In their effort to secure more than $225 million in public funding for their proposed Katz Downtown Edmonton Arena, local billionaire Daryl Katz‘s company, the Katz Group, has proven that even billionaires can buy bad political advice.
The CBC revealed last week that the Katz Group has been contacting Edmonton’s Progressive Conservative MLAs asking them to redirect phone calls from constituents about the Edmonton Oilers arena deal between the city and the group. Imagine the public response if MLAs constituency offices began forwarding calls about environmental issues to a Syncrude or Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers 1-800 hotline?
The Edmonton Sun reported that the Katz Group has had discussions with the Enoch First Nation to build the area on their land west of Edmonton if the downtown proposal is not successful. The threat to move the Edmonton Oilers to another city, or to a geographical location outside of Edmonton, is a pressure tactic as old as professional sports teams have existed. It is the worst kind of bluff and it shows that the Katz Group takes Edmontonians and Oilers fans for fools.
The failure to secure an extra $100 million in public funds, despite pressure on City Council and provincial leaders, is obviously frustrating the Katz Group, which has been burning through its public good will quicker than Donald Trump‘s failed presidential run.
9 replies on “the katz group proves that all the money in the world can buy some pretty bad political advice.”
No doubt their government relations advice is being provided by Alberta Enterprise Group. They might want to consider hiring actual professionals.
Perhaps Mr. Katz can move his team to Atlanta. My understanding is that that team will move in before the beginning of the season.
Undoubtedly he will be able to make the millions of dollars in profit there that he can not make here and that would allow him to build himself an arena with his own money.
Oh… but wait… we would need a city council and mayor to have the guts to tell them to take a hike.
Dear me, how foolish of me…
Once again the Katz Group are missing an opportunity to practice protocol. (i.e. Inviting City Council to dinner) There are no shortcuts to the public trough. Patience Mr. Katz and by the way, my number is in the book.
It really has been alarming to see how much of a tin-ear the Katz Group has for general public opinion on this issue.
Council, and particularly the Mayor, needs to publicly spank these guys, and get them to agree to one of the following:
– Pony up the additional $100M or;
– Reach out to Northlands to operate the building, creating a revenue stream for NL’s, and some room for them to make debt-backed investment in the project.
I simply don’t see any other exit now that will pass the public’s lowering tolerance level for the bully like position Katz has been taking.
Where’s the Beef,
AEG has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the Arena project. Never has, never will.
I stand corrected.
Let the team leave if they wish, the NHL knows that Edmonton Market is a cashcow, they will give us a new franchise, as Betzman will surely give us another team, if our c-rated precious team ever left. Doesn’t this same group own all of the pharmacies and medicentres and on top of that have billions in reserves?….why don’t they just cough up the extra $100M in chump change. Seniors, students, Slave needs $190M to rebuild and there is a looming multibillion dollar deficit and now a market crash……Sorry….but taxpayers can’t afford their money to be welfared out to private business, NOT without a plebescite. Its surprising that Tory Hack MLA’s, in the midst of an election did not even bother telling us, its always the CBC that has to the hard work of telling the true story.
I am voting Liberal.
IF Katz moved the Oilers to another city there is no doubt in my mind that any one of a dozen owners would immediately look into the possibility of moving their franchise to one of the NHL’s most profitable locations. The Katz group would have no rights over a location they walked away from which frees up another team moving in. Even if we lost the Oilers, one of the ten most profitable NHL locations would not be without NHL hockey for very long. Instead of being bullied and threatened, we’ll have other teams lined up to make concessions for the privilege of playing in front of us instead of demanding our money for arenas we’ll never sit in. And really, the Oilers the majority of this city loves existed from 1978 to 1991, I’m sure we’d be happy with Any professional players and owners who can pay their own bills with admissions from ticket sales and don’t need publicly funded income supports to keep their business afloat.
The Enoch Oilers! I think it sounds great. I think the Enoch First Nation and Katz Group should go for it, the sooner the better. Seeing as the new arena would be on First Nations land, it could be the only major sports facility in North America with smoking seats, and lots of ’em. Woo-hoo!