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Mayor raises questions over American Bank Center contract amendment

Posted at 7:01 PM, Aug 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-31 07:43:41-04

CORPUS CHRISTI – Mayor Joe McComb isn’t mincing words regarding the American Bank Center’s request of $250,000 of Type A money for the Corpus Christi Ice Rays.

“That appears to be a misappropriation of funds,” said McComb.

The money, spread out as $50,000 a year over five years is designed to offset a $50,000 a year increase in the Ice Rays’ rent.  That increase was imposed on the team by the American Bank Center.

“It’s a way to get access to funds they otherwise wouldn’t have,” said McComb.  “And the ice hockey team, their costs remain the same.”

The money in question comes from the Type A Board’s marketing and co-promotion fund.

“The intent of those dollars is to invest into the facility to attract more events,” American Bank Center General Manager Matt Blasy said.

According to Blasy, the Ice Rays already get $100,000 facility’s Type A funds a year.  This week’s request makes it $150,000.  Blasy says if not for the extra money, the Ice Rays’ future in Corpus Christi is unclear.

“We thought the win-win scenario would be to look for alternative ways to be able to be able to cover those costs and be able to continue to keep the Ice Rays here long term,” said Blasy.

Mayor McComb says he has nothing against the Ice Rays, he’s just not sure how much the city should subsidize its hockey team.

“To subsidize rent on an ongoing operation, I’m not sure that’s what voters approved when they voted for that Type A money,” said McComb.