Shortly after Team Oracle's victory last week, an ebullient Mayor Ed Lee issued press statements congratulating Larry Ellison for “the greatest comeback in America's Cup history.” He also promised to fete the billionaire-backed team at City Hall, at a future date, for an undisclosed price. The mayor's office still hasn't specified who will bankroll this final hurrah for a yacht race that has already cost the city $22 million (a figure partially offset by reimbursements from the America's Cup Organizing Committee). Cup committee head Mark Buell was still awaiting details last week.
So were city bureaucrats, evidently. A spokeswoman at the mayor's office said Thursday that Lee's staff hadn't made plans, or projected a cost for the victory party. But sources within City Hall believe it's still happening.
Critics say it's outrageous that San Francisco is throwing any more money at America's Cup at all. “The people of San Francisco already paid for Ellison's party 20 million times over,” laments former Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin, adding that this celebration is just one more example of unwitting public largesse.
Add in the irony that 10 of the 11 sailors on Oracle's 72-foot catamaran were not American, and the proposed fete seems even more odd – a kind of home-team celebration for a team whose home connections are tenuous at best. But for an event marked by labyrinthine real estate deals, a flinch-worthy cheating scandal, and an untimely death, it might be a fitting coup de grace.