Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Grass or Cash, the Independence Bowl question
A lot has been said lately about the proposition by the Independence Bowl to repay the City of Shreveport almost $500,000 by replacing the turf on the field.
If you are not familiar with the history of the situation, in April of 2008 the Shreveport City Council, at the mayor’s request, secretly loaned the Independence Bowl over $500,000 when Petro-Sun failed to come through with money to ensure the payout to the University of Colorado and the University of Alabama for the 2007 Bowl game.
Recently, Councilman Ron Webb proposed a resolution to authorize the mayor to enter into an agreement with the Independence Bowl Foundation to accept new turf on the field as payment for the loan.
This question came up in the comments on the Candidate Forum posted yesterday on My Bossier by Deanna Candler, who is running for City Council, District D. The comment was:
I would like to know what Ms. Candler thinks of the 'grass for money' deal with the Indy Bowl. The paper says that the attorney general is slowing down the process. The paper says that the money was given in a secret deal.
The answer from Candler was this:
The Indy Bowl is a sticky issue... we need the bowl, it brings in a lot of revenue. But the way that it was handled was not right. All decisions of this magnitude should be made in public meetings. We are elected by the people, and the people deserve to be able to have their say in things.
It is a sticky issue.
The Times had an editorial opposing the trade off. You can read it here.
It is now a moot question in one sense, the Attorney General has ruled that if the city does this, it must itself seek bids; it cannot accept whatever bidding process was used by the Independence Bowl Foundation.
Some city council members have urged the administration in the past to get a repayment schedule in place.
Has the Independence Bowl Foundation made an effort to come to terms with the city to repay the loan - in money?
One question that has come into play is that Advocare, the new sponsor of the bowl, paid a sponsor’s fee that was said to be $750,000 to the bowl (the video below shows the presentation of the check).
If that is the case, why wasn’t at least some of the money paid out of that?
Apparently the bowl plans to have the turf financed in some manner and pay for it over a period of time. Why could they not just borrow the money to pay the city and do the same thing?
Add to this the fact that elections are upon us and that this will undoubtedly play into the equation.
What do you think about this payback, good idea or bad? Please leave your comment and vote in the poll on the sidebar.