Mayor Jackson’s secret ass-kicking of Joe Banner and the Cleveland Browns

by Cleveland Frowns on November 22, 2013

On Tuesday the Browns and the City of Cleveland announced a tentative deal by which Cleveland taxpayers will be on the hook for $30 million over the next fifteen years to go toward the recently announced $120 million upgrade to the Browns’ newly renamed FirstEnergy Stadium. This is on top of another $12 million that will come from an existing sin tax fund for other capital improvements to the Stadium in 2016, and comes less than a year off the heels of the franchise’s private sale of the Stadium’s naming rights by which it pocketed $100 million.

And still, as ever, nobody has been able to explain why it’s necessary for Cleveland’s taxpayers to foot such a bill or any bill for Jimmy Haslam’s billion dollar private business.

Instead, Mayor Frank Jackson calls it, “$2 million a year that is not needed to provide the level of service that we are providing today.” Nevermind the idea that the government of a city with a 50% child poverty rate might be able to provide a higher “level of service” than it already is. The implication here is that it can’t, and that things would only get worse if these public funds weren’t committed to the Browns.

a really good ass kicking

This is the sort of deal that naturally gets announced right after a mayoral election and naturally some folks are skeptical, including members of Cleveland City Council, which will vote on the deal on Monday. Kevin Kleps of Crain’s Cleveland Business reports that:

[A]t least one [councilperson] is already opposing it.

“I think it’s a problem; I’m not supporting it,” said Councilman Jeff Johnson after the press conference. “It’s unrealistic for the mayor to say you can take $2 million from the general fund every year for 15 years and not have an impact” on the level of city services.

Councilman Brian Cummins also questions the decision to financially support the Browns while the city has not restored significant cuts in spending on neighborhood parks and recreation.

“The Browns and the NFL talk about enhancing the fan experience,” he said. “I’m concerned about funding the neighborhood experience.”

To rebut such concerns, the Browns and city officials have explained that the city’s lease with the Browns requires it to fund such improvements, and that the deal actually represents a break for the city on those obligations. According to the Plain Dealer’s Mark Naymik, Brown President Joe Banner characterized the deal as “a modest investment by the city based on its lease obligations.”

“The deal announced Tuesday avoids a drawn out and potentially costly legal battle over the stadium lease, which spells out repairs and improvements that must be made by the city and the team,” Naymik explains. “But the lease language leaves room for debate over some improvements. Banner said the city would owe the team millions more if it were held to the lease and deal shows the team’s good will. The city believes the deal is fair and reflects its lease obligations.”

And that’s it. The Browns get to say it’s a good deal, the city gets to say it’s a good deal, and nobody else ever gets to begin to understand why.

Nobody makes the City or the Browns even begin to explain what would happen if Cleveland just told the franchise that it had bigger problems to worry about than financing Jimmy Haslam’s billion dollar business, no matter what it says in the lease. Nobody asks if or how Haslam, legitimately one of the richest and most powerful people in the country, would possibly get away with actually suing Cleveland (and by extension, its taxpayers) if the city didn’t hold to the terms of the lease (which itself was negotiated to terms that were extremely favorable to the Browns, with Fred Nance leading the negotiations on behalf of the city (the same Fred Nance who shortly went on to become the Browns’ top lawyer and a short-list candidate to be NFL commissioner (imagine that))). Nobody considers what a public relations nightmare it would be for Haslam, the Browns, and the NFL if the franchise tried to collect on a judgment against the city, or otherwise even begin to threaten that it would move again if it wasn’t able to squeeze the taxpayers for this and whatever other cash.

And perhaps most incredibly, Haslam, Banner and the Browns get to avoid all of these questions without ever having to publish their financial statements, or giving the public the first clue about what kind of private profit the Browns and the NFL take in thanks in part to these subsidies.

Instead, Joe Banner just gets to answer a question about “how he would characterize Jackson as a negotiator” by saying that: “he kicked our ass.”

Laugh.

