pessimism in the Pens' front office

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pessimism in the Pens' front office

Postby bill from turtle creek on Tue Jan 31, 2006 10:57 am

I spoke this morning with a person very much inside the Pens operations, whose opinion and credibility I trust very much. This person believes that the Pens are not at all optimistic about the arena situation currently. They feel that the political game being played by Forest City has been flawless thus far, and that most of the major players in this drama are taken care of by them. It certainly fits in with the little significant rhetoric we've heard from Onorato and OConnor on this; right now they are not going to speak against Forest City or Rendell. With Zappala's brother on board with Forest City, the district attorney's office is not going to look twice at anything that happens, either, no matter how obviously slimy this all looks.

It looks like the only way to derail this process is by extremely significant public pressure. This is not just going to work itself out in the end. We all really need to buckle down and try to ratchet up the pressure. I'm not convinced that we can change this process without significant media pressure.

I'm disgusted by all of this not only as a hockey fan, but also as a citizen. Hockey aside, the ability of our elected officials to pull off this kind of **** is an absolute slap in our collective faces, and it just goes to show how little respect they have for any of us. We have just let these people play us for fools for too long.

I know none of this is actually new information, but after hearing from this person today, the seriousness of it all really hit home.
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Re: pessimism in the Pens' front office

Postby Pitts on Tue Jan 31, 2006 11:05 am

bill from turtle creek wrote:I'm disgusted by all of this not only as a hockey fan, but also as a citizen. Hockey aside, the ability of our elected officials to pull off this kind of **** is an absolute slap in our collective faces, and it just goes to show how little respect they have for any of us. We have just let these people play us for fools for too long.


This is what yanks my chain. Everyone seems aware of this, but no one of consequence is calling these crooks out. They all look to get very, very rich off this slots deal at the cost of the Pens. That is especially obvious when they all of the sudden start calling for a plan B and are now willing to use taxpayer money. Which in itself will turn the general public agaist the Pens (it is working already).
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Re: pessimism in the Pens' front office

Postby Defence21 on Tue Jan 31, 2006 11:19 am

Pitts wrote:
bill from turtle creek wrote:I'm disgusted by all of this not only as a hockey fan, but also as a citizen. Hockey aside, the ability of our elected officials to pull off this kind of **** is an absolute slap in our collective faces, and it just goes to show how little respect they have for any of us. We have just let these people play us for fools for too long.


This is what yanks my chain. Everyone seems aware of this, but no one of consequence is calling these crooks out. They all look to get very, very rich off this slots deal at the cost of the Pens. That is especially obvious when they all of the sudden start calling for a plan B and are now willing to use taxpayer money. Which in itself will turn the general public agaist the Pens (it is working already).


The only issue is that the media cannot expose the government until they are 100% sure of a scandal. Who knows, maybe local journalists are trying to dig up stuff as we speak and just don't have enough proof to put it in the papers or on the television. There are serious ramifications for libel/slander, especially when messing with the government, so I am sure the journalists are being extremely careful here.

With that being said, they SHOULD be trying to expose the government. First of all, if this is true, it is corruption and people need to know. And secondly, many of the local journalists focus specifically on sports. Eliminate hockey, and there is one less topic to talk about...especially for someone like Madden.
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Postby Tocchet on Tue Jan 31, 2006 11:31 am

"With Zappala's brother on board with Forest City, the district attorney's office is not going to look twice at anything that happens, either, no matter how obviously slimy this all looks."

How does this all look slimy, crooked, criminal, et cetera?

Look, I want the Pens/IoC to get that slots license as much as anyone, but this is politics. The Pens rep that Bill talked to said as much, and pretty much acknowledged that Forrest City is kicking the Pens tail in that respect. The Forrest City plan is not so bad that people will be screaming about the situation, thus allowing politics to dictate where the license goes. This is what happens EVERYWHERE, whether that be local, state or national.

And, would all of you be crying if it was the Pens who had Rendell's ear and played the political game as well as Forrest City is? I already know that answer.
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Postby Pitts on Tue Jan 31, 2006 11:36 am

Tocchet wrote:And, would all of you be crying if it was the Pens who had Rendell's ear and played the political game as well as Forrest City is? I already know that answer.


