Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Billionaire Herb Simon Expects Millions More In Subsidies For His Pacers

Proving that the greed of a self-indulgent billionaire has no bounds, Herb Simon says he expects Indianapolis taxpayers to chip in millions more annually in the coming years if they want him to keep his Indiana Pacers team in town. Despite a $33.5 million gift from the taxpayers and millions more that will make its way into his pockets as a result of the latest NBA collective bargaining agreement structured to benefit team owners in smaller cities, Herb says it's still not enough. The Star's Mike Wells explains Herb's position:

Simon, who has felt the brunt financially of being a small-market owner over the years, expects the new collective bargaining agreement to help teams like the Pacers.
"I think it's an improvement over the last CBA," he said in a phone interview. "That, along with the new revenue sharing, will help the smaller markets."
The players went from receiving 57 percent of the basketball-related income in the old CBA to 49 percent to 51 percent of BRI, based on revenue projections, in the new agreement. That's a drop of about $200 million annually in player compensation.
There also will be a stiffer penalty for teams that go over the luxury tax starting in the third year of the CBA.
While he likes the progress made with the revenue sharing, Simon, who didn't think the lockout would end until January or February, still believes his franchise needs help running Conseco Fieldhouse, which will have a new name Thursday.
The Pacers are in the second year of a three-year, $33.5 million assistance package approved by the Capital Improvement Board, which owns the fieldhouse, to help offset the building's operating costs. The next payment is scheduled for next month.
"We're still going to need some help on the arena side, but not on the basketball side," Simon said. "We still need to finalize our deal with the city to alleviate some of the arena expenses in a building that they own. That's the issue.
"It's never been the Pacers are losing money. Part of the reason we're losing money is because we're having these arena expenses that most other teams don't have to deal with."
The team is responsible for the $15 million to $18 million annually in operating costs of the fieldhouse. In its deal with the Pacers, the CIB is paying $10 million of the team's costs each year for three years.
It is simply beyond reproach the groveling the Indianapolis news media does at the feet of these greedy sports team owners like Simon and Jim Irsay. While record numbers of Hoosiers are unemployed or underemployed struggling to keep their homes, put food on the table and pay for their medical bills, these greedy sports team owners expect us to keep digging deeper and deeper into our pockets to support their lavish lifestyles. Every single economic study worth its salt proves these sports franchises contribute very little economically to the communities in which they're located after discounting the public costs of having them. Further, I remain convinced that these team owners blatantly lie to the public about their team's losses. None of them will ever produce audited financial statements that would prove just how much their teams are making or losing. There's a reason for that. If these teams were really losing as much money as they claim they are, America's wealthiest businessmen wouldn't be standing in line to own them. They didn't get rich making stupid investment decisions.

Mark my word. The Simon's attorney, Bob Grand, has already gotten Mayor Greg Ballard's sign off on making permanent a requirement that the CIB pay for the annual operating expenses for Conseco Fieldhouse. Mayor Ballard sold his soul to these corrupt interests as soon as he took office four years ago. All of the CIB membes apppointed to that board are controlled by the people who benefit from these sports franchises. Nobody gets a seat on that board unless they agree to vote as they're told to vote. The voice of the public is completely shut out from their deliberations. Get ready to bend over and take it up the ass some more so Herb and his family can buy a few more palatial homes, private jets, designer clothing and diamond jewelry.

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