Buck You, Senator Kohl

Millionaire Senator Herbert Kohl, D-Wisconsin, is starting to make “buy me an arena” noises in the city of Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports. Kohl owns the Milwaukee Bucks NBA team, which plays at the creaky 16-year-old Bradley Center:

The Bradley Center opened in the fall of 1988 and is one of the oldest and smallest arenas in the 29-team National Basketball Association, facts that Kohl conceded would be a surprise to most Milwaukeeans.

Despite its limitations, Kohl said, the building was in excellent shape.

Apparently, the board that runs the Bradley Center wants to make upgrades, but that’s not enough for the distinguished gentleman:

Milwaukee Bucks owner Herb Kohl said Tuesday that it did not make sense to spend $50 million to $100 million to remodel the Bradley Center and said the community would have to discuss in the future the need for a new arena.

The Democratic U.S. senator, noting that it had been a joy this season to own the team, said spending millions more to remodel the facility “would not extend its useful life.”

Rather, he said, the Bradley Center board ought to consider more modest upgrades to the building that will generate new revenue for the Bucks.

Give me more money, says Don Kohl. Generate revenue for me, he says. Here’s what he wants:

Kohl said the Bucks were interested in a new, eight-year lease with the Bradley Center – “A decent lease,” he said – that would include more revenue from concessions and suites and the possible addition of club seats.

A new decent lease? What exactly are the terms of the current lease?

The Bucks, who pay no rent at the Bradley Center, receive 27.5% of total gross receipts from concessions other than programs, merchandise, and food and beverage sales in the suites. The team also gets 13.7% of gross revenue from food and beverage sales from the suites at all Bradley Center events. In addition, the Bradley Center board paid about $2.1 million more in the fiscal year ending last June 30 to help the team financially.

That’s a johnking lease? What can the Bradley Center lease me for equivalent terms? Lord, love a duck.

    Then what?

    “After that, the community has to decide what to do with the NBA in Milwaukee,” Kohl said. Right now, he added, “The community is not in the mood to talk about a new facility.”

Hey, brah, I will talk about it. How about you use some of that wealth of yours to build your own heinzenjohnking arena, and then you can keep all the concessions and all the total gross receipts and you can rent it out to other production companies for when they want to bring Comcast on Ice to town.

What, Milwaukee might rebel against your enlightened entrepreneurship and its demands upon the city’s treasury? I mean, it’s been two years already since the taciturn community blew hundreds of millions of dollars building a free sports facility that stands empty even when the Brewers are playing in it. Maybe you better get a cush little cooling-off period before you start sniffing around for a public-private “partnership” where you’re the comedian and it’s the straight man.

I used to respect you, Senator, but no more. I only wish I could vote against you.

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