So look forward to City Council’s rubber stamp on Monday, despite the noble efforts of Jeff Johnson, Brian Cummins and friends. And look forward to more of the same soon because, according to Naymik, “Banner and Jackson said they would support a campaign to extend the sin tax, which expires in 2015 and is solely dedicated to [funneling money from taxpayers to the] FirstEnergy Stadium’s capital fund.” Naymik reports that “[Mayor] Jackson said a new sin tax would help reduce the city’s liability.”

Which means that you don’t have to worry about “the city’s” “liability” to finance the NFL’s business, because that’ll be taken care of by “the people” who’ll be forced by “the city” to pay the new tax. Socialize the costs, privatize the profits. This is how Ass-Kicking Mayor Math works.

Alright, everybody, it’s Steelers week. Time to get pumped.

UPDATE: According to the following from Councilman Cummins, who posted on the issue at the Civic Commons, the $30 million is in addition to what the city would already owe under the lease:

The confusion in some media reports and on-line blogs and comments sections is that the $2 million annual payments for 15-years ($30 million), would off-set future payments of capital repairs as detailed in the remaining payments listed above in what is called the Lease Agreement’s Schedule 14(f).  This is not correct.  The proposed contribution from the City of $30 million is in addition to the current $39,450,000 Capital Repairs that we are obligated to pay.  This will bring our total obligations to $82,500,000.  And, people seem to forget or not mention in these reports that the City still owes some $134 million in principal and interest on t he initial $202 million in municipal bonds that were issued to pay for the $330 million stadium.

  • Chris Kramer

    In an interview on 90.3, the Mayor admitted that money from the general fund will be used to cover stadium improvements. He went on to say that it will, in fact, mean the City can hire one fewer policeman or firefighter or fix one fewer pothole. With the number of blighted homes in the city, aging public infrastructure and poverty, it’s appalling that he admits that this agreement directly impacts the City’s ability to address those problems.

    • p_forever

      i know – that one fewer policeman comment infuriated me too.

      • bupalos

        Especially since if you do the numbers it’s more like 15 fewer teachers and 10 fewer policemen and 95 more potholes.

  • mo_by_dick

    TRIPLE CLOSED PAREN THO #chops

  • bupalos

    This post (with the exception of the characteristically dyspeptic last line and pic) is dead on. And before any yeah-sayers jump in here to support the ‘it’s a good deal line,” here’s what makes this even worse;

    It IS a “good deal.” I was surprised by the numbers. Within the confines of the NFL hostage economy, it’s a great deal. Let that sink in. Channeling just 42 million dollars from some of the poorest people in the country to one of the richest people in the country has been about the best outcome we’ve seen within this hostage economy. It’s the same kind of ass-kicking that Ariel Castro got when he got out-negotiated and agreed to put 8 more links in those girl’s chains so they could reach the bucket easier.

    I have absolutely no idea why a dozen cities don’t band together for a zero-subsidy stance with the ammo that if any team threatens moving they go en-mass after the antitrust exemption.

    • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

      I have absolutely no idea why a dozen cities don’t band together for a zero-subsidy stance with the ammo that if any team threatens moving they go en-mass after the antitrust exemption.

      Answers to this question strongly suggest that my “dyspepsia” is more legitimate than you’re giving credit for.

      • bupalos

        I get that. As established innumerable times previous, we have different approaches re: babies, bathwater and the conflation of Cleveland sports with the parasitic class currently profiting therefrom. The distaste is obviously a credit to your taste, but cultivating sports apathy doesn’t look like a solution to me.

        • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

          You might feel a bit differently if you spent as much time in the Justice Center as I do. Hopefully when City Council is done rubber stamping this Stadium proposal, they’ll get to my petition to rename the Justice Center “Black People In Elevators.”

          • bupalos

            Couldn’t not like this. But Gary Indiana’s justice center elevators probably look exactly the same.

          • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

            Right. Gary’s and those dozen cities you want to band with for our new league.

          • bupalos

            Well right. I mean, I’m not thinking professional football would meaningfully change this state of affairs however it was run, just looking to turn it from a definite net financial loser to something closer to neutral. And I do think that if it wasn’t such a financial loser, the moderate positive effects of civic sports can help with the deeper issues of division. A little.

