MLSE boss takes shot at Mayor Ford, says BMO Field plan is ''simple smart math''

Rob Ford voted against $10-million city loan

MLSE boss Tim Leiweke says he doesn't mind the fact that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford doesn't support the planned renovations to BMO Field.

"Which probably means we win 42-2 at the council," Leiweke said dismissively, speaking to season-ticket holders before Toronto FC's home opener against D.C. United on Saturday.

"This is the guy that I went in and met with, he was mad at us that we didn't go through him at first. He wanted this to be his plan. We took him through it and he said 'I'm for this, I want this, I'll support you.'"

"I'm extremely happy he's not supporting us."

Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment wants $10 million from each of the three levels of government and plans to spend $90 million itself to expand the city-owned, MLSE-operated stadium.

The plan is to increase the soccer capacity from 21,500 to 30,000, with the potential to add 10,000 more temporary seats for special occasions. The planned renovations also call for a roof over the stands.

The city's $10 million would be repaid over 20 years with interest, said Leiweke.

"They actually do better with this investment than they do their pension fund. They get a pretty good healthy return on the $10 million."

The mayor has said he supports TFC but doesn't believe taxpayers should have to pay for stadium improvements.

"The thing that riles me the most is when someone accuses us of a gravy train. It's exactly the opposite," said Leiweke, MLSE's president and CEO. "We're taking a public facility that the city currently has a 50 per cent responsibility to pay for and we're looking at bills over the next 10 to 15 years that will be $30 to $40 million out of the city's pocket and we're proposing a solution that has them put in $10 million and we repay them over 20 years."

"This is not a gravy train. This is simple smart math and great leadership on behalf of the city manager to find a solution where the private sector steps up and takes all the risk. I am not embarrassed by this deal. I will not let it get in the middle of a political race. And at the end of the day, this stadium, this city, this team and you fans deserve a facility that's the best in Major League Soccer and that's what we're going to try to do."

The City's executive committee has approved the proposed stadium plan with Ford casting the lone No vote. It now goes to the full council in April.

Under the current deal, the City of Toronto and MLSE share the cost of capital improvements. This winter, that means they will share $30 million "to put a Band-Aid" on the stadium, Leiweke said.

"No major improvements, whatsoever ... And without a roof, five years from now, we'll be putting another $30 million into the stadium," he added.

Leiweke said MLSE is offering to take care of any cost overruns in the stadium renovation and will "take full responsibility" in operating the venue as well as taking care of all capital improvements.

"So we completely privatized the risk but at the same time we protect the stadium so it still remains an asset to the city and it's at their beck and call as to how we use it."

Leiweke said MLSE has agreed to the city's demands in terms of finding a home for the Toronto Argonauts at the stadium as well timing of construction around the 2015 Pan Am Games.

The MLSE boss made a point of praising the provincial and federal governments, saying they understood the economics of the deal and the benefits of an improved stadium.

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  • 19
  1. Etobi-COKE Voter posted on 03/22/2014 09:42 PM
    Don't talk down to the Mayor.

    He knows Math. He knows how many times a month he cashes a cheque from Deco Labels.

    He will come up with an argument just as soon as Doug explains it to him and goes over it with him ............... and over ...............and over
  2. Only Common Sense posted on 03/22/2014 10:34 PM
    Once again the Ford "math" looks as silly as it is.
  3. AdrianoC1981 posted on 03/23/2014 11:43 AM
    Shame on you Mr.Leiweke and MLSE. Looking for a handout from all levels of government. Shame on you! That means that Toronto taxpayers will be paying 3 times for a handout to a multi billion dollar corporation. MLSE can go to any bank and get a loan, for any amount but still they have the audacity to ask the taxpayers(the same taxpayers that are struggling to keep their heads above water) and then the balls to call out Mayor Ford because he voted "No". Good for you Mayor Ford, good for you. I myself am a die hard Toronto sports fan, but this is disgusting. The city would never, and I mean never give me a loan to better my business so why them should they feel obligated to handout millions of dollars to this billion dollar corporation. Once again, DISGUSTING! At the same time, the majority of taxpayers couldn't afford to attend any of these venues even if their own wages were doubled. Tell MLSE to get a private lender and leave the taxpayers out of this.
    1. Mark7 posted on 03/23/2014 01:49 PM
      @AdrianoC1981 You need to learn to read and comprehend:

      1. This is a city owned park, leased by a private company. All improvements will eventually revert back to the city, in the interim, the city makes lots of money to reduce our taxes.

      2. They are not asking for a hand-out but a loan that will be repaid with interest.

      3. The city's return on investment will be higher than it's bonds or GIC's.

      4. The loan is guaranteed

      5. The loan will create jobs and a venue for all Torontonians to enjoy...concerts, sports, all public gatherings. The rent will generate millions over 20 years.

      Ford is a drug addled idiot who refuses to vote for this because they won't say that it's his idea...again his fat ego is standing in the way of Toronto's progress and future. If this field was located anywhere outside of the 416 area, especially in Etobicoke, you know the fatty would be leading the vote for it.

      Ford just sucks, as does his brother.
    2. AdrianoC1981 posted on 03/23/2014 03:14 PM
      @Mark7 Please refer me to where you are getting these numbers. MLSE plans to pay $865000.00 per year for 20 years. This amounts to $17300000.00 over 20 years. Would this annual lease fee($865000.00) include the repayment of the 10million that the city would be lending MLSE? If so, the City of Toronto is getting ripped off. I haven't seen any articles indicating that MLSE would be paying the loan back separately, but instead the payment would be implemented into the 20 year lease agreement. If I a wrong, please send me a link on where I could correct myself. Ask yourself another question. Why would MLSE pay more interest to the City of Toronto when they could save money(because that's the bottom line when running a business) getting the loan from another source? The only people who will benefit from this money are the owners of MLSE.
    3. Mark7 posted on 03/23/2014 04:13 PM
      @AdrianoC1981 Why? I am the almighty Mark7, owner of this board. I can make up numbers and say anything with impunity. I've said some really stupid stuff in other posts, especially when supporting Karl Burgin. I often make no sense whatsoever, so why ask for proof now?

      Before you attack me, make sure that you are without sin before casting the first stone.

    4. Karl Burgin posted on 03/24/2014 10:33 AM
      @Mark7 Don't bother with this fool trying to spout his spiel as someone else.
      He's too cowardly to spread his idiotic opinions under his own name. So his only alternative is to hide behind someone else's.

      Don't pay the jackass any mind.
    5. AdrianoC1981 posted on 03/24/2014 12:55 PM
      @Karl Burgin Who exactly are you referring this post to?
    6. Karl Burgin posted on 03/24/2014 12:59 PM
      @AdrianoC1981 My apologies....that post was in response to you against the fake "Mark 7".
    7. AdrianoC1981 posted on 03/24/2014 01:03 PM
      @Karl Burgin What exactly is your take on this article?
    8. Karl Burgin posted on 03/24/2014 01:13 PM
      @AdrianoC1981 Actually, I don't think MLSE should be going to the government with hat in hand.
      The same way I think Rogers somehow got some grant from some level of government too.

      Especially when these private enterprises aren't in danger of going under, and require financial assistance to stay afloat. If they were in trouble, like the car companies, an argument can be made there. But the government (especially Queen's Park and City Hall), aren't really swimming in extra cash at the moment.