Yes! :roll:
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Since it seems that the Pens' proposal is

Postby ville5 on Tue Jan 31, 2006 11:41 am

the most beneficial to the City, State and local economy, this needs to be brought to the forefront. What effect would it have if someone independent of the Pens, enlisted the services of 1 or more nationally recognized economists? Have in depth study of the effects of each proprosal on the economies of the area. And make these studies public. :?:
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Postby Draftnik on Tue Jan 31, 2006 11:45 am

Zappala and Allegheny County have nothing to do with this. If there is an investigation it would be done by the State Attorney General or maybe even the Feds if there is some type of racketeering involved.

Nobody wants the Pens to stay more than me, but a license to print $$$ being bought for a $170K bribe sounds too good to be true. Rendell would have to be an absolute moron loser to take such a pittance for something that will generate hundreds of millions of dollars in profits for the owner.

I think banging the drums of the fix being in is a good strategy for the Pens, but unless they can get Murphy or some other figure to go on the record it sounds like a bunch of whining.
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so what's a penguin fan to do

Postby penny lane on Tue Jan 31, 2006 11:56 am

what is a penguin fan to do if this slots license is the very last chance?

If forrest city suddenly decides to build a free all purpose building,
groovy.

It is all about keeping the penguins here & the chance for pittsburgh
to get a free building. Mellon Arena, laughing stock with visiting teams.
Like how people would talk about the boston garden.
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Postby bill from turtle creek on Tue Jan 31, 2006 12:07 pm

Tocchet wrote:"With Zappala's brother on board with Forest City, the district attorney's office is not going to look twice at anything that happens, either, no matter how obviously slimy this all looks."

How does this all look slimy, crooked, criminal, et cetera?


And, would all of you be crying if it was the Pens who had Rendell's ear and played the political game as well as Forrest City is? I already know that answer.



Get back to me on this when Rendell becomes a highly paid consultant who plays golf with these guys for a living, after he leaves office. See if you still think it's tolerable. The small contribution to the campaign fund is only the tip of the iceberg. The big payoff comes after the spotlight is off the elected official, when he is out of office. That is the way the game is played.

And to answer your question about the Pens: yeah, I'd still be indignant if they bought off public officials. I'm a (nearly) middle-aged adult, and I've been around long enough to have a very healthy skepticism of the political system, no matter which side of the aisle it comes from, either with local or state or national politics. I don't condone any group buying favors at what eventually will be a price that is paid by the public.
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Postby randy on Tue Jan 31, 2006 12:07 pm

Vote with your feet folks. In regards whats happening around here lately, its obvious that this place is nothing but a bunch of brain dead hillbilly yahoos.

There is only one thing to do, dust off the resume and make a contingency plan for getting out of this football hell hole. Ive already got an interview pending with a company in suburban toronto myself. If you have to escape the narrow minded nuts here, and the thieves who run this state, may as well get away from bush and cheney too.
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Its not just $170k, nor is the SS proposal the same.

Postby dboss on Tue Jan 31, 2006 12:14 pm

This isn't just $170k or w/e for Rendell, Onorato, O'Connor. Its also how much they are going to make when they become 'consultants' to the Forest City group once they are out of office. That is where the big payoff is for them. As for the SS proposal being the same, its not even close. Has anyone completed a traffic study of Station Square recently? That area is congested ALREADY, let alone adding a casino, etc. to the mix. There will be HUGE tax $$$ involved in order to even make this area semi-accessible for a slots casino to bring in the revenue they anticipate. There was a great letter to the editor in the PG yesterday, 1/30/06, asking this very question. Its obvious Pittsburgh is going to be screwed and Forest City will be the winners. All of us just need to remember this when it comes time to vote for either of the Three Musketeers.

http://www.pittsburghpostgazette.com/pg ... 646482.stm
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Postby DelPen on Tue Jan 31, 2006 12:14 pm

Unless the alternative plan Forest City and Harrah's submitted was horrible there will be no investigation. Is Harrah's and FC's plan bad per se? Not really. It's a nice slots parlor and will generate slots revenues just fine. But the community would be stupid not to fully back the Pens plan because it brings so much more to the city, county and state.
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Postby td_ice on Tue Jan 31, 2006 3:02 pm

DelPen wrote:Unless the alternative plan Forest City and Harrah's submitted was horrible there will be no investigation. Is Harrah's and FC's plan bad per se? Not really. It's a nice slots parlor and will generate slots revenues just fine. But the community would be stupid not to fully back the Pens plan because it brings so much more to the city, county and state.


