January 22nd, 2013

Roldo Bartimole writes:

The carpetbagger from Tennessee didn’t take long find a way to fleece northern sports suckers.

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, one of society’s takers, will pocket the $100-million naming rights on a property-tax free stadium built, owned and maintained by taxpayers. He already had a sweet deal for a pittance of rent ($250,000) never to increase over 30 years.

And you wonder why Jimmy’s seems always to have a grin, ear to ear.

How many times have I been over this fakery?

roldo dolans haslam gilbert

Larry and Jimmy and Dan, oh my!

Anything these rich blood suckers want they take. The fix is always in for the Haslams, Gilberts and Dolans. We’ve continually invested too much public money for private interests. Already, they’re lined up to extend the sin tax that should lapse in 2015 after 25 years of hitting Cuyahoga residents.

But we’re all supposed to not see these thefts in progress.

Why? Well, in part surely because of our journalistic deceivers. Can you imagine, for example, the giddy Jimmy “Voice of the Browns” Donovan telling a truth about the stadium deal? How can he be a journalist and a paid promoter of the Browns? More disturbing, the empty-headed, monkey-see, monkey-do of his WKYC teammates – Russ Mitchell, Kris Pickel and Robin Swoboda.

They are illustrative of the phony nature of news when it comes to sports and much more. No wonder the political crooks thought they could get away with anything. Don’t we all do it?

The news people – broadcast or print – simply can’t bring themselves to entertain the thought of seeking truth in their news reporting. It’s Christmas every day for so many of our corporate “leaders.”

Mayor Frank Jackson, of course, doesn’t even try to deal with these pilferings of public money. Nor does the somnolent City Council. Hardly a word of protest about the $100 million.

What’s the difference between blind editors and the officials at the County who watched corruption year after year and said nothing?

Maybe if reporters told the brutal truth people would buy their newspapers. Sad.

Sports owners are pirates. They hold taxpayers hostage for every dollar they can squeeze from a dwindling, poverty-sick city. Is it any wonder people stream out of Cleveland? Soon only the very poor and those who can afford to live in subsidized, high-rent downtown or a few gentrified neighborhoods will be left. We will have chic restaurants, however.

It wouldn’t take much news truth-telling to make people want to get out the tar and feathers. So many deserving villains await.

Most reporters have blind spots for our movers and shakers. Or don’t they want to see. Yah, that’s it.

Stories are there.

I’ll give you one example from the past. The much-lauded Dick Jacobs when he owned the Cleveland Indians demanded marble tables for his loges customers. Marble tables? Not plain wood? Dick got marble, of course. From Lucca, Italy, no less. He could afford it. He wasn’t paying. We were.

They soon began to crack. Surprise!

As the marble cracked, the marble-provider noted, “If you recall, we raised questions initially about the quality of Verde Giada (the type marble selected).” They wrote, “We tried to suggest the use of stronger more portable material.” Jacobs insisted he wanted what he wanted. The provider told me, “They asked for the marble, we provided it.” What’s the problem?

That’s one of many travesties we expensed because our sports owners demanded it.

How do these things work?

We’re told the naming-right dough belongs to Haslam. It’s in the lease. The sanctified lease. What can we do? Read the lease, please. Cleveland lawyer Fred Nance of Squire-Sanders wrote it. Then he went to work for the Browns. A coincidence apparently. Not really.

I remember talking with Tom Chema, who headed Gateway, about a building constructed to house the executive offices for Jacobs’s Indians. It WASN’T in the lease, I pointed out. Cost some $5 million. Why build it? Not in the lease.

Well, said Chema, an unsightly ramp marred the street view. So they plugged it with a five-story, fully furnished office building. Why not some shrubbery, Tom? I guess shrubs were not in the lease. Too bad.

You can make black appear white, or any other color, if you have compliant political and journalistic watchdogs. We have an excess of both.

Cleveland is so well-equipped in those two departments. That’s why we get what we get. We deserve it if we don’t wake up.

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