MECA sunshine: More talk, no action

Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog

MECA runs the $291 million CenturyLink Center

When it comes to pulling back the curtain and opening up its records there was more talk but still no action from Omaha’s powerful arena board Tuesday.

MECA Chairman John Lund announcing, “We do not have the votes.”

Insisting he wants to see more “transparency” in the next few months Lund didn’t say why there’s a hold up but did add, “We need to reach a middle ground.”

The Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority has claimed that opening up its books will cut into its trade secrets and hurt MECA’s ability to attract conventions and sporting events.

On the heels of a Nebraska Watchdog report examining glaring “sunshine”differences between arena operations in Omaha and Lincoln, Lund did note that greater transparency “works for (Lincoln) we need to find what works for us.”

Mayor Jean Stothert has been pushing MECA, which is not subject to the state public records law, to open its books.

The mayor’s newest appointment to the five member board, Diane Duren, officially joins the board next month replacing Jim Vokal whose five year term is now up.

Lund remains on the board, his term is up next year, but has handed the chairmanship to Dana Bradford.

The board’s terms have also been a flash point for criticism. For a matter of days recently the terms jumped from five years to seven, but a city hall backlash ended that move.

Lund says he still thinks 7-years is a good idea.

Contact Joe Jordan at joe@nebraskawatchdog.org

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