Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Don't Get Excited, New Name For Conseco Means More Money For Pacers

Your tax dollars may have been used to build it, but as we've come to expect in Indianapolis, any revenues derived from the sports facilities built with our tax dollars go directly into the pockets of the billionaire sports team owners. Billionaire Herb Simon's Pacers and CNO officials are planning to announce the renaming of Conseco Fieldhouse as CNO Financial Center. The Indianapolis Star's Heather Gillers doesn't even give taxpayers credit for building the damn facility. She writes:

Nobody is officially divulging the new name, but here's some fodder for speculation: Conseco's namesake, the Carmel-based insurer formerly called Conseco Inc., changed its name in March 2010 to CNO Financial Group. CNO executives started talks with the Pacers about renaming the arena but ultimately decided the time wasn't right.
Conseco Fieldhouse, built by Mel and Herb Simon, opened in 1999 when the Pacers moved from their former home, Market Square Arena.
Pacers and CNO officials are expected to be on hand for Thursday's announcement. Pacers Sports & Entertainment President Jim Morris could not be reached for comment late Monday.
But one Downtown player, the Sheraton Indianapolis City Centre Hotel, may have jumped the gun. Its website boasts about its proximity to Conseco, "recently renamed CNO Financial Fieldhouse."
Yes, she really did write that Conseco Fieldhouse was built by Herb and Mel Simon. She probably believes that it was the Simons' money that built Circle Centre Mall too. Here's a hint to these Gannett newbies. Don't believe a word Jim Morris and the other rent-a-civic leader propagandists tell you. Verify everything he tells you. It may prevent Ms. Gellers and her boss, Dennis Ryerson, from looking so stupid. Someone asked the other day about the members of the Indianapolis News Guild's efforts to "Save The Star": What's there left to save? Point taken. By the way, Ms. Gellers, taxpayers built Lucas Oil Stadium as well. Billionaire Jim Irsay is simply getting all the revenues from it while the taxpayers foot the bill to maintain it.

Will the Pacers be required to tell us now much the deal will net for them? How much money does the new NBA contract net for the billionaire Simon, which would be particularly useful to know since the team got a $33.5 million gift from the CIB over the past few years based on a totally bogus claim it was losing hundreds of millions of dollars. The Simons don't continue to operate and own anything that loses money. Just look at their abandoned malls if you doubt me. The CIB's current President, Ann Lathrop, has already hinted there may be additional permanent public assistance in the Pacers' future. Lathrop is the handpicked lackey of her predecessor, Bob Grand, whose Barnes & Thornburg law firm represents Simon.

UPDATE: Fellow blogger Fred McCarthy has a spot-on response to the Star's latest miscue:

Imagine our embarrassment! In a front page article in the morning paper about the possible re-naming of Conseco Fieldhouse we found the following information. "Conseco Fieldhouse, built by Mel and Herb Simon, opened in 1999 when the Pacers moved from their former home, Market Square Arena."

All this time we’ve been finding fault with the city subsidizing the Pacers, under the misapprehension that public funds had been used to build the palace in which they perform.

Our apologies to all concerned. The next time the Pacers say they are losing money and want more tax dollars, we’ll try to remember not to complain when the city’s response is, "How much, and do you want that in small unmarked bills?"


Jon said...

Indy sports, the gift that keeps on giving. In this week's IBJ we see the new NFL contract will provide 218.8 million per year per team while the Colts pay a paltry 250k per year in rent.

patriot paul said...

It is a shame they can't write stories accurately (what little there are). We're now the 11 largest city in the nation and have a dime thin paper full of wire stories and the fodder that is fed to them by locals that few of them verify. Even the metro section is about 4 pages and half of which are obituaries.
How could the CIB have run a 10 year deficit and the Star not investigate? Or that Councilor Plowman conspired with others about 2 years ago to defeat the smoking ban while he worked at a strip bar at the same time and we just found out about it in a sting operation on other criminal chgs.? The city is a money eating and spending machine and tax payers are kept in the dark with no thanks to the Star who claims to be our 'watchdog' for the citizens. What a joke!

CircleCityScribe said...

Since The Star brought in its left coast Editor, there have been significant problems. The biggest is the newspaper has lost touch with Central Indiana values.

Another problem is they bring in out-of-town reporters who just make flippant statements.

Simons built OUR fieldhouse???? Really? That palace was built by the taxPAYERS via our Capital Improvements Board.

Paul K. Ogden said...


You don't think Plowman always intended to vote against the smoking ban? Most Republicans are against such nanny state intrusions and most R's didn't support the ban.

Plowman has a lot of issues, but the notion that his smoking ban opposition was bought off is an enormous leap of logic.

Gary R. Welsh said...

No leap of logic at all, Paul. If you heard the manager of PT's try to explain at his trial what Plowman was doing to earn $1,000 a month for consulting advice, you wouldn't question that leap of logic. Advertising was also being bought on Abdul's radio show in consideration for him pushing the anti-smoking ban agenda on his radio show and blog.

Paul K. Ogden said...


While that's true, I find it highly unlikely Plowman, a Republican, would have voted for a smoking ban. Most Republicans are conservative philosophically and do not support the smoking ban. I doubt Plowman had to be given an incentive to vote against something he was, as a conservative, against anyway.