September 21, 2006, - 1:18 pm

Taxpayer Abuse: Your Millions in Katrina Relief Go To . . . A Football Stadium

By Debbie Schlussel
With all the news stories in the world–Ahmadinejad & Chavez Double-Teaming America, Jihad against the Pope, the House Voter ID bill–USA Today chose the most important item of the day as its cover story, today:

New Orleans NFL Homecoming: City Throwing a Party at Restored Superdome

Buried toward the end of the story is the money-shot–an answer to the question we all deserve to know about:
Who paid for the $185 million in improvements, repairs, and reconstruction of the Superdome–the office of millionaires, billionaires, and gazillionaires?

superdomeoutside.jpgsuperdomeinside.jpg

$170 Million of Your Katrina “Relief”

Was it the billionaires who own teams throughout the NFL, including the New Orleans Saints that are housed in the Superdome? NOPE. According to USA Today, the NFL gazillionaires donated only $15 million of the $185 million cost–a drop in the bucket to these fatcats.
Was it the millionaires who play in the Superdome at all Saints’ home games, every football season–and owe their millions to those who come to see the games and buy team merchandise? NOPE.
We can’t have billionaires and millionaires putting money out of their own pockets, their own wallets. That just wouldn’t be right.
So who paid for the newly glimmering Superdome–$170 million of $185 million in Superdome costs?
YOU DID!
Yup. Taxpayers paid money in the name of public assistance programs for relief from Katrina and other disasters. Who knew the “public assistance” was not for poor, homeless, downtrodden hurricane victims, but for . . . NFL gazillionaires?! Should “public assistance” go to improved scoreboards, upgraded suites and club lounges, and “leatherette” upholstery? Taxpayers got soaked.
From the article:

The money being used for this was from the public-assistance program from FEMA on insurance disasters.

Here’s what your money went to pay for. Does this sound like “hurricane relief” or “public assistance” to you?:

Besides repairs, improvements and upgrades were made during construction. About $42 million was spent. The most noticeable change for fans will be new scoreboards.
Scoreboard system
* Two larger (41% bigger) video boards (27 by 48 feet) in the end zones, with high definition quality.
* Four LED ribbon boards, or video halo boards (3 feet, 6 inches by 193 feet).
* Four color scoreboards (8 feet by 44 feet) replace a black-and-white system. Located in four corners in the 400 level.
Concessions
* All 38 concession stands and three kitchens modernized with stainless steel. . . .
Stadium seats
* 8,000 club-level seats and 4,000 box suite seats replaced with leatherette seats.
Future renovations (September 2006-August 2007)
* Four club lounges, each 19,000 square feet (in design) in each of the four corners.
* 137 suites remodeled and refurbished.

Your tax dollars at “work.” USA Today’s headline is incorrect. New Orleans isn’t throwing the party at the Superdome. You are.

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15 Responses

Debbie, I am all for football but this is insane. I was one of those who thought it would be better had New Orleans not been rebuilt so people could start lives afresh elsewhere. Not only this is country elect to rebuild the city in the path of a future hurricane but its not elected to build a monumental extravagance to human greed and cupidity. The NFL talks a big game about the free market buts its just happy to accept a handout fron Uncle Sam for a brand new stadium in a city that shouldn’t have been rebuilt to begin with. I can think of a better use all those taxpayer dollars could have gone to besides New Orleans and its football team, the Saints.

NormanF on September 21, 2006 at 1:42 pm

This is absolutely outrageous! This is banana republic behavior.
Thank you for ferreting out this information.

Sue Bob on September 21, 2006 at 1:59 pm

If you rebuild it (with our tax dollars), ‘dey will come!
Where iz all dee po folk s’posed to go da next time Dubbya Bush blowzup ‘da lev-eez?!

