Flying blind

With the mayor and city manager leading the charge, the city council moves full speed on an arena deal that doesn't even exist yet

"Do you have any projections as to what the net income the team would be deriving from this agreement on an annual basis?" Stimson asked.

The response from Cohen's boss at Deloitte & Touche that day, with Ware looking on, was: "No; we weren't asked to calculate that."

But they had calculated it anyway--and they faxed that information to the city on September 19 at 1:48 p.m. It just never made its way to the city council. After all, why show the new, city-owned arena netting $86 million a year in income when the deal you just cut with the teams gives them all those revenues? Why not present figures--however unrealistic--showing that net income to be a much more palatable $15.4 million?

By the way, thanks to the ever-helpful, refreshingly honest Cohen, I can report to you that the net income to the teams will be even more than the $86 million a year estimated by Deloitte & Touche.

"For some reason, we left out [gross] parking revenues," Cohen told me, studying the figures on his computer screen. "That's an additional $5.3 million a year."

Which, at this point in the open-ended arena negotiations, is starting to look like chump change to the taxpayers.

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