    • p_forever

      wrt your “i have absolutely no idea why” question – remember all politricks is local. and no matter how bad they are, this town loves the browns. i don’t know the numbers, but a suspect a majority of clevelanders really are willing to foot the bill.

      i super get that responsible mayors sometimes have to make non-popular decisions. and i wish they would do that in this instance. but electability is of course one of the answers to “why.”

      but at a minimum, the mayors that choose not to make these hard decisions should be more honest about the consequences of them not being made. that is what was so infuriating about the “it’s just one fewer policeman, no big deal” mayor jackson comment. maybe the public wouldn’t be so blindly pro-giving money to private owners if mayors bothered to do be transparent about exactly what the city is signing up for.

      • bupalos

        Framed the right way, this town loving the browns, and other towns loving their teams, does not mitigate against, but actually IS, the reason for such a coalition. It has to be framed this way: as long as we allow this hostage economy to operate, we may lose our team at some point. If we band together and end the hostage economy, we can never lose our team.

        This really would happen if more cities felt threatened at the same time, or simply were made to recognize that even if they aren’t threatened now, they will be. What the NFL has been fairly expert at is balancing the threat such only a small handful of cities are being threatened at any one time, and they calibrate the demands so they are politically feasible. If all these civic money stadium deals would come ripe at the same time, I think what I am suggesting would happen organically. I wouldn’t be surprised if the NFL coordinate these deals to make sure they follow a production schedule that doesn’t provoke the collective response I’m pointing towards.

        • p_forever

          i wouldn’t be surprised either (re the NFL coordinating the deals). but even if the NFL didn’t do that, and the deals came ripe at the same time, i wish i were as optimistic as you regarding the cities “organically” banding together. banding together against the hostage economy is just way too debsian. i super wish i were wrong, but i don’t think i am.

          • bupalos

            Well see there’s a reason my logo is a Browns helmet with a dumb smiley face in it. But if it could happen politically anywhere in the US, I think it would be within city mayoralty, which would probably be the most progressive political coalition you could put together.

        • Everyone else

          Are nfl teams allowed to ban together to make deals with their cities for a “going rate”? Not a lawyer but I am guessing the answer has something to do with the word “trust” mixed in.
          Curious about your idea….because it is solution oriented, does anyone know of a another example to look at where this kind of coalition exists? Maybe in utilities or some other industry? Fire trucks…or something else? Problem of course is that their is a short list of cities that i am guessing would pony up for an nfl team….

          • bupalos

            Antitrust against cities agreeing amongst themselves not to pay public tax dollar ransom? I’m pretty much 100 billion percent sure there could be no such thing. When the Browns left it sounds like there was some action in this direction. The problem is the NFL seems to calibrate just how much it can extract versus the backlash in a very professional way. The amount of money owners would throw at the judicial system would not be a joke either.

            Getting cities together and convincing them it’s worth the fight would be the tough part. Long-term common good just never seems to win over short term private gain.

          • NeedsFoodBadly

            “The amount of money owners would throw at the judicial system would not be a joke either.”

            I mean, this is really it, isn’t it? The NFL/NFL owners have the budget to hire unlimited numbers of legal minds to defend their scheme, while private citizens or city governments have nowhere near as many resources at hand. How could any legal challenge succeed?

      • Jeff

        Local to where? Would the residents of the City of Cleveland prefer to spend 2 million a year on a bigger scoreboard, or is that just people that drive through the city 8 times a year to get to the game? I don’t think Akron or Olmstead Falls or Shaker Heights are being asked to contribute from their general funds. See posts about Dan Gilbert and the Red Wings.

        • p_forever

          i completely agree about the gross-ness of the sin tax. but mayor jackson is nothing if not an absolutely pragmatic political boss. old-school style. he knows his electorate. he knows what things get him votes, and what things would cost him votes (and i would be he knows this precinct by precinct. when i think of jackson i always think of the book “the last hurrah.” that is the type of politics that jackson practices). i am 100% positive that he knows (as in he has the numbers to prove) that standing up to the browns falls into the “this loses me more votes than i can stand to lose” category.

