Category Archives: Convention.Centers/Arenas

Critical food safety violations up at Royals games this year, health department says

Source: Patrick Fazio, KSHB, October 27, 2015

Critical health violations are up this season at Kauffman Stadium concession stands compared to last season.

2015: 146 critical violations on 176 inspections
2014: 129 critical violations on 167 inspections …

As a follow-up to our investigation, we discovered health inspectors have cited Aramark food stands at Kauffman for numerous observations of, “Potentially hazardous hot food was not maintained at temperatures in accordance with the Food Code,” as well as these critical violations since May … Other critical violations cited at Kauffman Stadium food stands since May include improperly trained Aramark employees: “Out Of Compliance Food Handler Card audit… No certified manager in the food service area at the time of inspection.”

Evaluating Lease-Purchase Financing for Professional Sports Facilities

Source: Geoffrey Propheter and Megan Hatch, Urban Affairs Review, 2014

Abstract: In 2012, the city of Seattle, Washington, entered into a public–private partnership (P3) whose goal was the construction and operation of a new sports arena. The cornerstone of the P3 was a unique lease-purchase financing (LPF) agreement markedly different from lease-purchase contracts that governments typically use for acquiring capital goods. This article has a twofold objective. First, it details Seattle’s agreement and contrasts it with other relevant P3s. Second, it identifies a number of potential sources of additional public costs and risks overlooked in the subsidy debate. Because it offers local governments and franchise owners a number of benefits, it is anticipated that Seattle’s lease-purchase model will be used by other municipalities in the future. This case study can be used in future LPF subsidy debates to improve public-sector outcomes.

Scott Walker Approves Public Funding of Basketball Arena

Source: Trip Gabriel, New York Times, August 12, 2015

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin approved $250 million in public financing for a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team on Wednesday, a deal exposing him to charges of corporate welfare as he seeks the Republican nomination as a fiscal conservative. … The owners of the National Basketball Association team, who include hedge fund managers in New York and a top fund-raiser for Mr. Walker’s presidential campaign, had threatened to leave the state without public funding for a new stadium. … The Bucks owners said a new arena, needed to attract fans, would cost $500 million. Former Senator Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, a Democrat who was the team’s previous owner, agreed to contribute $100 million. The new owners, led by Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry, who run hedge funds in New York, will pay $150 million. Taxpayers will kick in $250 million.


Scott Walker’s crony capitalism
Source: Paul Waldman, Washington Post, August 12, 2015

Gov. Scott Walker signed the Milwaukee Bucks arena funding bill Wednesday morning at the Exposition Center at Wisconsin State Fair Park. The legislation commits $250 million in public money to the team’s new arena over the next 20 years. … That $250 million that taxpayers will be spending for the benefit of a single private enterprise just happens to be the same amount that Walker succeeded in cutting from the state’s university system this year. And an interesting sidelight to the story is that one of the Bucks owners, Jon Hammes, is a national finance co-chairman of Walker’s campaign and has given $150,000 to a Walker super PAC. … And Walker’s justification — that ponying up for the stadium will be worth it because of the economic impact — has been disproven by just about every analysis of stadium financing. When taxpayers put out hundreds of millions of dollars for shiny new stadiums, they don’t make back the money in increased tax revenue. If you want to argue that it’s worth paying for solely because people love sports even if it costs taxpayers a great deal, then go ahead and make that argument. But no politician does.

Negotiations collapse in effort to build Salt Lake City convention center hotel

Source: Mike Gorrell, The Salt Lake Tribune, August 11, 2015

Plans to develop a convention-center headquarters hotel in downtown Salt Lake City are back at square one. Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams said Tuesday that contract talks for Omni Hotels and Resorts to build a megahotel adjacent to the Salt Palace Convention Center — augmented with tax incentives from the state, county and Salt Lake City — have collapsed. … County Council Chairman Richard Snelgrove, who was on the losing end of a 6-3 vote when the council opted in 2012 to pursue a public-private partnership, applauded McAdams’ decision to walk away from the talks. “I’ve felt all along that a tax-subsidized hotel was wrong,” Snelgrove said. “It should be left to developers and the private sector. We’d be helping a new hotel compete against existing hotels. That’s not fair.” That’s the position of Utah Taxpayers Association Vice President Billy Hesterman. “Utah taxpayers should not be footing the bill for a plan that favors one business over another,” he said, noting existing hotels already pay millions in taxes yearly. “We look forward to when Utah’s convention and travel market can demand such a facility without taxpayer assistance.” … The legislation provided for a hotel developer to pick a site. It would receive post-performance tax breaks of up to $75 million to help underwrite construction of “public spaces” — meetings rooms, parking, utility lines — at the otherwise privately financed hotel. Projections estimated its cost at $335 million.


