Budget Cuts, Corporate Welfare, Economic Development, ESPN, Malloy Budget cuts, Corporate Welfare, Economic Development, ESPN, Malloy
The Urban Dictionary defines “jive” as a “colorful form of speaking” that is “sometimes hard to follow.”
In the real world here is how it works;
On August 2, 2011 Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced that, in return for creating 200 new jobs over the next five years, the taxpayers of Connecticut would give ESPN $17.5 million toward the construction of a new building and at least $300,000 to train the new workers. Malloy explained, “ESPN’s needs are not going to be ignored.”
That corporate welfare package brought the total Connecticut taxpayer support for ESPN to over $100 million in state tax breaks and grants over the past twelve years.
Then yesterday, May 20, 2013, The Wall Street Journal reported that ESPN, “was in the process of laying off a few hundred workers… a sign that the hugely profitable sports cable-TV powerhouse is responding to the rising fees it pays to air games as well as other changes in the media industry…ESPN said some of the job cuts are coming through attrition, or unfilled open positions, and didn’t disclose the precise number or types of workers who are being let go.”
Associated Press added, “ESPN is cutting its workforce, the latest Disney division to reduce staff…’We are implementing changes across the company to enhance our continued growth while smartly managing costs,’ the sports media giant said in a statement Tuesday. ‘While difficult, we are confident that it will make us more competitive, innovative and productive.’”
The AP explained that the ESPN layoffs follow 300 layoffs that occurred at LucasArts and LucasFilms after Disney acquired the companies for $4.1 billion.
As AP noted, “Still, Disney has been on a roll financially, beating or matching earnings per share estimates for the last eight quarters. After it reported a 32 percent gain in net income for its fiscal second-quarter earnings two weeks ago, more than a dozen Wall Street analysts raised their price targets on Disney stock to an average of nearly $72.”
So in essence, despite being an extraordinarily financially successful subsidiarity of an extraordinarily, financially successful company that is doing extraordinarily financially well in this extraordinarily financially successful Wall Street market, ESPN accepted almost $20 million in scarce taxpayer funds and promised to create 200 jobs but is now intentionally keeping vacancies open and laying off Connecticut residents, so that it can appear even more extraordinarily financially successful.
Despite this development, according to the Hartford Courant, when asked about, a spokesman for the Malloy administration said that ESPN will not be forced out of the First Five program as a result of its layoff plan because it is still intending to add at least 200 jobs during the period starting in August, 2011 when the Governor gave them the public funds.
Meanwhile, the Connecticut General Assembly continues to consider major cuts to some of the most significant and vital human and healthcare services.
Now if that jive is not a “colorful form of speaking” that is “sometimes hard to follow,” I don’t know what is.
Budget Cuts, Corporate Welfare, Malloy Budget cuts, Corporate Welfare, Malloy
In a tribute to modern American politics, while Sunday’s newspaper featured the article by the father of the 28-year-old intellectually disabled daughter who wrote, “Amid Stark State Cuts, A Father’s Plea: Who Will Care for Katie?”; the Monday paper featured a photo-op of Governor Dannel Malloy in his hometown of Stamford celebrating a grant for $100,000 to the Half Full Brewery.
Thanks to Malloy’s $100 million Small Business Express Program, in which the state borrowed $100 million to give away operating grants to various businesses, the Stamford beer pub got a helping hand from Connecticut’s taxpayers.
Billed as a way to provide “working capital” to small business, the program effectively picks winners and losers, all funded at taxpayer expense.
While supporting small business is probably a better economic development strategy then giving away tens of millions to corporate giants, the actual benefit of many of the grants remains doubtful.
With the legislation approved in October 2011, the Malloy administration has funded 598 applications to the tune of about $80 million.
