Dear Mario,

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On the other hand, the governor said the Penguins “keep coming up with new requests” in the negotiations. He said the team wants the state, city and county to “make up” $10 million the franchise could owe losing casino bidder Isle of Capri if it gets a new arena deal in Pittsburgh.

The Penguins declined comment on all aspects of the talks yesterday. Mr. Lemieux said Monday “we’re going to go out and explore our options. When we get a deal that we like, we’ll sign it.”

You’re pissing me off a little bit buddy.

You’re a local hero. I love you almost all the time. You’re cool … almost all of the time.

So I gotta tell you that you’re being a bit unreasonable about this whole arena deal.

You’ve been offered a deal sweeter than the Pirates got to build the House of Losingdom. Rendell is willing to put in some State dollars in addition to the already promised casino money.

Instead, all I’m hearing is wah-wah-WAH Isle of Capri this and Isle of Capri that. No one should have to bear the brunt of your stupid agreement to pay Isle of Capri $10 million if you build an arena in Pittsburgh without them. That was a dumb move on your part and you should have to pay for it.

I’m tired of hearing how freakin’ “disappointed” you are, because Mario, I am this close. THISCLOSE to being a bit disappointed in you.

Take the deal, keep the Pens here, and go roll around in your big pile of money.




  1. PittinDC
    January 24, 2007 10:48 am

    On the other hand, if Rendell even cared just a little bit about Western Pennsylvania, Mario wouldn’t be in this position in the first place… it would have been fixed long ago.

  2. Tep
    January 24, 2007 11:13 am

    You can’t blame Rendell too much. If you were governor would you really give a shit about Philadelphia? No.

  3. Big John
    January 24, 2007 11:17 am

    I don’t think its fair to blame Rendell for there being no new arena in PGH. The state set aside money years ago, before the funding source was thought to be the casino money. There simply wasn’t any RAD money left after so much public money went into Heinz and PNC.

  4. PittinDC
    January 24, 2007 11:34 am

    That’s the problem.. he give TOO much of a shit about Philadelphia. I get that he’s from there.. but when you’re governor.. its your job to care about the entire state. And Pittsburgh is a huge part of this state.

    Also, it was his casino commission that didn’t work with the Pens. I’m not saying its all Rendell’s fault.. and I’m sure he’s not going to take the fall for it.. but I am saying that if we had a governor that cared about the whole state, rather than just Filthy, this might be a different story.

    That said, I do agree that Mario and the Pens should try to work this out and stay in Pgh. I really don’t see big things for them in Kansas City. Plus, you’ll then lose the natural rivarlies that you have in the area.

  5. Judge Rufus Peckham
    January 24, 2007 11:42 am

    Hmm . . . when Mario starts losing Pittgirl, maybe he’s overplaying his hand. Remember, a few years ago the voters went to the polls and voted “NO” to giving even the mighty Steelers and the Pirates new ballparks, so Mario may not have the kind of support he thinks he has on this beyond Pens fans. Just take the deal, Mario, and be done with it.

  6. Inside Pittsburgh
    January 24, 2007 12:21 pm

    The legislature put money for a new arena in the capital budget bill going back either 1999 or 2000. For those of you unfamiliar with the capital budget bill, the legislature passes one every session. It’s a wish-list of statewide capital projects. What actually gets funded is up to the Governor. He can pick and choose the projects and then he has to release the money. I can’t remember the exact amount for this project. Jack Wagner was the sponsor of the amendment.

    As for the “no” vote a few years ago, a lot of people do not realize that had that actually been a “yes” vote, the sales tax increase (one-half of one cent) experienced under that ballot question would have expired in 2003. It could only have been extended through passage of additional legislation, which would have been a bit more difficult to pass than the original law that increased it to the current level (a one cent increase).

  7. Tim
    January 24, 2007 12:33 pm

    This is a prime example of why men shouldn’t rule the world. This is one giant (or small) dick measuring contest. Fast Eddie and Mario are dueling it out so that at the end of the day, both can say they fought the good fight, while Danny and Lukey are debating over who is more “positive” their’s is shorter. Sure would be nice if we had a mayor who has ever negotiated a thing in his life or politicians who had the foresight to do what they’re trying to do today 3 months ago.

