Saturday, August 04, 2001

Reds fans contributing to Paul Brown Stadium

By Dan Klepal
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Reds fans going to games at Cinergy Field are helping pay for ... Paul Brown Stadium.

        A quarter from the sale of each Reds ticket, along with all parking fees at Cinergy Field, go directly to Hamilton County coffers.

        Last month, county commissioners took $5 million from the Cinergy account to pay for operations at Paul Brown Stadium. Last year, $11.5 million was transferred for the same reason.

        Ken Pettit, director of finance in Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes' office, said the transfers are completely legal but are poor business practices.

        “It's a government making a profit off one private entity and subsidizing another,” Mr. Pettit said. “And for Reds fans who think that by avoiding the Bengals they are not helping Mike Brown, they're wrong.”

        County administrators say the money in the Cinergy Field account comes from many sources — not just Reds' games — such as concerts at Cinergy and naming rights from both the football and baseball stadiums.

        “Basically, they are funds that have built up over time and won't be needed to continue to run the facility,” which is scheduled to be torn down in 2003, said County Administrator Dave Krings.

        “Those funds date back to when both the Bengals and the Reds were in Cinergy,” he said. “To say which penny came from which team would be pretty difficult.”

        Steve Dorsey, a 43-year-old Anderson Township resident who attends about 20 Reds games every year, said fans should help pay for the new sports stadiums. But he'd like his quarters, taken from Reds' tickets, help the baseball team.

        “I'd like to see more of it go toward something the Reds can use,” Mr. Dorsey said. “They've given a half billion dollars to Paul Brown Stadium, and it just keeps on going.”

        Commissioner Todd Portune says $16 million to pay for operations at the football stadium over the past two years shows the county got a raw deal when negotiating the Bengals' lease.

        “It just continues to underscore the need to revisit that (lease) agreement,” he said.


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