Despite the record budget cuts included in his new budget, the Governor is proposing to borrow another $60 million for the corporate welfare program. While the Stamford brew pub is undoubtedly appreciative of the $100,000 gift, there was no word from the state’s other small beer manufactures (23 of them) or the state’s hard cider manufactures (8 of them) or the state’s apple brandy manufacturers (3 of them) or the state’s liquor manufactures (12 of them).
You can catch the story and a picture of Malloy at the beer tasting at: http://stamford.dailyvoice.com/business/gov-dannel-malloy-gets-taste-stamford-brewery
Corporate Welfare, Economic Development, Economy, Malloy, State Budget, State Deficit Bridgewater Associates, Corporate Welfare, Economic Development, Malloy, Ray Dalio
Don’t let the residue of the Great Recession get you down.
While it is true that America’s middle-class is on the ropes, unemployment remains high, sending a kid to college costs more than most people save in their entire lives, child poverty in Connecticut has gone up 50% in the last decade and the state is facing a $1 billion dollar budget deficit next year, Connecticut’s taxpayers managed to dig deep and find the money to provide one of the world’s biggest hedge fund owners, Ray Dalio, with $115 million in state funds. Meanwhile Stamford’s taxpayers learned this week that they were helping to put the whole deal together thanks to their Mayor’s decision granting a private developer access to some of the most valuable publicly owned waterfront property left in Connecticut.
In return for all this generosity, Dalio, the founder and CEO of Bridgewater Associates, and a man who was paid $3.9 billion last year will move his offices from Westport to a new $750 million office complex on Stamford’s waterfront.
The deal began with Governor Malloy’s decision to give Dalio a taxpayer-funded corporate welfare package that included a $25 million forgivable loan, $5 million in grant funds for job training, $5 million for an alternative energy system and $80 Million in tax credits.
Now, under Part II of the effort, Stamford’s Mayor Mike Pavia has signed a “letter of intent” granting the developer of Stamford’s Harbor Point the right to use city-owned property as part of overall effort to clear the way for Bridgewater Associates’ headquarters.
The mayor’s action will allow the developer to move the South End boatyard to a different location. Never mind that boaters say the alternative site doesn’t accommodate their needs, we’re talking about pleasing a billionaire – and that is billion with a B – so what he wants is what he gets.
Just to make the whole situation as absurd as possible and to add insult to injury, while the letter of intent was signed back in December, it was only made public this week.
According to reports in the Stamford Advocate, “Mayor Michael Pavia said the goal of the document was simply to allow the zoning review process to commence so as to give the city a chance to assess the plan…Pavia said the city has not yet negotiated a price for the land in question. According to the letter of intent, should the boatyard plan be approved by the Zoning Board, the city and BLT [the private developer] will determine the price as part of a final agreement granting the developer property rights.”
Oh, and for those who are into reading the fine print, although initially Mayor Malloy and then Mayor Pavia pledged that no development project would go forward without all of the appropriate approvals, the letter of intent includes special language that reads, “The Applicant shall obtain final approval of such grant by City of Stamford Boards and Commissions as may be required by City Charter, state law or as the Mayor of the City of Stamford, in his sole discretion deems necessary or appropriate.”
The new wording certainly suggests that if Stamford’s various public boards and commissions didn’t act in an appropriately way, the mayor might have to intervene to move the project along without such approvals.
It is nice to note though that when confronted about this latest addition, the Pavia administration claimed that the language is being misunderstood and the letter of intent does nothing more than allow the process to start moving forward.
So here we are.
On the long list of challenges facing Connecticut, we can put a check mark next to the task that reads – “Help the world’s biggest hedge fund and the highest paid CEO in the country pay for a great new office with a great waterfront view.”
