You can almost smell how greasy this deal is . . .

Nobody really knows, heck, we might not even know even with this ‘exclusive’ interview that is vague;

When it came time to establish primary sponsorship for the new Sioux Falls Events Center, several of the city’s business heavyweights emerged.

No, THREE, heavyweights emerged. We have NO idea if there was any other companies involved.

The end result was a building named the T. Denny Sanford Premier Center.

What!? Why not just call it the Sanford Premier Center? Why is T. Denny’s name on this?

First Premier Bank, Premier Bankcard and Sanford Health have formed a 25-year partnership as corporate sponsors of the $115 million sports and entertainment facility, pending approval by the City Council.

The sponsors will set up an endowment to make an annual payment to the city to help defray operational expenses. Last year, a firm hired by the city to study naming rights valued the title sponsorship in the range of $350,000 to $500,000 a year.

And that annual payment is what?

The city will host a news conference today at noon at the Sioux Falls Convention Center to disclose financial details, but company executives shed light on the deal in an exclusive interview with the Argus Leader on Wednesday.

What light? I have read this article twice, and haven’t read anything new.

Sanford Health chief executive officer Kelby Krabbenhoft said that he did not pursue naming rights and did not get involved in a bidding war for sponsorship at the events center, which is scheduled to open in fall 2014.

“This is about making an investment, not chasing naming rights,” said Krabbenhoft, who discussed the arrangement along with First Premier Bank CEO Dana Dykhouse, Premier Bankcard CEO Miles Beacom and Sanford Health vice president Dave Knudson.

So who approached who? And what other companies were ‘chasing naming rights’?

“We were looking for a portal to make sure we could make a difference in how successful this thing was. I don’t remember one meeting where we sat around and thought about naming rights, because I don’t think we need much more of that. This was the portal that made our involvement possible.”

First Premier is the majority investor, and it didn’t take long to consider using the name of noted Sioux Falls philanthropist and First Premier founder T. Denny Sanford, who also is title donor to Sanford Health.

These two paragraphs are contradictory. You didn’t think about naming rights but it didn’t take you long to come up with a name? Kinda sounds like you thought about it pretty hard . . . and fast.

And what about the councilors being let in on this ‘deal’?

“We don’t have transparency on this at all,” Councilor Kermit Staggers said. “The mayor used to work for First Premier, and people in the community are closely associated with Sanford. We should have had openness … Maybe we really got a good deal, maybe we will. But we’ll never know because we never had any bidding going on out in the open.”

One councilor told me yesterday he didn’t hear about the announcement until after the press release was out. Talk about keeping our elected officials in the loop.

The contract between the city, First Premier Bank, Premier Bankcard and Sanford Health has been signed but hinges on City Council approval. Chairwoman Michelle Erpenbach said an executive session is scheduled for Tuesday with city attorneys to further discuss contract negotiations and ask questions. The full council will vote during a public hearing and regularly scheduled meeting Aug. 21.

So now that the cat is out of the bag, we still have to go into a secret meeting to discuss the contract? This should be an open meeting to the public, not behind closed doors.

“We believe strongly that the agreement presented and details shared will go a long way toward ensuring financial viability of the facility, giving every chance to operate in the black and be successful,” Smith said.

Who is ‘WE’ Darrin? You, Huether and Sanford? When you use the word ‘we’ in relationship to government, it should be ALL of our elected officials, not just the ones that agree with you and Huether.

Councilor Greg Jamison thought the council would have been briefed on contract details in executive session before the public announcement.

“That’s what’s funny about this process, it’s all out there … we don’t even know what the dollar amount or agreement is, we learn that (today),” he said. “When it’s the public’s money, there’s a higher threshold to do it in such an open way, so open there could never be any (question) of behind-the-scenes, under-the-table deals. This wasn’t done that way.”

But, Greg, you are not a part the elite ‘We’ group at city hall, just trust them. 🙁

But let’s go a little deeper and talk about Kelby’s involvement in this ‘Deal’. He pretends his hands were not on it, but he sure seems to know a lot of details about the naming rights deal;

As Sioux Falls goes, so goes its most prosperous companies. So a little bit of propping up can go an awful long way over time.

