OurTallahassee Publisher Bob Lotane Looks at the $27 Million Dollar Seminole Boosters Deal. The final vote on the deal is on February 24th.
For the sake of argument, this column will stipulate that Doak Campbell Stadium truly needs $20 million in infrastructure repairs. And let’s further stipulate that in the billions of dollars that flow through the many fungible accounts of the University, that the $20 million is just not obtainable right now for the repairs.
With those stipulations in place let’s further assume that the only place to get the $20 million is by tapping the 1% Blueprint sales tax that the city/county agency collects from taxpayers. Finally, let’s assume – despite overwhelming public testimony and sentiment being against spending the Office of Economic Development (OEV) money on stadium repairs – that this is truly the best use for these resources to develop our local economy.
With those stipulations and assumptions in place, we’re still faced with one powerful question: Why, if we are handing the Seminole Boosters a $20 million check to fix its stadium, do we have to also pay the interest on the entire deal?
We are handing them all of the principal, why in the hell do we also have to pay the interest, too? That is about as big a waste of money as the $20 million the Boosters paid former coach Willie Taggart not to coach (Coincidence? You decide).
If there were an equivalent to this bad deal, it would be like going to a bank and asking them to write a loan for renovations on your house and telling them they have to pay the interest on that loan. Oh, and by the way, you’re also not going to pay them back the principal. You would be laughed out of that bank so fast it would make your head spin.
Yet, that’s what we’re doing. And we’re not talking a little bit of interest; we’re talking almost $7 million in interest. $7 million that buys us nothing, bupkis, zilch, zippo, a donut hole.
What don’t we get?
We could go on all day with what we don’t get. What do we get?
Which raises the question: How much of the 80 odd million dollars’ worth of stadium improvements people are willing to pay for is going to have people’s names on them? Again, that would be zilch, zippo, nothing. That was pure BS the Boosters were pitching at recent Blueprint meetings.
While we’re on the subject of BS, so is the line about needing this $20 million (for the non-grandiose projects) to free up $80 million in booster money to fund projects that people would want to “put their name on” that will improve the “fan experience.”
Folks, if the FSU football team sucks, no amount of fan experience will get the necessary amount of people in that stadium. However, put together a top 20 football team, and people will walk over shards of glass and sit on the bleachers of nails to come to games.
The bottom line is simple: This deal will cost Tallahassee/Leon County taxpayers $26.5 million – one-quarter of which will go to help fund some hedge fund manager’s beach house in Naples or Nantucket; some bond trader’s high-end Tesla in Chicago and/or some financial shark’s mansion in the Hamptons.
PT Barnum was right, there’s a sucker born every minute; unfortunately, some of them have a vote on this deal.
MORE ON THE SEMINOLE BOOSTERS DEAL ON OT TV >>>
FEBRUARY 24TH MEETING DETAILS >>>
The final vote on the deal will be at Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency Board Meeting (OEV Meeting) on Thursday, February 24 from 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm.
The meeting will be held at City Hall, 300 S. Adams Street, Tallahassee Florida, 32311. Session will be going on and parking will be very limited. We suggest parking on the street around Park Avenue or Kleman Plaza if you plan on attending the event.
Add event to your Google Calendar. Add event to iCal.
E-MAIL DECISION MAKERS >>>
The below list includes City and County Commissioners, and executives of Blueprint, as well as leadership at the Seminole Boosters, Florida State, the Chamber, and the Florida State Board of Trustees. You can copy and paste the below email list into your email client to email the key decision makers of this project.
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Great article! This is a bad deal and the money should be going for the list of things we won’t get by having the money go for the stadium.
“… there’s a sucker born every minute; unfortunately, some of them have a vote on this deal.”
Yes, and the real suckers are the taxpayers, who don’t get a direct vote on the deal.
The wheels of justice may grind slowly. But they grind! Thank you for pushing.
The two people that could turn this around would be Mayor Dailey and County Commissioner Nick Maddox. But, they are choosing to put their re-election campaign interests ahead of the citizens and taxpayers they serve.
They believe that they can draw huge campaign contributions from this deal and that is sad. They are showing that they cannot follow rules and laws and they show no leadership.
Their only campaign platforms are special interest and it is time to vote John Dailey and Nick Maddox out!
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