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Jack Rice - Blog

Jack Rice is a criminal defense trial lawyer who provides legal advice to those charged with crimes in Federal and Minnesota State courtrooms.

 

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I Can See the Sign Now: The University of Minnesota Sex World Stadium!

What’s in a name? An old line to be sure, but maybe still a relevant question. The Minnesota House passed legislation that would allow TCF Bank to have the naming rights for the new University of Minnesota Gophers stadium to be built on the Minneapolis campus. The Senate just passed a bill excluding the naming rights. Now, I guess, the disagreement, among many, will have to be hashed out in committee. All that being said, let me get straight to the point. Selling the naming rights to this stadium is bad policy.

Look, I’m a Gopher Alumni myself. And anything that would lower my taxes seems like a good thing. Obviously, TCF bellying up with $35 million is $35 million we don’t have to pay. I get that, but . . .

If we are going to accept that $35 million from TCF, does that mean we need to make sure TCF is on the up and up and good for the community? Now, I have no reason to believe that TCF is not a great company. But how do we know? Does that mean we have to require TCF to open their books to insure that they are “okay?” And if the answer is no, then doesn’t that mean we should take money from the highest bidder?

For instance, let’s say that Sex World, another Minneapolis establishment that apparently pays its bills, offered $36 billion for the naming rights, would it be okay to change the name to The Sex World Stadium? Why not? What is the difference? It would certainly save us an additional $1 million in taxes. The justification is exactly the same, right?

I can just see it now. In bright neon letters, The University of Minnesota Sex World Stadium. Imagine, Sex World could have space right at the entrance to sell their wares. I could watch a game, go and pick up a hot dog, a soda and ah ah ah. Well, you get the picture. By the way, NO, I haven't been there!

I guess it is like a really bad joke I once heard. A man offers a woman a ten million dollars to sleep with him. She says, “For that kind of money, okay!” He then says, “okay, how about $10?” Her response, “what kind of person do you think I am?” And he says, “I think we’ve established that. Now we are just negotiating.”

If we decide we can slap anything on the side of a building so long as it lowers our taxes, haven’t we already established who we are?

I know that it has been done in the past. I know that everybody is doing it. I know that it might lower our taxes. I know that TCF might be a fine company. But if we are willing to sell anything, everything to the highest bidder, then we are the bad joke.