Entries Tagged 'Event Center' ↓

Rapid City, be careful what you wish for

Rapid City just approved spending $130 million on a new Events Center. While I don’t live in RC, I can’t speak for what the people there want, but if they truly want it, who am I to tell them no. But as a person who went through this very dubious process in our city, a few words of advice;

Go with the flat siding, no matter what the architect and engineer may say. Trust me on this one.

Consider NOT using a CMAR (Construction Manager at Risk) I would keep the process as open as possible.

Use a local contractor that you can trust.

Make sure you have plenty of parking.

Make sure profits go towards paying down the bonds and not into some mysterious slush fund.

Avoid sponsorships from mega hospital complexes and credit card companies.

Make sure you build it big enough.

Make sure your fire department has a fire truck that can reach the top.

And lastly, when the mayor or the city council tells you to ‘just trust them’ do the opposite and question their intentions.

Not sure why RC residents want to double their per capita debt (or more) but have it, just remember, there will be less headaches if you keep the process open and transparent.

Who signed off on the Events Center Siding?

I know what you are thinking. Haven’t we been down this road already Detroit? Yes. But while we have our suspicions as to who probably signed off on it, we have never had confirmation.

If I was a betting man, it was probably signed off by the head guru, Mayor Huether. That large of a change order would have had his approval in some form or another.

But did he actually sign off on a document or directed one of his minions to do it verbally?

I don’t know. But I have to wonder if it will appear before the runoff election.

While council candidate Brekke was digging through city documents there was no inkling if she came across such a document, doubt she was even looking for it. But I also think her access and finding the confidentiality order has led OTHERS to start digging around.

I know that some in the media and even within city government have gotten rather curious after Brekke’s press conference and I wouldn’t doubt some other documents will appear, soon. Will the change order suddenly rear it’s ugly head?

Even if we do find the smoking gun, I’m sure none of us will be all that surprised that it was the butler in the billiard room using the candlestick.

Dykhouse brags about taking down the naysayers

I guess after 4 years, the gloating continues;

Campaign donations from local business leaders, luck disguised as misfortune, excellent timing and smart advertising — those were the keys to winning public approval for a new arena in Sioux Falls, according to Dana Dykhouse, one of the facility’s boosters.

Dykhouse said those efforts were necessary to overcome a contingent of 6,000 to 7,000 people in Sioux Falls who, in his words, “will vote ‘no’ on everything.”

“We kind of knew that this was our one shot,” Dykhouse said, “and that if we got all the positive people out to vote and could overwhelm them, we could do it.”

And there is a lot of irony in the things Dana is saying. He is right, they had to get a high voter turnout to win this thing. People who have never voted before or who rarely vote in municipal elections.

Ironically, many of those first time voters who cast their vote in the EC election HAVE NEVER VOTED AGAIN in a city election. That’s right, a shiny new dented up building was and has been more important to them than actually electing people who represent us on local issues, like taxes and fees, infrastructure repair, clean water and public safety.

Oh, and the other irony in all this;

Dykhouse said he was part of four task forces and many fits and starts leading up to the 2011 election in which Sioux Falls residents voted 58-42 percent to approve the construction of a $115 million arena.

Voters never really ‘approved’ anything. It was a vote of the city council that authorized the bond sale for the Denty. If it would have been an actual bond vote, it would have had to pass by over 60% of the public vote. That was the ‘trick’ played by Dana and his little promotion group. It was an advisory vote that had no legal standing, that is why the council had to approve the bond sale.

Oh, but what about all the success?

Dykhouse said the arena was immediately successful and sold out 23 shows in its first year.

While that is true. Most of the money pulled in from those shows went straight to the artists and promoters, out of town. The Denty has acted as an entertainment revenue vacuum. It also doesn’t pay for itself, not by a long shot. After operating expenses, maintenance, and the mortgage, taxpayers lose between $6-7 million a year, that comes straight from our roads fund. I guess I would measure success with a building that at least would break even while generating tax revenue. And we don’t even want to go into the problems with the siding and secret settlement that we will be paying for dearly for decades.

My ONLY advice to Rapid City is when you vote on this, make sure it will be 1) equitable to your city 2) be a legal bond vote and 3) Find a different contractor than the one we used.

Why has the entertainment tax collection been dropping since The Denty opened?

Well, I don’t know the answer to that question. BUT, I have speculated quite often on this. I have often argued that the Denty has actually been a financial drain on our city, and not just in a mortgage payment.

So why is it with so many people coming to Sioux Falls for sold out shows at the Denty the entertainment tax has been dropping?

