Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 6, 2015. 

Bucks don’t need taxpayer support

Common Ground is a Milwaukee metropolitan organization of congregations, non-profits, schools, small businesses and neighborhood associations. Its mission is to organize ordinary people to engage in the democratic process in order to strengthen the common good. We are the voice of thousands of citizens who are opposed to the use of public money for the construction of a new Bucks arena. We join our voice with that of the 79% of Milwaukee area taxpayers who according to a recent Marquette University poll agree with our opposition to using tax dollars to subsidize the Bucks.

Let us make our position very clear. We are NOT opposed to the Milwaukee Bucks. Many of us are fans. We are NOT opposed to the Bucks building a new arena. If the Buck’s business plan calls for having a new facility in which to generate more revenue for themselves and the NBA, that is fine with us. A business needs to make money to thrive.

Here is where we disagree. The owners of the Bucks DO NOT NEED taxpayer money to build their new arena. They also DO NOT DESERVE our hard earned money.

The three majority owners of the Bucks – Dinan, Edens and Lasry are New York City based billionaires. They have the financial power to raise the capital needed to build an arena. Mr. Edens himself owns Fortress Investments, which owns or controls over 30 individual companies that make hundreds of millions of dollars in profits each year. If anyone doubts their financial capabilities, Common Ground calls for an independent audit of the financial resources of these three owners. We believe the truth is on our side. These gentlemen DO NOT NEED our money to build their arena. The Golden State Warriors’ owners have put up $600 million of their own money to build their new arena. Dinan, Edens and Lasry can do the same thing.

Secondly, Bucks owner Wesley Edens owns Nationstar Mortgage, which controls hundreds of foreclosed homes in Milwaukee. Common Ground has physically inspected 300 of these properties. Many of these are vacant and deteriorating. We have pictures to prove this. Mr. Edens is in effect a slum landlord. He does NOT DESERVE a tax subsidy when he is deteriorating our neighborhoods.

Common Ground is calling on our elected public officials to vote against ANY public subsidy for the construction for a new Bucks arena. Listen to the voices of the vast majority of your constituents who are opposed to WELFARE FOR BILLIONAIRES.

Keisha Krumm
Lead Organizer

Jennifer O’Hear
Fair Play Chairperson