More on these latest developments can be found in the Stamford Advocate: http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Setting-table-for-Bridgewater-city-paves-the-way-4177724.php#ixzz2HgLY6z9H and http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Boatyard-plan-agreement-defended-4184605.php#ixzz2HgLH7Uac
Connecticut State Government, Corporate Viewpoint, Corporate Welfare, Education Reform Corporate Welfare, Education Reform
And for those following the “education reform” debate, here is another important – must read – piece from Wendy Lecker. This one published in the Hearst Newspapers on December 14, 2012
Wendy Lecker: Leaping to reform without first looking:
Read the full piece at: http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Wendy-Lecker-Leaping-to-reform-without-first-4119584.php#ixzz2H7vELpou
“Show your work,” is a familiar admonishment students hear. Teachers want to ensure that students did not just pick or copy an answer but rather that they analyzed a question and understand the steps supporting their conclusion. Perhaps this rule should apply to our state officials, who too often seem to push policies without first assessing whether or not they are viable.
In her New York Times series, “United States of Subsidies,” Louise Story wrote about the widespread practice of states giving financial incentives to corporations to locate there. She discovered that many corporations keep these profits for themselves rather than do something to benefit the state giving them the break, for example paying local workers higher wages. Moreover, as states shell out over $80 billion in breaks, they are simultaneously drastically cutting public services, like school budgets.
Story examined how well or poorly states keep track of money they expend to give corporations tax breaks and other “incentives.” Connecticut appeared to be the poster child for the absence of oversight. According to Story’s research, Connecticut, which exempts insurance companies, hedge funds and some other finance companies from income tax, incredibly does not account for the money lost to these tax breaks. Do these uncounted “tax expenditures” lead to extra job creation or economic growth that would outweigh the cost? State officials cannot know whether these breaks are economically beneficial to the state or are merely corporate welfare.
This lack of analysis seems to be prevalent in Connecticut policy-making, especially as it relates to education. Many states now base their school funding systems on education adequacy studies that assess the cost of education, including those factors that affect the cost, such as: state mandates and standards, services for students with additional needs, and geographic differences in cost. Thus the money these states spend on public schools is directly related to the actual cost of services those schools provide. By contrast, Connecticut has never analyzed the cost of education. Therefore, the state has no idea whether the amount it allocates to municipalities is sufficient. Nor has the state ever examined whether schools in the state actually have basic resources essential to an adequate education. Do schools have enough teachers, books, facilities, computers, services for at-risk children, AP classes, music, art, etc. to give each child the education she deserves? Connecticut has never conducted such an audit.
Finish reading the piece at http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Wendy-Lecker-Leaping-to-reform-without-first-4119584.php#ixzz2H7vypIMF
Connecticut State Government, Economic Development, Economy, Layoffs, Malloy Corporate Welfare, Malloy, The Economy, Unemployment
The latest data from the Connecticut Department of Labor reveals that the state is making little progress when it comes to re-bounding from the Great Recession.
According to the more conservative unemployment measurement, 171,100 Connecticut residents are presently unemployed. However, using the federal government’s U-6 rate, which measures both the unemployed and those who are in a part-time job but actively looking for full-time employment, more than 15% of Connecticut’s workforce is without the jobs they need.
In addition, of the 117,500 jobs lost since the “recessionary downturn” began, Connecticut has only recovered about 30,000 jobs (25% of all jobs lost).
Despite the claim that the recovery began in February 2010, Connecticut’s government, financial, construction and manufacturing sectors have yet to even begin regaining jobs.
Still on the downside, Connecticut’s government sector remains down 11,100 jobs, while the number in the financial sector is down 4,200 positions, construction and mining is down 1,200 jobs and manufacturing is down 800 jobs.
Since much of the federal Stimulus Funds were not used to supplement government activity, but instead were used to substitute for existing spending, elected officials have failed to help those who lost their jobs in two of the sectors that leaders could actually have had an impact over – government and construction.
Since Governor Malloy took office, government positions have been further eliminated and despite his predilection for the Financial Sector, his First Five Corporate Welfare Program has yet to have any impact. Although considering those favored business need only create 200 jobs, and have five to ten years to do so, whatever impact the corporate welfare program does have will be limited in nature.
