Mike Brown and Kate Blackburn (Heir Apparent)
Mike Brown (President and de-facto General Manager), Pete Brown (Senior Vice President of Player Personnel and Mike's brother); Kate Blackburn (Executive Vice President and daughter of Mike); Paul Brown (Vice President - Player Personnel);Troy Blackburn (Vice President, Kate's husband, and Mike's Son-In-Law); and plenty of other suspected family members saturate the unqualified hierarchy Bengals corporate structure — also known as the Bengals' ownership.
This is nepotism at it's finest, with the purse strings and profits of the Bengals being stripped down to the barest to field a stellar stable of colts on the field but with a vast wasteland of nothing behind it.
The Browns and the remaining founders/investors are laughing all the way to the bank as they see no reason to represent the interest of the city whose name they have turned from an honor to a hijacking. The city and the common, working class of the Queen City means nothing to this country club crowd running the milk farm for us lemmings which refuse to let go.
Zane Daniel's recap of 'Mike Brown's Testimony' in the Dutch Knowlton estate lawsuit says it all.
Later, Hamilton County (in which Cincinnati is located) sued the National Football League for violating the Sherman Anti-Trust act after it was revealed that the Bengals had basically withheld information and led the county to believe that the team was struggling financially — which facts would later show was not the case.
As quoted from the Knowlton case in an April 2009 Cincinnati Enquirer article ("Court Case Reveals Bengals' Millions," by Kimball Perry), in which an accountant Edward Vonderbrink revealed the following as quoted in the aforementioned article:
"Among details of the team’s finances that emerged from the case is that from 1994 to 2000 – as Brown campaigned for and got a new publicly funded stadium to remain solvent and stay in Cincinnati – the team paid Brown and his family in excess of $50 million."
"Mike Brown received millions in “general manager” bonuses, even though the team has no such title."
"VonderBrink testified the team paid a “general manager” bonus of $1,237,000 in 1999 and $1,947,695 in 2001. Brown testified in the trial he received a bonus every year since he took over running the team in 1991."
"The $48 million paid to the Brown family came as the team also paid five Brown family members annual average salaries of more than $700,000, court documents note. The family members in addition to Mike Brown are: Brown’s brother, Pete Brown; Brown’s son, Paul Brown; Brown’s daughter, Katie Blackburn; and her husband, Troy Blackburn."
"Those five family members, VonderBrink testified, were paid combined salaries of $3,926,000 in 1999 – an average salary of $785,200 – and $3,613,000 in 2001, an average salary of $722,600."
The County later sued the NFL to try to recover damages, but thanks to an equally inept local government, the expiration date had passed for the county to sue for damages (four years after the deal was made).
Shame on Mike Brown for tarnishing his father's memory and teaching his children that taking advantage of the public makes for good business.
For more, see the following links:
WARNING: The following documents may contain enough information to turn you off to the Bengals forever:
Brown Got 'GM Bonus,' Records Show (by Kimball Perry)
Mike Brown's Testimony in the Knowlton Estate Case
Knowlton Appeals Court Case
Knowlton versus Schultz Lindberg (Children Sue Father's Lawyer)
Knowlton Appeals Decision
Vonderbrink's (Accountant) Testimony in the Knowlton Estate Case
Hamilton County versus the National Football League