“That’s why we do these things, like donating 40 acres to the city for football fields,” said Krabbenhoft. “The more we have these kinds of things, the more I can recruit better physicians and lure more talent, because they see a full community. I’ve gotten my heads kicked in a lot of times for doing this stuff, but we’ve stuck with it, and now the virtue of it is right there for everyone to see.”

Yup, Kelby went there.

Donating 40 acres and in exchange you got millions in a TIF deal that set precedent in the city. Thanks for the donation, but you really should be thanking the city for all the perks you have received over the years.

But let’s look at the timing of this ‘deal’;

FARGO, N.D. (AP) – Sanford Health is starting construction on a $541 million medical center in North Dakota’s largest city.

Groundbreaking for the Fargo campus was Tuesday. Sanford President and CEO Kelby Krabbenhoft called it a historic day. The facility is to open in 2016, serving more than 4,200 patients daily.

The 10-story medical center will include 460 hospital beds, 32 operating rooms and 51 emergency department bays. By 2018 it is to be staffed by more than 260 physicians working in 48 different specialties.

Sanford already employs more than 7,500 people in Fargo and neighboring Moorhead, Minn. The new medical center will create an additional 2,000 full-time positions.

Sanford is based in Fargo and in Sioux Falls, S.D. It has a presence in more than 100 communities in seven states.

Guest Poster contributed to this;

This article is kind of like our city government, spend without care because the spenders won’t be in office when the bill comes due.

Think about this, just as in Sioux Falls, Fargo had a fine medical system before Sanford Health got involved.  Now the king of the edifice movement is building more shrines to their ego. I have had to deal with a great deal of medical community in recent years, at many in-state and outstate medical facilities. Something I have noticed and has been confirmed by employees of the systems, is the constant overspending on something not needed. We’re not talking about one or two disgruntled employees but by career employees of several levels.

Instead of paying the employees a living wage, SH is spending borrowed money on another building.  The nursing staff, building maintenance and clerical continue to do more work for less.

The priorities of the Board of Directors of Sioux Valley Hospital (Sanford) and Avera McKennan are now geared only toward self-aggrandizement and not patient care.  How can the limited staff keep up with the additional workload for less pay.

I love the staff and doctors, they are humans doing a job without appreciation.  Oh sure, the hospitals spend a lot of money on ads telling us how much they care but really, but really…. We want to be able to check in when it is needed and checkout without catching something.  The staff is the way we can make sure we leave on time and safely.  The care they have given to my many family and friends I assist, under the less than optimal conditions, is amazing.  SH’s desire to keep wasting the trust of the community and the trust funds of the medical system are disgusting.

We used to have a medical system based on patient care first. The two primary hospitals bought equipment together and shared. Doctors were able to easily move between the three hospitals with ease to perform the best patient care possible. The patient is not the most important part of the system.  The billing system is geared so SH can pay for more spending spree items like buildings.

OMG, now Sanford is going to claim ownership of the Events Center by placing a phony billboard on its side.  Another endowment / slush fund boondoggle for SH‘s edifice satisfaction.  Here’s an idea for SH, let’s just change the name of Sioux Falls to Denny’s!  I can see it now, get everyone to eat Denny’s Belly buster breakfast so we need cardiac care and you will finish owning all of us.

Sorry SH, Denny won’t be around forever, who is your next $ prey…

By l3wis

52 thoughts on “What kind of ‘Deal’ are we getting on the new Events Center naming rights?”
  1. The proposed name for the EC is interesting….

    I recall T. Denny tried this in Minnesota, and we all know how that went…..!!

    But, obviously, the “inner circle” (excluding our elected Council representatives with the exception of City Councilor/Sanford Trustee Jim Entenman) have already decided to accept what Minnesota would not………!!!

