Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Convention Center Needs Bailout... Again

The Capital City Convention Center needs a bailout if it wants to keep the doors open until October 1.   The convention center asked the city of Jackson for a $131,411 bailout.  The Jackson City Council tabled the request for further discussion today.

This is not the first time the convention center has required "assistance."  JJ reported January 11:

Visit Jackson agreed to contribute $450,000 to the Jackson Convention Center as its fortunes continued to worsen.  The Convention Center lost $1.4 million in FY 2018 and continued to lose money through the end of the year.

The Board of Directors refused to bailout JCC.  The Board stated in a November 29, 2018 letter sent to Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba that it would be "inappropriate" to give additional money to JCC.  Board President Robert Gibbs said that the funds "will be used for means other than promoting tourism."  However, the Board reversed itself a day later and decided to provide the funds to JCC.

Mr. Gibbs said Visit Jackson's reserves and investments would fund the donation even though Visit Jackson will encounter "financial challenges" due to the support of the Convention Center.  The November 30 letter states the funds will be disbursed under a schedule:

December 1, 2018: $257,000
February 1, 2019: $50,000
March 1, 2019: $50,000
May 2019: $43,000

The Jackson Convention Center has been plagued by severe losses for years.  The trend continued in the new fiscal year as JCC lost $248,156 in October and November.  The Convention Center operated at a loss of $1.4 million in 2018.  The attendance was only 107,767 as it fell from 131,910 in 2017.  Income stayed roughly the same as it "only" fell by $100,000 to $1.8 million in 2018.  There were 16 fewer events (151) compared to the year before as well.

The financial performances of 2018 and 2017 were even.  However, the Convention Center performed substantially worse than its projections.  The facility consistently missed its budget by much larger margins than if the budget has simply adopted the financial figures of 2017. 

Actual Attendance: 107,967
Projected Attendance: 158,000
Difference: 50,033

Event Income: $1.8 million
Projected income: $2.1 million
Difference: $0.3 million

Number of Events: 135
Projected Events: 212
Difference: 77

JCC's 2018 losses were $1.4 million.  However, depreciation expense has been approximately $2.6 million per year (give or take a few hundred thousand dollars).  A similar depreciation expense will increase the loss to $4 million for 2018.

The losses when depreciation expenses are included are:

2017:  $4.4 million
2016: $4.2 million
2015: $4.1 million
2014: $4.2 million

Meanwhile, readers may want to remember who supported this boondoggle. JJ reported back on January 18:

Today's edition of Flashback Friday continues to take a look at who said what when it was time to vote for higher taxes to fund the construction of the Jackson Convention Center.   JJ reported last week that the convention center had an operating loss of  $1.4 million per year* and has already lost nearly $300,000 just a few months into the new fiscal year. Earlier post with financial statements. The Capital City sharecroppers promise it would generate $40 million in revenue and create 700 jobs when they told us to vote for higher taxes.  Check out these past editorials and articles.

Will the Clarion-Ledger apologize?

You do remember this project, right, Leroy?

Or Danny Cupit:

Don't forget Credell Calhoun:

Hello Cecil:


Anonymous said...

We need to fully fund the convention center !

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Maybe somebody will want to sponsor it by having their name on it. Kinda how it worked for the UMMC and its string of health clubs. Rumor is the Baptist Brigade down at the MDAC is gonna try it too!

Anonymous said...

Well well, just another boondoggle that the insiders made a fortune on and left the poor taxpayers to get hosed. Doesn’t take too much digging to find out who these shysters are (great research job KF) one might have even been a governor. It seems that’s what the retirement program is in this state. Keep a close eye on this outgoing governor that is probably feathering his nest as we speak.

Anonymous said...

What has the Jackson Convention Center done to control costs? With fewer events, it doesn't need as much staff. Any request for additional bailouts from the city should be accompanied with documentation of cost-cutting steps.

Cynical Sam said...

This will be the last time, honest. (Request was sent from the convention center convention in....Paris?)

Anonymous said...

There is no fiscal way the City of Jackson can maintain and make a profit off of a 'convention center" . . . this day and age.

The "build it and they would come " mentality was at best . . . a pipe dream from the start.

Before anyone screams racism, I'm not knocking the City of Jackson.

The Convention Center boondoggle won a lot of votes for a few politicians and made a couple of others millionaires.

But Jacksonians continue to elect these people . . . they deserve the government they choose.

Anonymous said...

This is what REAL journalism looks like.

Facts, figures and accountability !

Congrats to KF !

Anonymous said...

When the Flowood Convention Center opens, you might as well nail the JCC's doors shut. Seriously, with an alternative available (WITH a hotel AND a golf course), why would anyone choose the Jackson facility?

