G-BAD Boys Keep Trying To Expand

The Greater Boise Auditorium District board, known affectionately as the “G-BAD Boys,” are still in GROWTH mode and this time they seek to move up…literally.

The DAILY PAPER has a piece by reporter Cynthia Sewell in Tuesday’s edition explaining yet another expansion plan which includes adding a story atop the existing structure. It is fraught with stumbling blocks that include closing the facility for a year during construction and even more intrusion onto the public roadway.


G-BAD is a public agency with a board elected by citizens. All their funds are public money, much of it is tax money collected on hotel room rental. They currently have about $9 million burning a hole in their collective pocket. In a nutshell, between the G-BAD boys and local officials the area is a mess.

The downtown area has become a virtial sardine can of buildings and parking structures. We have often noted that Boise is a small town and jamming more structures into the core won’t make it bigger. Streets are narrow and blocks are small. Toss in the skinny Aspen apartments across Front and there just isn’t any room…something growth oriented officials apparently ignore each time they approve projects.

The Grove Hotel squeezed the sidewalk to almost unuseable width, intruded illegallly into the public area on the Grove, they comandeered one lane of Capitol Blvd.–sometimes two–and now the Center on the Grove convention folks want to take another lane of Front Street in their preliminary expansion plans. They frequently block 9th Street at the loading dock during events.

The G-BAD boys have seen most of their dreams turn into nightmares. Their arch nemisis is the Ameritel Inn hotel chain and head honcho Chuck Everett. When G-BAD used public money for a campaign promoting one side of an election, Ameritel sued them and they got whacked by the Idaho Supreme Court. They have been turned down by voters at two elections and every scheme they attempt with hoteliers and developers has failed. Their focus has always been to develop downtown.

Most recently Everett and Ameritel got an injunction in a Pocatello court against that eastern Idaho auditorium district for illegally spending district funds for tourist promotion because the convention center agency doesn’t even have a convention center!

Now that Pocatello decision has led to a split between G-BAD and the Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau. The BCVB got most of its funds from G-BAD. Between the court order in Pocatello and an opinion of the Idaho Attorney General, that cozy relationship has ceased. It was a questionable financial relationship with a director making about $150,000 a year and G-BAD members sitting on the BCVB board like the infamous interlocking directorates of old. All the while BCVB refused to make public its finances, claiming to be a private non-profit. The split was a good move and the convention center is now doing its own marketing.

We have to say most of these players are well intended, but a dose of reality and perspective could do wonders for the tourist industry in Boise. Common sense actions like opening the Depot daily during summer months, directional signs to attractions throughout the city,
and schedules posted at bus stop shelters would go a long way toward making Boise a tourist destination rather than gumming up the downtown with more stuff.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. If we have no room to expand, what will we do with all the blight vacant lots downtown? In my opinion, cities should not be giant vacant lots or holes in the ground in center city.

  2. Speaking of Holes, I guess the Boise Hole is on Twitter….Funny stuff.

  3. About time the Guardian got involved in this, however, would encourage further homework.
    *BCVB actually is a non-profit. Check the Sec of State’s records online. Non-profits are under different rules for Records Requests. On the flip side, GBAD doesn’t provide any information unless a request is made directly to the Boise Convention Center GM. Their website has nothing current – no meeting notices, minutes, financials, audit reports, budgets, monthly reports, marketing plan, etc. Appears that transparency is an issue there.
    *One GBAD member sits on the BCVB board as a liaison, which GBAD allows. There is only one, not two.
    *GBAD Boys – unsure where this term came from… However, the other board member, who does NOT sit on the BCVB board but is a supporter of tourism and funding the BCVB is a woman. Another GBAD Board member who is against BCVB funding is a woman. Gender bias here? wow.
    *Pocatello decision was related to the fact they had no convention center, nor did they have plans for one. Boise has one. It’s not apples to apples.
    *AG opinion is just that. An opinion. It made ‘grey all the more grey’ which means there is room to make a reasonable decision. It didn’t say this was flat out illegal, criminal or veer this way.
    *GBAD statutes state they cannot compete and also that they must provide an RFP. Seems they are picking and choosing which law they want to follow.

    Hope to see another article from the Guardian with in depth homework and proven facts.

    EDITOR NOTE–You seem to be much better informed that are we. Please feel free to offer up facts. We have met with all sorts of folks and it seems to be a majority personality rift sprinkled with lots of insiders. We have talked to several hoteliers who offer rumblings about going to the state to get a different SWITA/BCVB contractor. Not much the GUARDIAN can offer with regard to that private contractor
    — either current or future.

  4. Capitol Blvd was pretty cool, once upon a time. What a shame that earlier city leaders allowed the view from the depot toward and the Capitol to the depot to be “uglified.” Look at large cities back east and in Europe which have managed to keep their city centers to be attractive – that is what keeps tourists coming, not more advertising. I never go downtown anymore. I am a native and worked downtown for more than 30 years.

    Not having larger set back requirements is ridiculous – what, are we running out of ground in southern Idaho? Too late to fix it now.