  2. Hmmm…for the kind of money Superlative (self-servingly) claimed was the base line for naming rights, who else might you expect to step up here?
    Avera? That would go over big when Insane Clown Posse or one of its successors gets booked. An organization ostensibly run by a religious order playing host to that kind of act.
    Citi? Too big to fail, too troubled to be reliable for a long-term deal.
    Morrell? Please.
    Who else do you have in mind for the money Superlative has convinced you this is worth? (I question Superlative because I have seen some of their estimates in other cities back east – which got them fired. They put a 20% premium on the number here in town after they got dismissed and caught your ear. Bitter.)
    All that said, let’s accept for the moment that $600 K is the target number (Yeah, Alex, I’ll play “Superlative” for $600K). And keep in mind that the A-L keeps repeating the annual naming value at “350-500K”.
    These three entities create a $15,000,000 endowment fund. At the standard 4 percent annual payout, there’s your $600K.
    Now…let’s see how this gets played at noon.
    By the way, IMHO this thing is a marginal success at best – at it’s current location or if it was placed downtown. I’ve been a skeptic since Day One. Which makes me unpatriotic no matter who I talk to.
    And for ANY member of City Council to claim this morning to be “shocked, shocked” at all this is playing the Claude Rains role in “Casablanca”.

  3. I hope they remember to appropriately move on this in in open session follwoing executive.

    Strong stuff from guest poster at the end. Has market penetration now become our calling card? I just hope as we go forward, “we” occasionally remember that profit and aggrandizement do not always equate to good medicine or good policy, and should not serve as an end to a means.

  4. It is all good, charge 30% or more on credit cards, foreclose on families in trouble, fight to the death any chance of everyone having reasonable priced health care.

    Then give away very small parts of your high profits to receive the highest possible tax breaks and which in the end probably give you free name exposure.

    Everyone bow and sing praise. It is amazing how those who call themselves good Christian get caught up in greed and blasphemy.

  5. Consumer Reports magazine: November 2010

    This card made our list of the worst cards two years ago, and it doesn’t look like it has improved. In 2007, First Premier signed a $4.6 million settlement with the New York Attorney General’s office over the card’s deceptive marketing practices. First Premier’s card now advertises a $25 to $95 processing charge (which fluctuates by the minute, depending on when you click on the card’s website). What’s worse is that when you drill deeper into the fine print, you’ll find a $75 annual fee and an APR of 23.9 percent to 59.9 percent on purchases and cash advances (again, depending on when you visit the site). So you could face a minimum of $100 or a maximum of $170 in fees in the first year for a card with only a $300 initial credit limit. Other fees include an $11 charge for expediting bill payment over the phone and a credit-limit increase fee equal to 50 percent of the increase. So for every $100 that First Premier increases your credit limit it charges you $50. Also, look out for copycats of this card. First Premier Bank markets very similar cards under the names Centennial and Aventium.

  6. I won’t fault First Premier because they are a for profit company and nobody forces anyone to apply for one of their cards. No I’m not a fan of the 79.9% APR on some of their cards and I don’t like their fees, but that is why I don’t do business with them. That is my choice.

    Sanford Health on the other hand is a non-profit, and I don’t like the idea of them taking dollars from patients and turning around to use those funds to slap their name on a facility meant for entertainment and recreation. It is insanity.

    I think T. Denny should just buy Minnehaha Country Club and rename it to Sanford Country Club. Then anyone who wants to stick their nose up his rear and pretend that he is God’s gift to the Sioux Empire will know where to find him, and the young ladies can use the pool on the way out to wash off the slime and rid themselves of the faint odor of BENGAY and Brillo Cream.

  7. Why is everyone complaining? I have no connections at all to Sanford and who cares what you think of them. Take your business elsewhere. They are voluntarily giving money and I say awesome. Maybe the money was made through bad credit card stuff but that is beside the point. They could have just kept the money. The issue is whether or not there was open conpetition and bids for the rights to get maximum dollar for the city. If this wa the highest and best bid we should be happy. Everything is speculation until we see actual numbers. It may always be speculation if the public is not told how many companies were really interested.

  8. “Maybe the money was made through bad credit card stuff but that is beside the point.”

    Really, Really, Bad CC stuff.

    Highest Bid? I don’t think that is how an endowment works buddy.

  9. Citizen says……

    Maybe the money was made through bad credit card stuff but that is beside the point.

    Citizen, that is exactly the point!

    Today, I believe there are many long-time residents of Sioux Falls who are feeling very discouraged and saddened by this turn of events.

    Because of T. Denny’s connection to Sanford Hospital, all involved in the title naming rights deal are intricately inter-connected with First Premier and Premier Bankcard. A credit card company that has one of the worst reputations in the nation, and has been successfully sued by the State of New York for deceptive marketing practices.

    The groundwork for this debacle was laid over thirty ago by Janklow and the South Dakota state legislature.

