You have to wonder if Maureen McDonnell will be hyping Anatabloc at the gates to the Redskins camp. Somebody has to make some money off of this fiasco of a deal. As the layers of the arrangement unfold, it is clear that Bankrupt Bob had a hand in it.
From the beginning the numbers did not add up. Richmond would pay the Redskins a half million a year to hold a camp at a facility that Richmond would build for 10 million with a pipedream that Richmond would somehow recover the cost through increased tourism. Well, that might be difficult to determine, but we’ll try.
Tammy Hawley, press secretary to Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones, said the total costs probably will not be available until “post-camp.” – Richmond Times Dispatch
That doesn’t help much. So, maybe there is reason for concern:
“We’re trying to get information to assess how well they are handling the preparations for this and whether there’s going to be a full accounting.” – Wayne Taylor, secretary of Better Government for Richmond in the Richmond Times Dispatch
Here’s a start. The number of camp visitors is projected at 100,000. Keeping it simple and being generous (the projection has been reduced to 65,000), we’ll say all of them come from out of town and they will spend all of their hard earned dollars inside the city of Richmond so that all the tax revenue is generated there. Of the 5.5% state sales tax, something on the order of 1.65% will be returned to the city’s general fund. A little math and that means every man, woman, and child attending must spend $303 (so a family of 4 must spend $1212) dollars to cover just the base $500,000 Redskins corporate welfare. We’d better hope for some well healed visitors. And that isn’t anything near the bottom line for Richmond. Those figures really need to be doubled or more.
Under the agreement, the contribution could include such expenses as team lodging, meals and transportation, but city officials say the Redskins are paying all of those costs directly this year. – Richmond Times Dispatch
Coulda, woulda, shoulda…There’s no “could” here, even this year:
James River Transportation is providing transportation for the team’s players, coaches and staff, who will stay at the Omni Richmond Hotel in Shockoe Slip during camp. – Richmond Times Dispatch
And there are the other public services:
Richmond will coordinate emergency services through the nearby Richmond Ambulance Authority and provide off-site police security, but the Redskins will pay for security within the camp gates…- Richmond Times Dispatch
Very generous of the Redskins. Now, why wouldn’t you want professional law enforcement and emergency services inside the training camp?
As I expressed when this deal was going down, the location of the training camp couldn’t be worse for Richmond traffic. Parking is always an issue in Richmond, but that was dismissed with the proposal to use the area around City Stadium and provide a shuttle. But it turns out that that is an option only during four days of the camp (this Thursday through Saturday and Fan Appreciation Day). Plus it is going to interfere with progress completing the bridges on I-95.
Both the state and the city say they are coordinating road projects, such as the ongoing bridge replacement on I-95 and paving on West Broad Street, to not interfere with traffic during the camp. – Richmond Times Dispatch
One of the best quotes comes from Thomas E. Flynn, Richmond traffic engineer:
“We can adjust the flow so there’s a nice, continuous green.” – Richmond Times Dispatch
Uh, that would translate to a “nice continuous red” for every intersecting avenue. But what the heck, that will only affect people who live in Richmond.
So, what’s in it for Richmond?
City officials say the return on investment should include an estimated $40 million in anticipated investment by Bon Secours. The health system will occupy the training facility when camp breaks, develop the former Westhampton School property near St. Mary’s Hospital under a 60-year lease with the city, and expand Richmond Community Hospital in the East End. – Richmond Times Dispatch
Well, you see how that investment is coming along based on progress at the Westhampton site in the photograph above. There is no timeline like there was for the camp facility and Bon Secours is obviously in no hurry to fulfill that portion of the deal. So, not a single full time job has been created for the $20 million or more the city has obligated. And, by the way, that $40 million mentioned by a city official, even if it happens, is not a return on investment. The tax revenues are the return on investment. The $40 million will not be on Richmond’s books; it will be on Bon Secours’ books. Must be using the same accountant Bob McDonnell is using for his real estate investments.
All this ignores the betrayal of the deal for the Diamond. Throughout the debate over the Redskins camp it was clear that the replacement for the Diamond was taking a backseat. The Squirrels management/ownership played well with others and later expressed confidence that a deal for a new ballpark could be crafted despite this flirt with an outsider. The only way to account for such confidence is that they had received a wink and a nod from someone. But reality struck a couple of weeks ago when the Richmond City Council blocked a referendum on a ballpark.
So when Thursday dawns on Richmond, don’t look for a general fund windfall that will make the local school district flush with cash. No, expect the local schools to share the pain of this bad investment.
But I do suggest you buy a jar of Anatabloc from Maureen and get it signed. Worth a lot more than her husband’s word.