Yiddish Steel on September 21, 2006 at 3:50 pm

This is disgraceful indeed, however, I read somewhere that 3 Billion, with a B, has been sent there and not one house has been re-built, the Levee’s are still not up to code or for that matter re-built.
The 185 Million still leaves 2.815 Billion that is un-accounted for and the President promised 250 Billion ? That is outrageous.
As far as the 185 Million at least you can see the improvements to the ‘Dome’, other than that someone ought to be looking at the Governor’s office and Ray ‘Schoolbus’ Nagin to see where the rest of the money has gone.
Its quite obvious the Huey Long legacy is still alive and well in Louisiana.

mark on September 21, 2006 at 4:51 pm

I think it was Seattle that paid for their dome. There was a stink about how the home team MUST show restraint while cheering on their team. The rule flopped when fans were being escorted out and complaints from the Tom Leykis Show said that it’s taxpayers money and Nintendo could not censor the home fans. Well now, since Louisiana used FEMA money to build the dome, that means now that anyone other than the good folks of Louisiana can use the dome for ANYTHING! I could see it now, a pop-warner team play without being charged to use the stadium. Boy, did the state government fucked up!
Hey Deb, how about a gathering of all your fans and have a big party? You paid for it!

KOAJaps on September 21, 2006 at 6:10 pm

The Superdome was re-built with…say it with me, Debbie…INSURANCE money. Yup, there’s a difference between a charity grant and FEMA-underwritten insurance.
Like infrastructure repairs after the earthquakes in San Francisco and Los Angeles, or the massive floods in Denny Hastert’s congressional district, FEMA paid back the people of metro New Orleans who pay taxes. In fact, it’s mostly white-bread Republican Louisianians who not only benefit from the Dome’s repairs, but also paid for them, since the Superdome is a state-owned piece of property.

YatPundit on September 21, 2006 at 8:45 pm

Debbie, at least the gazillionaires know what to do with the money. I figure whatever I pay in taxes, it mostly goes down the drain.

shleppy on September 21, 2006 at 11:23 pm

Taxpayer Abuse: Your Millions in Katrina Relief Go To . . . A Football Stadium

The tab to repair the Superdome in New Orleans is $185 million smakeroos.  Of that amount, the NFL’s uber rich team owners paid a paltry $15 million.Guess who picked up the rest of the $170 million?You and your fellow tax…

Lucky Dawg News on September 22, 2006 at 8:20 am

I guess they ain’t makin’ any money from concessions then?

P. Aaron on September 22, 2006 at 8:58 pm

Debbie, at least the gazillionaires know what to do with the money. I figure whatever I pay in taxes, it mostly goes down the drain.
Posted by: shleppy at September 21, 2006 11:23 PM
So why not have a big-ass shin-dig…for free! It’s not only for the Louisianans but all of America

KOAJaps on September 23, 2006 at 4:58 pm

YES , WE THE PEOPLE PAY ALL THE TIME . I HAD A PROBLEM WITH MR. LEE,,,,HEY SPIKE! IT IS A FOOTBALL GAME ! THE FEDERAL IS THE LAST SAFETY NET AND IT SPINS UP & OUT TO THEM , SELF FIRST /CITY / COUNTY / STATE / FEDERAL , IN THAT ORDER

COASTSIDE on September 27, 2006 at 10:48 am

enough of the rhetorical comments. who do we complain to?

jimretnavy on September 27, 2006 at 12:56 pm

I, at first, wasn’t for the spending of the money to do this (and I’m from Louisiana)…but then it dawned on me just how much money it brings into the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana. It has been estimated that Monday night’s game alone brought in somewhere between 13 to 18 million dollars. The Dome has been sold out for the rest of the season, the first time in the history of the franchise. And don’t think that it’s just Saint’s games that are hosted there…Superbowls, Final Four basketball championships, conventions, shows, motorcross events…you name it, it’s been there. And ALL of that brings money into the city…money that will used to employ people and to rebuild. That’s means less money that has to come from the federal coffers….
There was a real disgrace that was perpetrated 5 years ago…the federal government bailout of the airline industry after 9/11…approximately 20 plus years ago, the industry got together and decided that it would tack on a fee of about a buck per ticket, for a rainy day fund in case they ever needed it…it’s my understanding that the fund now has close to a trillion dollars in it…but yet, they came to the government to help them out…where is the outrage at that???

LSUChris on September 27, 2006 at 2:34 pm

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