Tag Archives: Senator Kohl

A few thoughts for @SykesCharlie (Part II)


When the conversation got rolling on a new Bucks arena in April of 2014, Milwaukee talk radio commentator Charlie Sykes came out with significant critiques as it related to public financing for a new downtown arena. With the details of a new plan leaking out today, he’s back at it again both on his talk show and at this link via his Right Wisconsin digital platform.

Last year in the spirit of good debate, we did a piece addressing some of his concerns. We’ll take a crack at his concerns raised today with the new financing plan. Before reading this piece, we’d recommend that for background you read our piece from last night – The Elements of The Deal if you have not already done so.

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Save Our Bucks

The Elements of the Deal


The news leaked out earlier this afternoon. First from local Milwaukee talk radio personality Mark Belling and then quickly followed up by the reporters at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The elements of a deal are in place to finance a new Milwaukee arena complex.

We are going to give it our best shot at explaining what the key moving pieces are and what to look for next. Before we begin, we’d like to offer our condolences to the family of Don Walker, the MJS reporter covering the arena issue, who passed away unexpectedly last week of a heart attack at the age of 62. Don and I (your SOB editor) had many email conversations on all things Milwaukee Bucks and the arena project over the past two years. I had known Don from assisting him with some prior stories on Miller Park many years ago. He was a very hard working reporter who was respected by all. As the excitement of the arena takes shape, we do so not only without Don, but also Bradley Center Chairman Marc Marotta, who unexpectedly passed away last month as well. The sad irony is that a key driver of the project (Marotta) and the key reporter covering the project (Walker) are not with us to shepherd things as we enter the home stretch. That said, we know they will be there in spirit when the first Bucks home game is played at the new building. Condolences for the families of both men.

Not a Done Deal Yet

When the specific details are announced in the next week, it is important for Bucks fans to realize that this is simply “the plan” for financing the new arena. This plan has many moving parts and will need a number of different constituencies to sign off on things. If some of these groups fail to go along with the plan, there might not be an arena. Thus it is critical that arena supporters convey to your elected representatives in the coming weeks that you want them to support the project.

Here are the important takeaways based on the deal specifics as outlined by MJS reporters Dan Bice and Patrick Marley this afternoon: Continue reading

A Wisconsin Tale – Part I


Once upon a time there were three brothers, Christoper, Tom and Scott. The three boys had grown up on the shore of Lake Winnebago, raised by their loving parents Henry and Karen, who owned a beautiful house on the Lake. As youngsters the boys loved the lake and all it had to offer. Fishing, boating and swimming. One of their favorite activities was going out walleye fishing in their uncle Lloyd’s 16-foot Lund Fishing boat. The memories of those days on the lake were imbedded in them all. The three brothers agreed that as they grew up and built families of their own, they would always share this boating legacy with their children.

Lund Fishing Boat

Over time each of the boys married and transitioned into the stresses of normal adult life. Scott moved to Madison where he had built a lucrative career, Christopher moved into downtown Oshkosh, Tom elected to stay on the lake, inheriting the family home after the passing of their parents.

One day the three brothers were gathered at the park in Fond Du Lac for the annual boat show. A beautiful 24-foot pontoon boat with a 200 horsepower Mercury motor powerful was on display. The dealer was going out of business next-month and offering them a once-in-lifetime price of $22,000.

The three brothers knew Uncle Lloyd’s old Lund wasn’t cutting it anymore. They each had teen children who wanted to not only fish but waterski and inner-tube. Given the size of the families, it was impossible for them to all use Uncle Lloyd’s small fishing boat at the same time. Further, the families all wanted to have that boat that could be used for more than just fishing. The model on sale could also be used for water sports and cruising on the big lake. Scott suggested that he had the money to buy the boat, but it would need to be kept at the Tom’s house on the lake.

Pontoon Boat Water SkiChristopher seconded the idea and offered to purchase the lift, trailer and handle winter storage at his garage in Oshkosh. Continue reading

Save Our Bucks

Walker’s Arena Proposal: Thoughts and Questions


It was an exciting day for Bucks fans as Governor Scott Walker presented his arena financing plan this morning. Does this mean we are home free? Is NBA basketball now secure in Milwaukee for decades to come? Not yet. There are still some battles to come in the coming months. We will need all of you to be ready to have your voices heard with your State and local legislators. We will have details shortly on some events that you can participate in to show your support for the project, so we’ve got some work to do.

