Tonight I showed up at Orlando Live Events to witness the start of the 2017 season.  They were scheduled for 8 performances.  I wanted to record my excitement as I entered the facility for the start of LIVE JAI ALAI once again in Orlando, but things surely didn't go as planned.  I ask that you please share and comment.  The sport deserves better.

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From Jeff over at http://www.national-jai-alai.com/

Orlando Jai-alai under State Investigation

 

Fern Park, FL: Orlando Jai-alai is now under a state investigation for abusing their jai-alai permit. On Monday, Merry Festival’s Rob Craig attempted to go see one of their “performances” on the Opening Day of the 2017 Jai-alai season. According to state records, 8 performances were to be held that day – playing to shameful 2 point games with points doubling in the second round. Only two players were supposedly to be playing in the games which also included a $10 admission charge to get in – per performance. 

It now appears that Dave Catina and his shenanigans may be in hot water. Craig, a diehard Orlando jai-alai fan who lives nearby tried to enter the fronton to see jai-alai. The State requires 40 jai-alai performances in order to maintain their other gambling licenses – in this case the pari-mutual wagering on other events like dog and horse racing. Taking the entire visit on video, he found all the doors locked with a sign clearly stating that the place was closed on Monday and Tuesdays. If 8 performances were to be held that day, why was the place closed? This is what the State is now asking.

Craig’s video was rolling when on about his 5th attempt to get into the building by walking around and trying to open all the doors was greeted by a security guard. He was first told they were closed, they told they were open – despite the signs saying it was closed and the doors all locked. They then changed their story saying they were open. Then another security guard came over and told Craig that he was banned after looking at a photo of him posted on the wall and told him he cannot enter the building ever again. The entire scene is clearly caught on video.

An angry Craig then went to the media, placed an ad on Facebook that has been watched by thousands of people and contacted the State about the matter. But he is not the only one to report this story. Sources have confirmed to us that at least one of person had a long discussion the head guy at the State and he is not too happy about it. The sticking point is that the place was listed as closed for the day on the sign at the front entrance and that alone has triggered the investigation. How could 8 performances be held if the place is closed? The state has considered this a serious matter and will do a full investigation. 

This is a clear violation and could cost Orlando their license. It is also an abuse and mockery of the game that may haunt them in the end. We will keep you posted.

Rob - would like to keep updated with your conversations with Steve Kogan - State Investigator,

Regarding the above column, in the wacky world of jai alai fans, when I read comments like:

"Sources have confirmed to us that at least one person had a long discussion with the head guy at the state and he is not too happy about it"...........the bullshit meter starts buzzing.   Maybe its the word "sources" making this feel like an official, national Associated Press News Release.

Rob, please relay any future one on one communication with the State.

Ah....

Rob, let me get this, you were banned from seeing an event you consider a travesty and it upsets you??

Please....be real.  You're probably upset because your years of whining are coming to an end....because if you think jai alai survives next year you are very much living in fantasy land...the boys and girls in the legislature may not be in talahassee but that does not mean they are not working it out.  Close in 2017 may mean done in 2018.....

Also to all those rejoicing in an "investigation" of Dave Catina and OLE, just go back to late 2012 when another investigation that never occurred was trumpeted here and on Tiger....where did the info about an investigation come from ....."DENVER"??? or some other reliable oaf??

Reliable oaf? ... I'll let Denver handle that himself.

It upsets me the way Jai Alai is treated by people that have the word Jai Alai in their name ("RB Jai Alai LLC).  Leave it to you to crawl out from under your rock and come to your buddy Catina's rescue.  Is Bantina Industries still raking in the bucks?

If/when Jai Alai dies in its current form, it should be able to die with dignity.  Something you personally will never experience.  I'd rather it die than see it bastardized.

Follow state laws to 100% of the law, then I'll be done.  I had one mission with multiple objectives on Monday night.  Several of the objectives have been completed to satisfaction.  If the others come to fruition, then I'm one happy camper.

Be well and don't remember to smile.  Someone out there loves ya!

