It's OK for the city's Capital Improvement Board to let the game clock run down in its negotiations with the Indiana Pacers over who will pay for and control operations of Conseco Fieldhouse. Although the Pacers have set June 30 as a deadline for reaching an agreement, it's more important that the city strike the best deal possible for taxpayers rather than to adhere to an arbitrary timetable . . .No, the CIB is under absolutely no obligation to work out any deal with the Pacers. A deal is a deal, right? That's what we're always told by these wealthy sports team owners when the deal previously worked out works to their advantage, or so said Jim Irsay when the CIB came up $20 million short on revenues to operate Lucas Oil Stadium. But when the deal they hammered out and inked isn't going their way, they start playing hardball and making extortionist-like threats if they aren't given what they demand. And on that point, the public still has no idea whether the Pacers are losing any money on their franchise. David Stern, Commissioner of the NBA, claims teams collectively lost $400 million last year, but none of them are required to release audited financial statements to back up their claims. It's funny that we require more proof of a person's need to become eligible to receive welfare than we require of these billionaire sports team owners when they ask for tens of millions more annually in public assistance.
The team wants the city to assume responsibility for the operating costs of the arena, which are estimated between $15 million and $18 million a year. The city, in return for paying at least a portion of those costs, wants to take over operational control of the fieldhouse. The CIB's stance on the issue is perfectly reasonable.
In addition to running the facility, the city also should insist on receiving most, it not all, non-game day revenue. The Pacers currently rake in that money, but it would be much harder to justify such an arrangement if the team no longer has the responsibility and expense of operating the fieldhouse . . .
Again, the CIB needs to continue to work in good faith with the Pacers to forge a deal that both sides can live with. However, the shot clock has been turned off for the end of this one.
Hey, Dennis, how about a disclosure every time you write one of these useless editorials about your newspaper's conflict of interest when it comes to Conseco Fieldhouse. Is that why you won't allow your reporters to write about the conflict of interest the CIB's chief negotiator has in these discussions?
Meanwhile, the City of Indianapolis' Controller David Reynolds finally acknowledges that the City's income tax revenues will decline between $30 to $40 million in the coming year, leaving a huge whole in the City's budget. And Mayor Ballard wants to go on a several hundred million dollar spending binge on street and sidewalk improvements ahead of next year's election using borrowed funds that you will be paying off for decades to come.