Mark Madden's Monologue for Monday
Today is a somber day on the MM show. Somber because I must declare war. I must declare war on that pig of a governor, Ed Rendell. On that scumbag of a mayor, Bob O?Connor. On the various and sundry dolts that leave a trail of slime through the city, county and state governments. On the crooked, bent, on-the-take hacks that determine who?s gonna get the stand-alone slots license here in Pittsburgh. You heard Mario Lemieux on SAT. Nothing?s getting done, so he and the Penguins? other owners are gonna consider all their options, and rightfully so. Mario?s been getting jerked around since he bought the Penguins out of bankruptcy, and enough is enough.
The Penguins cannot initiate negotiations w/other cities until after the season is over. Their lease w/Mellon Arena, of course, runs out following the 06-07 season. Here?s a little loophole, though?other cities can initiate negotiations w/the Penguins RIGHT NOW, and one option already on the table would see Boots Del Biagio buy the Pens and move them to fabulous Las Vegas. A deal hasn?t been finalized w/Boots, but it wouldn?t take long. Boots has the dough, and he?s ready to move.
Now, here?s a little lesson on lies and the lying liars who tell them. Question #1: Why is it taking so long to determine who gets the slots license? And I answer?because Rendell wants Mario to run out of patience and make his move first. Then Rendell can paint Mario the bad guy, even as he pays off the bribe the Station Square people made by way of a 175K campaign contribution by giving them the slots license.
Question #2: Won?t the Station Square people help build a new arena? See, this is where the con gets really intense. The Station Square people are gonna offer 100m for a new arena. The new arena is gonna cost about 250m. Mario could never raise and doesn?t have 250m. The Station Square people KNOW that. The Station Square people are offering 100m they know they will never, ever have to actually pay. It?s an empty gesture so Rendell can justify giving them the license, but they KNOW they get to keep everything.
Question #3: What about Mark Cuban, the savior of Pittsburgh sports? Won?t he step in? OF COURSE HE WON?T. Like the Station Square people, Cuban only offers what he knows he won?t have to pay. He asked to buy the Pirates when he knew they weren?t for sale. He would have bought 15 percent of the team to become part of the original Mario group?but only if that allowed him control the team, which is an offer Cuban knew?absolutely KNEW Mario would not accept. If Cuban really wanted the team, he could have bought it for almost nothing out of bankruptcy. Or for almost nothing during the strike. Cuban doesn?t want the Penguins, or the Pirates. He just wants good PR here in Pittsburgh, and he wants it for free.
The Penguins? plan for the slots revenue includes putting $1 billion into re-developing the area where Mellon Arena is now. The Penguins? plan would give EVERYTHING back to the community, all of the slots revenue, every single dime. How can that NOT BE the best plan for Pittsburgh? After all, that is the criteria, right? Whoever has the best plan for Pittsburgh gets the license. Well, gee, it turns out that isn?t the criteria at all. The criteria is, whoever BRIBED RENDELL gets the license. And it wasn?t Mario that bribed Rendell. It was the Station Square people.
I know I?m using the word ?bribe? pretty cavalierly. But what else would you call the 175K the Station Square people gave Rendell? If Mario has the superior plan for the community, but the Station Square people get the slots license anyway, that 175K IS A BRIBE. Grab a dictionary if you don?t believe me.
More on this as it develops, but right now the odds of the Pens staying in PGH are 90-10 against. Somebody can always ride in on a white horse, but Mario has traditionally always owned the only white horse when it comes to the Penguins, and he?s keeping it in the barn this time. He?s had enough. One thing I CAN promise yinz, tho?this won?t happen easily. If the Penguins leave town, I intend to make sure they leave a trail of blood behind. And it won?t be mine, and it won?t be Mario?s. I made those who ran SMG literally weep the last time I waged a battle like this.
Welcome to my nightmare. I think you?re gonna like it. It wasn?t over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.