Veteran journalist Carl Hoffman believes he’s solved one of the great mysteries of the 20th century. In 1961 at the age of 23, Michael Rockefeller – son of New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller and a member of one of the richest and most powerful families in America ¬– travelled to remote New Guinea in search of primitive art for his father’s new museum.
Group Wants To Limit City Of Columbus Arena Payments
A local coalition is taking aim at the 18-month old deal that led to a publically owned Nationwide Arena.
The Columbus Coalition for Responsive Government wants to put the issue on the ballot. It said it submitted 17,000 signatures to the city clerk Thursday.
Coalition leader Jonathan Beard wants voters to decide whether the city should continue to make lease payments on the arena.
“Let’s just confirm whether the people of Columbus want this to continue. It’s a ton of money,” Beard said.
Voters five times rejected a publically-financed arena.
“City council side-stepped the intent of the voters by finding a way to provide public financing for an area that did not need voter approval,” Beard said.
“The payments under the lease agreement are subject to an annual appropriation of council,” he said. “What we’ve said is that take a couple of years, whatever you need to get on the ballot, but come to the voters and let us authorize the payments because that’s typically how it’s done for publically financed sports facilities.”
In 2012, the city and county agreed to use casino tax money to pay buy the arena from Nationwide Insurance. In return, the Blue Jackets get free rent to use the facility. The Jackets say the deal allows the team to remain solvent.
The Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority runs the arena. Its director Bill Jennison said contracts are not easily canceled.
A spokesman for Mayor Michael Coleman declined comment.
The Coalition for Responsive Governent successfully led the campaign to defeat the Columbus School levy and it’s pushing for publically funded city council and mayoral campaigns.