Omni offers sole proposal for Salt Lake convention hotel
Source: Associated Press, The Salt Lake Tribune, October 27, 2014

One developer has submitted a proposal to build a large hotel near the convention center in downtown Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County officials announced Monday. Friday was the deadline to apply for the project, which comes with $75 million in possible tax credits. The submitted proposal from Dallas-based Omni Hotels & Resorts will now be reviewed by a county selection committee assigned to endorse a developer. … Utah state and local governments are offering up to $75 million in possible tax credits if the new hotel increases sales-tax revenues in the years after it opens. Some lawmakers and others worried that the project and incentive could harm existing hotels, so lawmakers also included an $8 million lifeline for existing hotels if they have vacancies once the new hotel opens.

A new plan emerges to save the Astrodome

Source: Gabrielle Banks, Houston Chronicle, July 28, 2015

…His plan has now become the blueprint for a public-private partnership overseen by a conservancy that would unite the city, county, the sports and convention corporation and other governmental entities with private investors to revive the Astrodome without requiring voter approval. … The details for the partnership – and who will commit to covering what percentage of the costs – are being discussed in meetings between representatives of various stakeholders, including during a session on Tuesday and another one scheduled for Friday. … The prospects of saving Houston’s most famous landmark seemed dim just less than two years ago when voters put aside their fond memories and rejected a $217 million plan to convert the Astrodome to an event and exhibit space… Emmett expects the money for the Dome will come from numerous sources, the county and perhaps the city as well.

A Safe Bet?

Source: Chris Heller, Washington City Paper, June 26, 2015

As light reflects off the water, blinding from view the scrap yards and concrete plants and parking lots, it’s easy to imagine the area’s future: a riverfront entertainment district that spans southeast to southwest, from Navy Yard to Fort McNair, the two ends anchored by two stadiums. The first, Nationals Park, opened seven years ago. It cost $693 million. The other, a new home for D.C. United, will be the most expensive soccer stadium in America. All told, about a billion dollars will be spent on these two stadiums. Both projects involve significant public investment, although each represents a distinct model of financing. Both pursue the same, long-sought dream to develop land along the Anacostia waterfront. And perhaps just as important, both reveal the lengths that policy-makers, past and present, will go to raise the profile of the District. If Nationals Park and the soccer stadium ignite a sports district as promised, it would stand counter to years of sports economics research. If they don’t … well, if that happens, the D.C. government will have subsidized two businesses owned by some very wealthy people. While Washington’s other sports owners not-so-quietly poke around for new digs—yes, Dan Snyder, that means you and the Pigskins—we’re left to wonder: which of these deals will become the model for future stadium deals in the District? Is either truly beneficial for the city’s economy? And when, exactly, is it okay to use public money for private sports?

Janitorial firm fined for wage gaffe

Source: Katie Johnston, Boston Globe, September 17, 2014

An East Boston janitorial company has been ordered by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley to pay more than $750,000 for unlawfully deducting wages from workers’ paychecks at the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority facilities in Boston. Between March 2012 and September 2013, Star Service Corp., a subcontractor of janitorial provider ABM, took more than $959,000 out of 160 workers’ checks for health, pension, and welfare fund benefits but never contributed to the funds, according to the attorney general’s investigation. Under state law, cleaning and maintenance workers at buildings owned or rented by the Commonwealth can receive wages that include pension and health fund deductions, but if no payments are made to those funds, the money must go to the worker. …

The CEO Of A $6 Billion Company Was Caught On Camera Kicking A Dog

Source: Pamela Engel, Business Insider, August 27, 2014

The CEO of a multibillion-dollar sports-catering company is facing widespread criticism after he was caught on surveillance video repeatedly kicking his friend’s dog, the Daily Mail reports. The footage, which surfaced last week, is from an elevator camera in a Vancouver apartment building. Des Hague is the CEO of Centerplate, a company that provides concessions for major arenas….
Will a dog-abuse scandal sink stadium caterer Centerplate?
Source: Daniel Roberts, Fortune, August 25, 2014

Less than three weeks from now, the brand new, tricked-out, $1.3 billion Levi’s Stadium will at last host its first regular season NFL game, with the home team San Francisco 49ers taking on the Chicago Bears. And it will serve up food provided by Centerplate, a Connecticut-based, Aramark-like caterer for sports and entertainment venues that scored big when it landed the new stadium as a client. It is unlucky timing for Centerplate to be undergoing an ugly scandal playing out on the viral Web: CEO Des Hague, who has led the company since 2009, was caught on video surveillance abusing a dog in an elevator. The footage, taken from a Vancouver apartment building, shows the food executive kicking a Doberman puppy, then yanking it up by a leash….

