skills and acumen today, and no matter what his sisters' preferences might have been back in the 70s, it is clear that he moved up the internal IMS management ladder solely because he was the only male heir.

I'm pretty sure he had recently made it clear that his daughter would soon be put on that same path, even though at least one of his sisters has a son.

It is my opinion that some long simmering gender issues have surfaced for Tony's sisters, who believe that if Tony got moved to the front of the line for being male, so should the present generation's male progeny.

Soon enough, the pecking order of the younger generation will be sorted out. Then, we'll know if my theory holds any water, or not.

Chris Of Rights said...

IMS generates over $1B of revenue for the state of Indiana. Every year. The only concessions of any kind that they have ever asked of the state or the city of Indianapolis is extra police protection on race day.

Tony was ousted because he sunk too much time and money into things the rest of the family didn't deem necessary, i.e. the new pagoda, the IRL, his Vision racing team, etc.

Ok, you might be able to get him on Vision, but it was at least his money, and not family money. But if he had not put forth the effort and the $$$ starting up the IRL, the Indy 500 would've disappeared about 10 years ago.

And, as for the pagoda. The media love it and love the new media center. Keeping the media happy helps make the Indianpolis 500 Mile Race the biggest event in the world.

These were good investments, and it bothers me that the rest of the family can't see that. Because there are other investments that need to be made. Several of the stands are showing their age. In A, B, and E stands there are seats where all you can see is a concrete wall, because they raised the wall for NASCAR.
Personally, I think they need to invest the $$$ to add night racing to the venue, and move the Brickyard 400 to Saturday night. Pit road is too narrow and the area behind the wall in pit road is too narrow as well. I don't know how they fix that without moving all of Tower Terrace (and the Pagoda) backwards, or moving stand A backwards (and it's right up against Georgetown), or narrowing the front straight. It's going to require some creativity (and creativity means $$$), but it has to be done.

artfuggins said...

I didn't even realize he had a sister.

varangianguard said...

Nancy, Josie and Kathi. Josie had two sons with former driver Steve Krisiloff, one of whom (Kyle) drives in some NASCAR series.

M Theory said...

Speaking of the payola scams for Colts and Pacers...citizens need to show up tomorrow (Tuesday 7/28/09) at 5:30 to City Hall, Room 260.

Sign up to speak and state the prudence of a forensic audit and that higher hotel taxes will make Indy less competitive for convention business.

The committee of councilors is meeting for a public hearing regarding the CIB bailout.

Bring signs like:


artfuggins said...

Thanks, Varagianguard, I have increased my knowledge base today.

Downtown Indy said...

I would guess that there's a good chance the ownership will leave Hulman/George control before long. It would not surprise me if Tony was bucking any such notion and that's what caused them to boot him out. Mary's getting up there in years and I doubt the sisters have the support, let alone the skills, to take over and run the place. I look for a cash-out by Mary before long.

There is a LOT the IMS could do for seating. I was astonished when I attended races at both Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Daytona, because the seating is so spacious. It's like first class (there) vs coach (here).

The fact I had to draw-in my knees because of the next row down used those stupid rental seat-backs, and the row behind constantly dropping cigarette ashes and spilling drinks, was a main reason I finally quit attending.

The IMS seats (Vista sections, at least) are VERY cramped compared to the competition.

Sir Hailstone said...

There are only two groups in the country that are capable of (and possibly interested in) buying out the Hulman-George family: SMI and ISC. SMI is the Bruton Smith owned Speedway Motorsports, Inc which is tracks like Charlotte, Atlanta, Kentucky, Bristol, etc. ISC is the publicly traded ownership arm of NASCAR's France family.

If SMI were to buy the Speedway, I could see some really big changes happen there. One, as Downtown Indy said the seating. Another I believe would be residential. Charlotte and Atlanta speedways have high-rise condos built overlooking the track. Imagine condos built along 16th Street where the Speedway Motel once stood?

Van - Kyle Krisilof used to drive in the Truck series and on-and-off in the now titled Nationwide series. He no longer drives, and from what I read he has a management job with IMS now.

Unigov said...

Chris Of Rights said...

"IMS generates over $1B of revenue for the state of Indiana. "

Huh ?

Show your math.

american patriot said...

>>Are any of their properties tax-exempt?

25% of parcel 9027318, aka the Brickyard Plaza shopping center, if you can call it that, since it only has a barbershop and the IRL offices, was tax exempt when the BMV rented office space there.
The office was about 100' by 80' if I remember correctly, by yet one quarter of the 891,000 sq ft lot was exempt.

The 2006 NAV for all the IMS property in Speedway was about $104 million, they paid just over $2 million in taxes. They own 29% of the land in Speedway, but only have 13% of its NAV.

Last time I checked almost 40 of their parcels were empty land with no improvement AV.

They may not get any DIRECT assistance, but the town of Speedway gives them land to park campers on for free, about $6,000 worth of parking revenue for each race.

Don't forget all the police and firefighter overtime from many agencies involved. While Speedway makes money from vendor fees, IMPD and the state police don't.

Any metro officers in the northwest district care to comment on the track's plans to shut down Georgetown road so they can build new stands? Imagine being at 34th and Moller when your beat partner puts out a call for help at 16th and Livingston, nice long drive to Tibbs and then south to 16th and back west.