Mark,

One thing - Its very confusing.  Knowing that Catina is a piece of shit as a human being AND incompetent in business operations, why would an intelligent individual as yourself, continue....seemingly...to support him? 

Hard to understand.

All we have to do is go back....look at the Florida frontons and see who owned them - who managed them.   Financial geniuses with business and marketing acumen,,,,I don't think so.  We don't need to start listing the individuals at each location.   Let me just open the doors and I'm sure hundreds/thousands will come strolling in.  It was a unique, exciting  product - now bastardized down south in Florida City.

Ah Robert....

"my rock", you used to be able to summon better......

To bad you never been able to take responsibility for how your actions and inactions may have caused damage to the sport.....your just a saint....but the only one who you can hurt now with your ridiculousness is Rick Birdoff.  Good going, the guy lost millions and thats just not good enough for you.

As for "oaf" it is not necessarily a derogation.... "see the lovable oaf" is an example.  It is more a reference to size and agility.....but hey you always look on the bright side.

as for Dave, I'd match his friendship and loyalty to many and not find it wanting as opposed to you and some others who scream laudable praise when people agree with you and venom when they do not.

Bye Bye Rob  ....Enjoy your exile.....

All he had to do was have the doors unlocked and be opened for business. This just isn't about the 2 man sham. Hiding behind locked doors while you put on a fake Jai Alai performance? Oh, that just reeks of "proper-ness." Might as well play the season off the back wall in the parking lot so the AC and lights wouldn't have to be turned on.

Mark ... have you ever been so passionate about something that you put your heart and soul into it? I'm not speaking about being first in the parimutual line to wager as the GM of the establishment. I mean true passion. Love for something where you care about it. Care about it so much that you put the cause in front of your own personal agenda?

The last thing you need to be doing is making commentary about other's action or inactions that you deem damaging to the sport. Remember the field trip that I put together at OJA? I received permission from OJA, but you ended up slapping the person on the wrist because you didn't get your fingers on it. Remember the amateur tourny you had to put your personal touch on and completely destroy the ebb and flow of? I'm one that has walked around Spain and France with an Orlando Jai Alai jersey talking with fans and making contacts and you have the gall to call actions damaging? You are defensive of the failure that you had direct control of and could have made a difference. If you, Catina, Birdoff, and any others were smart you would have kept your hands and eyes off this site if you couldn't take the criticism. You think Mark Cuban is reading fan commentary on some small home grown fan site?

The only other guidance I can give is to be cautious on how much you want to stir the pot. There are more than a few ex-employees that are first hand witnesses of rather unsavory business actions at OJA and OLE. The building has a history of being a cesspool of ickiness.

I'm sure others viewing this thread are begging that we move on and not go down this path again. I'll deem this my final commentary to you Mark as a direct response to your posts this evening. I'll be done.

DPOE,

Not trying to defend Dave. Whom would I convince?

Opinions are locked in and are not going to change.

My postingwas really to ask why whine anymore, it is what it is....all I'm pointing out is that no person should be angered by Rick keeping his permit alive by any means needed in order to recoup his losses (the permit will have value after decoupling)???

Maybe and I do not know the answer for sure, but maybe decoupling is the means by which jai alai can be brought back.  No more games in cavernous fontons with handles so minuscule they don't pay to keep the lighting bill.  Perhaps if a court were built in the fictional Florida County of Rob, with a restaurant attached and players paid on a per game basis with a bonus for winning, people would come to eat good food and see a good sport.  Maybe its only open Friday and Saturday.  Maybe there is win betting.  Maybe the court could be opened to amateurs to pay a fee for time during the other days. A profit (assuming the food was good) could be made. Theoretically the numbers can be made to work.

Think about it....no $25k a week players salary but a few grand for a few players; 100 people a week paying an average ticket of $30 plus some handle plus something for entry fee (credited against food/drink) it might last long enough to generate interest again and to be sure a new bistro would advertise and market itself!!!.  Otherwise all the jai alai fans should learn how to spell bocci (as in bocci ball!!)