    Now, Sioux Falls, our state’s largest city, is about to name the largest investment in its history the T. Denny Sanford Premier Center.

  10. LOL on the toon…does that mean you get in to a free show on your birthday?

    At one point I thought they were talking about spereate naming rights for the EC, CC, the old Arena and the baseball Stadium, whatever happened to that idea?

  11. Sy,

    Mike and Tracy Turbak announced late last year that we are now going to consider the Events Center, the Convention Center, and the Arena as one facility.

    An opportunity for even “murkier” accounting practices………..!!!!

  12. I’m waiting for the tributes on how once again T. Denny has done this because he loves us all so much. Don’t buy it. He’s making something on it somehow, just as he did when after his hospital “gift” his original company immediately replaced the collection’s department of the hospital.

  13. OMG…. just shown me the PP ahead of time. 750000 for 25 years. Kelo. First dakota. Ortho institute. And avera were the only other intersted parties.

  14. Here’s my take re: “….it’s an investment and we didn’t think about naming rights…..”. That’s right. This “endowment fund” ( a big lump of money that spends some of its interest earnings) was going to be set up to pay for something regardless. It is a method for T. Denny/FP/PBC to write off some profits and escape taxation – by establishing non-profit endowment funds. I’d wager he (and First Premier) has establshed several dozen – at least. This one just decided to spend it’s earnings at the EC.

  15. As good as this deal may sound, if I were on city council, I would vote against the proposed offer. We can’t run our operations for a city funded events center on an endowment of one man. Regardless of how weatlhy he is, his insider (Mike Huether) should’ve been transparent to the council and made them aware of this whole ordeal. I’m appalled. This isn’t how government is supposed to work. This is how corporate America works. Congrats Huether for the demise in which you lead, and the deceit you portray.

  16. As good as this deal may sound, if I were on city council, I would vote against the proposed offer. We can’t run our operations for a city funded events center on an endowment of one man. Regardless of how wealthy he is, his insider (Mike Huether) should’ve been transparent to the council and made them aware of this whole ordeal. I’m appalled. This isn’t how government is supposed to work. This is how corporate America works. Congrats Huether for the demise in which you lead, and the deceit you portray.

  17. This was an interesting comment on an earlier pc that Southdacola did:

    Bond Perilous on 08.01.12 at 6:37 pm

    I’d like to know how the termination clause in this contract will be worded.

    I just watched the press conference.

    The option of 15 million for the “LIFETIME” of the facility…….

    A facility that has been billed as “for the next fifty years or longer”……..

    Also, the benefits of their “name exposure” start the day that the City Council approves this deal, and the first payment is not due until the fall of 2014!!!

    It is now in the hands of our ELECTED representatives……

    City Council, it’s time to step up to the plate and really scrutinize this DEAL!!!!

  18. Long time residents are sad. How should that affect a financial decision? People had a chance at the voting booth to stop this train but did not. The proposed deal should be investigated by the council but if it meets the financial muster it should be approved. The company does not matter unless there is inability to make the promised financial commitment. The ethics of the making of the money is a separate debate and if one company is judged on ethics than all have to be judged on that standard. The standard of ethics would also have to be agreed upon so that conversation I going nowhere. At the moment I am pleased with the deal but am wide open if another group wants to publicly go to the council with a better offer.

  19. So if they pay for 25 and they building complex lives on for 50 or more years, it is still a Denny’s with no more funding? Did I miss something?

  20. Citizen.

    Let’s not forget…..

    Four out of every ten voters cast a “NO” vote to try to stop this!

  21. Testor15

    At the end of the first 25 years, they have the option of renewing for 15 million for the “lifetime” of the facility.

    As a taxpayer/owner of the Events Center Complex, how do you like that math?

    Also, the entire Complex (EC, Convention Center, and Arena) will be called “Sanford Place”. I did not hear any monetary amount attached to that advantage!

  22. This has become ‘Denny’s Grand Slam’. There’s corruption rolling off all sides of the plate. There’s even types of slam like ‘Southern Slam’ and ‘Fargo Slam’. T. Denny wants his name remembered. He’ll always be known for taking away our freedom, enslaving our minimum wage population, and cardiac expense. There should be a mountain carved with faces of Huether, Denny, Munson. ‘The Rushmore State’ has become ‘The Denny Empire’. Soon he’ll invade Austria & Russia.

