You can make money if you have someone else paying the bills. Most of the time. But if you can’t, there’s always the taxpayer to fall back on.
This appears to be the philosophy of the owner of the local professional basketball team. This gentleman, a personal billionaire, is now branching into baseball and the IBJ gives us a couple of very interesting quotes.
He says, "Minor League baseball is a great formula because the players salaries are paid for by the major-league parent team."
One of his associates tells us the gentleman’s background in "public-private partnerships" makes him a real asset to the consortium being formed to purchase multiple minor league franchises.
All of this gives us a mixed reaction. It certainly is true that the gentleman in question is extremely competent in milking the public for the benefit of the private end of that kind of "partnership."
One of his new associates says of this consortium, "We’re not doing this as a hobby....We’re doing this as a business with a return in mind."
But it would seem his business acumen would come into question when he has to justify asking for taxpayer subsidy because he claims he loses money running a business under conditions most people would die for. No rent - and no property taxes - on a $180 million palace from which he gets all revenues.
Almost as an aside, we’re told the Indianapolis Indians are not a target - at least for now. They’ve made a profit for 38 straight years. Of course, in the right hands, it could be changed to put that team on "corporate food stamps" along with the rest of the downtown parasites
Considering the history of the local situation, we suggest the taxpayer be prepared to add that organization to the list of corporations which always have a higher priority than ordinary municipal services when it comes to use of public dollars.