My theory is that more and more people are dropping their entertainment dollars on tickets at the Denty, those dollars go directly to the artists and promoters and directly out of town. In other words, they are not spending that money on authentic local entertainment. Not only has it caused collections to go down, it is NOT getting recirculated in the community.

While it is nice we can see world class acts in Sioux Falls now, it has acted like a vacuum taking money out of the coffers of local entertainment.

Ironically the Mayor had a press conference today peddling more lies about how ‘profitable’ the Denty has been. He said that after operational costs, it made $2.1 million PROFIT last year. Ironically they never discuss the $10 million mortgage we pay out of our 2nd penny road tax. They also don’t mention that the city only holds the account on this FAUX profit that SMG controls. In other words, the city coffers (us) never sees the $2.1 million left over after operational expenses. The only money we take in at the end of the day is the $1.9 million in sales taxes it generated last year, which still leaves us far in the hole after paying the mortgage.

He also thanks the voters for passing the Denty with a FAKE, non-legally binding advisory vote. If the voters would have had a LEGAL bond vote on the EC, it would have never passed.

The Denty (Huether’s Admin) still refuses to tell us the value of ticket sales

While this is great news, there seems to be something missing here;

The Premier Center was ranked 44th in the United States and 84th in the world by Pollstar, based on touring event ticket sales of 239,089, according to a release from the Premier Center.

A couple of big things are missing; 1) is the above ticket sales number just tickets sold by touring acts, not total tickets sold at the Denty? 2) What was the value of those ticket sales?

If you were to do just a rough estimate on sales from the number above, promoters and artists pulled in around $17 million last year from the Denty. This number of course doesn’t include food and beverage sales and other events. Total sales at the Denty in 2017 could have easily been over $30 million. But how much is the Denty itself profiting? Not much. Most of that $30 million gets sucked right out of town.

Like the admission as to who authorized the bent up siding job on the Denty, for some reason the Huether administration wants to keep us in the dark about the sales at the Denty and what the Denty actually gets to keep or spend on operations.

So we have a publicly funded facility that takes $10 million a year out of our 2nd penny road fund to pay the mortgage but for some strange reason we can’t tell the public the sales it generates. Instead they send out vague press releases bragging about attendance.

We could of had 10 million people attend concerts last year at the Denty, if majority of those sales are not re-circulating in our community, does it even matter?

We have known for a long time what is wrong with the EC siding, we just want to know who authorized it!

A letter writer points out the obvious problems with the Denty siding;

Would the mayor and his crew accept that kind of work in their own homes?

Apparently they would, because we speculate that is who authorized the installation. All the arguments over the appearance, structural integrity and silly settlement are secondary arguments to who authorized it.

During the mayor’s last ‘Shut Up and Listen’ episode the mayor said leaders should learn from their mistakes. You can’t learn from your mistakes unless you admit to them first. The mayor continues to deny a mistake was made by putting the flat panels on a curved building. It is obvious from the settlement details and the consultant’s siding review a mistake was made. In fact it is glaring. So why won’t the mayor just say he issued the code red? He continues to ask people to drop the subject, but until he ultimately takes responsibility, apologizes and than learns from that mistake by offering a long term solution it’s hard to drop it.

Please Mike, give us the documentation that shows you authorized the cost cutting installation, otherwise you can continue to hear about this topic until the election and beyond.

They’ll just find another loophole

No matter how many laws Pierre wants to pass, municipalities like Sioux Falls will just find ways around them;

Senate Bill 84 would bar state and local governments from negotiating confidential settlements in lawsuits. Settlement agreements involving government entities would be public records, including the amount of money paid in the settlement and the parties involved.

The citizens of Sioux Falls were fortunate enough to have a multi-million dollar corporation willing to take the city to the Supreme Court, but in most cases, with individual citizens, that would be rare. We would ultimately be victims of the corrupt and closed government of the city administration.

It doesn’t help that the former head city attorney, David Fiddle-Faddle has his College BFF, Attorney General Jackboots, in his back pocket to kill DCI investigations (before even interviewing witnesses) or to refuse to investigate at all.

The city attorney’s office has always had it’s own set of rules it goes by, way before Fiddle-Faddle took over, and be damned if some dirt fool citizen with no lawyering deegrie and no money hires an attorney (if they can find one to represent them in Sioux Falls).

Pierre can goof around passing all kinds of laws about confidential settlements, doesn’t matter, the Mike Huethers, Marty Jackboots and David Fiddle-Faddles of the world will find ways around the laws.

