Pimp My Arena

You may have paid for the BankAtlantic Center, but Donald Trump's rich customers get the keys to it.

"I'm not going to tell you that," he replied.

The paper got a similar response when New Times asked to see records of the business arrangement between SSE and Trump that involves the public arena.

"The BankAtlantic Center is a private entity that is not doing business on behalf of the government or any governmental agency," responded SSE attorney Ed Wildermuth. "As such, its records are not subject to the public records law."

BankAtlantic Center exec Michael Yormark didn't like that we attended his party for pretty people.
Colby Katz
BankAtlantic Center exec Michael Yormark didn't like that we attended his party for pretty people.

Location Info

Map

BB&T Center

1 Panther Parkway
Sunrise, FL 33323

Category: Music Venues

Region: Sunrise/Plantation

Apparently, that's a typical response. It turns out that even public officials are kept in the dark about how SSE makes use of the arena that public money built.

"The executives at Sunrise Sports & Entertainment are very entrepreneurial but also very secretive," says Deputy County Attorney Noel M. Pfeffer.

Under the terms of its contract with the county, SSE must provide an annual report and financial accounting. County commissioners and staff have never requested additional records from SSE, though they may have a legal right to inspect certain documents, Pfeffer says.

The use of publicly financed arenas to benefit the wealthy is a nationwide phenomenon, says Neil deMause, co-author of Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money Into Private Profit.

The BankAtlantic Center's arrangement with Trump "sounds ridiculous, but it certainly follows the trend of luxury suite holders getting special access to and privileges at public stadiums," deMause says.

At Foxboro Stadium in Massachusetts, for example, taxpayers built a private road to be used only by premium ticket holders.

So far, Yormark and Trump International have no plans for a millionaires-only road to the arena. But there's always time for new plans to be announced at another "private party."

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