Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert took another step closer to getting $70 million in arena renovation subsidies on Tuesday when a majority of the Cuyahoga County Council voted to move the funding bill out of committee. A full council vote is expected on March 28, and unless somebody unexpectedly gets cold feet, the $140 million bond issue — half of which will be repaid by Cavs rent payments, the other half by ticket taxes and hotel taxes that currently go to city and county coffers — should pass easily.
Let’s check out what some county council members had to say!
“I do not think the deal is perfect but I do think the Quicken Loans Arena is by far the most important of Cuyahoga County’s entertainment and sports facilities. It is a vital and essential part of our economy.” —Dan Miller
“This is our facility and we will take care of it.” —Michael Gallagher
“This deal is not either/or or now or never but how and when.” —Shontel Brown
Well, at least nobody cited any dumb reasons like fear that the Cavs would move without a new glass wall or that arenas create scads of jobs or anyth—
“There is a threat the Cavs might leave and it is my job to have some stability. We own this building and we need to make sure our asset is maximized.” —Sunny Simon
“We need to maintain an economic driver that will not only keep my residents employed.” —Anthony Hairston
The Greater Cleveland Congregations group, which has opposed the deal and called for Gilbert to at least put money into a community development fund in exchange, was roundly ignored by the county council. The big wild card now is the Cleveland city council, which also has to sign off on the deal, and hasn’t even scheduled hearings — as Cavaliers CEO Len Komoroski noted, the team wants to start construction this summer to be ready for hosting an All-Star Game in 2020 (other cities like Houston and Orlando are bidding for it as well, but you’ve got to be prepared, right?), so they’re going to be pushing hard for an early decision. Here’s hoping the city council at least comes up with some better cliches before casting their votes.