The state is paying $71 million to investment bank Goldman Sachs to allow refinancing of risky debt on Lucas Oil Stadium — a move than one economics expert said might be prudent, but also underscores the risk of the original deal.
Dan Huge, chief financial officer of the Indiana Finance Authority, said the $71 million will be offset by more favorable, fixed terms for $296 million in debt on the stadium. The payment to Goldman is included in the new financing.
Lucas Oil Stadium opened in 2008 at a cost of $720 million, including at least $620 million from taxpayers.
Huge said the cost of the debt — principal and interest — on the refinanced bonds is “at almost the same level as it was prior to doing this refinancing and making the termination payment.”
The previous debt involved “interest rate swaps,” a type of financial derivative that has been widely criticized as an inappropriate gamble with public money.
Princeton economics professor Uwe Reinhardt said the situation “wasn’t a big disaster, but it could have been.”
“It means I got my (butt) in a sling and now I have to get out of it,” he said. “Sometimes you have to pay the arsonist to prevent a worse fire.”
A separate bond issue will be used in part to pay Goldman Sachs $34.7 million to exit an interest rate swap deal for the Indiana Convention Center.
Goldman Sachs spokesman Michael DuVally declined comment.
In 2012, a top Goldman Sachs executive who worked in derivatives resigned and wrote in The New York Times that the company had become “toxic and destructive” in its pursuit of making money . . .Notice the unwillingness of The Star to address just who it was who was responsible for getting us into the interest rate swap mess. The newspaper doesn't even bother to add the two termination payments together to get the much higher dollar amount, leading with the much lower figure and throwing in the additional amount further down in the story. Why are the same lawyers and financial advisers allowed to continue to reap professional reward for their past colossal failures from their past, imprudent advice? God forbid we focus on anything bad that happened on former Gov. Mitch Daniels' watch. It's just a "prudent" move that means we now owe an additional $106 million on stadium and convention center debt, which in all likelihood will never be paid off before someone decides it's time to tear down the buildings and replace them with new ones.