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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Chamber not paying for canceled banquet

KU Athletics already has paid it's hotel bill - and the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce won't be kicking in to help defray the costs.

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The Lawrence Chamber of Commerce hasn't acceded to Kansas Athletics Inc.'s request for as much as $6,400 to cover the department's costs associated with canceling a postseason basketball banquet at the Lawrence Holidome.

And chamber leaders don't intend to, either.

Chuck Warner, the organization's interim president and chief executive officer, confirmed Friday that the chamber wouldn't be contributing money to help defray the department's costs.

"I just think we need to move on," said Warner, a retired bank president who received the department's $6,400 request via e-mail soon after starting work at the chamber. "I imagine the athletic department would like to move on."

In terms of the payment, Kansas Athletics already has. The department paid the cancellation fee earlier this month, said Dave Owens, general manager of the Holidome.

The money allowed the hotel to cover its expenses and account for a portion of lost potential revenue, Owens said. The hotel already had received deliveries of food for the banquet - which originally had been expected to accommodate 650 people, but quickly grew beyond 850 once the Jayhawks won the national title - and had brought in additional employees for an event that would never materialize.

Not that he's blaming anyone. It quickly became clear that the Holidome wouldn't be able to handle the clamoring demand for banquet attendance - at least not without setting up picnic tables in the lobby, Owens said - and Kansas Athletics officials found themselves pressed into finding an alternative venue.

"They did exactly what they needed to do," Owens said. "It's not like you can predict winning a national title. You don't want to jinx yourself."

Chamber leaders, meanwhile, never formally entertained the possibility of paying the department's bill for canceling the Holidome banquet, Warner said. That's because the chamber never received a complete, formal request.

Jim Marchiony, an associate athletics director, had sent an e-mail wondering if "the chamber and Downtown Lawrence (Inc.) would team up to pay this invoice."

Warner said he called Marchiony to discuss the issue and to get more information, but - after leaving a message on his voicemail - Warner never heard back.

"It's kind of like a nonrequest," Warner said. "I'm not going to spend a lot of time thinking about a nonrequest."

Football on menu

The Lawrence Holidome will accommodate an event next week that will bring members of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce together with one of the most influential players within Kansas Athletics Inc.

Mark Mangino, Kansas University football coach, will be the featured speaker during a noon luncheon Thursday at the Holidome, 200 McDonald Drive. About 200 people are expected to attend.

The event is billed as a chance to celebrate the Jayhawks' season that ended with a victory in the Orange Bowl and to look forward to the coming season.

Cost is $20. For more information, visit www.lawrencechamber.com.

Comments

actorman 11 years, 6 months ago

Well said, LTCUSA. You summed it up perfectly. Smitty, it'd ridiculous to blame the Holidome for wanting to recoup lost revenue and business expenses. That's a perfectly legitimate fee, and they shouldn't just kiss KU's a** and thank their lucky stars that they're lucky enough to be graced with their presence. They have every right to run their business like a, you know, business.

charlesyu 11 years, 6 months ago

Good to see an athletic department that takes in $3 million a year in student fees, and gets millions from show companies and radio/tv . . . actually step up and pay its own bills.

smitty33 11 years, 6 months ago

The Holidome is the enemy here, not KU or the Chamber. The worn out Holidome should thank it's lucky stars KU has been there in the past and kissing tail that they come back in the future. Maybe KU should send that $6400 in 'lost food' to Mizzery, that should cover them for 10 years worth of BB banquets.

Eric Dawson 11 years, 6 months ago

The Holidome is not "the enemy" for charging the KUAC for the legitimate business costs the Holidome incurred in banquet prep before the KUAC cancellation. Neither the Chamber of Commerce nor DLI are "the enemy" either, as the bill was not theirs to pay -- absorbing those costs should have been factored into the KUAC's business decision to move to AFH. And the KUAC's Marchiony is not "the enemy" either -- he just made a bad business decision public relations-wise in asking the CoC and the DLI to pay for costs that are peanuts for the KUAC and, again, should have been included in the KUAC's business decision to move the celebration. If the Holidome cancellation costs weren't included in the business decision to move to AFH, then that's another strike against the KUAC. It's too bad that such a great period in KU Athletics history is marred by such a minor and totally avoidable "controversy".

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