The proposals are not even close.

Yeah, all the proposals are going to feature "nice" casinos. Whether you are going to spend 300 million or 500 million on one, it is going to be "nice". I think the varying degree between the two would be of so low a degree that it is not much of a factor. Surely not more of a factor than the locations of the two.

But yeah, it is obvious the fix is in.

Everytime you hear Onorato or O'Connor, or anyone say, that they hope "whoever" wins license **wink**wink**, should contribute to the arena fund, they are giving tacit admission that the IOC plan is better.

You don't hear anyone of them saying, "hey, look, whoever wins this thing should be giving in trust a million dollars to Franco Harris to dole out." Or "we must have anyone who wins this donate $25 million to the Historic Landmark society".

If the IOC plan is not the best, why are the chirping that the other plans shold match that?? If that is what they want, why not endorse. Well we all know why.

NO, they are saying, "clearly getting a free arena, is the best community giveback out there, it would be nice if the people that are going to win this would give some money to it." Then they can throw their hands up and say, hey we had no control over this.

Well if they don't have any control over this region, then we surely do not need them.

We have to make them aware that a concerted effort to vote against them will be in place if they fail us. That is the only thing that will get their attention, imo.
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Postby Draftnik on Tue Jan 31, 2006 3:15 pm

Rendell isn't some loser hick. The guy was in charge of the DNC. He raised hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars. He has personal connections that can line his pockets with $$$ until the end of time. He also has aspirations of other political offices such as the Presidency, US Senate when he is finished being governor.

I worked at a DC lobbying firm for a few years so I am well aware of how ex politicos and their staffers profit from their connections. Burkle is one of the biggest fish in the Democratic pond, much bigger than some real estate guy from Cleveland or a DA from Allegheny County that has no jurisdiction over a State license. It makes no sense to think Burkle could get pushed around by these political lightweights.

If the Pens have cards to play they need to put them on the table. Right now this sounds like part of their PR campaign to impune their opponents. Big on talk with zero corroboration. This is a high risk strategy if they don't end up producing corroborating evidence because they will impeach their own credibility in the process.
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Postby td_ice on Tue Jan 31, 2006 3:24 pm

Draftnik wrote:Rendell isn't some loser hick. The guy was in charge of the DNC. He raised hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars. He has personal connections that can line his pockets with $$$ until the end of time. He also has aspirations of other political offices such as the Presidency, US Senate when he is finished being governor.

I worked at a DC lobbying firm for a few years so I am well aware of how ex politicos and their staffers profit from their connections. Burkle is one of the biggest fish in the Democratic pond, much bigger than some real estate guy from Cleveland or a DA from Allegheny County that has no jurisdiction over a State license. It makes no sense to think Burkle could get pushed around by these political lightweights.

If the Pens have cards to play they need to put them on the table. Right now this sounds like part of their PR campaign to impune their opponents. Big on talk with zero corroboration. This is a high risk strategy if they don't end up producing corroborating evidence because they will impeach their own credibility in the process.


Not sure what you are saying in the last part. I don't hear anyone from the Pen's crying foul in regard to a fix.

The fix is in started with then Mayor Murphy claiming the slots license was fixed. I heard city councilmen say that the whole zoning jurisdiction for the projects were taking completely out their hands. Something they found extraordinary.

It is the fans, and some media (KDKA Andy Sheehan) that also touched on it.

I hear the Pen's lauding their plans, as it compares to the others.

You won't hear Mario saying that the thing is fixed. Even if he believes it. He is smarter than that. When asked if everything was fair, he said "I hope so." I hardly would call that impuning anyone. (Speculation third hand on a message board is certainly not Pen's strategy of impuning anyone.)

