Update: Bombers vs Mayor pt 2

[url=http://www.winnipegsun.com/Sports/Columnists/Friesen_Paul/2007/03/09/3719638-sun.html]http://www.winnipegsun.com/Sports/Colum ... 8-sun.html[/url]

What has Mayor Sam Katz got against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers?

Conversations with the two sides over the last two days suggest these two remain on a collision course.

And while the Bombers appear ready to offer an olive branch, Katz, also owner of the Winnipeg Goldeyes, continues to play hardball.

In an interview with the Sun at city hall yesterday, Katz questioned the football team's finances, the validity of its Grey Cup profits and threatened to take action if a dispute over the club's governance isn't resolved by the end of the month.

Let's start with the months-old dispute over the existence of the government-appointed stakeholders steering committee, which was established in 2000 to oversee the team's restructuring.

The Bombers say the committee disbanded because its work was done. Katz says it still exists.

On Wednesday, Bombers board chairman Ken Hildahl told the Sun the dispute seemed "to have cooled a bit."

"We've got a great partner in the City of Winnipeg," Hildahl said. "And we want to work with them."

Yesterday, Katz was reading from an entirely different page.

"It's absolutely ongoing," the mayor said, adding his position remained "as strong as it ever was. I think it's very sad that some members of the Bombers board took the ridiculous steps they took."

The mayor said he wanted the issue resolved by the end of the month -- or else.

"If the Winnipeg Football Club doesn't do the right thing, then I'll have to do the right thing, and protect the citizen's assets," he said. "I would do everything in my power to force the Bombers to reinstate the stakeholders. That could be just about anything. Whatever's in my power."

Informed of Katz's deadline, Hildahl said it would be a challenge to meet.

"We've been up to our eyeballs in stadium issues," Hildahl said. "But it does need to be resolved."

The reason it needs to be resolved is the Bombers will need the city's help if they want to build a new stadium. They'll need the province, too, of course. But the provincial government isn't being confrontational, like Katz.

Take his comments on the team's Grey Cup profits.

"I believe they made $3.3 million on the Grey Cup?" Katz began. "Two and a half million of that were cheques written by the city and the province, the taxpayers. So that's a fairly significant (part) of the $3.3 million. Which for some unknown reason didn't appear to be mentioned anywhere."

The Bombers dispute Katz's numbers and interpretation.

Club president/CEO Lyle Bauer says the city's grant was for services like police and transit, not the "cheque" Katz referred to, while the provincial amount went directly into stadium upgrades.

It's all semantics, you could argue.

But why does Katz feel the need to keep piling on?

Then there's his assertion the Bombers still have far more debt than they're letting on.


Asked about the team's paying off an old city debt of $1.2 million, using the entertainment tax on tickets, Katz pulled out this stunner.

"The Winnipeg Football Club owes the CIBC $3.6 million, which is guaranteed by the City of Winnipeg," he said.

That debt didn't appear anywhere on the football club's statement the other day, because it belongs to Winnipeg Enterprises, which borrowed the money to improve the stadium as far back as the 1999 Pan Am Games.

It's also being paid back -- through Enterprises, which technically still exists -- using the entertainment tax.

"There is no debt like that for the Winnipeg Football Club," Bauer said.

But our mayor tossed it up, anyway, like a wobbly pass.

Quarterbacking like this, the Bombers don't need.

In the huddle or at city hall.

Lets not blame Katz here.
Katz has been pro Blue Bombers for a long time and has done more than ever asked for the blue.
This issue is not about the game or team, but about the accountability in the offices of the team.

is it just me, or does this seem like a conflict of interests?

that the mayor of winnipeg, and the guy giving the bombers such a hard time, is also the owner of thier main competitor for summertime sportsfans dollars???

the mayor owns a baseball team which plays in a new ballpark...if the bombers get a new stadium, then people will leave his ballpark to watch the bombers...so the mayor is throwing obsticales in the bombers way trying to slow them down.

why else would the mayor make lies like this:

Good detective work DG.......Sounds like a conflict of interest to me!

