Friday, February 14, 2014

Turkish Businessman Gets Special Consideration For The Public Financing Of His Soccer Stadium Before House Ways & Means Committee

It probably comes as no surprise to most of you that a Turkish businessman who showers our politicians with large campaign contributions gets better treatment from our elected officials than say those of us who have lived, worked and paid taxes here all of our lives. That's what happened in the House Ways & Means Committee when our lawmakers rolled out the red carpet to give special consideration to Ersal Ozdemir's grand plan to have the state's taxpayers finance the construction of his $87 million proposed soccer stadium for his professional soccer team Indy Eleven, which we believe he plans to build at the site of the former tennis facility on IUPUI's campus that was demolished a little more than two decades after it was built as one of those world class sports facilities the City of Indianapolis couldn't survive without. We can only speculate at this point since the backroom deals already negotiated without public input over the past three years are only now beginning to emerge.

The valuable public land will no doubt be turned over to him for no charge, even though we're told that land downtown is just too valuable to invest in a new criminal justice system, a necessary and proper function of our government. Keep in mind that Mr. Ozdemir didn't have to introduce legislation straight up. He's waltzing into the State House with his high-paid lobbyists from Barnes & Thornburg and Faegre Baker Daniels over half way through the legislative session and being offered the opportunity to tack this public financing scheme onto another unrelated piece of legislation. That's what happens here in Indiana when you've got someone whose willing to stuff a bunch of campaign money in the politicians' pockets.

The IBJ tells us that a lawmaker from Zionsville, State Rep. Steve Braun (R) thinks the idea of building a new soccer stadium in downtown Indianapolis at the public's expense is a swell idea. “We really have a gap in our downtown facilities,” he said. “What we don’t have is an outdoor stadium of this size.” A gap in our downtown facilities? No outdoor stadium? Excuse me, but isn't that the reason we spent an extra $70 million on Lucas Oil Stadium to install a retractable roof? IUPUI's track and field stadium is scarcely used--that necessity we had to have back in the 1980s to host the Pan-Am Games. These suburbanites like Braun want to levy another income tax on Marion County residents to expand mass transit to the suburbs to bring local income workers to their local businesses, but they decided earlier this week that no new taxes could be levied on the businesses clamoring the loudest for expanded mass transit to ship in and out low-income workers daily that they don't want living in their communities.

Curiously, no representative of our CIB appeared at this hearing, even though Ozdemir's plan calls for the public municipal corporation to bear responsibility for ownership and pay debt service on the proposed stadium. Representatives of two sports organization which pay no taxes to support state or local government, the NCAA and the Indiana Sports Corporation, testified in support of Ozdemir's state-financed stadium.

Mr. Ozdemir's bag man, a former chief of staff to Mayor Greg Ballard, assured the committee members that the hit on taxpayers would be minimal. “It would be a fairly nominal hit on that,” said Paul Okeson, vice president of Ozdemir’s Keystone Group. Ozdemir wants us to believe that his team will generate at least enough revenues to offset the $5 million in annual subsidies it will take to pay debt service on the stadium. He says his team will generate $5.1 million a year in ticket-tax revenue, plus $4.1 million in sales and income taxes. Chew on that while you watch as this legislature continues its war on the working men and women of this state. Nothing short of a revolution is going rid the State House of the putrid, toxic air that consumes the joint and causes these so-called public servants to inflict so much pain on the little people who pay their salaries to curry favor with an elect, elite few, including the mystery man from Turkey who nobody can explain where his financial backing is derived, besides the hundreds of millions of dollars in public money his friends in our government have handed out to him.

UPDATE: According to the Indiana Election Division's online campaign finance database, Ersal Ozdemir has contributed about $25,000 to various campaign committees. His business, Keystone Construction, has contributed about $72,000. Those contribution amounts don't include large contributions he has made to other local candidates, such as Mayor Greg Ballard and Carmel's Mayor James Brainard and a host of other local government officials.

Also, please check out this post at Field of Schemes. The site's publisher, Neil DeMause, claims the average MLS team in the United States sells 300,000 tickets a year at an average ticket price of $26. If a 10% ticket tax is levied, Indy Eleven could expect to generate on average about $800,000 based on total ticket sales of $8 million. The soccer stadium would have to generate a lot of ticket sales from other events held at the stadium, such as outdoor concerts, to make up the difference to reach the $5.1 million in estimate ticket tax revenues Ozdemir claims the new stadium will generate to pay the debt service on the stadium. "It’s possible that Ozdemir intends on holding tons of concerts and other events at the stadium as well, though that isn’t really the case for any other MLS stadiums," DeMause wrote. "Hopefully this was one of the financial questions that state legislators had for Ozdemir — though if it was, the Indianapolis Business Journal didn’t bother to report on it."


Anonymous said...

Can you spell "C" "I" "A"?

Anonymous said...

Egomaniac grafters. This bastard Ballard can even repair streets and sidewalks in Perry Twp. The roads are horrible. That Jack off Ballard needs to come ride his car down Stop 11 Road.

Further the guy should have taken the $6.35 million he gave to the same guy and invested in CITY SNOW PLOWS. He could have purchased 50 additional ones @$125,000 each.

This guy does not want to do what a Mayor should do which is BASIC BLOCKING AND TACKLING.

This goon Erzal can shove his Soccer team. Will he disclose the true unadulterated costs of the parking garage? Taxpayers paid for all of it.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Ersal told the IBJ that his mentor was Beurt SerVaas. Turkish immigrant is mentored by an old CIA hand? Enough said.

Anonymous said...

Keep digging...It's out there with some suggestions...on many occasions re: the connections and deals and corruption and more...Be safe.

Unigov said...

Slightly off topic. Ballard's spending $6 million to build a cricket field and other smaller fields at the Post Road park.

That much money would build a VERY nice golf course, assuming land is free. It would build two normal golf courses.

So how can Ballard spend $6 million on what are essentially sports fields ?

Anonymous said...

The CIA turned to the Turkey Mafia for assistance. Ersal was a quid pro quo? Was his Curriculum Vitae created in Langley by the same department that fabricated Obama’s Columbia years. Ozdemir is a city in central Turkey - the home of a Turkish Mafia family. How convenient.