A related problem for Connecticut businesses is that as a result of the lengthy recession, the State of Connecticut has already borrowed more than $635 million from the Federal Government to help pay unemployment benefits. Borrowing was necessary because the amount of funds collected from employee unemployment taxes wasn’t enough to cover the costs associated with payments to the unemployed. Since these funds will need to be paid back, Connecticut businesses will be facing high unemployment taxes on an ongoing basis.
Corporate Welfare, Economic Development, Economy, Malloy, Pelto, Wait What? Corporate Welfare, Malloy, Pelto, Wait What?
An 18-month old company, incorporated in Delaware, with an office in Westport, but its chief financial officer and chief operations officers in California, landed $750,000 in Connecticut taxpayer funding this week, thanks to Connecticut Innovations, a quasi-state agency that works to support the Connecticut economy by investing public funds in private companies.
deets, inc., who has had no sales to date, is developing a “productivity App” that, “facilities message sharing for a specific group of workers, parents of Little League players or other small groups, getting them information cleanly and quickly. It also provides smooth contact synchronization.”
A version of the App is now available at the Apple App Store. According to an article written by the Hartford Courant’s Mara Lee, “The writers of the free app, which has nearly 10,000 users since its launch in August, are hoping to capitalize on the “’anti-social sentiment that’s out there.’”
The company plans to use the new funding to hire 5 employees in Connecticut.
In addition to the Apple version of the app, deets reports that an Android version will be out in January and the plan, according to the Courant, will be to “launch paid versions for businesses. The businesses could use deets to send messages to customers or to help teams communicate internally.”
The news that scarce public funds are being given to a company with limited connections to Connecticut, but who are engaged in an effort to break into a growth field, led Jonathan Pelto, whose blog, Wait, What? seeks to bring transparency and accountability to the Malloy Administration and Connecticut State Government, in general, to consider submitting an application for funding.
“We are definitely considering submitting an application to one of these agencies,” Pelto said, “Attempting to bring transparency to the Malloy Administration is definitely a growth market and we’ve literally had hundreds of thousands of visits to Wait What?,” Pelto noted.
“While our sales have been limited to date, with $750,000 we’d hire, not five, but at least ten Connecticut residents to be researchers and writers, and with that, we’re convinced we could turn the blog into a money-making venture over the next two years,” added Pelto.
However, when asked whether he or his Blog, Wait, What? might be blacklisted from getting state aid, Pelto failed to return multiple phone calls, and referred any further questions to his lawyers.
For the Courant Story see: http://www.courant.com/business/hc-ci-deets-inc-relocation-20121113,0,281750.story
Corporate Welfare, Economic Development, Malloy, State Budget Corporate Welfare, Economic Development, Malloy
But since there are still a few days until Election Day, I’d like to re-post a comment that I made earlier this week on Facebook, thanks to the generator at the local community center.
Let us take a moment to IMAGINE a world in which instead of giving $115 million in taxpayer funds to hedge fund criminals, or tens of millions to UBS who then lay-off 10,000 people or giving scarce public funds to the carrion-birds called “ticket-re-sellers,” all the while postponing vital transportation projects so the money could be shifted to the transportation fund to cover up the deficit in the General Fund, we actually invested in real infrastructure upgrades like burying key electric lines or creating these so-called micro-grids.
Yes, there would still be many people who would have lost power. There might even be many still without power, but we’d have created thousands of jobs for the workers and crews and suppliers burying those lines or creating those grids and tens of thousands of people would have been able to have spent their week at their jobs, making money and paying taxes.
Instead, we have a $3.9 billion dollar hedge fund CEO and insurance and corporate CEOs collecting extra bonuses, for their ability to make even more money, thanks to our corporate welfare.
And I’m pretty sure none of those CEOs sat in dark houses and lamented the few hundred dollars of food that was rotting in their refrigerators.