So I don't think they need corroborating evidence, because they are not claiming anything other than they have the best plan, and they are fighting for their survival.
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Postby Tocchet on Tue Jan 31, 2006 3:37 pm

"What effect would it have if someone independent of the Pens, enlisted the services of 1 or more nationally recognized economists? Have in depth study of the effects of each proprosal on the economies of the area. And make these studies public."

This is the best idea, and I certainly would hope that the Pens already have commissioned such a study by some economists at Pitt and Carnegie Mellon.

And if Rendell becomes a "consultant" to Forrest City afterwards, I'll buy Irons for all. Rendell will move back to Philly and either continue being a talk show host, join one of the big Philly law firms, run for Senate, or (least likely) retire. His wife is a Third Circuit federal court judge sitting on the Third Circuit, and with his connections here and his legal career, I'd expect him to cash in via a large law firm here in Center City.
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My question is...

Postby spi on Tue Jan 31, 2006 3:43 pm

Why cant the penguins also play this PR game perfectly.

We need the media guys in on this and I am hoping after the Super Bowl, guys like Stan will be asking the tough questions.

All of the ammo that is needed to put the politicians under the microscope was provided by the politicians themselves. Every letter I write from here on out will be quoting the idiots that I am addressing.

We also need to make sure that we go to the public hearing. Our rallying cry should focus on all of the positives of the IOC and not that we want to just keep the pens here.
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Postby Draftnik on Tue Jan 31, 2006 3:52 pm

I think Pens fans have to chill on this. There still is no timetable for awarding the licenses because the proposals have not been "deemed complete." We could be looking at Feb 07 based on the 1 year timetable. It is not logical for the Pens to unload their big ammo so far before the final gun.

The Pens actually have the guy with the deepest pockets of the competing groups and most ability to lean on Rendell in Burkle. Rendell obviously cozied up to him when he was raising money for the DNC, so lets hope Burke silently cashes in some big chips in the background as opposed to the Cleveland guys cashing in a $170K pittance.

$170K does not get you behind the roped off tables at this level.
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Pardon me for being stupid, but the name 'Burkle' isn't ...

Postby dboss on Tue Jan 31, 2006 4:00 pm

ringing any bells with me. Would you elaborate a little more please on who he is and how he is involved?
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Postby td_ice on Tue Jan 31, 2006 4:06 pm

Draftnik wrote:I think Pens fans have to chill on this. There still is no timetable for awarding the licenses because the proposals have not been "deemed complete." We could be looking at Feb 07 based on the 1 year timetable. It is not logical for the Pens to unload their big ammo so far before the final gun.

The Pens actually have the guy with the deepest pockets of the competing groups and most ability to lean on Rendell in Burkle. Rendell obviously cozied up to him when he was raising money for the DNC, so lets hope Burke silently cashes in some big chips in the background as opposed to the Cleveland guys cashing in a $170K pittance.

$170K does not get you behind the roped off tables at this level.


Just throwing this out there, because I have no idea. But perhaps Burkle. as an investor, actually wants a sale of the Pen's. Either wanting to get out, or believing a sale, if a big money out of towner comes along, will be better off for his investment.

I am just throwing this out there, because I know nothing about this guy. Other than he has big bucks, and is an investor. I don't know of any ties he has to this area or deep interest in the team staying here. He could simply be a guy that so an opportunity to buy low, and then get out when the time is right. If he deems a sale now to another city would be "the time is right", that is bad news for us.

As I mentioned, just throwing this out, because it is hard to believe that an investor in the team that has been this quiet and little mentioned as Burkle has, should now be looked upon in any fashion as a white knight.
Seems to be simply wishful thinking at this point.

