The Hated Zipp & The Arena

For months he has warned fellow fans on the Louisville Rivals message board that the bonding plan for the downtown arena was doomed. He has been cursed, laughed at, scorned and ridiculed by people who desperately want the project to succeed.

He goes by the user name of “Zipp” on the message board. He’s the guy fellow posters love to hate. His terse, somkevin-zipperle.jpgetimes vitriolic, responses to people who disagree with him have angered even objective observers. Zipp has remained adamant in his belief, ignoring the optimistic statements of Jim Host, the chairman of the Louisville Arena Authority, and Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson.

He is Kevin Zipperle, a Jeffersonville resident, who holds Master of Engineering and Masters in Business Administration degrees from U of L. Zipperle also holds a certificate in financial planning from Florida State University.

The Mayor and members of the Arena Authority have a vested interest in seeing the project succeed,” he says. “You have to filter what they say with that in mind. The downtown project represents an enormous risk to taxpayers, especially in today’s economic climate.”

It will surprise some that Zipperle is an avid U of L fan who, with his wife Debbie, is a generous contributor to the Cardinal Athletic Fund and holds season tickets to all revenue-generating sports, including women’s basketball and volleyball . They also contributed to the football practice facility and the baseball stadium.

Zipperle, a retired engineer from Brown & Williamson, says Assured Guaranty’s (stock ticker AGO) bond insurance is not worth the paper on which it is written.

“AGO is going down the same path as the prior, failed bond insurer, Ambac, which the LAA dropped late last year after they hit financial troubles; AGO’s stock has plummeted in recent months, the economy is a mess, and the arena is a major risk for the city,” he says. “The choice in locations was a monumental mistake for the city.”

Zipperle believes the university was forced to accept the downtown location against its better judgment. “I want what U of L wants, and I really don’t think they had a choice about the location,” he says. “If this effort fails, as I believe it will, I believe the arena will eventually be built closer to campus.

“I believe that will give Tom Jurich an opportunity to get done what he really wants to get done. He has made very few mistakes. I will put my trust in him rather than in a bunch of city officials who really don’t know what’s best for their community.”

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Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

10 thoughts on “The Hated Zipp & The Arena

  • July 23, 2008 at 5:28 pm
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    If the site was cleared to build the arena and now there is a chance the arena will be built elsewhere (nearer to campus?), what would the city do with the building site that was just imploded? Aren’t they past the point of no return for building the arena at that site?

  • July 23, 2008 at 6:51 pm
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    To date, Second & Main has been a “site development project”. You can put (shoehorn) an arena there, or you can build another large municipal building, hotel, whatever. The investment thus far is largely offset by the value of the underlying property, now ready for someone to purchase and develop to completion. Why do you think bonds haven’t been required until now?

  • July 23, 2008 at 10:59 pm
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    Zipp or what ever you call yourself nobody has held the university of louisville hostage on this.As for university of louisville ever building a on campus arena it will never happen.If you think frankfort will help build a on campus arena for the university it will never happen.If you think university will be able to raise the money on there own that will never happen.

  • July 23, 2008 at 11:30 pm
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    Tony’s comments remind me of what he probably said about the football stadium, which is currently being expanded to 60,000 seats. Don’t ever underestimate the University of Louisville.

  • July 24, 2008 at 12:46 am
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    I agree with tony on this frankfort would never give any money to this university to build a oncampus arena never happen.Papa john doesn’t have 200 million laying around the expansion of the football stadium will take up the universities attention for awhile and construction costs go up not down.

  • July 24, 2008 at 4:37 am
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    His posts do have good points and do make alot of since, he seems to be well informed about these issues. The one thing this article doesn’t tell though is how he will cuss at other posters, make there points seem not valid because of having so little posts, it’s really like he stalks some of the people that disagree with what he says on the forums. There is no reason for this article to make him seem like he is the victim here, he has brought a number of his problems on for himself just because people aren’t allowed to have a positive thing to say about the arena.

  • July 24, 2008 at 7:54 am
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    Did you not read the part about his vitriolic responses to some posters? Nobody defending him here, just telling you a little bit about him.

  • July 24, 2008 at 2:14 pm
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    LOL Charlie. Zipp, unless you and your wife have 250-300 million laying around it’s not going to happen.And those 60,000 seats in papa johns cardinal stadium your talking about there scaling back. [Tony, it’s back up to 60,000] Plus finding a way for your on campus arena to get enough revenue to pay for itself year round. Sorry I don’t have blind faith.

  • July 24, 2008 at 3:08 pm
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    Tony, the state was ready to back the project at the KFEC. That’s close enough to campus. And U of L only backed the Second & Main site to get it built somewhere; their preference has always been closer to campus. Whether you consider that “held hostage” or not is up to you.

    James Hope, you are one of many who choose to mischaracterize me rather than deal with my comments on point. But I’m not going to give the matter airtime here out of respect for Charlie.

  • July 25, 2008 at 4:02 am
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    I have not chosen to mischaracterize you in any way. I’m just stating my Interpretation of the way most of your posts seem to come about. I am in no way trying to start anything with you and am not trying to take respect away from charlie. To deal with your comments on point isn’t even worth the time because it just makes things go down hill even faster. I’m a Kentucky fan living in Louisville but love to watch the Cards, and root for them all year but once and was hoping that this arena would be built but things happen. Zipp great job on calling the way things turned out, like I said before you seem well informed and show what a good education can do for all of the young people out there with your ability to understand things on a financial backgournd better than most.

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