Hey, remember George Jackson, the city of Detroit development chief who really hated Tiger Stadium and anyone who loved it and who helped push through the Red Wings‘ new arena plans? What’s he doing these days, anyway?
Jackson went on to start his own real estate consulting firm, Ventra Group. In November, Ventra started work under a contract with the Ilitch family’s arena development company. That same month, Jackson hired a former top lieutenant at the DEGC, Brian Holdwick, who also was on the lead negotiating team for the city on the arena deal.
For some critics, the contract and players involved give the appearance of a conflict of interest.
Gee, no, ya think? Pushing for $284.5 million in public subsidies for a new hockey arena, quitting your public-sector job, then going to work for the hockey arena and being paid out of that same $284.5 million … I can’t see why anyone would think that would appear to be a conflict of interest. Or why Jackson would need to write a typically cranky and defensive press statement about the whole matter:
“I left public service well over a year before my firm accepted a private client,” he said in the written statement. “Why should I be denied the opportunity to earn a living in my hometown, when I have skills, experience and knowledge that can be put to good use — and will create jobs and opportunities for other Detroiters?”
I don’t know, maybe because this is exactly why “revolving door” laws exist, so as to insure that government officials are doing what’s best for the public, and not what’s best for their next client? But, hey, “jobs and opportunities,” so let’s not think about that too hard.