The Political and Financial Rot Beneath Toyota Park
OTF unearthed some required reading for Fire fans…
Back in June 2012 — before this site existed and before the author of this post was a user of social media — Chicago Tribune investigative reporters Joseph Ryan and Joe Mahr published an account of extraordinary, yet all-too-typical fiduciary and fiscal irresponsibility by Chicago-area politicians.
The subject? Toyota Park.
If you haven’t yet, may I suggest you have a read? http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-06-09/news/ct-met-debt-bridgeview-main-20120609_1_bridgeview-soccer-stadium-chicago-fire
A few weeks later, a brief editorial came out in the Trib, asking “Who’s watching Bridgeview?”
You may want to have a gander at it as well: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-06-30/opinion/ct-edit-landek-20120630_1_bridgeview-village-trustee-steven-landek
Then, in December 2012, this report (which the author had previously read) about a “fiscal house of cards” was published a day before New Year’s Eve: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-12-30/news/ct-met-bridgeview-stadium-debt-20121230_1_bridgeview-officials-bridgeview-taxpayers-village-owned-stadium
Is there any hope that Chicago Fire Soccer Club can divorce itself from its current arrangement with the Village of Bridgeview? Well, a 30-year lease was signed in 2005, so you’ll have to wait until 2035 it seems. However, one wonders whether the Fire would have some options if the Village went insolvent due to the financial constraints put upon it and its taxpayers by Toyota Park.
Is there a release clause for the Fire in the Lease Agreement if the Village goes bankrupt? Would the Fire be able to sign a year-to-year deal if it did? Would it want to? Would Andell, Inc. gather a syndicate to buy Toyota Park at a discount if it thought it could develop its surrounding land? Or would the Fire get out of Bridgeview asap? If it’s the latter, I hope contingency plans are being drafted as I write this.
In the meantime though, maybe Chicago Fire Soccer Club’s head honcho in Bridgeview and Chief Operating Officer, Atul Khosla, should spend more time looking at financial data, counting beans, and negotiating with local politicians than pretending he knows anything about soccer and how to communicate with its supporters.
Scott Fenwick founded On The Fire in 2012. Along with Brian Smith, he co-hosts the On The Fire Soccer Radio Podcast. Scott also contributes to the Guardian’s (UK) MLS fan previews, The Cup.us, Pickles Magazine, and is America’s #1 Rapid supporter.