- International Home & Housewares Show (60,000 attendees)-$1.993 million
- Radiological Society of North America (53,169 attendees)-$1.596 million
- International Manufacturing Technology (100,000 attendees)-$1.363 million
- Radiological Society of North America (52,980 attendees)-$1.183 million
- National Restaurant Association (61,503 attendees)-$1.1 million
The Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority and Rosemont's convention center both denied numerous requests the Sun-Times made to provide information on the subsidies doled out to individual organizations. "They said revealing that information might anger the organizers of conventions that didn’t get any money and might help other cities lure away conventions that now come here," the Sun-Times reported. The Sun-Times got the information from the State Comptroller's Office, which handles the incentive payments paid out using state funds. The money isn't paid directly to the show's organizers; rather, it is used to reduce the rent the organization's pay for convention space use. Because the Sun-Times was unable to see either McPier's or Rosemont's records, the subsidies could be even larger than revealed.
I think it's time the Indianapolis media got off their collective butts and started digging into the records of Visit Indy to determine how much taxpayer dollars being laundered through the nonprofit organization that only benefits downtown convention business is being used to subsidize conventions hosted at the Indiana Convention Center overseen by the CIB. The CIB subsidizes the operations of Visit Indy to the tune of millions of dollars annually to hide how public dollars are being spent. It's time that Visit Indy was forced to open up its books and start revealing how it spends its money, including mega commissions it is paying to overpaid employees of Visit Indy, whose salaries dwarf that of average workers in Indianapolis and, in particular, the very low paid jobs the downtown hotels and restaurants create that rarely provide any benefits. I've always heard rumors that people who work for organizations that host conventions and trade shows are open to taking bribes from local conventions folks to choose their city unbeknownst to their employers. Visit Indy entertains these decision-makers very lavishly while they're in town discussing convention business. The temptation is there.