Entries Tagged 'Event Center' ↓

Events Center siding fiasco almost a year in mediation

The mediation is almost at it’s year anniversary in which the city has 12 months to figure out a solution with Mortensen on how to fix the siding.

All we have heard so far is crickets.

Over the month of July expect several posts as we plan to dig deeper into the actual problems associated with leaving the siding as is and just who is going to take it in the shorts if it gets repaired.

What kind of training is ‘Ovations’ temporary help getting?

After reading the Stormland TV story about the supposed patron of the Events Center that got drugged by a temp employee bartender, Detroit Lewis started asking a few questions, but not about the incident itself.

I have been wondering where ‘Ovations’ (the contractor the city uses for the Events Center that is also used at the Pentagon and Canaries Stadium for concessions) get’s their temp help AND what kind of training they receive, and if there is any liability of the city (the taxpayers) if one of these temps screw up.

So a couple of weeks ago I got tipped off of the temp agency being used by a very disgruntled temp. While I am NOT going to say who the temp agency is, let’s just say it wouldn’t be the first place you would think of when you are looking for people to prepare food and bartend. Let me be clear though, this agency places a lot of people for day labor on construction sites, etc., and that is wonderful. But when I found out they were being used for food service and hospitality, I got a little nervous, especially for someone who has worked in the industry on and off for 26 years.

My first issue was food safety and ADA training. According to the Ovations contract with the city training is provided;


Is everyone getting proper training? I hope city officials look into very closely.

The Washington Pavilion, with all it’s faults, I will admit when I worked there in the Great Hall, all of us had to go through CPR & ADA training, amongst other programs. Even the Part-Time, Part-timers had to go through it, as well as the volunteers. It wasn’t an option. I also never recall temps working there part-time (except for maybe show load ins for the stage shows).

One of the things we were promised at the Events Center was jobs. Not just construction and full-time jobs, but good part-time jobs. Now we are finding out instead of Ovations hiring permanent part-time help they seem to be just filling the cracks with temp workers anytime there is a big event (and hiding the tip jars).

To say I am surprised, well not really. But I am disappointed that yet again, we are receiving another broken promise about the Events Center due to the greed of a few.

Why is Ovations sub-contracting food & beverage workers at the Events Center?

The criminal part of this story aside, what I am concerned about is that Ovations is sub-contracting out bartending services;

Ovations Food Services General Manager Chad Stoner sent KELOLAND News a statement about the investigation. Ovations is the food and beverage vendor for the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center. Stoner writes the company is working with, “authorities as they investigate allegations” He adds the alleged suspect “was not an employee of Ovations,” but hired by a third-party vendor to work that particular concert.


1) What if someone gets ill or dies from the drugging that took place, who gets sued? The sub-contractor? Ovations? The city of Sioux Falls?

2) Are these 3rd party hospitality workers getting proper training on health, age verification, ADA compliance, etc.?

3) If the Events Center was supposed to create so many ‘permanent’ jobs (either part-time OR full-time) why are we sub-contracting work out to temps?

We should be very concerned we are opening the city up for civil lawsuits because Ovations is trying to operate the EC on the cheap.

As I have said 100 times, the EC was built to make a lot of people money, just not the citizens of SF, who get to foot the mortgage every year.

Should the city of Mitchell should be concerned?

It seems the city of Mitchell used a familiar contractor we all nicknamed here in Sioux Falls as ‘The Oil-Canner';

The Corn Palace renovation, which was expected to be completed in early April, still must finalize several aspects. Ellwein said the floor should be completed in June, the sign by July and the mural that will be seen upon entering the building will be finished in the next two weeks.

The Corn Palace domes have not yet been deemed suitable to stand up to South Dakota’s harsh winds and heavy snowfalls. MG McGrath, a Minnesota-based contractor hired to build and install the domes, was asked by the city to re-evaluate the domes’ sustainability against typical Mitchell weather. This request was made after wind led to visible shaking of some parts of the domes.

“We don’t want those domes to be installed until we have verification from both their engineering firm and ours that they’re going to do what they say they’re going to do,” Ellwein said.

Good old MG McGrath, you know the contractor that ‘oil canned’ the siding job on our events center with visible holes and ripples (they did the same thing to the Pinnacle in Lincoln, NE). Then they went and blamed a contractor that didn’t even do the work.

A word of advice to the City of Mitchell, you should be a little concerned.

You’re kidding? Right? Events Center engineering wins an award?

With a pending lawsuit and a lien against the city for the botched siding job, cracked terrazzo floors and their ADA compliance into question they win an engineering award? WTF?

The South Dakota Engineering Society recently awarded the events center project its 2014 Outstanding Engineering Achievement Award, acknowledging the accomplishments of the engineering profession in South Dakota. The South Dakota Engineering Society each year recognizes engineering achievements that capture the innovative and dynamic spirit of a profession “dedicated to public service,” according to a news release.

The award nominees are judged on application of engineering principles, originality and innovation, complexity, social significance and economic impact.

Economic impact!? You mean the $10 million dollar mortgage we are stuck with from the CIP every year while SMG and other contractors cash in? This award must be some kind of sick joke.

UPDATE: Is the Elton John concert trumping Roosevelt’s Homecoming?

UPDATE: I just heard that SMG did NOT ask the School District to move the game. SMG felt that the District decided on their own to move the game. Not sure if an official from the city pressured them or not?