  8. gjhead
    January 24, 2007 12:35 pm

    These were my toughts exactly yesterday.

    Now look, I absolutely love Mario, and I’m a huge, huge Pens fan. But first things first: What was it that was soooooooooooooo much more important in Mario’s life that he had to NOT ATTEND the last meeting with the Governer? Come on! WTF? How can he NOT EVEN GO TO THE DAMN MEETING!!!!

    Ok, so maybe he is just a figurehead in all of this, but it’s really no excuse.

    Personally, I think that Dan Barden is a little shifty. I don’t trust the dude one bit. But if Mario is really pissed that he was at the meeting,I think he needs to just suck it up a bit. I mean, Barden is giving the Penguins ohhhh 7.5 MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR FOR 30 YEARS! So maybe, yeah, let the guy come to the meetings. (I disagree that he should be sharing in any revenue though… dude is gonna me making more than enough money in the next few years.)

    My comments on the Pens having to owe the Isle of Capri 10 Million dollers? Well that’s just stupid. How stupid of a deal is that?

    Finally, I just can’t fathom that the Penguins would not even consider plan B before the slots lisense vote and that the bets plan they could come up with was sitting on their asses, rolling the dice and just “hoping” that Isle of Capri would get the lisense. That’s it? That’s the best they could come up with?

    Sign the deal, whoever it is that *really* owns the Penguins and quit screwing the fans around. Mario is treating the people that *really* pay the bills, the fans, the same way he is crying about the City/State treating him.

  9. Geat
    January 24, 2007 12:37 pm

    Mario should leave town. It has taken too long. The politicians supported their cronies who lost when they could have simply supported the Pens and as close as you can get to a free stadium. Now the same hacks want business concessions and are trying to spin it so Mario’s at fault. He deserves a deal at least as good as St Louis – the Steelers/Pirates deals are irrelevant.

  10. Geat
    January 24, 2007 12:42 pm

    Oops sorry – Kansas City I mean.

  11. The Comet
    January 24, 2007 12:44 pm

    One more year! One more year! One more year!

    I swear, there’s gotta be a way to shove some superboxes in that thing…

  12. Darnnews
    January 24, 2007 1:09 pm

    Kansas City’s arena owners built it speculatively with the intention of getting a revenue sharing package with a pro-hockey team. Kansas City proper isn’t offering a free stadium for the first team willing to show, a group of investors is offering an arena with the intentions of getting a “Return On (their) Investment” in the arena. That return comes outta Mario’s pocket, and he knows it. He’s playing hardball because the state and city blew him off in the last stadium bonanza, so if he bruises them a bit while playing hardball, all is fair in the pursuit of the best deal. You’d do the same.

  13. Big John
    January 24, 2007 1:12 pm

    The problem is the deal that the Pens entered into with IOC. It prohibited them from exploring any other option – even plan B. Others (city, county, state) could draw up all the plans they wanted, but the Pens couldn’t look at them or discuss them without breaking the deal they had with IOC. Now they owe IOC $10 million because IOC didn’t get the licence – and who’s problem is that? Right Mario – it’s us taxpayers problem that you agreed to a piss-poor deal.

  14. Geat
    January 24, 2007 2:15 pm

    Big John is right – Mario’s fault lies in seriously underestimating the corruption of the state and local politicians who turned down a free stadium! He should should have anticipated the irrational stupidity of those who have made a business of flagrantly screwing the taxpayers. It is Mario’s problem, its just one that no rational, honest person could have expected to face. So he should leave.

  15. Big John
    January 24, 2007 2:36 pm

    Of course, we don’t know all the details that went into the selection of Barden’s group over IOC. But, to play devils advocate here. . .
    Let’s assume that Barden and IOC had proposals that were pretty close. Each had good and bad points. Barden is offering to develop two areas of PGH – North Shore and Hill District. His plan would have shopping, residential, recreational, etc… IOC offered to develop one area (Hill Dist) and only offered the casino and the arena. If you weigh it that way – which plan benefits more people of the region? Which plan provides for residential development (sorely needed in PGH)? Which offers more long-term jobs? I’ll bet that’s why Barden got it. If I were a member of the board, I would resent having the Pens and IOC try to shove the arena and the future earnings of a bunch of millionairs down my throat.