BREAKING: Tooth Fairy authorized Flat Siding installation on Events Center

Okay, it was a little hard getting a hold of the Tooth Fairy, with her busy schedule and all, but she was able to have a short interview with me about her roll in ‘Siding Gate’ and who actually authorized the flat panel installation.

ME: Sorry to interrupt your busy schedule  . . .

TF: No problem Detroit, I needed a break anyway. I’m in the middle of editing the Book of Mormon right now, and it’s a stickler.

ME: So tell me how you got involved with authorizing the flat siding on the EC.

TF: See, whenever Mayor Huether needs someone to sign off on something controversial he has a group of us in rotation to pick from, and it was my turn, unfortunately.

ME: A group of you?

TF: Yeah, it’s Me, Santa Clause, The Easter Bunny, Mickey Mouse and of course Mark Cotter.

ME: That explains why Mark signed off on the TIF Mayor Huether’s wife got for an apartment project she invested in.

TF: Exactly!

ME: Why did the Mayor consider the flat panels controversial?

TF: You are kidding me? Right?

ME: Uh, No.

TF: See, he had his panties in a bunch about getting the Premier Center done on time and under budget because SMG had this ‘grand’ idea to book acts before they even had the toilets installed, so to cut corners they decided to ditch pre-curved panels for flat ones, saving the city oodles of time and money. You know, it’s all about the present with Mike, that whole doing important things with the day God gave you.

ME: Didn’t he know this would bite him in the butt eventually?

TF: Of course he did, that’s why he had city attorney Fiddle-Faddle draw up a secret settlement and me sign off on the panels. All in a day’s work, I guess, until the SD Supreme Court had to meddle with it.

ME: Well, thanks for clearing that up. BTW, is there any other projects he had you sign off on we should know about?

TF: Not that I can think of. Santa handled the Administration Building and I think the Easter Bunny was involved with the DT Parking Ramp.

ME: What about the Quit Claim Deed on Spellerberg Park?

TF: Uh . . . gotta go . . . the Mormons are calling.

This is satire. The Tooth Fairy does not exist and is a fictional character. Unfortunately the flat panels do exist and look like crap.

Events Center Siding Consultant confirmed it; Flat siding on curved building = BAD

There were two revealing moments yesterday during the Sioux Falls city council informational meeting when council was questioning the siding review consultant.

Councilor Neitzert started asking some pretty (basic) questions and got some very frank answers. What I noticed was when the consultant answered two of these questions, he wasn’t nervous, but VERY confident in his response.

So what were they?

Neitzert asked if the siding was applied to the building according to specifications?

Consultant, “The siding was not installed according to specifications.”

(We have to remember that while MJ Dalsin was the contractor on the siding, they used a subcontractor that Mortenson recommended for the curved portion of the building, and were NOT the direct contractor installing the siding. That contractor is responsible for the buckling siding on the Pinnacle in Lincoln and the botched dome job on the Corn Palace they had to redo).

Neitzert then asked about the photos of the siding being installed, and asked the consultant if he thought it was visible the buckling was occurring during installation.

The consultant confirmed that it was apparent the siding was buckling during installation.

So where does this leave us? Right at the beginning; WHO AUTHORIZED THE FLAT PANELS?!

While councilor Stehly wants to hire outside legal counsel for an opinion about the legality of looking at the draft reports I think the council needs to pressure the mayor publicly for the documentation that has the signoff for the installation.

Let’s be realistic here, it was either the mayor or someone directly below him that authorized the installation, the public isn’t stupid. So please Mike, stop being a chickensh*t and fess up already – you ordered the Code Red.

Mayor Huether refuses to take responsibility for flat panels on Events Center

It’s not a lie if you don’t answer the question

When I addressed the Sioux Falls city council last night about the EC siding report, I asked who authorized putting the flat panels instead of curved panels on the EC.

At the press conference, Argus Leader reporter, Joe Sneve asked the same question of the mayor. Mayor Huether said it has already been addressed several years ago, yet still would not answer the question. Not sure ‘what’ was addressed?

The authorization would have had to be signed off by somebody, most likely the mayor or Public Works director Mark Cotter or one of the city project managers involved with the EC. Even if it wasn’t the mayor, it would have been under his directive. As I said last night, the panels didn’t just magically appear on the building.

It is pretty clear from reading the report that oil-canning of flat panels on a curved surface is causing thermal buckling due to heat which will cost the city a lot of money in maintenance replacing panels and rivets.

I also asked why the weather barrier part of study was taken out of the report and why the council can’t see the draft of a report they commissioned and taxpayers paid for.

I guess we will find out more on January 16th, hopefully.