All that being said, if you assume Bucks fan angst over the team relocating is a malady that began around 2003 when Senator Kohl almost sold the team to Michael Jordan, we are probably 95% through this. We’ve still got to get through that last 5% that will entail LED outlining their site plans and the politicians lining up to hopefully make this funding plan a reality.

We have a few thoughts and questions from this morning’s press conference. So let’s get this started!

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Scott Walker Steps Up


For those of you just catching up on the news, the concept of the Bucks remaining in Milwaukee for the long haul just had its single most important day since Senator Kohl announced the sale of the team last April.

As reported by Rich Kirchen in the Milwaukee Business Journal, Governor Walker’s proposed 2016-17 State budget will include provisions for state income taxes paid by NBA players to be used to fund the principal and interest payments on tax-exempt bonds to be issued to fund an estimated $200 million dollar public contribution to a new arena. This is what has been referred to in the media as the “jock-tax”.

Most observers had expected Walker to be the last domino to fall in the sequence of events to allow for a new arena. Conventional wisdom called for the Bucks to propose a plan, the public and politicians to debate it, and, at the end of that debate Walker to weigh in with his thoughts. Continue reading

The Two Words that Saved Our Bucks – “New CBA”


Are the Bucks saved yet?  Not quite. We’ve still got that messy arena project ahead of us. Only when the new arena is underway can we relax under the assumption the team is then locked into Milwaukee for the long-haul.

That said, it has become evident to us over the past week that when fans and NBA historians will look back at what saved the Bucks, the answer will be clear: The turning point was the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”) between the players union and the owners that came about as a result of the lockout.

Senator Kohl and his staff were critical players behind the scenes in the negotiation of this agreement, primarily as it relates to how small markets are treated. Did the small markets get everything they wanted with the 2011 CBA?  No, but it becomes clearer by the day they got enough, as evidenced by LeBron James decision to return to small-market Cleveland.  Let’s discuss!
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The Next Chapter Begins……


It has been 48-hours since the sale of the Bucks was announced. We wanted to wait before posting our thoughts, to allow some time to absorb the details. Our reaction to the news is extremely positive and we are optimistic about the team’s long-term future in the City.  Let’s now talk specifics: Continue reading

About Those Hedge Fund Managers……


We haven’t published two pieces in one day, but given the news broken by Bill Simmons that hedge fund managers Marc Lasry and Wes Edens are the front-runners to purchase the team, we felt there needed to be a bit more commentary on the subject.

In our earlier piece, we provided some background on Lasry and Edens for those unfamiliar with them.  We encourage everyone to read that article first, as it will help provide context for this companion discussion. In this piece, we’d like to sound a note of caution for Bucks fans that the long-term future of the franchise could still be fragile if Senator Kohl goes forward with a sale to Lasry and Edens. Continue reading

Some Big News Dropped Yesterday….

Editors Note: After this piece was published, we followed up with a companion piece that talks in more detail about how the Bucks themselves make an attractive hedge fund target in a sense, and some of the potential risks of selling to Lasry and Edens.


Most of you following the Bucks on social media received the news regarding the names of the front-runners to purchase the Bucks, as reported by Bill Simmons in his weekly “Mailbag” column over at Grantland. That said, we aren’t sure this giant tree falling in the forest made an impact locally, so we’re here to offer some thoughts on it.

A week ago this time, Simmons set Bucks Nation ablaze with his report that the Bucks were very close to being sold, for a price in the $525 million dollar range. That lead off a speculative frenzy as to who the potential buyers might be. We thought Rich Kirchen of The Business Journal might have nailed it with his profile of Chicagoan Dr. Richard Chaifetz, a self made millionaire who has in the past few years been linked to groups trying to purchase the Minnesota Timberwolves and St. Louis Rams.  Not the case, as Simmons followed up yesterday with his reporting that:

The guys who thought they had it as recently as two days ago? Hedge-fund billionaires Marc Lasry and Wes Edens, who slid under the radar this entire time and thought they landed the Bucks with an offer in the $550 million range (slightly more than Vivek Ranadivé paid for the equally unappealing Kings). As recently as Wednesday, Lasry and Edens were expecting the NBA to vote on their bid at next week’s Board of Governors meeting.

So … what happened? Continue reading

Milwaukee Bucks, Save Our Bucks

“Buck Up” & attend the Bucks final Home Game with us! #saveourbucks

The Milwaukee Bucks 2013-2014 Campaign is coming to a close on April 16th vs the Atlanta Hawks.

Now’s the time to get out and SUPPORT the team by attending the final home game. Support the players who had to lace em up for countless games when they knew their fate was sealed. They’ve earned it.

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