The Orlando Sentinel had some fun yesterday digging through the $480 million budget for the Magic‘s new Amway Center (not to be confused with their old Amway Arena — three guesses what company Magic owner Rich DeVos owns), and finding stuff that Orlando taxpayers will be helping to pay for. On the shopping list:
- A $10,000 conference table and eight $2,100 conference chairs for Magic executives.
- 264 barstools costing $892 each for luxury suite holders.
- A $2,100 poker-and-bumper-pool table, plus PlayStation 3 and Wii systems, for concert performers to play backstage before events. Writes the Sentinel, “According to city officials, that’s needed to stay competitive with other venues vying for touring shows.” What, no brown-free M&M dispenser?
- A $87,600 Zamboni, though the arena won’t be home to a hockey team.
A spokesperson for Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer defended the expenses, saying, “We are investing in making this a state-of-the-art facility, and it’s important that we invest now so we don’t have to replace these items in five years.” (Note to Buddy: I’m pretty sure PlayStation 4 will be out by then.) Jim Martin, chair of the watchdog group CountyWatch, retorted: “That stuff needs to be scrutinized. The question is, can you justify it at this time? The next question is, could you ever have justified it?”