Friday December 06, 2013 | 01:23 PM

Occupy Maine, take note: if you want your business leaders to get worked up about the ills of capitalism, forget about fast food workers and focus on your local pro sports teams. 

We often hear from Chamber of Commerce types that government ought to be run "like a business," but now that the Cumberland County Civic Center's board of trustees is managing the arena in the best financial interests of its taxpayers and driving a hard bargain with the Portland Pirates hockey team, the Portland Community Chamber is calling for a coup d'état, as detailed by Bill Nemitz in his column today.

The reason the Pirates left, you may recall, is because the Civic Center turned down a weak lease agreement with the hockey team in favor of hosting other, more lucrative events.

It was a perfectly capitalist decision, made in pursuit of maximum profits. Nemitz points out that Neal Pratt, the Civic Center's hard-nosed negotiator, actually won a prestigious award from the Chamber of Commerce earlier this year for his work as the Civic Center's board chair. 

But after two short months without a hockey team, members of the Chamber now want the Civic Center to be run less like a business, and more like a taxpayer-supported charity for the benefit of pro hockey. As Nemitz puts it: 


"The Pirates, after all, are in this to make money. And if some of that comes at the expense of county taxpayers – who remain on the hook should the civic center fail to make its estimated $800,000 annual contribution to pay down that $34 million renovation bond – that’s not the Pirates’ problem.

"The trustees, on the other hand, are unpaid volunteers whose financial interest begins and ends with what’s best for those taxpayers."



Read the full column here.

About this Blog

Subscribe to the
Commercial Confidential RSS feed

Commercial Confidential tracks Maine's business leaders and economic indicators.

About the Author

I'm an economics wonk and an online content producer for the Portland Press Herald.

You can get in touch with me by emailing cmilneil [at], or by calling 791-6307, or by following @vigorousnorth. Also check out my business and economics list on Twitter.

"On the Move": Submit items of interest regarding new employees, promotions and professional honors — with photos and LinkedIn URLs — to business [at]

Favorite Sites

Previous entries

April 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013


September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

Further Discussion

Here at we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)
Prefer to respond privately? Email us here.