Another Lamar Dixon boondoggle? The Gonzales Soccer Club agreement

On September 19, 2017 President Kenny Matassa signed the Cooperative Endeavor Agreement (CEA) whereby Ascension Parish ceded “Exclusive Use” of seven new soccer fields to Gonzales Soccer Club (GSC) during its ten months playing season.  The club enjoys “Preferred Use” the rest of the time.  In return the parish avoided maintenance of the fields, receives $5 dollars of every player registration fee, and 80% of all “Advertising Revenue” projected to yield up to $280,000 every year.

Lamar Dixon’s GM Kyle Rogers provided the numbers in August 2017.  Advertising Revenue would/could amount to $350,000 annually; $180,000 generated by advertising signs, $70,000 in naming rights for seven fields, and $100,000 for some sponsor to slap its logo on the complex.

According to Gonzales Soccer’s Vice President, and chair of Ascension’s Planning Commission, Matthew Pryor over 1500 kids from Ascension Parish participate making it Louisiana’s fifth largest club.  At $5 per player that would be another $7,500 to the parish from GSC.

Pryor was in the ballpark.  Pursuant to a recent records request Ascension Parish produced documents evidencing “all” payments made to the parish by GSC.  On April 3, 2018 there was a payment of $7,260 for “GSC field usage” accompanied by a list of all registrants which equates to 1,452 players.

The Advertising Revenue situation is not so rosy.  The parish produced three, count ’em, three copies of GSC checks totaling $2,000.   That comes to .7% of the top end projection by the Lamar Dixon GM back in August 2017.  Put another way, Rogers was only off by 99.3%.

For a total of $9,260…(let’s not forget all the new sales tax generated for the City of Gonzales)…

On behalf of Gonzales: Thank you Aaron Lawler

GSC is contractually entitled to exert the following authority.

During the “Playing Season,” defined in the CEA as “August-November and January 15-June,” GSC is contractually entitled to “prohibit the use of The Soccer Facilities by any other organization…(and)…close The Soccer Facilities for any reason…If, in any circumstance, GSC is not using a field or fields at the Soccer Facilities, and the Parish desires to use them, GSC will make every effort to accommodate the Parish…”

Ascension Parish is still obligated to maintain “all non-playing surfaces, including all buildings and parking areas” along with all utilities (Electricity, Water, and Sewer).  Does this amount to more than $9,260?

Recreation Chairman Travis Turner, back when the soccer versus basketball tug-of-war began, had this to say about the Corporate Endeavor Agreement in November 2017:

“Nobody else is getting the same benefit that Gonzales Soccer Club has right now.  They helped get fields built  before they even had a contract in place; which tells everybody they had something cut before anything was supposed to be done.  A backroom deal basically.”

Eventually all would be made right…

Sausage making and secret “sidebar discussions” equal a new gym for Travis Turner

The CEA’s term is five years, subject to GSC’s “right to renew for one five year” term without the parish having any escape clause.

“GSC will provide a semi-annual report to the Parish finance committee providing full accounting of how the funds are spent and allow the Parish to review and/or audit their books if the Parish so request.”  None of which has happened, not publicly at least.