Which I definitely hope is the case. That Burkle wants the team here, and will use whatever clout he has. But I just see no case for that right now, unless anyone has something to show his support.
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Postby Draftnik on Tue Jan 31, 2006 4:23 pm

Burkle's empire includes Golden State Foods (largest supplier to McDonald's), Food4Less/Kroger (largest grocery chain in the US). This guy is a multi-billionaire. Here is a snippet of the $$$ he gave the DNC and thus Rendell:

http://www.opensecrets.org/softmoney/softcomp2.asp?state=CA&txtName=Yucaipa+Companies&txtCycle=2000

I don't think he is a White Knight. He is the guy that pulled the plug on the sale to Boots. Burkle wants to make as much $$$ as possible off his $25M investment in the Pens. If the Pens get a brand new arena through IoC that would give the franchise it's highest valuation. I'm not going to debate that with anybody here because AEG will need to make profit off their $50M investment in KC, Houston already has the Rockets getting the biggest cut off Toyota center... I could go on and on, but the biggest price for the Pens will come if they get to run a brand new arena in Pittsburgh, control all concessions, parking, etc, and get revenue off 200+ dates of NHL and other NON HOCKEY events. There is no other city that could trump that and thus no other way Burkle would get more $$ for his stake than selling the Pens to remain in Pittsburgh and play in a new arena.
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Postby td_ice on Tue Jan 31, 2006 4:28 pm

Draftnik wrote:Burkle's empire includes Golden State Foods (largest supplier to McDonald's), Food4Less/Kroger (largest grocery chain in the US). This guy is a multi-billionaire. Here is a snippet of the $$$ he gave the DNC and thus Rendell:

http://www.opensecrets.org/softmoney/softcomp2.asp?state=CA&txtName=Yucaipa+Companies&txtCycle=2000

I don't think he is a White Knight. He is the guy that pulled the plug on the sale to Boots. Burkle wants to make as much $$$ as possible off his $25M investment in the Pens. If the Pens get a brand new arena through IoC that would give the franchise it's highest valuation. I'm not going to debate that with anybody here because AEG will need to make profit off their $50M investment in KC, Houston already has the Rockets getting the biggest cut off Toyota center... I could go on and on, but the biggest price for the Pens will come if they get to run a brand new arena in Pittsburgh, control all concessions, parking, etc, and get revenue off 200+ dates of NHL and other NON HOCKEY events. There is no other city that could trump that and thus no other way Burkle would get more $$ for his stake than selling the Pens to remain in Pittsburgh and play in a new arena.


I certainly hope that is the case, that Burkle sees the Pen's in Pittsburgh as the best option.

But the Pen's won't see revenue from non hockey events. The IOC proposal gives the arena over to the city, not the Penguins.
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Postby Draftnik on Tue Jan 31, 2006 4:36 pm

The IoC proposal gives the arena to the city/county stadium/arena authority. The Pens would run it. They will profit off all events.

The Pens were never going to own the arena under any of their proposals over the past few years.
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Postby td_ice on Tue Jan 31, 2006 4:44 pm

Draftnik wrote:The IoC proposal gives the arena to the city/county stadium/arena authority. The Pens would run it. They will profit off all events.

The Pens were never going to own the arena under any of their proposals over the past few years.


If that is the case, that is huge.

And certainly would be a plus in the Pen's value in terms of staying here. Glad to hear that.
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Postby RedLightDistrict on Tue Jan 31, 2006 6:44 pm

But is much of what's going on ILLEGAL? I doubt it.

People give money to politicians. Politicians do what's in the public's "best interest". Which is usually just in the best interest of their benefactors. It's the way the world works.

But proving that anything is ILLEGAL is very difficult. I mean who is to say in 2007 that the Forest City plan isn't the best long term? I mean the IoC/Pens deal looks the best to us by far. But can we PROVE that it will have a better long term impact on the area? Not really. We aren't fortune tellers.

All of politics is about buying influence. I mean why else would the legislature even command there can only be 13 slots parlors in the state? One reason: So their influence has to be bought.

If anyone could open a (regulated and monitored) slots parlor there would be no influence to be purchased. And individuals could to to the parlor they liked best. That's sort of like Vegas where you can go to one of many casinos. But here in PA where corruption is far worse than Vegas they say each city gets ONE slots parlor. So now every interested party in Pittsburgh has to suck up to and give to politicians. See that's why the politicians legislated just one parlor per PA area -- so they're influence would have to be bought.

I basically think there are two solutions:

1. Leave PA. I've lived in Maryland, Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania as an adult. PA is by far the most corrupt of the far.

2. Vote libertarian.

I do the latter all the time. I suspect #1 will happen since I have no familial ties to the city.
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