Friday, January 24, 2014

Ozdemir Trying To Force Taxpayers To Pay For Downtown Stadium For His Soccer Team

The IBJ is reporting that Ersal Ozdemir has hired State House lobbyists to lobby Indiana state lawmakers to create a state funding mechanism for an $87 million soccer stadium he wants to build for his new professional soccer team, Indy Eleven, at an undisclosed location in downtown Indianapolis. According to the report, Ozdemir claims without substantiation that his professional soccer team will generate at least $8 million annually in tax revenues, and that he plans to ask state lawmakers to allow his professional sports franchise to capture up to $5 million annually for stadium costs. “We’re just asking for the money we’re going to create,” Ozdemir said.

Ozdemir wants his organization to be allowed to capture admissions take revenues he anticipates that his team will generate from ticket sales, as well as a portion of state sales and income tax revenues from the downtown Professional Sports Development Area, which was created to allow the Capital Improvement Board to capture revenues to pay the operating and maintenance expenses on Lucas Oil Stadium, none of which are paid by Colts' team owner Jim Irsay. The CIB has also been subsidizing Herb Simon's Indiana Pacers to the tune of at least $10 million a year for the past four years, which like the Colts, pay absolutely no rent for using a sports facility built with taxpayer dollars.

According to the IBJ, former Indiana GOP Chairman Murray Clark, is heading up a team of lobbyists hired by Ozdemir this session in an effort to convince lawmakers to enact legislation authorizing the public subsidy for Indy Eleven's proposed stadium. The team plans to play at IUPUI's Carroll Stadium, which holds up to 11,000 until a new stadium is built, which would hold up to 18,500 fans.

Ozdemir, a Turkish immigrant, has experienced a meteoric rise in his profile as a construction and real estate developer over the past decade that has coincided with large campaign contributions he has doled out to the politicians. Mayor Greg Ballard, one of the largest recipients of campaign contributions from Ozdemir, handed one of his businesses $6.5 million in taxpayer cash to build a mixed retail/parking garage in Broad Ripple after Ozdemir hired Ballard's former chief of staff, Paul Okeson, as a high-paid executive. Ballard also initially appointed Okeson to serve on the Capital Improvement Board that overseas the downtown sports facilities, where he briefly served as the CIB's treasurer. Okeson left the CIB after Ozdemir submitted a proposal to manage the CIB's facilities during a period of time that it considered outsourcing that work.

The CIB, which got a big taxpayer bailout a few years ago after the CIB cooked its books to make it appear that it was insolvent, that included new taxes and state subsidies, is now sitting on more than a $70 million cash surplus while the city of Indianapolis pleads poverty in paying for basic city services. Ballard at that time appointed attorney/lobbyist Bob Grand to head up the Capital Improvement Board despite the fact that his law firm represented Simon family interests, including the Indiana Pacers. Grand brokered the state bailout plan that resulted in tens of millions of dollars in new subsidies flowing to his law firm's client.


Anonymous said...

Does Indy even have a Downtown? All new development I see there is either sports stadia or townhouses, with a few hotels thrown in.

On all sides, Downtown's new development is, again and again, sports stadiums, townhouses and hotels.

I haven't seen an office skyscraper go in since the late 80's, and with all the sports stadiums, townhouses and hotels hemming in the buildable ground, Downtown has no room to expand.

Yes, the needless little Simon building went in on land that was better used as a park, but the commercial development down there is very infrequent.

All the commercial development I see is on 465 or in Carmel.

This project is yet another sports stadium that further proves Indy's Downtown isn't a downtown, at all, but merely an entertainment district.

Can we please stop referring to the Mile Square as a Downtown and simply regard it as merely another area of town?

Anonymous said...

Why can't Soccer be played in the Hoosier Dome or Victory Field? Either is large enough to hold it.

Plus, when Soccer folds, we we won't be on the hook for a white elephant.

Gary R. Welsh said...

The Hoosier Dome no longer exists. Supposedly there would be too many scheduling conflicts at Lucas Oil.

Marycatherine Barton said...

What we essentially need is world-wide debt cancellation, not more debt that would be heaped on us by this scheme of Ozdemir and company. "Jim Willie - This Year - Currency Explosion" video posted at calls out for this reform, and the 1/22 14 report at vidrebel.wordpress explains what is really going on:

"The Russo-Chinese Pincer Movement Against the US Treasury and the FED."

Marycatherine Barton said...

I meant to include the words, "and monetary reform" with "world-wide debt cancellation" as what we vigorously should be lobbying for, if we taxpayers have ANY sense, so as to avoid the next great starvation, also termed great depression.

mark said...

Indianapolis Indians' model seems to work swell w/o any city money. a minor league soccer team should walk before it runs. prediction: soccer won't fly. his latest fiasco, the b.r. parking garage has an 8% average occupancy. city is STILL subsidizing further with IMPD substation.

Indy Rob said...

I think that this may already be a done deal. Last fall, during a IUPUI campus tour, the tour leaders (students) seemed to be pretty specific that the professional soccer stadium would be built on IUPUI land.

This sounds like a stupid idea, but I know that the state and the CIB are eager to spend money on the IU Natatorium, another stadium would be more of the same.

Anonymous said...

The CIB has a Surplus of about 90 million where giving the pacers 11 million in 14, 20 mill for the pool at IUpui Just watch thats where the money will come from and no one can stop the mayor from doing it!

Flogger said...

If nothing else Ozdemir has learned quickly how our system works. Actually it is not that much different any where else in the world find connected people and have them carry the water for what you want.

Anonymous said...

Flogger 10:29.
I agree, but I also believe in the DOJ and of other corruption cases making the news with proper justice served. Let's see it here.

Anonymous said...

Gary, buddy, you have got to learn to talk like a Hoosier. Yes, we all know the Hoosier Dome is long gone. That's precisely why the new thing is called the Hoosier Dome.

Anonymous said...

Is this why they tore down the Tennis stadium?

Pete Boggs said...

Where is it Constitutionally expressed that private developers get penalty kicks at the public purse?

Gary R. Welsh said...

Anon, 1:02, That's not a far-fetched possibility. I would not at all be surprised to see that sprung on us. Let's see, Ballard gives IUPUI the money it wants to fix up the Natatorium, and IUPUI donates the land of the former tennis center for Ersal's new stadium. If the NSA spying was doing the real job it was supposed to be doing, it would know about money being illegally funneled from Middle East sources into certain conduits in Indianapolis to enrich a few political insiders and pay large bribes to our politicians.

Anonymous said...

If it goes into the tennis stadium lot, Herron will be moved, again. That parcel will be stadium parking.

They won't want something from 1972 impeding the view of the shiny, new, stadium, and Herron never much liked the law school, anyway. Have there been significant improvements in Herron in the past year? If they're only doing basic maintenance on Herron, you can predict the future for the building.

Ballard may even turn Military Park into parking.

If the Soccer stadium goes into the tennis lot, this also means that IUPUI wants to go Div 1 in Football.

They'll turn the entire North Bank of the canal into an athletic complex that will look great from blimp shots.

It's amazing how the plans are devised long before they're released to the public.

Anonymous said...

Spear and associates already have been contacted to update the Nat. They are waiting on the sidelines for the deal.

Anonymous said...

Apparently Mr. Ozdemir hasn't reach the cap on how much Corporate Welfare he should receive. I wonder if that has something to do with the size of his political contributions?