2 ‘nons’ can’t make a regatta right

2 ‘nons’ can’t make a regatta right

Hold the phone!

City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County officials complained out of one side of their mouths how they were caught flat-footed by the nonperformance of LionHeart Event Group LLC. That forced the cancellation of this year’s Three Rivers Regatta.

But out of the other side of their mouths they were revealing how the company had not, for a number of years, paid their bills to the city and county for past events.

Not only is there now a criminal investigation into the mess, at least one county entity – the sheriff’s office – has filed a lawsuit. It’s a good bet that other government and/or quasi-government entities and corporate sponsors will follow suit.

It seems everybody and their uncle suddenly are saying LionHeart misrepresented the performance of its duties, apparently leading government types to believe everything was hunky-dory until, obviously, it was not. At the last minute.

But, but, but, but – why did city and county officials allow LionHeart to essentially float its arrearages? Should that not have pulled the chain on the ol’ light bulb sooner than days before the regatta was supposed to start that something big was amiss?

Worse, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto says the city might have to “take a haircut” – that is, eat its losses – in pursuit of reviving the regatta next year. Really?

Indeed, LionHeart should be held to account for any and all issues. But so, too, should city and county officials, who, for some reason, “trusted” LionHeart and snoozed their way through their oversight role.

Sound public policy demands that government nonfeasance not enable a contractor’s nonperformance. One “non” was bad enough; two “nons” don’t stand a chance to make this regatta right.

Colin McNickle is communications and marketing director at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy (cmcnickle@alleghenyinstitute.org).