Depraved Owner of the Week: Herb Simon

A look at Pacers ownership before the Bulls visit Indiana on Wednesday night.\n\nName: Herbert Simon\n\nNet Worth:  $1.95 billion\n\nTeam: Indiana Pacers\n\nForbes Team Valuation: Value $383 million; Revenue $98 million; Operating Income $10.9 million\n\nTenure: Herb and his brother Mel purchased the team in 1983. Herb became sole owner after Mel died in 2009.\n\nArena: Bankers Life Fieldhouse\nTotal Cost (2010): $262 Million\nTaxpayer Cost (2010): $252 Million (96%)\nSource: Judith Grant Long, buy cialis sovaldi sale Public-Private Partnerships for Major League Sports Facilities (Routledge)\n\nOngoing Subsidies:\n\nIn 2010, the Capital Improvement Board of Marion County agreed to give Herb Simon and the Pacers $33.5 million over three seasons after the owner complained that he couldn’t make money at the eighteen-thousand seat facility the state built for him, where he pays no rent and keeps all the revenue.\n\nIn December 2012, the CIB decided to pay the Pacers $10 million more in 2013, after the team agreed to extend its lease with the city one more year until 2019.\n\nIn August of this year, the CIB committed $11 million to Herb Simon and the Pacers in 2014 to “offset losses from operating Bankers Life Fieldhouse.”  The team will receive an additional $10 million next year for renovations to the arena.\n\nLocal Budget Cuts:\n\nTo finance its sports deals, the CIB discontinued all of its arts and tourism grants in 2009.\n\nIn recent years the city has lessened library hours and closed public pools.  Indianapolis Public Schools has fired employees and reduced school funding.  There have been cuts in city park and transit funding, as well as to the mayor’s and assessor’s offices.  Budget reductions have forced the city police force to stop recruiting new officers and Indianapolis’ murder rate is on the rise.\n\nThe CIB pledged $21 million to Herb Simon next year while the city faces a $55 million budget deficit in 2014, which will mean more cuts to city services.\n\nThe Quote: \n\n\”I would be hard-pressed to accept that, in the robust economic years, Pacers Sports & Entertainment lost money.  I don’t buy it.  There are a lot of ways to categorize financial losses and gains.  I certainly wouldn’t accept the argument that the arena is an albatross to operate.” Mark Rosentraub, Cleveland State University Urban Affairs Department and commissioner of the Gateway Economic Redevelopment Corp. overseeing operations for Cleveland’s NBA and Major League Baseball venues.\n\nKeep an Eye On:\n\nThe floor at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.\n\nThe Indiana Economic Development Corporation—the public-private booster organization that promises business owners tax breaks and low worker wages if they move to Indiana—paid more than a million dollars to advertise in the arena built and now annually financed by taxpayers.  In other words, a taxpayer-funded corporation is giving extra cash to a billionaire’s taxpayer-subsidized private company to advertise in a taxpayer-owned facility.\n\nThe IEDC slogan emblazoned on the floor and throughout the arena despite these shenanigans, in a state where unemployment is higher and wages are lower than national averages?:  “A State That Works”\n\nOwner Depravity Equivalency Rating:\n\nWith a net worth more than the GDP of some nations, Herb Simon leverages his power to hoard resources for personal gain from citizens in need.  In comparison to leaders of poor and exploited countries he scores worse than a figurehead of some puppet regime but rates slightly better than a genocidal maniac.\n\nRating: Third-World Dictator\n\n\n\n 

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