Monday, June 16, 2008

Fahey punks Sokol...and Omaha

Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey is petty, vindictive and an embarrassment to the city.
At least that what Fahey wants Omahans to think.

Why else would he replace MECA Chairman David Sokol, on the weekend of the beginning of the College World Series?
The CWS is finally in Omaha after all the squabbling that has gone on about the new stadium, and Fahey decides to hang his dirty laundry on the outfield fence at Rosenblatt? (CWS Inc. Pres Jack Diesing Jr called it "unbelievably bad timing".)
Nice job Mike. Because that's what Omahans want to show the national press.

Sure, Sokol blew it by messing with his residency and voter registration. But he isn't the first very rich Nebraskan to own multiple homes and move from house to house. He chose not to lie on the election commissioner notice while selling and buying an Omaha residence and in the mean time has always called Omaha home.

So could Fahey throw out Sokol? Maybe. There are conflicting legal views that may be fought in the coming weeks.
But the real question is SHOULD have Fahey done this?

Well, Iron Mike Fahey says hey, no big deal throwing out Sokol. Why...
"MECA is one of our more prestigious boards, and there are many qualified and deserving people in our community."
Oh really Mike? Is that right? Let's look at Sokol's qualifications:
  • He built a stadium in his business before coming home to Omaha
  • He sits on the NCAA Leadership Advisory Board of Directors
  • He served on the MECA board to build and run the Qwest center
  • He was a leader in the Donor's Trust to raise the millions for the Q
  • He continually puts his money and reputation on the line for the betterment of the city and state
Yeah, people like Sokol are a dime a dozen.

Guess who has the back-channel contacts at the NCAA? Guess who really gets things done with people like the CWS board?
If you thought it was Mike Fahey, guess again.

Remember that without Sokol and the MECA Board, the stadium would have been nailed down in Lot D, and the Qwest would have been potentially wrecked because of it. Fahey gave no thought the consequences of his actions on that.

Heck, to realize the importance of the set-up of the Q, look no further than the Olympic Swim Trials coming up. The pool builders have raved about how easy it has been compared to other facilities. And those qualities go to other functions as well. Fahey was willing to risk that (or probably simply had no clue about it). Sokol stepped up, and put everything on the line to make sure it didn't get F'd up.

There is also a question as to when this came up and who knew. Reportedly, this matter was brought to the NCAA's attention and they were promised that Sokol would NOT be removed. This was supposed to be solved some time ago. Instead, Fahey gets this sudden legal decision from Paul Kratz. Why are we just learning about this now? Who else has known about this issue? Has the Omaha World Herald been sitting on this story, instead of letting Omahans know about it?

David Kotok's COPYRIGHTED front page, top fold, Sunday story leads you to believe they've know for quite some time, but decided to wait until it hit the fan. Was that the honest thing to do? The responsible thing to do? The journalistically truthful thing to do? (You tell us...)

Oh, and who do you think was going to be heading up the private fund raising for the new stadium? Paul Landow? With Sokol being rudely shown the door, one has to wonder how the fundraising will go.

Will donors and leaders put the good of Omaha ahead of their petty political squabbles? Even after all this, one would hope so and one would think so.

You see, Omaha is lucky that most of its city leaders are above that sort of thing.

Well, all except its current Mayor...


OmaSteak said...

This is pure Paul Landow all the way...revenge for complicating the process of the downtown stadium. Plus it lets Landow put a Fahey stooge in charge so Landow has more leverage to shakedown contractors for Fahey campaign contributions. I don't suppose Sokol's long time support of Hal Daub had anything to do with Landow's revenge. Too bad the recall petition drive isn't running right now, I know where they could find a really big donor...LOL!!! BTW, just who do you thing is going to replace Warren Buffet as Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway??? How would Mayor Landow like to see BH's headquarters and annual shareholder meeting move elsewhere???

Anonymous said...

This is so petty of the Mayor and very transparent. Oh by the way, the Mayor's Brother, John Fahey, negotiated the current fire pension deal. He has represented the fire union for years. (the OWH never mentions this for some reason)

Anonymous said...

How embarrasing for Omaha. Our clueless mayor has done it again. Can we start up a recall effort again? (Just kidding. I'm not really for a recall, but sheesh. This might just make me change my mind!)

Anonymous said...

You failed to mention that David is a huge supporter of Hal Daub who will be running for...yup, Fahey's job!

I suspect that the law was followed in this instance, by the letter of it so to speak but do you really want to enforce it unless you are making a personal vindictive point? Of course not. You would normally let this go until someone the the uptight citizen's brigade said something.

This folks, will become very interesting very fast.

Anonymous said...

Hal is a uniter not a divider. He would never do anything like this ;)

Street Sweeper said...

One can argue whether Hal "would do something like this." The fact of the matter is, Fahey did it.

I'd be curious to know how the NCAA feels about this little stunt.

Anonymous said...

What and where are the conflicting legal views?

Street Sweeper said...

See the original story (linked in the post) which notes the legal views of the AG and attorney for MECA.

Eric said...

In the end, Fahey did the right thing. Was it because of the tremendous backlash? Probably, but at least he acknowledged his mistake and chose to correct it.

OmaSteak said...

If you're going to go down the "letter of the law" path, how about all the times Fahey is out of the city without notifying the president of the city council of his absence??? Mikey hops his jet out of the CB airport and heads down to Lake of the Ozarks all the time. The FAA keeps filed flight plans and passenger manifest records, wonder how tight Mikey would pucker up if some DC law firm used by one of the Berkshirt Hathaway family of companies just happend to file an FIA with the FAA for Mikey's tail number??? Would Kotok and the OWH even publish the results like in this case where Landow gave them a copy of the letter before it was even sent to Sokol??? Hey Mikey, here's your decision about running for another just killed your chances. Thanks Mayor Paul!

pol observer said...

This just in mike Fahey reappoints David Sokol out of fear of losing $40 million in private donations...What a wimp!!! Mike you lost any and all credibility.

Street Sweeper said...

Go to the newer post.