        • Everyone else

          Great point…should every community that has a tangible benefit also kick in something? I think Akron is not a good example because of its geographic location, but every community that touches Cleveland should drop something…even if it just a pittance into the cleveland general fund. They all benefit in a tangible and direct way because their community prospers because of their proximity to and nfl, mlb, nba town. If you want to live in a municipality right next to cleveland and you hate sports…that’s your problem, but the amenities in cleveland allow for your community to have tangible benefit….stores, dining, gas stations, bars, identity…. What would a couple bucks per family do for helping this cause? Frankly, I believe this and not. For the browns but I general. I live in wadsworth but I would have no problem dropping some money into the general fund of Akron. Wadsworth is a coup,e towns removed from Akron but benefits from a strong healthy Akron.

          • bupalos

            Look up regionalism.

            Then look up racism.

  • Ombudsman

    “Nobody makes the City or the Browns even begin to explain what would happen if Cleveland just told the franchise that it had bigger problems to worry about than financing Jimmy Haslam’s billion dollar business, no matter what it says in the lease.”

    Frowns – are you implying the City should break the lease to prove a point? Or is .37% of the city’s general fund so imperative to protect that it’s worth a protracted public legal battle?

    Curious.

    • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

      I suppose I shouldn’t expect better questions from someone who’d unironically use the handle “ombudsman” to make anonymous internet comments at otherwise legitimate internet fora, but the answer is that no protracted legal battle would be necessary. If Truckstop Jimmy wants to get a judgment against the City, let him do it, and let him try to collect. It would be wonderful to see what America would think about him and the NFL if he tried to do that. Perhaps less wonderful, admittedly, for those who lack imagination with respect to what else “.37% of the city’s general fund” might otherwise be used for.

    • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

      Wait is this Joe Lull? If this is Lull then “ombudsman” is OK.

      • jamick6000

        a strawman, pointless contrarianism AND a defense of a Cleveland sports team owner? it’s gotta be joe lull

      • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

        It was Lull, thankfully. Did anyone happen to catch our bit on 92.3 this morning?

        • acto

          Is there a podcast for those of us from “parts unknown”, as they say in Big Time Wrestling vernacular?

          • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

            No pod, unfortunately.

    • BigDigg

      While freely admitting that I’ve spent less time reading through the details of the city’s lease vs. this column, I don’t get how a new jumbotron fits into a contractually obligated repairs and improvements clause. Surely there a distinction between needed structural repairs and unnecessary and self serving nice to haves. Call this a little first world austerity but I think most browns fans would be able to manage.

  • Chris Mc

    The best part about all of this is the part where Haslam collects the money for naming rights to a stadium that he doesn’t own, then promptly turns around and collects money for upgrades because “the Browns don’t own the stadium”.

    Socialize the cost, privatize the profit. What a world.

    • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

      This post was missing that line. Fixed. Thank you, Sir.

  • GRRustlers

    We can also file all of this nonsense under “Why LA will never get an NFL team”

    Have to save that nice little market for extortion. It’s even easier if it involves a team that already left once.

    Now I am going to spend the rest of the day trying to figure out why First Energy is not paying for the scoreboards and how a public utility would even be allowed to “name” a stadium.

  • Steve White

    “Socialize the costs, privatize the profits.”

    Certainly works that way in Chicago: ask the Bears and White Sox, and now the Cubs who are getting the “Chicago Sports Stadium Authority” to buy Wrigley Field. It’s a national treasure ya know. Only the Bulls/Blackhawks make any pretense of paying their way; they built the current United Center with only “modest infrastructure improvements” from the city.

    Certainly works that way in most of the country, in every major sports league (that includes the SEC, the Big Ten and just about every Division I and II university, in case you were wondering how those stadiums and arenas were financed). Socializing the costs has been the standard way to get Uncle Sugar at every government level to pay up — do so or watch your team move to another city. It works particularly well for professional baseball and football.

