On Steve Wolford Of News 3 Las Vegas, Tommy White, Raiders Stadium Steel Report

(This is a kind of letter blog and vlog to News 3, Las Vegas’s news director, as much as it is a standard news post.)

The new American thing to do seems to be to cover-up real information with fake news. That habit has come to infect the Oakland Raiders’ Las Vegas Stadium Project.

One of the fans of Zennie62 on YouTube reached out to me via Twitter to inform me that Tommy White, the legendary representative of 872 Laborers and the man who gave me a Raiders Stadium Construction Pin a year ago during CES Las Vegas, used News 3 LV and reporter Steve Wolford to essentially blame me (misspelling my name as “Zenny”) for some rumor about bad steel and concrete at the stadium – something I’ve never talked about on my show.

Now, briefly, who am I? I’m media entrepreneur who runs a collection of social media and news platforms I collectively refer to as Zennie62Media. I’ve used my background in urban planning and urban economics and public finance and experience working for the City of Oakland and various agencies to bear on my reporting on the Las Vegas Stadium effort, and the politics around it. I am also a member of the group of media who regularly cover the NFL, and have been since 2005. My Zennie62 on YouTube channel has a small following of 42,000 subscribers, and my nightly livestream focuses on sports, entertainment, and culture – and the Raiders and the NFL.

Now, that I’ve got that out of the way, my fan, who calls himself “Raider Harry Potter” on Twitter, posted this link to a News3LV story. In it, this is what caught the eye of my fans, and myself:

Recent rumors about major problems with the steel on the Las Vegas Stadium construction project drew an amused response Thursday from Tommy White, the business manager and Secretary-Treasurer of the Laborers Local 872.
“I don’t know where those rumors come from,” said White. “They probably come from Zenny out of Oakland. He’s really good at making up tons of rumors.” White said he’d recently heard another rumor that the concrete in the stadium was bad and had to be replaced. White assured News 3 that despite what “Zenny” or anyone else says, the 90 million pounds of steel and concrete going into the massive 74,000 seat structure are just fine.

Why Did Steve Wolford Bother To Print What Tommy White Said About Zennie Abraham?

The overall question I have is why did Steve Wolford even bother to print anything that White, or anyone, said about me, Zennie Abraham? Not only did Mr. Wolford so that, he never tried to reach out to me to check what White was saying. I am a blogger, not a journalist, but labels asde, it’s just good media practice to follow up on something as explosive as that, let alone put it out there. It made me wonder what Mr. Wolford’s agenda was. I did reach out to Steve, on Twitter, as you can see:

And, as the tweet shows, Mr. White was kind enough to give me that pin, and I captured the moment on video! I formally met Tommy at the Las Vegas Convention Center Expansion Groundbreaking. There, I privately told him what I will now malke public: “Tommy, if I refer to a problem with the stadium, it’s only to offer a solution to fix it. I don’t just say things; I say things that, if you take my solution, only make your project better.” In other words, it helps him.

By that, I hope you can conclude the steel rumor you all mention did not come from me. Here’s the list of concerns I have raised with Las Vegas Stadium, to date:

1) The $650 million Clark County Bond Issue’s paid for by a hotel stadium tax with a rate that, at 88/100ths of one percent, is too small. I wrote about this at on April 15th 2017 and warned that there would not be enough tax revenue to pay for the bond debt times the planned debt coverage ratio of 1.5 to one. I’ve repeated that concern, and the actual monthly tax revenue vs. bond debt comparison has proven me correct.

2) The Las Vegas declining rate of visitation is a concern that pretty much guarantees Clark County Taxpayers will have to make up the gap in revenue. That the Nevada Taxpayers Association elected to avoid pushing that problem is troubling.

3) Based on my analysis, The Las Vegas Stadium’s projected operating costs verus revenue reveals a deficit of approximately $600 million, but can be solved by a combination of sponsorships totalling more than that. Atlanta Falcons Stadium, which has a financial approach that’s very much like that for Las Vegas Stadium, has 11 “founding partners” and over 1.1 billion in sponsorshps for Merecedes Benz Stadium; Las Vegas Stadium has just one founding partner so far, Ceasars Entertainment, and for a fraction of that total. Thus, Las Vegas Stadium has a liquidity problem.

4) There’s an annoying desire to push the idea that a full 2020 NFL Season will be played at Las Vegas Stadium, even though the builder says that it will be “substantially finished” July 31st, and the Southern Nevada Tourism and Infrastructure Committee’s schedule for the stadium said there would be a “three-month move-in period” after the stadium construction was done. That takes us into late October 2020, at best. Why not just say that, rather than these attempts to deny what’s in everyone’s face?

5) I have said again and again that the hotel stadium tax rate needs to be increased to 1 percent from its current rate. I told the Oakland Raiders repeatedly that Governor Sisolak needs to work to reinstall the tax increment financing provision the original Las Vegas Stadium was given in the enabling legislation called The Southern Nevada Tourism and Investment Act.

6) There needs to be a 10,000 room NFL Hotel next to Las Vegas Stadium, to better handle the crush of room demand for future Super Bowls for the NFL Family. Otherwise, the problem of hotel price gouging will make Las Vegas a less than desireable location for the NFL’s premier event, and one that I formed a bid for Oakland to land in 2000. (Sadly, we lost to Jacksonville.)

To close, the steel and concrete issue never came from me. I don’t make up news. I am very concerned that there’s an effort to not get to the bottom of problems and to cover them up with fake news. That was fake news. Let’s get the stadium built, okay?

Las Vegas is a city I love and that deserves an NFL team. That said, Oakland was not treated correctly or fairly by the Raiders, but that’s for the court to work out. Indeed, it will.

Stay tuned.

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