If you’ve heard me talk on the radio lately, you’ve probably heard me cite University of Michigan economist Rod Fort’s long-ago quote that “I don’t see anything wrong, from an owner’s perspective, with the idea of a new stadium every year.” Rod was being tongue-in-cheek, because of course no owner would have the chutzpah to get public subsidies and then come back one year later with their hand out for more, right? Right?
Representatives of the Cleveland Cavaliers have quietly inquired whether the Cuyahoga County government would provide public money – in addition to the sin tax dollars voters approved last year – to overhaul the publicly-owned Quicken Loans Arena, Northeast Ohio Media Group has learned.
There’s no price tag on the Cavs’ latest demands, and no timeline, but I think this still qualifies as the most shameless attempt at double-dipping since … well, at least since last year when New York Gov. (for now) Andrew Cuomo announced a task force on building a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills just four months after giving them state money to fix up the old one. Cavs CEO Len Komoroski issued a statement that carefully avoided saying anything about public money, but talked about how the Cavs’ arena helps “drive the vitality of our urban core” and how “any plan to enhance The Q would include great additional private investment.” When rich guys start saying, “Don’t worry, we’ll put in our own money, too,” it’s generally a good idea to put one hand on your wallet.