Only time will tell how Flowood's facility will do, but it should effectively siphon off 90% of the events that would otherwise go to Jackson.

Sad, but completely foreseeable (and WAS by many).

Anonymous said...

Wow.....if you read this item and then the one just below....depressing.

Cynical Sam said...

The convention center has been very profitable....to a handful of people.

Anonymous said...

Connect this post to the one below from Melvin Priester. Another waste of tax dollars that should be spent on priorities - public safety fire and police, infrastructure - and quit spending dollars on this kind of crap.

What has the Convention Center done for the economy of Jackson to warrant another bailout? At least the water/sewer operation treats all the crap that flows out of our city government - that's more worthy of a bailout than this boondoggle.

Anonymous said...

The convention center does not exist in a vacuum and it was never the driving force behind downtown development. It exists within the shadow of a city in rapid economic decline. The convention center is not such an awesome facility that it can overcome Jackson's sad appearance or it's dangerous reputation. If it remains open it will continually operate at a loss especially with the state of "leadership" in Jackson who think they should live like Atlanta on
a Bolton income.

Anonymous said...

The city should hire a management company on a contingency to run the convention center, it's obvious that the folks running it now are inexperienced and inept, add to that that the city is a crime infested shithole with crumbling infrastructure. It takes real talent (which the city DOES NOT have), to sell a city like Jackson.

Anonymous said...

Who were the insiders that made money?

Anonymous said...

The sucking sound you are hearing is only going to get louder next year when the Flowood/Rankin County convention center opens. It has a class A developer with tons of experience in New Orleans in bringing in and catering to the convention groups. Given the choice of going to a convention in downtown Jacktown or a hotel near Dogwood the choice is simple.

Anonymous said...

Jackson needs to promote acceptance of worthless drug addicts who live on the streets! San Francisco will probably financially support the transfer of these people to Jacktown.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 6:13...with its proximity to the airport and decent restaurants and lodging, the Flowood CC will be the death knell to the Jackson CC. Really, who wants to stay in Jackson? Any place worth eating or having a drink in Jackson is a quick Uber ride, and you don't have to sleep in a filthy, crime ridden dump.

Now, to upgrade and clean up the airport...

Anon-E-Mouse said...

What the dirt really needs is a monorail.

/cause it would promote the convention center so welll

Anonymous said...

A broke city with a diminishing tax base, dilapidated infrastructure, and rising crime should not invest in a facility that cannot support itself. Stop the bleeding and heal the wounds, or let those folks who advocated for putting the facility in the middle of a rapidly-declining area raise the needed funds!

Anonymous said...

@6:13, and, in 10 years, we'll be reading about how the Flowood Convention Center needs a bailout and how all the business from that center will be going to some other CC that's going to be built in another town in the metro. All of this unnecessary and wasteful competition in the metro-area may look "good" at first. But, in the long term, there's no cooperation or efficiency and the tax payer is needlessly funding project after project. Capitalism is a fool's pipe-dream. Mark my words, in 10 years, the Flowood Convention Center will be belly up and we'll all stand by and scratch our heads as another wave of millionaires and charlatans exploit workers.

Anonymous said...

The Rankin CC is not the Godsend you rednecks think it is. Nobody is flying in here to hang out in Flowood.

Now, Jackson CC is in trouble. But let's not confuse the issue. Both of these convention centers are nothing but places to host a bunch of locals. The black caucus will continue showing up at the Jackson CC and the knights of Trump will have their meetings at Rankin. But nobody outside of the metro area gives a flying duck about coming to either.

Anonymous said...

Shut it down.

Anonymous said...

It’s hard to run a Convention Center with no water or on a good day brown water. The streets are falling apart and it’s not a safe place.

I lived down there and moved. And I haven’t been back since I left.

Anonymous said...

9:10; well said. And if the people of Madison County don't "deal" with Canton (aka Mini-Jackson), the cancer of poverty and incompetence will spread and ultimately destroy that county like Jackson is destroying Hinds.

Anonymous said...

Hey 7:28....read the articles KF was good enough to post. The shysters in those articles are the beneficiaries of the fees paid on the front end of this boondoggle

Anonymous said...

Question......Who would hold a convention in Jackson? Answer.....Nobody. End of discussion.

Anonymous said...

HOW MUCH IS "M D A" putting in to another convention center in R A N K I N County??? HMMM HMMMM??

Anonymous said...

1-the 'convention center' in Rankin isn't going to kill off the one in Jackson. Golf courses around the country are closing at an alarming rate, there's very few unique restaurants that a conventioneer would go to, and they aren't going shopping at a strip mall. However, if it's priced better it will draw local and state-wide business.