    I’ll never bank or own a credit card from Premier. I’ll insist on being treated at Avera. My vote will be against anyone who runs against Huether.

  23. Something to remember; with home rule, the mayor has the power to override a council vote. We’re surrounded by democracy but city limits is the Berlin Wall. It must come down.

  24. At the press conference, Kelby reiterated that they had to ‘convince’ Denny to put his name on the facility. People were grinning.

    Kelby and Mike also both said that we shouldn’t talk about the process today but the celebrate Denny giving this donation. Trust me, Kelby, we will be talking about the ‘process’.

    The deal was a lot larger then I thought it would be, I don’t think those other companies could have even come close to this amount.

  25. “I think the whole deal stinks and was hatched at least a year ago and like the location debate, this was all taxpayer funded smoke & mirrors to achieve the ends first and justify the means later.

    T. Denny was on record in the AL last fall saying he had no intention of having his name on the facility. Darrin Smith repeatedly justified spending twice the amount we spent on the economic study on the naming rights study, saying we would get the most value by allowing Superlaxative to manage a bidding war of regional and national companies and we needed their expertise since no one locally was qualified. Next thing we know, is we fire them and Smith hires Legends to do what again? I don’t think we’ve heard the last of that debacle. I know for a fact at least one other local financial institution wanted to bid on the name of the facility and Smith basically laughed them out of his office after showing up 20 minutes late to the meeting. No wonder he’s such a fan of closed door negotiations, no other way to hide that level of arrogance coupled with his utter incompetence.”

    I guess we will never know what kind of deal was hatched. It is important to point out that neither T. Denny or a rep from Legends was present. This tells me that this was wrapped up sooner then expected. Why? Remember last week when Kermit and Jamison pressured Smith in an informational about the naming rights deal? I am speculating that after that meeting, they got the ball rolling because they were tired of swatting flies.

  26. CR
    Four out of ten means nothing. All you need is 50 + 1 (except in u.s. senate). In the current political climate this thing was approved with a vast majority.

  27. Everybody remember how well running your budget off an endowment faired for USF when the economy went bad a few years ago?

    This is a risky proposition at best. If I were the council, I would demand to see all documents, bids, and openly invite anyone that was interested to give their 2 cents before I approved this deal. This was all behind closed doors. As Sy would say, for fux sakes, do your public service job and protect the public like you were elected to do and are now PAID to do by the tax payers. And another side note, Entenman should be dismissed from ALL of these dealings and votes!

  28. Citizen.

    You are correct, this was approved by a majority.

    On the other hand…..

    Four out of every ten voters casting a “NO” vote clearly demonstrates there are many in our community who “did not” and “do not” support this fiasco!

  29. cr…60-40. Do you remember how a democracy works? I am not a fan of this facility. But if it grinds you that much, you can always take your fellows malcontents and go start your own town somewhere. Perhaps even call it Averaville. I plan to stick around a bit and watch how it’s justified when the big time concerts the Gen-X Yuppie moms whined about in the commercials fail to materialize…or bomb miserably. Should be fun.

  30. “I plan to stick around a bit and watch how it’s justified when the big time concerts the Gen-X Yuppie moms whined about in the commercials fail to materialize…or bomb miserably.”

    Best sentence ever!

  31. When are we going to put up the new welcoming signs near the city limits on I-90 and I-29? You know, the ones which will read “Welcome to Sanford Falls, ‘The Pullman city of the northern plains’ “

  32. As usual, I think you guys crying about this are off your rocker.

    $20 million to help build the center that wasn’t projected ad for which there was little competition? Clearly it’s horrible.

    This is a big loss for the EC=Armageddon crew.

    If they built it downtown, it would be a huge positive, I’m sure.

    Grow up and stick your hands in your pockets instead of extended begging for money.

  33. Surprise surprise. South Dacola is wrong YET AGAIN!

    Just a few short days ago you were predicting a deal hadn’t been reached nor would it by the end of August.


    The answer is… August 1st.

    Then you guessed that it wouldn’t net more than what Superlative — a company you’ve been jock-riding a good several months — said should be expected.


    The answer is… $20.75M over 25 years.

