"The Official Portrait of Miss InDiana"

"The Official Portrait of Miss InDiana"
aka "Miss Victory"

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Ogden's proposal for the CIB: CHAPTER 11 BANKRUPTCY

Below is attorney Paul Ogden's solution for the CIB bailout mess. Mayor Ballard and his staff knew about the short fall of the CIB's budget long before Ballard took office. During the campaign, Ballard read Indy Undercover (no longer on line), Advance Indiana, Indiana Barrister, and HFFT. Granted, we didn't think the budget shortfall was as big as it turned out to be (we thought it was only $10 million), but everyone knew the operating budget was not accounted for in the Colts sweetheart deal brokered by Mayor Bart Peterson's team led by Fred Glass. It's not right that the Pacers beg for $15 million from taxpayers simply because the Colts got a lopsided deal from the city.


Given the chilly reception the Indiana House leaders are giving to the CIB Bailout plan concocted by Senator Luke Kenley, it is becoming increasingly clear that CIB's lobbyists may not get the revenue it needs to continue as a viable entity. Certainly bailing out the CIB by making Indianapolis the city with the highest hospitality taxes in the country is not a good idea. Last time I checked, Indiana has cold, snowy Winters and isn't blessed by being on an ocean. Having the highest hospitality taxes in the country will deal a major blow to the convention/tourism business.

There is a way out of the current mess. It is called Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Chapter 11 would give the bankruptcy court the power to rewrite CIB's contracts. One of those contracts that should be rewritten is the Colts-Lucas Oil Stadium sweetheart deal. Also, bankruptcy would allow the court to rework the debt load of the CIB. One thing that has been lost in this debate over the CIB's annual operating deficit is that the CIB also enormous debt problems and if that debt can't be reworked voluntarily, bankruptcy would have had to happen anyway.

In conjunction with the bankruptcy, the State and City should insist on changes to the CIB. Bob Grand needs to go along with the entire current board, most of which have major conflicts of interest that should have precluded their appointment in the first place. There should be a major rethinking of who should be on the Board and who should appoint those individuals. Clearly there need to be more citizen-type people on the board. Right now the Board is little more than a rubber stamp for the deals the leaders of the CIB cut in the backroom with their patrons. Finally, the State and/or the City needs to demand an end to CIB's insistence that it be allowed to operate like a secret organization. It's unfathomable that a public entity like the CIB could operate in the red for 10 years without even disclosing that fact to the public. That is unacceptable.

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