    There isn’t a politician in this country with sufficient spine to tell the NFL to get stuffed. Don’t look for miracles in Cleveland.

    • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

      This website is about nothing if it’s not about looking for miracles in Cleveland.

  • Warburton MacKinnon

    Something else that seems to get lost in the upgrade fiasco,is the loss of seating involved. I think it was mentioned here a while back and on either WFNY, or Reboot. The team does this high tech huge scoreboard and in the process will lose quite a few seats(don’t know the actual number as I have heard several defferent ones), and of course these seats will be the cheap ones,which of course since there are now less seats they can raise the prices on those that remain.

  • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

    UPDATE: According to the following from Councilman Cummins, who posted on the issue at the Civic Commons, the $30 million is in addition to what the city would already owe under the lease:

    “The confusion in some media reports and on-line blogs and comments sections is that the $2 million annual payments for 15-years ($30 million), would off-set future payments of capital repairs as detailed in the remaining payments listed above in what is called the Lease Agreement’s Schedule 14(f). This is not correct.The proposed contribution from the City of $30 million is in addition to the current $39,450,000 Capital Repairs that we are obligated to pay. This will bring our total obligations to $82,500,000. And, people seem to forget or not mention in these reports that the City still owes some $134 million in principal and interest on t he initial $202 million in municipal bonds that were issued to pay for the $330 million stadium.”

    • George

      Pete,

      In order to judge fairness you must compare apples to apples, meaning how does this deal compare to the obligations of other franchise owning cities. I have not heard or read anything to indicate the deal is relatively unfair. Also, I mean this deal not the 1998 lease which is a valid contract, good or bad that the. city is obligated to perform. If Cleveland wants a pro football, basketball, baseball team it needs to pay what other cities pay. If Cleveland does not want a team then let the browns go and save some money for “teachers and policeman”. I am not apologizing for Haslam, I am just saying unless this deal is oppressive relative to other cities, how can you oppose it.

      As a solution to revenue issue why not impose a county sales tax increase? Cuyahoga county is already highest but The city needs more revenue and that would make the greater clevleand area pay?

      • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

        “If Cleveland wants a pro football, basketball, baseball team it needs to pay what other cities pay.”

        I don’t think it works this way anymore, George. It’s becoming increasingly clear that these are bad deals for all cities, not just Cleveland. Here, the City of Cleveland is in a unique position — having been victimized in the Modell fiasco — to show leadership on this issue by putting its foot down. They will not get away with threatening to move the Browns again without having to make the case that the public subsidies are necessary (a case that I’m sure they will not be able to credibly make). Once one city puts its foot down and forces the NFL to really justify these deals, I’m sure you will see the others fall in line, as there’s a rising tide of public opinion against these deals (Patrick Hruby lays out the facts excellently here: http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/40595178/ ). Where else is the NFL going to go, anyway? How many times can it get away with playing musical chairs like this? LA somehow seems to be doing just fine without the league. And things are working out great for the NFL in Jacksonville, right? Maybe Oklahoma City? I hear Topeka is lovely.

        • bupalos

          That’s where the scam falls apart, if cities could just find the nerve. The NFL has to be where the NFL is popular. The Browns continuing to lose for 7 more years would be more of a threat to pro football here than would the city telling Haslem he won’t be getting welfare. Haslem will want to cut a deal with Topeka that gets him several hundred million stadium dollars, but the other owners aren’t going to let NE Ohio’s market go down the drain. There is a limit to how far they can push the scam, though I admit they seem to know exactly where that line is.

        • alexb

          this is why their trying to idiotically expand into europe.

    • bupalos

      Holy cripes. Holy fucking cripes. You can’t be serious. This is IN ADDITION to the lease obligation???!!

      I went back and looked at media around the time the browns left, and there were plenty of stories about the potential of a coalition of cities along the lines of what I suggested. Why wouldn’t there be? Its as clear as day that the nfl backed off the extortion in the interim because they know all their leverage can be gone almost with the flip of a switch. There is no political or legal reason why this shouldn’t happen. Which means there is a darker reason. Its about the clearest evidence of political corruption you could have.

