The board that operates Lucas Oil Stadium this week authorized its president to seek mediation or arbitration if negotiations with the Indianapolis Colts over disputed concession expenses fail.We're talking about a few hundred thousand dollars here and taxpayers are already paying nearly $20 million a year to maintain Lucas Oil Stadium for Irsay's exclusive benefit. Making matters worse, more than 5% of the plumbing for the 3-year old stadium must be replaced because the pipes are so badly corroded. The repairs could cost as much as $2 million, but John Klipsch tells Murray the stadium authority is hopeful bonding, warranties and insurance will cover the repairs as they should. The repairs have required the cancellation of five events scheduled at the stadium. The company that installed the defective galvanized pipes is Frank E. Irish Co., which went bankrupt before the project was completed.
The Colts are entitled to all gross profits from sales of concessions, including food and drink, at the team's games. The Capital Improvement Board gets all concession profits from other events. But the yearlong dispute centers on who is responsible for paying for staff costs and other expenses tied to setting up for both Colts and non-Colts events within a short period.
CIB President Ann Lathrop said the disputed costs are "in the six figures."
"We've been in pretty intense discussions over the last year," Lathrop said, noting that mediation or arbitration isn't certain; any settlement reached would need full board approval. "We felt like we needed to have all of those options available to us at this time."
Irsay is now one of Indiana's wealthiest citizens thanks to the more then $1 billion he and his family have received in public subsidies since the team moved to Indianapolis from Baltimore. Forbes estimates his wealth at $1.4 billion, which matches the estimated wealth of Indiana's other largest welfare recipient, Herb Simon, owner of the Indiana Pacers. Not bad for a guy who has never worked a day in his life and inherited everything he owns.