Chamber not paying for canceled banquet

KU Athletics already has paid it's hotel bill - and the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce won't be kicking in to help defray the costs.

May 24, 2008


The Lawrence Chamber of Commerce hasn't acceded to Kansas Athletics Inc.'s request for as much as $6,400 to cover the department's costs associated with canceling a postseason basketball banquet at the Lawrence Holidome.

And chamber leaders don't intend to, either.

Chuck Warner, the organization's interim president and chief executive officer, confirmed Friday that the chamber wouldn't be contributing money to help defray the department's costs.

"I just think we need to move on," said Warner, a retired bank president who received the department's $6,400 request via e-mail soon after starting work at the chamber. "I imagine the athletic department would like to move on."

In terms of the payment, Kansas Athletics already has. The department paid the cancellation fee earlier this month, said Dave Owens, general manager of the Holidome.

The money allowed the hotel to cover its expenses and account for a portion of lost potential revenue, Owens said. The hotel already had received deliveries of food for the banquet - which originally had been expected to accommodate 650 people, but quickly grew beyond 850 once the Jayhawks won the national title - and had brought in additional employees for an event that would never materialize.

Not that he's blaming anyone. It quickly became clear that the Holidome wouldn't be able to handle the clamoring demand for banquet attendance - at least not without setting up picnic tables in the lobby, Owens said - and Kansas Athletics officials found themselves pressed into finding an alternative venue.

"They did exactly what they needed to do," Owens said. "It's not like you can predict winning a national title. You don't want to jinx yourself."

Chamber leaders, meanwhile, never formally entertained the possibility of paying the department's bill for canceling the Holidome banquet, Warner said. That's because the chamber never received a complete, formal request.

Jim Marchiony, an associate athletics director, had sent an e-mail wondering if "the chamber and Downtown Lawrence (Inc.) would team up to pay this invoice."

Warner said he called Marchiony to discuss the issue and to get more information, but - after leaving a message on his voicemail - Warner never heard back.

"It's kind of like a nonrequest," Warner said. "I'm not going to spend a lot of time thinking about a nonrequest."

Football on menu

The Lawrence Holidome will accommodate an event next week that will bring members of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce together with one of the most influential players within Kansas Athletics Inc.

Mark Mangino, Kansas University football coach, will be the featured speaker during a noon luncheon Thursday at the Holidome, 200 McDonald Drive. About 200 people are expected to attend.

The event is billed as a chance to celebrate the Jayhawks' season that ended with a victory in the Orange Bowl and to look forward to the coming season.

Cost is $20. For more information, visit


Gina Bailey-Carbaugh 10 years, 1 month ago

It seems that, per the article, the Holidome couldn't accomodate the KU banquet anyway, so it was going to be moved irregardless. So, the Chamber and Downtown should be responsible for any part of it.

Sigmund 10 years, 1 month ago

The Chamber and Downtown Lawrence have been pampered so much that they now feel entitled.

Nikki May 10 years, 1 month ago

I'm just glad they stood up for themselves and didn't pay.

BigPrune 10 years, 1 month ago

The Chamber and Downtown Lawrence should be footing the bill especially since KU moved the KU/Mizzou football game to Arrowhead and let KC businesses reap the benefits. It's the co-dependent thing to do.

bearded_gnome 10 years, 1 month ago

OMG, if you just sweep the floor at KUAC, collect the gold dust, you can pay this bill five times over; so much money rolls through there! and they did move the ku/mu game out of town.

camper 10 years, 1 month ago

6400 bucks, and the chamber is looking at it? Whatever the outcome, even if viewed as miniscule, it means people are looking after things. This news has no shock value, but it does provide some comfort because you know people are looking at bills, and questioning them before they go to A/P. I don't have opinion of who pays the bill, but atleast it shows good control because it is debated (or disputed).

Stephen Roberts 10 years, 1 month ago

You talk about being pampered, Lew and his henchmen are are far worse. If they wanted to have their "private party", no one stopped them. They should pay for it themselves. Better yet whoever made the decision to cancelled the private party should have to pay for it.

pace 10 years, 1 month ago

Oh the whining about how much they wanted a parade, but they didn't take any responsibility for what it cost or working with the participants. Downtown and the chamber thinks the general population and the university owes them but they don't see they owe anyone. A little self absorbed.

Yabut 10 years, 1 month ago

The Holidome couldn't accomodate the increase in the number of people invited to the banquet by KU Athletics after the team won. How is this a Chamber and DLA issue in the first place? It had nothing to do with the parade, and the banquet still occured, tho in KC. The Holidome should have said "Sorry, we can't accomodate that number. Cut your guest list or forfeit your deposit", just like any venue would for any other event. Glad to see the reporter finally asked some of the questions we've been asking all along.

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