No way!
The Goldeyes do not compete with the Bombers in any way shape or form.
The Goldeyes are a minor team in a minor league and have never challenged the Blue for their fans.
Once again, this is not a issue about sports, but a issue within the offices of the Blue.
Katz has done more for the bombers than any other mayor of Winnipeg.
What did the last Mayor do for the Blue? Oh I know, he ignored the blue and build a arena for the moose smaller than the existing arena on a historic site.
Way to tear down a sturdy 100 year old heritage building to make room for a tiny little arena for a boring AHL league.
Even though their was plenty of empty space in downtown Winnipeg (next to the convention centre) he still tore down the Eatons building.
The last mayor also built a bridge to no where and support a hotel on parkland at the forks.
At no time did the last mayors jump on the blue bombers band wagon to come to their aid.
Katz has always been pro sports for Winnipeg. Katz is the reason why the Blue are out of dept. Katz is the reason why the Blues dept was forgiven and Katz is the reason why the land at the stadium is now the rights of the Bombers.
What more do you want Katz to do?

then whats katz going on about?

a board was formed to help get the bombers out of debt....they are out of debt and the board dissolved...

whats his problem?

...maybe Sam should have a meeting with Gary Doer, who is really a supporter of the BigBlue...and look at things in a more positive light...Katz needs to drop the negativity....granted he has his job to do with regards to the Citys role in the Bomber franchise...but i think he could take a more POSITIVE role...and help secure the future for this club... :slight_smile:

All I can add is - what the %@#*!!!

....too bad Earl, this stuff couldn't be hashed out behind closed doors and not in the media....especially after the Bombers had such a positive announcement about their money situation....nothing like throwing a bucket of ice-water on the whole thing Sammy....... :thdn: :roll:

....isn't this about time for Joan Collins to come into the picture, throw the end of her stole over her shoulder and look at Katz and Bauer and say, "you both seem to have forgotten my stake in all of this" (cue dramatic music and pan in on katz and bauer)....

Is that not the whole point? The mayor feels that all the facts around the debt situation has not been reported and that the team still owes money?

Now I have no idea who is correct in this but if I was a mayor and felt that a major community organization that the city has an important relationship with was providing incomplete information, I would say something about it.

Neither of us know if he has or has not talked to the Bomber board about his concern in private before the issue became public.

.........and then there's the current mayor who while in office fought to get condos built in Assinaboine park, on "parkland", who has also been outspoken about not wanting a new stadium built for the Bombers unless it was built downtown knowing full well that there is no room at all, who as was stated before owns the Goldeyes and though he wouldn't admit it does not want the competition of a newer stadium in the city than his little pride and joy.

It's really kinda funny actually, because I always thought that Katz was a friend of the Asper family and would offer support in any project that they are involved in(well he loves the human rights museum), (just bringing it up as an example, please no debate about the Asper private/community ownership thing) but I guess once it has the potential to hurt him and his intrests he gets on the offensive.

Katz has always been more of a businessman than a mayor and though I know people are gonna disagree with me, he looks more out for his intrests than what's good for the people and city of Winnipeg.

Cheers. :twisted:

Am I missing something here people or what? Both Ottawa and Winnipeg build nice new AAA baseball parks and don't put much into their football stadiums as the Blue Jay and Skydome and baseball craze of the early '90's was going to put the CFL out of business. Ok, it almost happened, granted. But really, time to move on cities about baseball, the Expos left and the Skydome or Rogers Centre looks more and more each year like a non-baseball park and sooner or later, the Blue Jays may go the way of the Expos if no new stadium is built in Toronto. Let's start concentrating on the great league we have in Canada, the CFL, and upgrade the stadiums or build new ones. At least in Hamilton we didn't build some new baseball stadium to get that AAA team that a) few people care about in Canada anyways and b) these games aren't on any TV network of any significance anyways.

