Miami Vice

25 Aug

“[Owners] simply don’t tell the truth about the finances,” deMause said. “Or if they do, it’s in such a narrow way.”

I tweeted this article by Jeff Passan yesterday, but it’s worth sharing here again.  Then there’s this follow-up today from the Miami Herald (glove tap to Brian Gould for the story):

Before the team was awarded the favorable deal — the Marlins basically secured every dollar of revenue made at the stadium — several commissioners argued the city and county had the right to know the team’s financial position, given that taxpayer dollars would foot almost $500 million of the stadium’s cost.

But the Marlins refused, pointing to their protected status as a private entity.

The club even played political hardball on the issue, threatening to leave town if it didn’t get its way. The Marlins took meetings with officials from San Antonio and Las Vegas before securing the deal they wanted in South Florida.

 

Coincidentally, there’s a NHL hockey club that claims to be losing money right here in Edmonton. It also refused requests from city councillors to open up its books, pointing to their status as a private company. It hasn’t explicitly stated it will leave town if it doesn’t get all the revenues from a newly-built, mostly publicly financed downtown arena, but it’s stated that it won’t play in the only other arena in Edmonton it can play in past 2014. Interestingly, it’s also met with officials from another city, all the while denying it has any plans to relocate. That’s eery. It’s almost like there’s a playbook when it comes to these matters.

In all seriousness, the lesson here for Edmonton’s City Council is pretty clear: don’t just accept the word of the Katz Group on their finances. Demand that they open their books.  If Mr. Katz really wants to make Council’s “job easier by articulating why this project is necessary… important and can benefit all Edmontonians,” he can start by being open and transparent about his hockey team’s financial situation.

***Bonus*** I chose “Miami Vice” as the title of this post just so I could include the classic “In The Air Tonight” scene from “Brother’s Keeper,” the series’ pilot episode. This recording isn’t that great, but still. Crockett. Tubbs. Michael Mann. Phil Collins. Epic.

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5 Responses to “Miami Vice”

  1. Doogie2K August 26, 2010 at 10:23 am #

    You seen Tyler’s new post? Now the Oilers claim they’re a $120M business!

    Given every statement we’ve heard from the club this summer about their finances, they’re either liars or idiots. I’m not inclined to support them with my provincial tax dollars (you know they’re gonna try) in either scenario.

  2. Chris August 26, 2010 at 9:57 am #

    There’s a classic and, admittedly, overused quote that applies neatly here: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

    Given the number of times that NFL and MLB teams have fleeced their cities’ taxpayers in recent times, we’ve got plenty of relevant history to remember.

    The people who oppose public financing of arena have, in my view, been pretty focused on a careful examination of how these things have panned out in the past. Meanwhile, the parties that support public financing have so far offered what looks to me like an assumption-riddled mess.

    • chartleys August 26, 2010 at 11:41 pm #

      It’s really sad that all arrows point this being a bad idea without a great deal more clarity and it is likely going to be done anyways.

    • DSF August 28, 2010 at 10:07 pm #

      So, what is your alternate plan?

      The Oilers play in Rexall til it crumbles?

      • chartleys August 29, 2010 at 12:11 am #

        The alternate plan is for elected officials to not let the tax-paying public get bent over a barrel. The debate is not whether or not people would like a new arena. The debate is that so far the tactics taken by Katz Group and even the Mayor’s office are pretty disingenuous.

        They are throwing out fuzzy numbers, they are purposefully avoiding any pre election discussions. There is quite possibly a way to do this that could be win win. But rather than sit down and try to work through it they’ve already resorted to veiled threats about moving the team, claiming their running at a loss, etc. It just doesn’t add up. Basically under the guise of civic pride they are demanding that the city take out a big loan while assuming the largest part of the risk with unproven (ala bs) means to regain the investment. For what exactly? So the oilers can elbow Northlands out of the picture and have more seats to sell? I mean it’s worth a shot and I don’t begrudge them for trying, I just pray we as a city are not stupid enough to fall for it.

        There is likely a way to do this deal that would result in a net benefit to all parties or at the very least a better distribution of risk, with regards to capital.

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