2-losing Southwest Airlines killed any shot we had at a tourist industry. It costs way, way too much to fly here compared to other cities. southwest kept our prices lower. Shame on our state government AND our congressional delegation for not pressuring Southwest to stay OR giving incentives that would have kept them here.

3-I'm sure the original plan was for the MS Trademart to lose all its business. Not going to happen-that's right off the interstate, has secure fenced parking, and established relationships with local and state conventions/meetings.

the Jackson Convention Center has been mismanaged. the mayor's request for a new group to lead it is right.

by the way--what's going on with the finances/attendances at the zoo since the new leadership team took over?

Anonymous said...

And now, back to our regular programing: the Jackson Zoo!

Anonymous said...

Of course it needs a bailout. But Jackson needs a convention center, it needs shopping centers, stadiums, parks, and descent streets. A CITY needs all these things to function whether people hate the city or not. Too many people hate the city and WANT to see it fail. I have my criticisms of the leadership but I want to see them succeed because I live in the vicinity and prosperity will help us all and poverty hurts us all. When there are positive efforts to uplift the city I want to lend support, not throw stones. Maybe someday we can lift Mississippi out of it's swamp. We won't do it if we're always divided.

But I guess some people like the swamp.

Anonymous said...

the clarion ledger, walker, cubit, calhoun , brown ,....i can hear them now........"i didn't say that"...."did i say that"?

Anonymous said...

Can we kill two birds with one stone and move the Zoo into the Convention Center? Nice air conditioned comfort for those poor animals.

Anonymous said...

Ben Allen, Beau Whittington, Donna Ladd, Todd Stauffer, Jeff Good ...

The Convention Center cheer squad was large but you'll hear nothing now ...

Because they knew better than everyone else back in 2004.

Anonymous said...

Is this really any different than Lumumba's serial duping of Duane O'Neill, Pete Perry and the rest to bailout the city from the special sales tax collections for infrastructure repairs? AND NOW they have agreed to further dilute the tax collections by siphoning off some of the money to fund debt service on more LONG TERM DEBT.

Anonymous said...

The JCC shouldn't have been built without a parking garage, a connecting hotel and repaving all streets to and from the JCC and I-55 period.

Anonymous said...

I tried to book an event there for this Fall because we think it will exceed the capacity of the Westin, but we couldn't get anyone to respond to our requests for availability, exact prices, etc. It was amazing and almost like they didn't WANT our business. The Marriott responded fine and is probably big enough, but it seems like management is a much of an issue as the overall declining market, etc. since we can't be the only ones with this experience.

Anonymous said...

I have tried to hold events here and the staff makes it impossible. They give you know good cost estimates, they do not respond to phone calls or emails and they honestly dont seem to want business.

Anonymous said...

"Both of these convention centers are nothing but places to host a bunch of locals. The black caucus will continue showing up at the Jackson CC and the knights of Trump will have their meetings at Rankin."

Sad but true. Basically they will operate as two separate and unequal venues, a struggling, subpar one for mainly black audiences in Jackson, and a bright, shiny one for mainly white audiences in Flowood.

Meet the new Mississippi, same as the old Mississippi...

Anonymous said...

What the convention center needs is a natural disaster to destroy it so that the city can collect the insurance benefit. Hopefully they are competent enough to pay the insurance premiums.

Anonymous said...

Lube up taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

Building anything in Mississippi that is supposed to attract visitor is a waste. No one visits this state or has any interest in enabling the corruption and hate. The entire state is bailed out by the feds every single day. Without their money, the surrounding states would have to build a wall to keep Mississippians from invading and infesting more areas.

Anonymous said...

"Can't have nothing!"

Anonymous said...

Government should not be in the business of operating convention centers with taxpayer money. That applies to Jackson and that applies to Rankin county.

The really big local groups go to Destin anyway. WTF would somebody host a convention in Jackson? Its just local groups and clubs at both of these places.

Oh, and don't forget, the state is building us a nice new trademart building that can host the same stuff.

Anonymous said...

For a 2 year term, I was in charge of organizing a trade convention covering 2 states (Alabama and Mississippi). I've been going to the convention for ten years. We've had the convention in Biloxi, Montgomery, Birmingham, Mobile, and the Grand Hotel in Point Clear, AL. We may go to Tupelo in 2022 I'm told. During my two year term, I attempted to talk to Jackson, but they don't return calls, emails, etc. They didn't want our business I assume.

Anonymous said...

Are the people who work at this place municipal or state employees or otherwise in the PERS program?

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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