  5. To The Editor: Facts are available. To start, might suggest having the Guardian request a list of Board members from BCVB and then comparing the those with the GBAD Board listed at Can start there to show that only Mike Fitzgerald sits on both boards, and it is approved by GBAD. Also, two of the GBAD board members are women. You’ll also find that the site does not offer anything with regards to being transparent.

    Hotel rumblings: Unsure of your point – sounds like more rumors unless something can be shown in fact.

  6. Check your facts
    Sep 17, 2010, 8:32 pm

    Fact Check: regurgitating the same garbage Mike Fitzgerald did at the last GBAD meeting certainly does not constitute facts. The AG opinion makes “grey all the more grey”? You folks ASKED for the opinion and if the AG opinion had been in your favor you’d have been flying it around like a red badge of courage. Why isn’t the new AG Opinion on your website? You are right, it is an OPINION, by the State of Idaho Attorney General, and it said you were WRONG! OWN IT!

    Regarding transparency, at least if a public records request is given to the District, they provide the information requested. You seem to forget that the BCVB has failed at every level to provide important information. Don’t sling mud at GBAD unless BCVB is above the fray. There is NO ACCOUNTABILITY or TRANSPARENCY with BCVB, THAT IS FACT. Hiding behind a non-profit status was a tactic, and it backfired, OWN IT.

    As for the Statute and RFP’s. You, as well as the BCVB Board, and Kane, really don’t understand the statute very well or you wouldn’t be in this mess, ask the State of Idaho Attorney General!

    Fitzgerald was completely conflicted in his positions, otherwise, he would still be the Chairman of the BCVB and Vice-Chair of the District, a nice FACT you quietly left out.

    The BCVB has misplayed this event on every single level. There are plenty of hoteliers that are sick and tired of the way Ms. Patterson has handled the situation.

    Now, quit whining and go back to volunteering or looking for a job!

  7. Check your Facts: Flaming people who comment on news articles is inappropriate and rude, especially when you don’t know who you are speaking to. I’m neither volunteering or looking for a job – get some class if you’re going to comment.

    AG opinion is on website:

    Actually, the Chairman issue is a lot more complex than what you just put out – a lot. Backgrounds and details of actions of the 3 GBAD members in question for even the last 90 days appear questionable at best, so if you would like to discuss the term ‘conflicted’, it’s open and all of the details can come out.

    Transparency: Specifics on what GBAD supporters believe hasn’t been provided have been asked for at numerous times with no response, or supporters who comment won’t or don’t followup. The question is still open for you to answer – go to STTIBoise and comment there to keep everyone in the loop so it can be fully discuss.

    Picking and choosing which laws to uphold isn’t what I support and is against the law. However, 3 members of GBAD and their GM appear to be cherry picking among those as being proved by Public Records Requests. Upholding fiduciary duties is now in question as well.

    The purpose of an Auditorium District, (from the Idaho Statute) is this: Serve the public need and use and will promote the
    prosperity, security and general welfare of the inhabitants of said districts.

    The Idaho Statute also clearly outlines the non-compete issue: ( “To promote any functions for said district, provided that said board
    shall not engage in operations that are inconsistent with the purpose of said
    district; and it shall be the policy of the board not to compete with existing
    facilities and services in the district, wherever practicable;. directives for Auditorium Districts”.

    If you feel RFP limits are not being exceeded, prove it.

    Also, correct me if I’m wrong, however, GBAD’s preferred attorney lost the Pocatello CVB case.

  8. Nasty and Inebriated
    Sep 22, 2010, 12:09 pm

    However shall I start!

    You can’t quote bits and pieces of a statute. That isn’t the way the law works. Although, you don’t care about the law do you? The statutory language you used does exist (in part), however, you left out the part that talks about “having the purposes and POWERS (emphasis added) contained in this act”. Your argument doesn’t hold water.

    There is nothing complex about Mike F. being the Chair of the BCVB and the Vice Chair of GBAD. If you don’t see the conflict you aren’t looking very hard. Don’t make “grey all the more grey” by bringing up actions of other Board members. Stay on point here. If you can defend Mike F’s conflicts in position or behaviour, have at it.

    As far as transparency, your comments don’t make sense. Again, stay on point. You do like “grey don’t you? Please don’t insult anyone’s intelligence by holding up .sttiboise as a bastion of transparency. This site is a one sided, mean spirited attempt to deface anyone that doesn’t think the way you do.

    I didn’t know GBAD’s attorney lost the Pocatello case. The way the S.C. ruled, it looked like Pocatello was operating outside the law. Seems easy to most people. Although most individuals associated with the BCVB don’t put much stock in the law.

    signed….flaming rude, oh heck, and nasty and inebriated as well.

  9. Guardian Editor: …so people can flame and throw absolute insults on your site without recourse…? It’s looking pretty fishy from here…

    N & I: Assuming you agree with all other facts noted since you didn’t respond further to those.

    Looks like your issues with BCVB are Mike F, transparency and the statute, yes?

    ok – we’ll take this one post at a time: First, Mike F: He is a Director on the GBAD board, not the Vice Chair. Check their website:

    EDITOR NOTE–We are closing debate on this post as it is degenerating into a family fight and we are simply not part of the family.

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