Well, the annual Fayette County Fair is under way and so far things are looking pretty good. The weather’s been great and the attendance has been super. Also, everything seems to be OK with the beer sales. Some people had been predicting that the sale of beer would be the end of the fair. But cooler heads prevailed and everything seems OK. I’m sure if there are problems, the fair officials will do whatever is necessary to solve them. Personally, I’ve always enjoyed the fair. I remember taking my kids out there the first year they had the pig races. They always had a great time at the fair. It was one of our summer highlights when they were growing up. The kids are all grown up now and moved away, but I still enjoy going to the fair for at least one night. I’ll be at the Herald-Standard booth Saturday night from 7-9. Stop by if you get a chance. I always enjoy seeing friends at the fair and talking to whoever stops by our booth.
Well, the dispute over the Rooney family’s ownership of the Pittsburgh Steelers has taken on a new twist. Allegheny County Controller Mark Flaherty says if family members who own the Pittsburgh Steelers sell all or part of the team to outside interests, they should repay some of the $281 million taxpayers ponied up to build Heinz Field.
“When the stadium was originally built, the public entered into a partnership with the Steelers,” Flaherty said. “I feel it would be unjust for any shareholder to sell their shares and not have any implication to the public taxpayer.”
These comments are the latest twist in this bizarre controversy which finds Dan Rooney haggling with his four brothers over ownership of the team. Each brother owns 16 percent of the franchise. The other four brothers, all in their late 60s or early 70s, want to sell to safeguard the investment for their heirs and because some of them own gambling interests that run counter to NFL rules for owners. They are said to be discussing a sale to billionaire investment banker Stanley Druckenmiller, a Pittsburgh native.
No one involved in the dispute had any comment Wednesday but according to reports Tuesday, a Rooney family spokesperson said the comments were premature since negotiations haven’t even begun.
It’s hard to say if or how the threats will influence the possible sale of the Steelers, but it will certainly be interesting to see what happens. It’s somewhat ironic that Dan Rooney, who has been responsible for so many deals over the years and has made the NFL what it is today, now must come up with his own deal to preserve his controlling interest in the Steelers. He’s up against some tough odds but that’s nothing new for Rooney. He’s always bucked the odds and delivered in the past for the NFL, but now can he deliver for himself?
What do you think of Flaherty’s actions? Do you think they helped or hurt and how do you see this whole thing going down?
Well, I’m almost finished digging out from all the e-mails and voice mails that accumulated while I was on vacation for two weeks. This was the first time I’ve ever taken two weeks at the same time and I’m still trying to figure out whether it was a good thing or not. I really didn’ t plan to take two weeks off but circumstances beyond my control forced me into it. It was great while I was on vacation, but it’s been difficult to say the least since I got back. I’d like to hear from anyone else to see what you think of two-week vacations. Maybe your experience was a little better or worse than mine.