    I want a new arena and the Pens to stay as much as the next guy – but Mario can’t expect the same deal the others got – the cupbards bare!

  16. Judge Rufus Peckham
    January 24, 2007 2:39 pm

    Common consensus tells us that the Forest City/Harrahs had, by far, the most political connections — including, allegedly, the Governor and Onorato and even Ravenstahl. IOC had the strongest support among the populace, and some policital backing, due to the large numbers of Pens fans. What did Don Barden have? All signs point to the conclusion that the Gaming Commission truly thought he offered the best plan for Pennsylvania and this region overall. I respect that, even though I do like the IOC plan for one reason: if a casino is going to hand over money to the region (and all three pledged to do that), I sure like the idea of knowing exactly where it’s going (i.e., a new arena). I’d prefer to give the politicians the least amount of discretion possible, because I fear we’ll never really know where the money goes otherwise.

  17. Joey
    January 24, 2007 3:10 pm

    Judge, you’re right, and that where most people missed the boat, because the PR spin was so great for the IOC plan. The whole idea of a casino was NOT designed to save a sports franchise, it was (is) for property tax relief. When the original vote came up in the legislature, there was no talk of saving the Pens with a new arena! From my sources in the know, one of the biggest reasons Bardon got the license was the traffic study that the gaming board came back and asked for from all three contestants. Right then, Harrah’s/Forest City knew they were dead in the water. IOC still had a chance, but the flame was definitely flickering.

    As far as Mario goes, quit acting like a baby and posturing for the media. Either you want to stay or you don’t. No one in their right mind (or even the powers that be in the NHL) believe for one minute that you are entertaining the idea of Houston, Texas. It’s another ploy to make Pittsburgh squirm. So, I say, sign the damn deal, get your agent to schedule 10 personal appearances for you at $1 million a piece so you can pay off that ridiculously stupid deal you inked with IOC, or…don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.

  18. Geat
    January 24, 2007 3:24 pm

    The Barden decision was not necessarily a bad one, but it may well have been the politically expedient one rather than truly having some greater merit over IOC’s plan. The commission is essentially a political body of sorts and its easy to pick Barden to avoid the appearance of favoring Harrahs/cronyism, and the vocal opposition by Hill residents. As his Honor points out, spending on a stadium is, I think, easier to monitor because you see what you get.

    Texas is indeed a ploy – they would have to change their name to what – the Pelicans? He might as well have said he was thinking of Mexico City.

  19. PittinDC
    January 24, 2007 5:02 pm

    Quick question about the Barden deal.. aren’t the Pirates and Steelers in huge opposition to then being on the North Shore, becuase it will take away from the “family friendly” atmosphere over there? And shoudln’t the Science Center be pissed too? That’s where I was confused when they picked Barden.. I mean.. McClatchy is a tool, but the Rooney’s are pretty important.. I didn’t think they’d want them pissed off.

  20. PittCheMBA
    January 24, 2007 10:05 pm

    Mario will always be bitter towards any politician. Mario is a hot head, but his crying is needed because people will listen. Ron Burkle is the biggest investor and since he has a history supporting Democrats and Rendell, hopefully the Pens will stay in Pittsburgh.

  21. Matt H
    January 24, 2007 10:47 pm

    Mario & Company need to get with the program and sign on the dotted line to stay here in PGH!

  22. Matt H
    January 24, 2007 10:48 pm

    Everyone who says that Ed Rendell doesn’t care about Ed Rendell are 100% wrong. In his 1st term as Governor he actually gave more $$ to this area that the Philadelphia area.

    Explain that one…

  23. PittinDC
    January 25, 2007 9:44 am

    Thanks Judge, I thought I saw talk about that somewhere!

  24. M
    January 25, 2007 8:36 pm

    I wish all these state, county and city officials would put just half of their energy into saving the soon-to-be decimated county transit system as they have in making sure that these ice skaters with sticks get their hundred million dollar+ playpen.