Here is one fact alone that should sober the debate, and worry those named Melnyk or Ruddy: Claridge Homes began pre-selling condos on the eastern end of LeBreton Flats in 2005 — it had 12 signups on the first night — and 13 years later, yes 13 years, that first phase is still not sold out, about 500 units in total being built.

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The last update on the Lansdowne partnership provided at city hall in mid-2017 revealed OSEG ended 2016 with a net loss of $14.4 million, after registering a net loss of $12.6 million in 2015. The arena’s structural steel was found to be heavily corroded during the Lansdowne redevelopment, and there was damage reported after a concert in 2016

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In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, Nicolas Ruszkowski, the team’s chief operating officer, called Watson’s comments “disappointing and inaccurate.”

Ruszkowski also said the mayor ruling out tax dollars for an arena is a double standard, considering the city had already invested to upgrade TD Place stadium at Lansdowne Park.

That partnership, composed of the City of Ottawa, Pomerleau Inc. and Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group — which includes John Ruddy — has had its operational problems. According to numerous media reports, stadium construction was tainted by disputes over unpaid bills, escalating costs and the bankruptcy of small businesses.

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Mayor Jim Watson and the National Capital Commission should have pulled out all the stops to make it happen.

Instead, the NCC threw all the red tape it could find at Melnyk, while Watson and his troops stayed on the sidelines either pretending to be disengaged or, worse, acting with willful blindness to undermine Melnyk.

Melnyk is a billionaire businessman. He put his money where his mouth was. Career politician Jim Watson and his cadre of acolytes have done next to nothing to help Melnyk help this city.

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