Off to Europe for a well deserved vacation, enjoy your postings and have a healthy happy remainder of the year......

Here are my emails to Mr. Kogan (Office of Investigations).  He did leave me one voicemail, but that was some time ago.

On Tue, Jun 13, 2017 at 5:17 PM, Rob Craig wrote:

Hi Mr. Kogan,
My name is Rob Craig and I'm the creator/owner of MerryFestival.com.  I am a long time fan and patron of Orlando Jai Alai.  I received your contact information from friend and fellow Jai Alai fan, Chris La Rosa.  At your earliest opportunity, can you please review a video that I captured yesterday evening of me being banned trying to go see live Jai Alai?
As I am hopeful you are aware, Orlando Live Events is utilizing a 2 or 3 man roster to fulfill their live performance requirements.  They have 40 performances scheduled for this week.  They are playing games that last 2 points.  I went there yesterday around 8pm to try and watch and wager on the games.  As you will see in the video: 1) all doors to the facility were locked, 2) I was verbally told they were closed on Monday and Tuesday, 3) Out of no where, I was told that I was banned from their facility.  There are other nuisances, like charging $10 to watch that they are using as a barrier to hopefully keep people out.  It's one thing to massage the laws, but what Orlando Live Events is doing it disgraceful and a direct shot at the State of Florida.  At absolute minimum, if a live performance is in progress, doors shouldn't be locked and patrons denied access.
I have informed multiple media outlets here in Central Florida.  I am giving you a courtesy heads-up as your action and leadership are needed.  I would greatly appreciate a response and acknowledgement of this email.
Many Thanks,
Rob Craig
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
On Thu, Jun 15, 2017 at 11:57 AM, Rob Craig wrote:
Mr. Kogan,
Checking back to see if you can provide a response.  There are many eyes viewing the situation and I'm hopeful you can acknowledge that you have reviewed the complaint.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
From: Rob Craig
Date: Thu, Jul 6, 2017 at 11:19 AM
Subject: Re: Orlando Live Events (formerly Orlando Jai Alai)
To: Steven.kogan@myfloridalicense.com


Mr. Kogan,
I ask again that you please provide an update.  I am reminded every time I drive down the road that this is a black mark on the State of Florida.  I believe it is our tax dollars that pay for the Jai Alai road signage.  The State is advertising Jai Alai, yet when you go the one week of the year it is offered, the doors are locked.  The State gets ~28% on the wagers, yet is it ok that the doors are locked and no one can wager?  I would think a person in your line of business would be appalled at these actions.
Again, there are many that await your update.  If there is someone else I need to reach out to, please let me know.
Thanks,
Rob

Dear Rob,

All your whining and crying does nothing but start arguments and create hate.

Your ideas are not worth pursuing simple as that. You don't own the place, you don't run jai alai and the state will not give you the time off day. You're simply a nuisance without a clue. You won't save the world or jai alai. You're a snow flake that will melt and evaporate. All you business geniuses (LOL) well it doesn't matter.

I mean, you don't know Orlando Jai Alai is a private business(or whatever you call it OLE?

They don't need to let you in the building. It's private property, they don't need a reason. If I ran the place I would have you trespassed. No way in hell will Mr. Kogan give you two shits, you're a nuisance. Also you sure have away of irritating and offending people.

Blab all you wish, you can't and won't do anything. Cry and defend your great ideas, Who cares? Say something about me? Who cares? I don't.just a little reality check for

you big boy.

PP ... For every 10 you make happy, there will be 1 that you rub the wrong way.

All I have is a lot of compassion for our sport and it's treatment. Name any other business that wants nothing more than it's (once) core product to fail. Sad to see you defend OLE and what they are doing. You must be quite the connoisseur of their puppet and magic shows.

The bastardization of Jai Alai will never sit well with me.

What comes to mind when the name Pistol Pete is listed:

(1) NBA Hall of Famer
(2) Top 5 Career Heckler at Orlando Jai Alai

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