If you come across a candidate in the next few days – ask them, tell them, order them – that if they win, they need to place a moratorium on the distribution of corporate welfare and, instead, demand that public funds to be used to create and enhance public benefits.
That is not to say that government should never play a role in helping leverage capital, but Malloy’s list of corporate welfare is monstrous and growing, and in many cases will lead to little or no longer-term public benefit. Malloy’s list includes;
Alexion: $51 million
Bridgewater Associates: $115 million
CareCentrix: $24 million
Cigna: $71 million
ESPN: $25 million
Jackson Labs $291 million
NBC Sports: $20 million
Sustainable Building Systems/Steel Buildings Systems International: $19 million
TicketMaster: ($ 6 million, removed itself after CEO arrested)
UBS AG $20 million
Blue Sky Studios $3 million
Created a variety of smaller corporate grant programs totaling over $150 million and expanded the Urban and Industrial Site Reinvestment Tax Credit program from $500 million to $750 million.
** More than $800 million of these “investments” are being financed by borrowing the money, meaning taxpayers will be on the hook for about $400 million more in interest payments.
Corporate Welfare, Economic Development, Malloy, UConn Corporate Welfare, Economic, Jackson Laboratory, Malloy
Yesterday’s New Haven Register included an editorial lauding State Senator Len Suzio, R-Meriden for forcing the Malloy Administration to back down on a decision to “count 10, state-paid jobs at the University of Connecticut as part of the 300 jobs The Jackson Laboratory has promised to create in exchange for up to $291 million in aid.”
The Register’s editorial noted that, “At nearly $1 million in state aid per job, the biotech company can afford to hire and pay for its workers.”
But before we take a collective sigh of relief, and bask in the knowledge that sanity has prevailed, at least on this one, readers should know that the New Haven Register’s editorial is wrong. Apparently they didn’t catch that the Malloy Administration had reversed the position it had previously reversed itself on.
In fact, the Malloy Administration will credit Jackson Labs with the 10 state funded UConn faculty positions, and Jackson Labs need only create 290 jobs in order to qualify for its entire taxpayer funded subsidy.
According to the Associated Press, in round one, Catherine Smith, Malloy’s Commissioner of Economic and Community Development defended their decision to count the jobs by saying, “It is true that 10 employees will count toward Jackson Lab’s job creation goals, but I would argue this is a small cost relative to the long-term financial benefits this project will generate.’’
While the Governor’s office began by defending Smith, it later announced that “there had been a misunderstanding,” and the 10 faculty positions would be on top of the 300 jobs that will be created by the Jackson Laboratory
It was with that news that the New Haven Register entered the fray, editorializing that some degree of sanity had returned to the publicly funded “economic development” project.
See editorial at: http://nhregister.com/articles/2012/10/22/opinion/doc5085d6942929c570382976.txt
But alas, the editorial writer at the New Haven Register missed a later Associated Press story, written by veteran Connecticut reporter, Pat Eaton-Robb, that began with, “Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration reversed itself for the third time in two days Thursday, and said a bio-science firm will get credit for creating jobs that will be funded by the University of Connecticut.”
Malloy’s Economic Development Commissioner announced that the jobs would count and that it was she who had provided the Governor’s Office with the wrong information.
Smith told the AP, ”I was less worried about who is paying for these jobs, and am much more concerned in making sure these jobs are created and not just the 300, but a long-term partnership that is being established and will create many more ancillary positions.”
Malloy’s spokesperson summed up their decision by saying, “That’s 10 new jobs, in addition to the 290 other new jobs that will be created for a total of 300 jobs.”
The good news is that observers can now say with confidence that Connecticut’s $291 million investment will create 290 jobs, or exactly $1 million per job, as opposed to the more awkward phraseology of “nearly $1 million in state aid per job.”