      As far as I'm concerning, this is almost as similar as Chrysler trying to get tax payers to give them extra money.
    9. AdrianoC1981 posted on 03/24/2014 01:24 PM
      @Karl Burgin The thing that bothers me is that Mr. Leiweke is using council's hatred towards Mayor Ford to goat them into making another stupid decision with the taxpayers money. MLSE can get a loan from ANY financial institution no questions asked. The real question should be why are they trying to get the 3 levels of government to pony up the funds. And, by the way, someone should tell Mr. Leiweke that Toronto is LEAFS NATION, we need Stanley Cup before any MLS or NBA title. Big fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs, not so much a fan of MLSE anymore. The rich just want to continue to get rich on the backs of the hard working little guys. MAKES ME SICK TO MY STOMACH!
    10. Karl Burgin posted on 03/24/2014 03:54 PM
      @AdrianoC1981 "The thing that bothers me is that Mr. Leiweke is using council's hatred towards Mayor Ford to goat them into making another stupid decision with the taxpayers money."

      Precisely. And the headline on this article is another indication of that very fact.
      "MLSE can get a loan from ANY financial institution no questions asked. "

      If they are so confident in their ability to pay the money back with interest, then this should be of no issue trying to get loans from a private entity. The problem is that they are being opportunistic, and trying to pull a fast one. The less strings attached to their loan, the better.
      Can't really blame them for trying. Although, you can certainly blame any level of government that falls for this ploy. They are supposed to be the gate-keepers of our hard earned money which they extract before we even get paid. I have absolutely no faith in Wynne, so I wouldn't be surprised if she rolled over on this. Nor do I have faith in your City Hall- who would in actually vote the opposite of Rob Ford- even if the decision is worst for the city.

      "And, by the way, someone should tell Mr. Leiweke that Toronto is LEAFS NATION, we need Stanley Cup before any MLS or NBA title. Big fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs, not so much a fan of MLSE anymore."

      The only reason I can see why there are trying to pull this is, is because of the major signing for players for TFC. I can understand if they want to make a better team, but it shouldn't be off the backs of the fans- and even less off the city they represent.
      You made the deals to get the players- find a way to pay it. No shift the bill to someone else.

      And I can almost guarantee you, if it were any one of the other mayoral candidates in the mayor's chair (or David Miller for that matter) was faced with this, they would agree to this proposal in a heart beat.
      As others have pointed out, I may not live in Toronto- but the issues of Toronto are/do affect those in the Golden Horseshoe. And quite frankly, I am getting sick and tired off footing somebody else's bill due to government screw-ups, spend-crazy Toronto mayors/councillors, and greed corporations.
  4. kenfromcanada posted on 03/23/2014 05:24 PM
    Sounding more and more like the absent - not missed - donny p(utz)
    1. Mark7 posted on 03/23/2014 09:44 PM
      @kenfromcanada I miss the little Jew Boy, he made my work much easier. I wish we could get him back, he`s the only one that made any sense.

      But now yow must worship me...bend a knee for Mark7.

  5. kenfromcanada posted on 03/23/2014 11:45 PM
    Too blasted funny!!
    donny p(utz) is arguing with himself again! All we need now is his other profile(s) to jump in and the three ring circus is on!!

    1. Karl Burgin posted on 03/24/2014 10:36 AM
      @kenfromcanada Me thinks he belongs at CAMH.

      He seems to exhibit some very worrying schizophrenic behavior- making arguments with himself, and using another's persona.

      He better not have one his episodes in public- lately the cops are shooting first, and asking questions after.
  6. don was right posted on 03/24/2014 08:51 AM
    MLSE, Bell, Rogers and Larry have more money than God himself. Use your own money to build whatever leashold improvents you want.

    RoFo is right. Mark 7 obviously went to math classes in Ontario schools and needs his fingers to add up the costs. One of those fingers is stuck up ****** so he is a bit short.
  7. G Man posted on 04/01/2014 11:19 AM
    I'm assuming the loan repayment would be in addition to the lease fee. If so, it's a good deal for the city. However, is MLSE also going to repay the other two levels of government in the same manner? Or is Mr. Leiweke hoping we taxpayers don't notice he's wants a handout from the province and the federal government?
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