I was very disappointed by today’s article, “Packard Contract Disputed,” beginning with the sub-head, “Mayoral candidates disagree on JAC,” which completely misses the point of the issue at hand.
Positioning this as a partisan dispute between the Mayor and me was a bit of misdirection that tainted the entire article. This is not a matter of my opinion versus the Mayor’s opinion. There is a contract in black and white that speaks for itself. By filtering the facts of the contract through statements of the parties to that contract, without fact checking, the Tribune made the entire issue look like a matter of opinion.
Most of the front page portion of the text, and much of the article, consists of quotes from JAC president Eric Ryan, defending his company’s selection as the managers of Packard Music Hall. I don’t know anyone who questions JAC’s qualifications; what is in question is the manner in which they were selected and the terms of the contract.
Who could blame JAC for accepting the terms they extracted in their no-competitition contract negotiations with Mayor Franklin and Safety Service Director Cantamalessa?
The facts are these: The city of Warren is paying a hand-picked, private company $1 million and giving it complete, rent-free control over Packard Music Hall for five years, plus the free use of the city’s liquor license. In return Warren gets 25 cents per ticket. Nothing else.
This is not mentioned until the 33rd paragraph of your 36-paragraph story. Even then the article suggests that the city receives a “percentage” of ticket and alcohol sales. We do not. We receive a flat 25 cents per ticket and nothing from alcohol sales; points that are clearly stated in the contract. We do get a cut of parking revenue, but parking is free at PMH.
The article’s use of quotation marks around statements made by me might lead readers to believe I was interviewed for the article. I was not; all the quotes were accurate, but were taken from posts I wrote on Warren Expressed two weeks ago.
I would have loved to have had the opportunity to respond to some of the administration’s comments, in particular, Mr. Cantalamessa’s statement that they have kept the former PHM employees on the city payroll, “in case this does not work out.”
If true, this is an outrageous example of waste and stupidity by the administration. Imagine if when GM dropped Pontiac from their model line up, they had kept a few thousand employees on the payroll in case eliminating the brand “didn’t work out.”
Imagine what GM shareholders would have had to say about that? The word “adios” comes to mind.
It’s been two weeks since my original commentary appeared online. Two weeks that the administration had to get their story together. Two weeks that the Tribune could have used to look at the JAC contract with the Covelli Center to see how it compares with the PMH deal. How is it that the Covelli Center manages to make meaningful revenue on liquor and ticket sales while we have no hope of either in our deal?
Finally, I am very disappointed that the Tribune allowed two highly bombastic and self-serving quotes from the Mayor and Mr. Ryan to run in the article without challenge or comment. Mr. Franklin claims not to have been obligated to seek bids on the contract, and Mr. Ryan claims JAC is the only company in the state of Ohio qualified the run the hall. The latter statement is ridiculous on its face and the former has been challenged by several local lawyers.
I urge every voter and taxpayer in Warren to read the PMH contract for themselves and see if they feel that Mayor Franklin and DPSS Cantamalessa negotiated a deal in their best interest. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will reply with a copy. I have also attached a copy to this message in case the Tribune would like to post a copy on the contract JAC_Agreement on its web site.
Publisher, Warren Expressed and Independent candidate for Mayor of WarrenComments Off