Corporate Welfare, Economic Development, Malloy Corporate Welfare, DECD, Economic Development, Malloy
Earlier this week, Charter Communications, Inc., “a Fortune 500 company and the fourth-largest cable operator in the United States,” became Governor Malloy’s ‘Next Five’ Corporate Welfare recipients. With revenue of $1.9 billion during the last financial quarter, the company did lose $83 million, but that was an improvement over the same quarter the year before, when Charter lost $107 million.
For most of us, not enough revenue to cover expenses poses a problem. As I can attest, banks seem to frown on giving, or even loaning money to people whose income is deemed inadequate or insufficient.
But we don’t call our economic system “advanced capitalism” for nothing.
In return for promising to create 200 jobs, Charter will receive a taxpayer-funded 10-year loan of $6.5 million with an interest rate of 2 percent. Even better, the Connecticut Department of Economic Development will defer principal payments for the first three years. If the company does create the jobs, the entire loan will be forgiven.
The St. Louis Business Journal wrote a detailed article following the announcement. The good news for them is that the company has said that moving its corporate headquarters will not lead to any lay-offs. In fact, apparently without any state funds, Charter’s social media specialist explained that the company will be adding 300 new jobs in their St. Louis offices.
Ten years ago, Charter purchased their present St, Louis headquarters for $43.5 million. With approximately 16,800 employees nationwide, about 3,000 of Charter’s employees are now working in St. Louis.
According to Governor Malloy’s press release, Charter is the ninth company to participate in the “Next Five” Corporate Welfare program, which is one of a number of economic development programs administered by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD).
The press release explains that the $6.5 million will go toward Charter’s costs for tenant improvements and the purchase of furnishings and office equipment. Considering the company will start with about 100 employees at the site, those keeping track will realize that our taxpayer subsidy equates to about $65,000 worth of furniture and improvements per employee.
The Stamford location must come as especially good news to Charter’s new chief executive officer, chief operating officer and chief marketing officer. All three left Cablevision Systems Corporation in Bethpage, New York, earlier this year, but never moved their homes to St. Louis.
As an aside, the final sentence of the Governor’s press release states that the package, “also includes funding provisions for future job growth,” but for some unknown reason, it doesn’t quite get to explaining what that might mean.
Corporate Welfare, Economic Development, Malloy Corporate Welfare, First Five, Malloy, TicketNetwork
And now for something completely different…
Tickets TLD LLC, a subsidiary of TicketNetwork Inc., has applied to purchase the “Top-Level Domain” name; .tickets. Tickets TLD LLC, a Delaware company, was registered in Connecticut on April 10, 2012. Tickets TLD LLC uses the TicketNetwork’s headquarters as its business address. TicketNetwork Inc., which is also a Delaware company, was registered, in Connecticut, by Don Vaccaro in 1996,
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), who controls all domain names (i.e. .com, .org, .net), is in the process of selling off additional domain endings.
Tickets TLD LLC is one of five companies angling for control of the domain ending; .tickets
Although ICANN allows the public to comments on applications such as the one put in by TicketNetwork, and the period for making such comments was extended, the period ends tomorrow, September 26, 2012. The link to make comments is: https://gtldcomment.icann.org/comments-feedback/applicationcomment/viewcomments
For many Connecticut residents, TicketNetwork is known as Governor Malloy’s “First Five #2.”
In July 2011, Governor Malloy and Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Catherine Smith traveled to South Windsor to give TicketNetwork a $6 million dollar publicly funded economic development package in return for agreeing to create a least 250 jobs.”
Malloy used the event as opportunity to call Don Vaccaro, TicketNetwork’s CEO, a “serial entrepreneur” and claimed Connecticut needed more people like Vaccaro because, “in their very fiber, their very bone marrow, have the ability to come up with great ideas, great concepts, bring to the market place, prove them and grow them.”
The “love fest” would have gone off smoothly, if Hugh McQuaid, of CT Newsjunkie, hadn’t asked Malloy and handlers about the fact that Vaccaro and TicketNetwork were suing the Bushnell’s CEO David Fay because Fay, speaking at a legislative hearing, had referred to TicketNetwork as ticket scalpers. Apparently they prefer to be called ticket resellers, and so they sued the Bushnell for slander.