Baseball is a dying spectator sport in Canada even if the Blue Jays draw well this year or next year. They are only one city in Canada and few people could give a rats ass about AAA, AA or whatever baseball in Canada to watch.

Again the mayor is probably letting the public know even with the surplus of money made from a GC this year this team still has debt. This debt will add up over the next few years. You can not have a GC game every year. So I think the Mayor is leaning on having this club privatized to protect debt to the taxpayer. Nothing more nothing less. You have a private owner in the wings that has bailed the club out what a couple of times. Now the guy would like to own the club which would relieve city tax payers from any future debt. And if you think there will be no debt in the future just look at their financial statment. The made 4 million on the GC boys. It would be different if they said hey we would have made 2 million with out the game but they do not seperate that now do they. The other concern is they are hiding the loan. One of many I am sure. Asper bailed the team out I guess he should just look away from that if ownership is not given to him. Wake up Bomber fans your mayor is right on this one. :lol:

The Bombers averaged pretty good attendance over the last few years I think and made some money from hosting the GC.

And they are still in debt? Why then is the friggin salary cap so high that it is so difficult to make money in the CFL? Maybe this league does need to expand to the US and get some better TV contracts if it is to stay alive as it is and attract some owners. I sure wouldn't put my money into a team in this league if it is that difficult to make a bit of money in this league, no way.

Well Earl you may be right. But to attract star players in the league you need to pay them. Unfortunately it is a tough balance to make a profit. The Eskimos are one such franchise that does not require private ownership. Why? Because they had a large stadium built for them to get larger crowds then that of the Bombers or the Riders. Plus they have the large fan support. Thus lots of fan money coming in, then there is the concession money, parking lot money, etc. They have the formula to make money. The Riders also have done not to bad considering their product on the field has not produced what the fans want they still seem to do well. But they too may find problems down the road. Winnipeg had a couple of lean years did they not. Also they just might not be getting revenues from all aspects of that team. Marketing is a key to success. Hey I know the bomber fans have supported their team that is not the question the question is where is all the money going and are they using their potential to increase their bottom line. This is where David Asper would be a great owner or even head an ownership group for this team. It would give the bombers a cushion for a couple of years to get inot great financial shape. Thats face it Asper has put money in arleady with little say on how this team can make money. The future would see the cap go up with todays finances of the Riders and Bombers how long before they are in trouble. The Bombers have a chance to increase the size of their stadium (see Eskimos) and possibly market their team that much better to put more butts into the stadium. :lol:

Good read!

...i don't know my son....this debt Katz is talking about was money spent on refurbishing Wpg. stadium quite awhile back for the PanAm Games...it was a debt which falls to Wpg. Enterprises....not the football team as i see it.....somewhere there's a difference in thinking here...from the Mayors point of view and that of Bauer and CO.... anyway Sammy and Bauer better get this mess straightened out....because if i was a senior govt. looking at this b.s.going on....would i want to come forth with a big wad of cash for the Aspers plan....c'mon guys... :thdn: :roll: :roll:

Sammy is just making it known that the City isnt gonna be the one left holding the bag for $3M loan at the CIBC if the team goes private. Butt coverage. The park his Goldeyes play ball in just happens to be Canwest. From a political point of view these are decisions that can be used to bring him down if he withholds any info.

I not know about you guys but if Asper was going to get this team would he not assume the debt. The problem maybe that Bauer does not want to be held to the loan so it might be more attractive to Asper. The city wants that loan attached so it is taken care of in the purchase right. I would hope the city and community are not going to ask Asper to purchase for profit here. That would be worng if he were to assume the debt load which would be that loan.
A win win situation would be Asper takes control of the team, assumes the loan. Now when the finances of the the stadium come forward they slide the loan into the financing of the stadium. Another 3 million in the building of the stadium is peanuts really.