IS IT TRUE MAY 16, 2017


IS IT TRUE that the City County Observer has spent considerable time and effort over the last several months in trying to get someone to provide us and the taxpayers of Evansville with the answer to two questions about the operation of Ford Center?…both questions have easy short answers and thus far we have met nothing but resistance to releasing these simple answers?…resistance takes many forms but the most common ones in this case are ignoring the questions and the second is to attempt to marginalize the questions by providing long and complicated statements that dance around the answers?…those days have come to an end as the CCO has it on good authority that Scott Schoenike of VenuWorks has provided the answers to pastor and monthly newspaper publisher Steve Ary that we have been seeking?

IS IT TRUE we are puzzled why the above information wasn’t provided to pastor Ary, City County Observer  and the general public by Council President Missy Mosby (D), Finance Chairman Dan McGinn (R), Mayor Lloyd Winnecke (R), City Controller Russ Lloyd Jr or DMD Director Kelly Course long ago?  …could it be that this is a political hot potato that they all want to run and hide from? …we are pleased to tell you they won’t be able to hide from this budgetary bombshell?  …we also predict that the Thunderbolt/Venueworks and the City of Evansville backroom Thunderbolts hockey acquisition and Ford Center utilities deals will cause some Council members major re-election problems?

IS IT TRUE that the first question we sought the answer to was, “how much are the utility bills for Ford Center and who is responsible for paying them”?…The answer to the question is that the taxpayers of Evansville are contractually obligated to pay all the Ford Center utility bills?  …the tab for the utility bills is well over $600,000 per year?  …let that sink in folks, you are paying the utility bills for the Ford Center which is a defacto handout for any activity that is not paying market rate to use the facility?…the market rate rent per hockey event was determined back in 2011 at $11,000 per home game for the Evansville Icemen?…with the establishment of the Evansville Thunderbolts at a paltry $1,000 per home game rental fee the utility bills associated with hockey are now considered a hockey subsidy?

IS IT TRUE that the other simple question was, “do the taxpayers of Evansville cover the losses for the Evansville Thunderbolts hockey team”?...the answer to this simple question is YES?…remember you heard it first from the CCO that the taxpayers of Evansville are totally responsible for the losses associated with having this hockey team? …we would like to know how much money did the Thunderbolts loss during the 2016-2017 hockey season? …we are told by reliable sources that this figure could between $500,000 to $700,000 dollars? …if you are outraged to learn this,  you need to let your council members know how you think about this?

IS IT TRUE several of the current council members were serving on City Council when the utilities deal was made but some weren’t?…individuals not on Council when the Ford Center utilities contract were approved are Council members: Justin Elpers (R),  Jim Brinkmeyer (D), Anna Hargis-CPA (R) and Michelle Mercer (R)?…we encourage these newcomers to use their skills to unwind these insane agreements and make this work for the benefit of people of Evansville?…it is about time that Councilwoman Hargis used the CPA degree that she boasted so much about during her campaign?…Councilman Elpers just needs to keep up his persistence to find answers?…we are sure he is being subjected to all sorts of pressure to look the other way and let the good old boys keep their insane ways of doing business stay intact?…we encourage Councilman Elpers to stay strong and do the right thing even if no one else including CPA Anna Hargis does?

IS IT TRUE it is time this City Council realized that there are 120,000 people in this town and a little more than a 1,000 of them are willing to pay $10 to see a taxpayers subsidized hockey game?…when one looks at it from this perspective, subsidized hockey is nothing more than penalizing the 119,000 citizens to entertain around a 1,000 or more hockey fans?

IS IT TRUE that we would like to thank Scott Schoenike of VenuWorks for publicly announcing what we consider to be a couple of financially irresponsible deals that the City of Evansville made with his company?…the CCO will be publishing an editorial with supporting documents toward the end of the week?  … stay turned because we can guarantee it shall be a good read?

IS IT TRUE we wonder if our friends with the local main stream media will inform their readers and viewers that the taxpayers of Evansville are responsible for all theThunderbolts financial losses for the 2016-2017 hockey season?…we also wonder if they will report that the Evansville taxpayers are paying all the utilities bills at the Ford Center?  …we predict they won’t touch this story because they will consider this to be “FAKE NEWS”!

FOOTNOTE: todays “READERS POLL” question is :Do you feel that the majority of our elected officials knowingly withheld information about who is paying the utilities bills at the Ford Center?


  1. So the Ford Center lost $ 590,000 in 2016 (that is the amount the City Controller admitted to).

    With this new revelation that the Utility bill is $ 600,000 per year, does that mean that if you also count the Utilities, the facility lost $ 1.2 Million in 2016?

    I.e., they have the accounting rigged up to NOT charge the Utilities to the Ford Center’s Income Statement ?

  2. Go to Rural King, purchase their stock of chickens, and change the Fraud Center into a chicken coup. There are some faces needed egg. Only problem will be keeping the foxes out of the hen house

    • They built it, it’s theirs. They come and go at will, through secret subterranean routes. Tough to keep them out. Our job on the team is to pay for it. There was something palpably unholy about the roll out of the contrivance the Thunderbolts. They couldn’t fall apart because they never were together. Just a transparently phony attempt to prop up the Jiffy Pop Fraud.

      • And anyone who believes it took them less than two months to put together the Blunderbolts fiasco, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

        The IceMen negotiations were doomed from the start. The mayor was going to reward his campaign contributor (Hall), one way or another.

  3. The City spends hundreds of thousands of dollars to subsidize hockey that few attend at the Ford Center. The City wont repair and reopen Mesker Amphitheater which thousands would enjoy. Genius.

    • Yes. Roberts was however paid for and running at positive cash flow. The problem with the utilities is not so much that the city is paying them, it is that a financial performance statement was made to the city council that excluded the utilities from the expenses.

      The transparency around the cost to operate the Ford Center is lacking and this is a part of it. Taxpayers deserve to know the truth and the truth is that the profit or loss includes utilities and debt service. Both have been omitted in public disclosures regarding the performance. If a corporate CEO intentionally withheld operational expenses from the P/L of a public company, that CEO would be prosecuted for fraud. Taxpayer funded assets should be subject to the same disclosure rules.

    • Probably not. Ad up hockey (40,000), UE basketball (100,000), the circus, a dozen concerts, and a few other boutique type of shows and I don’t see any path to 600,000 bodies through the turnstiles. 350,000 is more realistic.

      Back in the first few years when hockey and UE were both drawing 5,000 fans, 600,000 would still have been a stretch but possible. Now,if all of those big acts that we were promised came to town monthly 600,000 would be a minimum.

      • Even one big act a month x 11,000 attendance = 132,000. Add the multi-performance Shrine Circus, a couple of monster truck shows, a “wrasslin” show” or two, UE Men’s basketball, the Thunderdolt home games, an NCAA Div. II b’ball tournament, a holy roller convention, and you’d still be lucky to make 350,000 – 400,000 yearly attendance.

  4. Once the CCO published the Vectren bills for the Ford Center, I expect they will have been more than enough to have many times repaired and reopened Mesker Amphitheater. The heating and cooling costs to operate Mesker Amphitheater are zero compared to the Ford Center. Mesker Amphitheater before Carousels and Penguins.

    • This city was given a great gift by the Mesker Family. It was much appreciated at the time, but Evansville has quite a track record of not taking care of its facilities, whether gifted or paid for by the tax payers. In the Amphitheater’s case, the Mesker family even left a trust fund for its future success that was also misused by the city of Evansville.


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