I spent much of the past week in Texas. While I was ditching rainstorms in San Antonio and fighting toll roads in Dallas, I missed the dramatic three-pointer by rookie point guard Sundiata Gaines that gave the Jazz a thrilling win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. I missed the announcement that Salt Lake Tribune owner Dean Singleton’s holding company filed for Chapter 11 reorganization. I missed Utah Senate Majority Leader Sheldon Killpack’s DUI arrest. I missed the stunning news that City Weekly’s bank, Barnes Bank, will close.
I guess I’ll just go through them one by one: Gaines, first. I see that some Jazz fans are already calling his buzzer beater the most thrilling shot in the team’s history. Maybe. But I have to guess that those folks are just too young to remember March 16, 2001, when former Jazz center Greg Ostertag made a three-pointer. Now, that was something. Utah fans used to crucify Ostertag in the same way they crucify—pick one—Miles, Brewer, AK, Boozer, Sloan or Okur today.
Utah Jazz Memory Lane
Back in 2001, Ostertag was the goat of
choice. For a brief shining moment—the
time it takes for a basketball to travel
the several yards from three-point line
to the bottom of the net—Ostertag had
all of Jazzdom on the edge of their seats.
Normally, the poor guy couldn’t drop the
ball and hit the floor, despite gravity being
on his side. Yet, the nutty giant launched
a three-pointer against Portland and it
somehow went into the hoop. That was
a bigger shot than that by Gaines. First,
it was the only three-pointer made by
Ostertag in his entire career—he finished
with a career record of one successful
three-pointer out of 10 attempts. Gaines
will do better than that.
Second, it’s my opinion that, thanks to that three-pointer, Ostertag relieved himself from being listed on the Worst White Basketball Players of All-Time lists. Yep, say what you will about old ’Tag, in the end, he didn’t do so badly for himself. On the other hand—and yes, I revel in the opportunity to toss smack to an in-state rival — BYU boasts two players on the Jones Top-15 Worst White Players of the Last 20 Years—Greg Kite and Shawn Bradley. So, in the end, the three-pointer by Ostertag has enduring value to the Utah Jazz franchise — not as thrilling, but just as valuable. Oh, and a month later, Ostertag rode his thrill parade to a career high: 25 points against Phoenix. Did he have the heart of a lion or what? … Don’t answer that.
Barnes Bank’s Closing
Barnes Bank’s closing is on my mind,
too. It wouldn’t be so bad, except we had
been assured to no end that all was well
at Barnes—up to, and
including, the day
the feds came in and
seized the bank assets.
We define Pollyanna;
today, the feds’ first
day on the job, we got
news that our two
accounts at Barnes are
already messed up.
In case you’re wondering — yes, hurrah for the FDIC. But even with federal assurances that our funds are protected, it will be no small headache to get our finances organized and rooted into a new bank. (If anyone wants our banking business, call City Weekly publisher, Jim Rizzi.) We’re not small potatoes, we just smell like them. And we’re not dying, either—or if we are, we blissfully don’t know it. That can’t be said for The Salt Lake Tribune, whose ownership has been announcing for months that its business model is teetering.
Something for The Salt Lake Tribune to Investigate
Nearly every time I’ve written something
about the financial house of cards
that is the Dean Singleton newspaper-business
model, someone at the Tribune
will phone me to ask if their job is safe.
I always told them the same thing: Hey,
if you investigated your own boss and
reported on him the same way you do
on any other local scoundrel, you’d win
a Pulitzer Prize. A newspaper company
simply can no longer leverage its cash flow
into new loans nor can it sustain old loans
on current cash flows. Singleton was leveraged
to the teeth, and he knew it. Certainly,
he was smart enough to take his share and
convert it into great wealth, but that can’t
be said for his shareholders. Singleton told
the Denver Post that those shareholders
“will lose the value of their holdings.”
Meanwhile, he and his “right-hand
man,” Jody Lodovic, retain 20 percent ownership
in the restructured company — one
with less debt and with a majority ownership
comprised of the bankers who lent
Singleton money in the first place. Last
September, Singleton foretold that bankers
would become his partners. In a Sept. 25,
2009, Salt Lake Tribune
article, Singleton coyly
predicted the events of
the past week by identifying
his banking partners
as potential “accidental
You know, that’s some kind of accident. The next accident you’ll read about may very well be the one where Singleton sells the Tribune to the Deseret News, and the facade of independence he’s been running for the past decade will be cast aside. That rumor has been rampant since he bought the Tribune and refused to sell it back to the McCarthey family (who must be thanking their lucky stars right now). Salt Lake City has two daily newspapers in name only, so really, not much will change. And it wasn’t much of an accident. In Singleton-speak, accident is the new bankruptcy.
Senator Killpack's DUI Arrest
I don’t have much to say about Senator Killpack. He resigned after his DUI, and I don’t think he should have. He’s not a nutjob. Killpack replaced Sen. Curt Bramble as Senate Majority Leader in part because he was seen as a kinder, gentler leader. So, I’m mad I was gone when Killpack and Mark Walker went out drinking. Had I known they were closet tipplers, I would have driven them home. It would have been the pagan thing to do.