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bfealk Donating Member (420 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 10:12 PM
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Allegations of Dirty Politics Swirl around Dick DeVos... in Florida
Allegations of Dirty Politics Swirl Around Dick DeVos. . . in Florida
by: DemWave

Tue Sep 19, 2006 at 22:03:52 PM EDT
(Well, well. Here's one more reason why Dick DeVos is the George W. Bush of the Great Lakes. Both men believe that their sports franchises deserve a place on the welfare rolls. - promoted by Hy Dudgeon)

The Amway Guy is caught up in the middle of a brewing political controversy in Central Florida. The controvesy surrounds the Orlando Magic--the struggling NBA team that Dick DeVos has owned since Daddy Rich "The Nut Doesn't Fall Far From the Tree" DeVos transferred ownership to his children (including The Dick) last October.
Apparently the current arena used by Amway's Team is not good enough for Dick DeVos. Dick and his Orlando Magic want taxpayers to build a new arena for them. The Orlando Sentinel reports:

When county commissioners hear the Orlando Magic's pitch for a new arena Tuesday, there will be one question on everyone's mind: How much will the team pony up?
Magic officials will say only that their contribution to the $385 million project will be "significant" and that they will pay more than other NBA teams in comparable markets in recent years.

But that isn't saying much. The Memphis Grizzlies paid nothing toward the 2-year-old, $250 million FedEx Forum, which Magic officials have pointed to as a model arena. The Charlotte Bobcats paid $23.2 million of the $265 million cost of the new Charlotte Arena. For the $190 million AT&T Center, the San Antonio Spurs paid about $45 million.

The Magic aren't comparing themselves to teams paying a bigger portion, such as the Dallas Mavericks, which gave $295 million toward the $420 million American Airlines Center, or the Miami Heat, which received land and an $8.5 million-a-year operating subsidy but paid all $185 million in construction costs.

In Orlando, leaders are poised to use tax for whatever the Magic don't contribute -- a prospect critics have long derided as corporate welfare for millionaire athletes.

Understandably, some taxpayers aren't too keen on Dick and the Magic's scheme:

The Orlando NBC affiliate reports on the latest DeVos/Orland Magic arena plans:

Backers of all three projects spelled out their plans to the Orlando City Commission on Monday, with performing arts center backers handing out tickets to the debut performance in August 2010 and the Magic showcasing an arena as the new home for basketball, concerts and community events.
But after team bosses said they can't put a dollar figure on their contribution to build an arena until a potential new site near the Orange County Convention Center can be explored, Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan erupted.

"I don't know if it's the county, I don't know if it's the Magic, but I smell a rat here. This is really, really wrong," she said.

Sheehan implied there may be some dirty politics in the surprise decision last week by county commissioners to consider the International Drive site.

"Are they the Orlando Magic or are they the Orange County cheap trick? Are they Orlando or are they Orange County? Is this for our community? Is this for the residents who live here? Or is it for the tourist industry?" Sheehan said.

DemWave :: Allegations of Dirty Politics Swirl Around Dick DeVos. . . in Florida
In typical DeVos fashion, the Magic will only reveal how much they will contribute to the new $385 million arena after local taxpayers commit to build it. Just like Dick DeVos refuses to disclose where he stands on issues and how he'll pay for new proposals until after Election Day. DeVos and his Orlando Magic are playing the stall game:

Orlando Magic officials remained silent Tuesday about how much they would pay toward building an arena and also staked out neutral ground in a debate that's heating up over moving the new center to International Drive.
One Florida commentator describes the "'ol razzle-dazzle" at work (Amway-style razzle-dazzle?):

I could support this thing if the Magic agreed to pay their fair share. Who wouldn't want a new arena and the concerts that could acompany it? However, the Magic paying a share like some of the other teams have -- well upwards of $100 million -- seems about as likely as the team winning its conference.

Nowhere did I say we shouldn't have an arena or that the Magic should leave town -- just that the team should pay it's fair share, the same way other NBA teams that weren't out to completely shaft their fans and taxpayers have done. Last time, the Magic offered $10 million cash for a $250 million arena. This time, they won't say. If you're cool with either of those, then, yes, we're on opposite pages ... and maybe one of us should check out real estate in Idaho... or maybe Dallas, where the Mavericks paid $295 million.

Dick DeVos and his Orlando Magic, looking for a government handout--not a handup. It's the typical DeVos/Amway bait and switch. Back again to the Orlando Sentinel:

Now that the politicians have agreed to raise hotel taxes, they're as giddy as an Isleworth housewife at Neiman Marcus. They're ready to blow money someone else earned on pretty baubles.
At the top of the shopping list is a new arena for the Magic. But politicians, who need your votes to stay in office, know that many of you would rather set fire to the money than fully fund a playpen for a billionaire team owner and his millionaire players. So the deal they're cooking up is for the team to claim that it will pay a "significant" share of the $350 million (or more) facility it wants.

But let's check the history books.

The team said something similar five years ago. And yet the first offer it made was for the public to pay $200 million of the $250 million projectit wanted. In this public-private partnership, the public looked to be the significant other.

But wait. That was just the tip of the iceberg. When we started digging, we discovered team owner Rich DeVos was really offering up only $10.5 million cash. The rest of the team's proposed "share" actually came from things like a surcharge on tickets -- even to events at the arena that had nothing to do with the Magic.

Maybe the team will do better this time. But it's at least worthwhile to remember the history. Because, well, that's significant.

Not surprising given that Amway Guy is involved. It's been 5 years and Dick DeVos and his Orlando Magic can't get the job done. With Dick DeVos it always seems to come back to mismanagement:

But mismanagement by the DeVos family broke up a championship team and created a never-ending string of failed overhauls -- one incredibly engineered by a minor-league hockey general manager with no NBA experience. That, not the building, is what alienated fans, emptied the arena and turned the Magic into money-losers.
Think of Orlando's potential with an owner like Mark Cuban. If Rich DeVos left, maybe we'd get one.

Dick DeVos: Successful Businessman Money-Losing Manager.

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Bozita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 01:22 AM
Response to Original message
1. "the George W. Bush of the Great Lakes"
Good post! Thanks.
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