      I guarantee there are a hundred million secret NFL dollars in city mayor personal bank accounts. And that’s why there are 2 billion open and honest civic dollars in the personal bank accounts of guys like haslem.

      Also the refs missed as bad a roughing the passer headshot as we’ve seen all year and blew the game up. Seems to be the theme for the day. The obvious goes unremarked in these costermonger times.

      Don’t pay it Cleveland. Say no.

      • acto

        Bupa, It can work! If they will just put another one of those civically and socially uplifting casinos in the new stadium addition everyone wins, the fans will get rich, the Browns will feed off of the vibrant energy of the casino people and they will be unbeatable. And all of the revenue generated by everything, the casino, the Browns, the concessions, the revitalized downtown environment, will make taxes unnecessary.

        • bupalos

          This makes sense, but you forgot the cost-plus rebate program Acto!! These rebates will create eleventy billion jobs and a free flow of clean burning natural gas!!

          • actovegin1armstrong

            I was going to mention that too, but I could not count to eleventy billion. It is all about the rebates!

  • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

    Here’s the PD’s lukewarm endorsement of the deal. Typical Pee Dee. http://www.cleveland.com/opinion/index.ssf/2013/11/browns_stadium_deal_with_cleve.html#incart_river

  • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

    This game today is perfectly befitting of the bullshit served up by Banner and Mayor Jackson earlier in the week. Woof.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1kbBmlAvdI PML

      Disengaging from Browns’ season in 5,4,3…

      • bupalos

        Come on PML. If we can go 3-1 in non-Jaguars games, and everything else plays out to current power ranking, we’re in and headed to a wildcard matchup with Indy.

        • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1kbBmlAvdI PML

          And what about our performance in the last 2 weeks would give you an indication that scenario is even a remote possibility? Weeden being the starter again? These clowns needed to do one thing and one thing only, and that was beat the great Satan and they get owned yet again. Sorry, someone took a dump in my mueslix and I ate all of it.

          • bupalos

            Yeah, I should realize that there is no way to tell that last post from my usual optimistic claptrap. I’m as sour as you today. A team that is scanning practice squads for it’s next Ken Dorsey isn’t going anywhere.

            More’s the pity, because this would be the easiest wildcard year of the last decade.

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1kbBmlAvdI PML

            Yup – and we sucked out loud

        • alexb

          omg Indy will kill us.

          Prediction: Luck will throw for a 500 yds. Whoever our qb is, will get sacked near 12 times (the record held by the Giants). And Trent Richardson will still run for 2.6 yds a carry. Under no circumstances do I want this team to ass end into the playoffs cause the other AFC North teams fell off. I do not want that national humiliation. I just don’t. All I want right now is a high draft pick. I’m done with this season. The defense is on AP for the rest of the season cause why push it and get dinged when this isn’t going anywhere?

          • alexb

            7 picks in the first 4 rounds next year with 30m cap room. That’s all I give a fuck about now.

          • Steve White

            I haven’t seen anything so far to convince me that the new regime is better at the draft than the last five old regimes.

  • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

    http://www.fieldofschemes.com/

    “Field of Schemes is a play-by-play account of how the drive for
    new sports stadiums and arenas drains $2 billion a year from public
    treasuries for the sake of private profit. While the millionaires who
    own sports franchises have seen the value of their assets soar under
    this scheme, taxpayers, urban residents, and sports fans have all come
    out losers, forced to pay both higher taxes and higher ticket prices for
    seats that, thanks to the layers of luxury seating that typify new
    stadiums, usually offer a worse view of the action.”

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    Browns still have the most cap space in the NFL. $26M today.

    This should and all future salary cap ‘underages’ should be garnished by the City.

    • bupalos

      Commie looter!

  • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

    Banner at today’s presser:

    “I can’t speak for 15 years from now but we value the fact that the franchise is here and the passion of the fans. … We agreed to be married for 30 years and we both have an out clause. Hopefully, we’ll be married a lot longer.”

    • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

      … Banner on whether he is willing to disclose Browns’ income taxes: “No.”

      Banner on whether he is willing to disclose the franchise’s P&L statements: “No.”

      • NeedsFoodBadly

        And I’m guessing none of the journalists present asked “Why not?”

        Can anyone explain in simple terms how the NFL is a non-profit, but teams which are part of the NFL aren’t subject to financial transparency? Are teams treated as separate financial entities? What sense does that make?

        • bupalos

          It’s easy for the umbrella organization for an industry group of for-profits to be non-profit. The American Society for Metals is one that comes to mind, since I have a job for translation for them right now. They publish and gather and fund research within the industry, it’s kind of an open space where these otherwise competitive companies can cooperate as they see fit.

          The NFL is obviously a kind of bastardization of this idea, but that’s the idea.

    • bupalos

      That’s pretty brazen.

  • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

    $270m for the construction of a city-financed downtown hotel that will be run by a private operator? http://www.clevelandleader.com/node/21823

  • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

    And squish goes the rubber stamp, despite the below: http://www.cleveland.com/cityhall/index.ssf/2013/11/cleveland_city_council_approve_5.html#incart_m-rpt-2

    “Many of my citizens can’t paint their houses and live week to week trying to provide for their families, and here we are being asked to support the Cleveland Browns above and beyond the terms of the lease,” Polensek said. “Just once I’d like to see the Browns say ‘We understand the economic reality that the men and women of this city have to contend with everyday.’”

    Councilman Brian Cummins challenged the administration’s classification of the ordinance as an “emergency,” and he pointed out that the Browns did not submit its request in writing as required.

    “I find it disturbing that we’re being asked to approve this in less than a week without any documentation of the negotiation that took place,” Cummins said. “It’s a disservice to the process to think we can assess this deal with no evidence of the negotiation points.”

    [Mayor Jackson's chief of staff Ken] Silliman said the entire negotiation was verbal, and there is no paper trail indicating the team’s original request.

    • actovegin1armstrong

      A verbal negotiation means a written negotiation. Please ask for the transcript, or suggest that they return to third grade English Class.
      If they meant an oral negotiation they should elucidate as such.
      #butcherthekingsenglish

  • Beeej

    I check every week thinking maybe there will be a game day thread. Did you guys join some sort of secret club and I didn’t make the cut?

    • Steve White

      Either that or the law biz is really hopping…

      • Beeej

        A goofy picture of the Browns, and “Here is your open thread for the game,” just took me 10 seconds, Frownie can’t be that busy.

        • etc

          But he probably is too busy to moderate that thread. He runs a tight ship, remember?

          • Steve White

            Well here goes: the choice, and remember, death is not an option –

            a) a concussed Weeden starts at NE

            b) a concussed Campbell starts at NE

            c) a non-concussed Tanney starts

            d) Browns sign Tebow and start him

          • Chris Mc

            I’ll take option C. Then if we can get Gordon to change the name on the back of his jersey to “Ford”, he’ll end up with 300+ yards receiving.

          • bupalos

            I’d like to see Taney. He looked OK in the Cowboys last preseason game. I mean, they sacked him every time he dropped back, but it really wasn’t his fault. His tosses really do look sharp in game action. If he grew an NFL brain (impossible to predict) he’d be a serious prospect.

          • beeej

            Put Taney in a shotgun formation. Tell him he has 2.3 seconds to throw it to an exact spot on the field w/out staring at the spot the whole time. Let the receivers do the rest. Browns win out the season.

        • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

          But this was an open thread for the game. It was wide open. You posted and everything. Anyway, there will be a new post up tomorrow.

          • beeej

            Technically yes, it was an open thread. I just think a devoted game day thread would benefit Frownie nation.

          • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

            All open threads are devoted to every game day. If I start doing new threads for each game day the more important headlines get buried.

          • beeej

            Lawyering logic aside, I could understand if you were posting 4-5 times a week, but with recent output, burying a headline would take a while. Am I cruising for a Biki ban?

          • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

            YES.

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