    Then you claimed that Sanford Health/First Premier were the only companies ever involved.


    The answer is… five entities expressed interest, including: Avera McKennan Hospital/University Health Center; First Dakota National Bank; KELOLAND Television; Orthopedic Institute; and First PREMIER Bank/PREMIER Bankcard/Sanford Health

    Hey buddy, stick to relying on the shit you get fed from the people on the inside. You know, those people that for some reason continue to entertain the thought of legitimizing this POS blog — most-likely because they know you’ll run and post whatever little bitter backbiting rant that they leak to you without filter or forethought.

    It’s when you step out and make predictions or present your own ideas, that you end up looking like a huge fuckwit.

  34. Justin – I will agree with you on one point, it was a heck of a lot more money then I thought we would get, BUT, as a cynic I must point out some things.

    1) Nobody really knows how much it will cost to run the place every year. While $750 is a nice dent in the operational costs, we both know that it could cost millions to run the place each year. If it is profitable, no biggee, if it is not, Houston, we have a problem.

    2) People are tired of Denny’s name on every damn building in town. I could care less to tell you the truth. I rarely attend concerts at large facilities like this, so I am not sure if I will ever go to the place, but I did hear the entertainment district around the site will be pretty hopping 🙁

    3) Were other companies pursued? Or was it the plan all along to go with Sanford and Premier? Not sure, there was no transparency at all. Sure their is a list of interested parties (see my comment above). But were they asked?

  35. Check the whois to see who registered I wonder if they will sell it to the city?

  36. Phildo – As I said above, they got the ball rolling on this because they were probably tired of swatting flies (like myself) about the deal. And like I just said to Justin, if you think $750,000 a year is going to cover any shortfalls in operating expenses, you are off your rocker. Remember, the Pavilion gets a $1.3 million subsidy each year from the entertainment tax, a 1,900 seat facility. I heard they are also asking for an increase next year.

    And BTW, expressing interest is far different then being pursued. Smith laughed First Dakota out of city hall, that’s the way you can work a deal? Huh?

    And another thing, I am often puzzled by the numerous people who comment on this site that don’t even live in SF or our state.

  37. Not that it is that big of deal, but did Kelby replace those trees out at Howard Wood that he had to chop down bc they interfered with the sight lines for his party?

  38. It is interesting how the Denny’s till keeps being opened when magic Mike or cash Kelby need support when they are jammed up.

  39. KSFY reported last year that Turbak said it will cost $9-16 Million to operate the 3 facilities at that site. So the $750K is around a 5-9% buffer for them. In the 2011 financial statement a $500,000 expenditure/subsidy to run the Arena. Convention Center?? I could not find. And could not find an actual OC for any facility.

    Doubtful anyone else would have put up that much cash no matter where this thing was built. So guess we better hope the multi-facility approach works and generates positive or close to breakeven revenue.

  40. One of the great all time blog posts!

    Did anyone else get the feeling those guys standing on stage together were the next big fundraising team for Huether to run for Governor? I did. Huether looked like someone who is eying a congressional run, Governor run (in ’18), or Senate. The guy won’t be mayor long if a major statewide seat opens up.

    The other aspect I caught was how front and center Darin Smith was. Almost as if Huether is grooming him to run for Mayor next.

    Didn’t Smith throw a tantrum and leave the city council because he lost his mayoral run a while back?

  41. Yup. I call him the ‘quitter’. I always chuckle when he references his experience as a councilor in public meetings. Experience? You mean being a quitter?

  42. Who uses an initial for a first name? And who takes money from the poor and then ‘donates’ it to places who put his name on the organizations who receive his donations? T. Denny Sanford! I personally will not go to Sanford Hospital or any of their medical facilities ever again, and I will never step foot in any building named after this crook. All he does is steal from the poor and filter the money to places who will put his name on their buildings. I am so sick of hearing his name and seeing him on TV. A crook has taken over our town. I am no longer proud to live in Sioux Falls because of this man.

  43. […] So while everyone ‘seemed’ so surprised, it was evident. Superlative was fired because the city wanted to ink a deal with T. Denny (Sanford Health) and they wanted to do it before a replacement company was hired (Legends). I guess I could say a lot of things about the misleading and blatant lies fed to us, but Kermit says it best in the Argus Leader article; […]

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