The best news we read in the reports about the boorish and likely unlawful conduct of TicketNetwork President Donald Vaccaro on Sunday night is that the state has not finalized the contract to give millions of dollars in taxpayer money to his ticket-scalping enterprise.
Perhaps Gov. Dannel P. Malloy cannot point to Mr. Vaccaro's reportedly outrageous behavior as the official reason to abandon the TicketNetwork deal, but there are other reasons and Mr. Vaccaro's actions should give the administration an incentive to look at them. In comments Tuesday, the governor voiced his disdain for Mr. Vacccaro's behavior and indicated his administration is indeed taking a second look at TicketNetwork.
We are sure the governor is not thrilled to be associated with Vaccaro. Certainly other politicians are not. They are quickly scrambling to unload campaign donations they received from Mr. Vaccaro.
Vaccaro, 49, allegedly groped women at an Academy Awards charity event in Hartford. The women were apparently not impressed with his well-lubricated "charm." When he reportedly grabbed one woman around her breasts, a bouncer intervened. Mr. Vaccaro proceeded to dismiss him as a "black mother-(insert obvious expletive)," according to police accounts. They arrested the ticket mogul on various charges, including for a hate crime.
The administration has selected TicketNetwork as one of its "First Five" businesses to receive state stimulus money. If it meets job growth goals, the company could receive up to $4 million in forgiven loans and grant money.
We support economic stimulus programs, but the state needs to use such aid wisely. TicketNetwork buys up tickets to sports and entertainment events, reducing the number of tickets available to the public, and then resells them at a profit. It does not produce anything. We suspect most of the jobs created are not high paying.
Troubling signs had previously emerged about the way TicketNetwork does business, using a network of locked mailboxes to skirt venues' rules about how many tickets can be purchased by one person or entity. While Mr. Vaccaro had mantained that TicketNetwork did not take physical possession of tickets, instead just connecting buyer and seller, an investigation by The Day showed otherwise.
Mr. Vaccaro announced Tuesday he is taking a leave of absence from his company and will seek treatment for alcohol abuse. We wish him well.
But we still oppose investing state money in this enterprise. Like the bouncer, Mr. Malloy should tell Mr. Vaccaro it's time for him and his company to leave the First Five party.