Insider Louisville sat down with the city’s mayor, Greg Fischer, to discuss the financial woes of the KFC Yum! Center, and its affect on the taxpayers. It’s an important read for any Kentuckian, not just Cardinal fans. So no griping about KSR being too interested in L1C4, ok? Deal.
As you probably are aware, the two largest debt rating agencies in the world “have downgraded the $340 million in Yum! Center construction bonds to “junk” status.”
Additionally, the area surrounding the arena is not generating the revenue that was anticipated, and of course, the University of Louisville holds that ever so ridiculous lease with the Yum! Center. As Kendrick Lamar would say, “all my life I want money and power,” Louisville clearly got it in this deal.
Insider Louisville asked several important questions in this brief interview, and I’ve chosen segments of Fischer’s responses to share with you.
The first IL question raised was whether there was a possibility of default by the city.
No. As long as the city can meet its obligation for payment, the bonds are going to be fine. I’m not defending the deal that was struck with the master tenant (University of Louisville), but there’s a legal obligation in place, a contract in place, in which the city has a minimum payment of $6.5 million a year, and a maximum of $9.8 million. So as long as we can make that maximum payment, we should be fine.
IL: “Given your business background, from a cost-benefit perspective, do you think this was a good deal for the city?”
You have the main tenant being the University of Louisville, and they had their position when they were negotiating the contract. And, as I said, I wasn’t there, so I assume both parties came to some point they felt was reasonable. My job right now is just to make sure we live by the contract, and if conditions change dramatically, obviously we’ll need to have discussions, but as of now we can make the payments.