Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mayor Ballard Thanks Billionaire Simon For Improvements To Fieldhouse Paid For By Taxpayers

A further indication of just how much of an enemy of the people Mayor Greg Ballard has become is a statement put out this afternoon by his office thanking billionaire Herb Simon for using public subsidies to make improvements to the Fieldhouse, which is operated exclusively for the benefit of Simon's Indiana Pacers.
"Mayor Ballard thanks the Pacers and the Simon family for their investment at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. 
"These new amenities will greatly improve the fan experience at what is still considered one of the finest venues in the nation, but they will not be a factor during the negotiations to extend the long-term management contract for the fieldhouse with Pacers Sports and Entertainment."
Talk about delivering the middle finger to the hard-working people of Indianapolis who pay the taxes that financed $33.5 million in subsidies given to Herb Simon's Indiana Pacers over the past three years. Herb Simon didn't invest one dime of his billions in these improvements. Ask him to produce the audited financial statements for the Indiana Pacers and Pacers Sports & Entertainment that would prove it. He won't do it because they would prove that he's been lying about how his poor NBA franshise is losing so much money. People who know the Simons know that they never continue operating a business that proves to be a losing investment. You don't become a billionaire operating losing businesses. Ballard's comment is every bit as insulting as President Obama's recent suggestion that "you didn't build that" in reference to business owners. An IBJ story unbelievably makes this comment about $16 million Pacers Sports & Entertainment will spend on a new digital scoreboard and audio system.
Pacers Sports & Entertainment is making the investment into the 13-year-old venue. But whether it will seek reimbursement from the building’s owner, the Capital Improvement Board of Marion County, remains to be seen.
Jim Morris, president of Pacers Sports & Entertainment, said at Thursday's announcement that the organization is in “preliminary conversations” with the CIB about a long-term lease. The current, 20-year agreement expires in 2019.
“I have no idea what the negotiations will entail,” Morris said of whether reimbursement will be sought from the CIB.
The building cost $185 million to construct and only $6 million has been invested in upgrades since its opening, Morris said.
So we might be forced to reimburse this greedy and arrogant billionaire who could give a rat's ass less about the people of Indianapolis after we've already forked over an additional $33.5 million in subsidies to his sports franchise on top of the hundreds of millions of dollars he and his family have taken in subsidies from the City of Indianapolis over the past several decades. This town is so messed up in its priorities that it's beyond belief. Rent-a-civic leader Jim Morris is probably negotiating the next bonus payment Herb has promised him if he suckers the CIB and Mayor Ballard into making the additional subsidies for his useless NBA franchise permanent. Scratch that. The backroom deal has already been brokered. Morris is just waiting to collect his bonus. They're just going to wait until after the dust settles from the budget battle over the city-county budget that is going to result in cuts to basic city services at the same time taxpayers are going to be hit up for even higher taxes. This is what happens when good people stand by and do nothing while a bunch of corrupt bastards plunder our public resources.

UPDATE: Check out this story by Richard Florida in a recent edition of The Atlantic Cities discussing whether professional basketball arenas spurs economic development. The answer of an objective study is a resounding NO.


Had Enough Indy? said...

They will announce the deal after the budget, after the tax hike, and after the 6 new TIFs are approved.

Don't forget, the tax increases for the CIB bailout that must be approved next spring or lost forever - ticket tax and car rental tax increases. The repayment of the State loans, that the CIB said they'd take just in case it turned out they really needed the money, will have to begin next year.

So, the Pacers deal will get sandwiched between what is currently on the Council's plate and what is required for 2013.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Jon Murray updated his story so that it was clear that the Simons were going to pay for the scoreboard and not ask for reimbursement from the Simons. Of course that would just mean they'd ask for a larger annual subsidy. The Simons are not going to pay for the scoreboard.

Indy Rob said...

I can hear the Simons now.

"hey, thanks for the wonderful house and I really appreciate that you pay for the upkeep, cleaning, electric bill, water bill, and gas bill. And thanks for letting me rent it out for parties where I keep the cash. But ya know, I just had to put in a new stereo and TV and those things aren't cheap. If you wanna make sure that I stay here in my rent free house, could you pay for my new stereo and tv? Otherwise I might leave and all those house guests would go with me."

Gary R. Welsh said...

You can't put $33.5 million in Herb Simon's right pocket and then he takes $16 million out of his left pocket and claim that he paid for it. The Pacers also claimed that it cost $10 million a year to maintain the Fieldhouse when they sought the $33.5 million subsidy, which was a grossly inflated figure. Now Jim Morris says the actual maintainenance costs are even higher than the $10 million figure. Don't forget that the Simons take reporters and insiders in town to an all-expense paid resort in Mexico every year to buy them off.