I got an anonymous tip today that the City is asking the School District to re-schedule the football game (Roosevelt’s Homecoming) scheduled at Howard Wood on October 2nd.

The reason the City is making this request is that the existing parking at the Events Center/Howard Wood may not support both the Elton John concert and Roosevelt’s Homecoming football game.

I guess we will see if the School District caves on the request . . .

According to their calendar, the change has not been made yet.


Should we have a Events Center Construction Audit?

After many EC contractors I have spoken with told me about some of the stupid change orders, I think an audit would be wise.

And BTW, thanks Rex! We’ve been sitting here taking in your church dirt example of construction billing fraud. Interesting parallels to Kermit’s construction cost and labor questions at the Denny.

With an over budget indoor pool being built in the same billing method as the Denny, we need to really work the audit process. How many hidden dirt piles are we paying for? How may phantom employees did we pay?

If the siding came in under budget and we have thousands of gallons of water ready to flow through the walls, who audits the construction process? Every contractor willing to talk off the record (you know they won’t go on the record and survive in this town) says the siding was installed incorrectly. How do we get it audited?

Has Mortenson been paid everything? What’s the story on MJ Dalsin?

BTW, if any of our workers, builders and suppliers want to continue helping us with this construction audit, drop us a line. You will not be the only source for the answers to the questions we have. For those who have helped so, thank you. We are not done looking for the answers to the $117,000,000.00 questions.

So thanks again Rex for helping with the right answers to Kermit’s audit requests. We hope your church was able to settle the dirt.


Ah, Crybaby Mike couldn’t resist to call out his ‘Naysayers’ the other day at the Events Center financial report. But ironically, as I said before the election, the math didn’t ‘add up’. There is no way possible that revenue from the EC or tax revenue could ever make the almost $10 million a year mortgage payment. Even if you added up the yearly $2.2 million net revenue with the projected $40 million dollar economic impact ($1.6 million in sales tax revenue) you get $3.8 million net, minus the $10 million dollar payment, and you come up with a $6.2 million dollar deficit.

Hardly a money maker.

While I smack around the Pavilion on regular basis, I will give them credit, they have said all along the price of culture and quality of life is to be in the hole all the time, and they have kept their promise, they have been a bloodsucker since day one, but have never lied about running in the red.

So why not just tell us up front, the EC will never make enough money to be self sufficient.

Oh, because that would be ‘negative’ just like their checking account.

Here’s some fun links from the past (Pre-Events Center Election)




As you can see, no new information here. What we said before the election is still true today.

Why only thank FOUR councilors?

YouTube Preview Image

Notice that he thanks only FOUR councilors for support of the Events Center, I am assuming he is talking about the FOUR that voted for the Arena location.

UPDATED: Click on the below image to enlarge and read the bottom caption.


UPDATE: I’m crying to Mike about the Events Center profits, but not for the same reasons you are


UPDATE: WOW, that was fast! City News video already up.

Another Academy award winning performance by MMM, crying about the profits of the Events Center and chastising the naysayer’s (who actually use math instead of emotions to point out the FACTS). But let’s look at those FACTUAL(?) numbers.

Interesting again the way Tracy Turbak plays with numbers?

6 Month Statistics

$1.1 million net operating income $962,383.40 sales tax payable 408,807 attendance (October 3, 2014-April 2, 2015- not including Grand Opening events) 94 event dates (includes multiple events in one day) 11 sold-out events 8 total pop/rock concerts 5 total country concerts 32 basketball games

Let’s forget about the events. What is important is the actual numbers of revenue including sponsorships.

Does the city collect sales tax on the sponsorship rights including the ‘non-profit’ Sanford Hospital system naming rights?

Does the city collect revenue on the rental of the events center itself?

Backing into the total taxable revenue of the Events Center shows about $16,000,000. Using a minimum tax rate for Sioux Falls business of 6% (I know some revenue was at 7% for entertainment / food but let’s be conservative) we find the SD Sales Tax revenue is close to the $962,383.40 reported.

Now look at the SD Sales Tax in terms of attendees.

Let’s say we break down tax collected per reported person. If we have $962,383.40 Sales Tax payable and we have 408,807 people showing up to an event, the city collected only $2.35 per person. So we built an events center where the city claims each person spent approximately $39.18 to attend the complex. $39.18 for tickets and concessions?

Let’s just look at the 13 sold out concerts:

10,000 (sold out concert tickets)

$60 (per ticket)

               13 (concerts)

$7,800,000 (total) * .07 tax rate = $546,000 (Sales Tax due State of South Dakota)

$7,800,000 (total) * .06 tax rate = $468,000 (Sales Tax due State of South Dakota)

Who is paying all the sales taxes? Where are they? Something once again does not add up. In each of the 94 events, $10,238.12 was collected. How? Once again the numbers are not adding up. It appears we are just to be excited by big numbers without understanding the actual audit. Tracy once again is playing with fuzzy math.

And let’s pretend for a moment that the EC does make $2.2 million this year. That doesn’t even come close to paying the almost $10 million dollar mortgage per year. Hardly in the black. Like I said before the vote, this place was built to make other people money, contractors, promoters, scalpers and management companies, while the taxpayer’s of this city foot the mortgage.


UPDATE: Still NO comment on the siding.