In addition, Vaccaro was facing a very serious sexual harassment lawsuit from a former employee.
But the Malloy Administration dismissed the concerns, claiming that they weren’t aware of these publicly known lawsuits. Malloy’s spokesperson went so far as dismissing the sexual harassment issue saying it was irrelevant.
Fast-forward to February 2012, and TicketNetwork’s CEO is back in the news, this time for getting himself arrested and charged with a hate crime, threatening, breach of peace, first-degree criminal trespass and interfering with a police officer at an Oscar party at the Real Art Ways in Hartford.
At that point, the Malloy Administration apparently had enough. TicketNetwork announced that it was withdrawing its application for economic development funds and giving up the $6 million in state grants, and Governor Malloy directed Economic Development Commissioner Catherine Smith, “along with Consumer Protection Commissioner William Rubenstein and his top legal adviser, Andrew McDonald, to examine the state’s relationship with TicketNetwork.”
Commissioner Smith told reporters that “After this occasion, if we do another deal with a privately held company, I think, yeah, you’ll probably see us do a little bit more due diligence around both the CEO and potentially other members of the staff.”
Now, comes the late news that TicketNetwork is reaching for world-domination, by purchasing the rights to control the domain name ending, “.tickets”
In their application to control the .tickets domain, Tickets TLD LLC writes, “The .TICKETS TLD would create an easily identifiable Internet space where venues, performers, performances, and booking agents can create websites dedicated to ticketing for any given event, and Internet users know they can go to find precisely the tickets they are seeking. This creates value for registrants in that they can streamline the ticket sales process, offering greater diversity and more targeted value to ticket seekers. Ticket seekers would save time and gain greater access to tickets for events and performances they were seeking.”
By owning the rights to .tickets, Tickets TLD LLC would not only be able to control and sell any domain that ends with the words .tickets, but would be able to, “designate a set of premium domain names” that would be, “set aside for distribution via special mechanisms.”
Public comments to date include endorsements from former New Jersey Attorney General Peter Harvey, Rufus Edmisten, North Carolina’s former Attorney General and former Secretary of the State, and Connecticut’s own State Representative Tim Larson. Larson writes, “Today I want to add my name to the list of supporters for Tickets TLD LLC to administer .tickets web site requests…The creativity and drive that the employees and leadership of TicketNetwork possess have always been a great source of new innovation and leading-edge technologies in their industry.”
Meanwhile, opposition to the application submitted by Tickets TLD LLC comes from the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC). FAC writes, “We would like to draw the evaluators’ attention to the fact that Tickets TLD LLC, through its parent, Ticket Network, or subsidiaries of Ticket Network or affiliated companies of Ticket Network, has registered 100s of domain names that include artist, sports teams or venue names.”
Another critical comment comes from the group that represents Broadway venues. They claim that, “The parent company of Tickets TLD, LLC is TicketNetwork, Inc., a well-known operator of ticket resale sites. TicketNetwork and its affiliates have registered over 3000 domain names.” The group continues, “We are concerned that TicketNetwork has a long history of registering domains that incorporate the names of Broadway shows. Incorporating the names of well-known Broadway shows and other brands into domain name registrations evidences a disregard for the rights of the owners of these brands. We are of the opinion that the practices of TicketNetwork with regard to domain name registrations make the applicant unfit to be the registry operator of .Tickets.
As noted above, public Comments on the request by the TicketNetwork group to control the domain, .tickets, can only be made through tomorrow, September 26, 2012. The site to make comments is: https://gtldcomment.icann.org/comments-feedback/applicationcomment/viewcomments
A special thanks to a Wait, What reader who sent in this tip.
A search on the word TicketNetwork will bring up earlier Wait, What? posts on this company, its CEO and the their relationship with Malloy Administration.