December 15th, 2016

Well, what a novelty. Who could have thought of it?

The Cleveland Cavaliers will PAY rent for the arena that the team owner “rents” from Gateway.

It will—these schemers of the latest theft of public assets—pay for half of a $282 million in renovations to the rental called Quicken Arena.

And you, the public, likely will pay NOTHING. Oh. Not really.

Unless you rent a hotel/motel room or go to some entertainment event that includes the city’s 8 percent admissions tax. (I’m reminded by a PD reporter that only admission taxes from the arena will be used in this arrangement but, of course, these are still taken from the city’s admissions tax total. In 2010, for example $4.1 million was already taken to pay of 1990 arena bonds. That has continued for years.)

What an incredible bargain though. Don’t go, don’t pay.

Who could have thought of this sweet deal? Mayor Frank Jackson? Hell no. County Executive Armond Budish? Of course not. These are not idea guys.

They don’t have the expertise or the ingenuity.

This game was a ploy of the deal-makers.

The Joe Romans of the Greater Cleveland Partnership. The Tim Offtermatts of Stifel, and formerly A.G. Edwards, long time hand in Gateway financing and its chairman until he had to avoid conflict of interest in this deal. And, of course, Fred Nance, big boss of Squire-Sanders and the deal-maker for the Browns.

They all, in one way or another, will have a hand in the pot. They were there to explain it all to the news media.

If we had a good state attorney general around here all these guys would be answering questions.

But what an ingenious maneuver to have the tenant pay rent. How clever.

That’s their contribution to help pay something like a $282 million bill for renovations of their rental.

And, of course, the Plain Dealer goes along with the ruse.

They also seem to say that the taxes that will pay for the fix-up come from other sources that pay, not you the public.

What they don’t give much thought to, however, is that this is still tax money. Public money. Money that cannot be used elsewhere.

This public money could be used for the many, many needs of a community like Cleveland and even many parts of Cuyahoga County. Think East Cleveland, for example.

Or maybe, Mr. Budish, one could use the money to pay for all the borrowing that has and is likely to be done by the county. The county is slightly more than a billion dollars in debt.

But the articles are played as if this is a must do for the community.

Len Komoroski tells us how much the Quicken Loans/Dan Gilbert outfits are doing for us. He’s the CEO and part of the casino gang too.

He tells us (Chris Quinn’s variety of “constructive, civilized comments) of the tremendous advances in downtown business. He doesn’t tell us that we have poured in hundreds of millions, maybe two billion, of dollars in subsidies. Tax dollars. Your dollars, really.

He gives himself credit. He gives Gilbert credit. That’s what he’s paid to do. Not so unexpected. In doing so he does reveal that these guys make a lot of money out of the 20,000 seat public facility—at least 200 event beyond basketball games and 1,400 private parties, he says. He doesn’t mention either that we bought him a $2-million plus fancy bar, fully-equipped. Nice.

But he won’t tell us how much revenue that brings in and, of course, Komoroski, the pro, won’t tell how much profit they personally take out of the public facility.

He does claim, however, much financial contribution from them to us.

They have created a jumping downtown with lots of business.

Ironically, a former Gateway board member and former dean of CSU’s Urban School, and Ziona Austrian, at the Urban school, issued a report that said:

… the early years of Cleveland’s Gateway Complex, which encompasses Jacobs (now Progressive) field baseball stadium and Gund (now Quicken) arena, concludes that there were some economic benefits, but they came at a very high price—more than $200,000 in taxpayer funds for each additional job.” So report authors of a study called “Loot, Loot, Loot for the Home Team.

Now if you tossed $200,000 into every poverty area for every single job what would be the reaction?

My God, why are we giving these people welfare? Why are we coddling these people? They should do for themselves.


By Roldo Bartimole…


  1. Garry Kanter says:

    They all need to be in prison, voted out, and/or worse.

  2. Gary: Do we have pitchforks anymore?

  3. Jeff Hess says:


    No (at least not in most Cleveland homes) but we do have plenty of signs available.


  4. JeffT says:

    Technically, doesn’t this mean that 100% of the funding for renovations is actually coming from public money? If they’re contractually paying a sum of rent anyway, then it’s beyond ludicrous to consider rent as a private contribution to the renovations. An additional few years onto the lease doesn’t change this fact. Unless I’m misunderstanding something here.

    • Of course, you are right but they believe since they aren’t paying something called “rent” now they have the right to see it as their contribution.

      A novel idea, indeed.

      Both the Cavs and Indians pay the operating costs of Gateway. This was worked out years ago when it appeared Gateway would go bankrupt. That would have embarrassed everyone here. So the teams and Gateway made a bargain. The teams paid, not rent, but the operating costs. However, in return the teams took “naming rights,” which at that time had reached just about $1 million a year. No one says how much they are worth now but the teams keep that former Gateway income from naming rights.

      Always complicated when someone does legal theft.

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