Centerplate CEO on “Indefinite Probation” Over Dog Abuse Incident
Source: Food Management, August 28, 2014

Des Hague required by company’s board to contribute $100K to new foundation and do 1,000 hours of community service….

Multimillionaire CEO caught on camera repeatedly kicking his friend’s puppy
Source: Louise Boyle, MailOnline, August 27, 2014

– Des Hague was caught in an elevator repeatedly booting the doberman pup in the stomach
– He is head of the $6bn-dollar company Centerplate which supplies arenas and sports stadiums with food service
– The company said on Monday that Mr Hague has agreed to undergo anger management classes

Centerplate CEO shown abusing dog
Source: Darren Rovell, August 27, 2014

Sports catering giant Centerplate fined and censured Des Hague on Wednesday after an internal review of surveillance video showing its chief executive kicking his friend’s puppy and yanking it by its leash. … It remains to be seen whether the company, who has business with nine NFL teams, including the Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers, will see any repercussions from its CEO’s actions….

Metairie janitorial firm pays $277,500 in back wages to workers at Convention Center

Source: Katherine Sayre, Times-Picayune, March 26, 2014

Empire Janitorial Sales and Services Inc. of Metairie has paid more than $277,500 in back wages to current and former workers employed by subcontractor Acadian Payroll Services LLC, the result of an investigation into overtime pay violations, the U.S. Department of Labor said this week. The Labor Department said 233 janitorial service workers were wrongfully classified as independent contractors and were not paid overtime wages for working more than 40 hours in a week. The janitors worked at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and other sites. Federal law requires employees to be paid time and one-half after they work for 40 hours in a week, but the janitors were paid a regular rate for the overtime, the department said….

Sioux City Council OKs privatizing Convention Center operations

Source: Nick Hytrek, Sioux City Journal, March 11, 2014

Brides-to-be can rest easy. The city’s plan to privatize the daily operations of the Sioux City Convention Center shouldn’t have any noticeable effects to the people who want to have events there. …. The move is expected to save the city approximately $200,000, mostly through payroll.

Sioux City Council to vote on Convention Center operations
Source: Sioux City Journal, March 9, 2014

The City Council on Monday is scheduled to move forward with a plan to privatize daily operations of the Sioux City Convention Center. The proposal would put the firm Centerplate in charge of revenue, setting up events, housekeeping and management. The city would have oversight. Centerplate currently provides catering services to city venues. The Convention Center plan would save an estimated $200,000. …

Letter: AFSCME Local 212 opposes privatizing Convention Center operations
Source: Chris De Harty – Afscme Local 212, Sioux City Journal, January 26, 2014

AFSCME Local 212 is not for contracting out the Convention Center or any public positions or facilities. The city would not have to go to this extreme if they had people in place who could market and manage the facility. Also, blaming the Sioux City Hotel for not having events is absurd. It couldn’t be the price the Convention Center charges for events, the price of food and beverages, the lack of parking, the small size of the Convention Center, or poor lighting, flooring and sound that are making people not use the facility….

Budget crunch could shake up Sioux City’s events department
Source: Nate Robson, Sioux City Journal, January 16, 2014

A search to squeeze as many pennies as possible out of Sioux City’s fiscal year 2015 budget includes a proposal that would drastically reshape the Events Facilities Department. A proposal set to go before the City Council during a Feb. 4 budget hearing calls for privatizing day-to-day operations at the city-owned Convention Center, taking the IBP Ice Center away from the Events Facilities Department and giving it to Parks & Recreation, and turning Parks & Recreation into its own department. Parks & Recreation currently falls under the Department of Public Works. Only one position, a sports sales representative making nearly $47,000, would be eliminated in the shakeup. Approximately six other jobs would move from the city payroll to Centerplate’s, which handles catering at the convention center….