Dan Gilbert OAKLAND, CA – JUNE 01: Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert looks on during Game 1 of the 2017 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 1, 2017 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

It’s been a bad summer for Cavs owner and real estate mogul Dan Gilbert. While he’s been busy blowing up a potential Cavs dynasty to rival the Warriors, his Detroit real estate company, Bedrock, put out a controversial ad in downtown Detroit that started a public firestorm.

According to a 2010 census, 83 percent of Detroit’s population is African-American. Bedrock put out a new ad campaign, captioned “See Detroit Like We Do,”  displaying a very different image of the city, in which almost everyone is white.

Gilbert has since apologized on Facebook, saying the company has killed the campaign after realizing it “does not reflect a single value or philosophy that we stand for at Bedrock Development.” He added that the rest of the campaign, which had not yet been installed, would have been more inclusive of Detroit’s diversity and attached some photos for proof.


Judge for yourself, but Gilbert’s apology reads a bit fake to me, especially considering his history. His company, Quicken Loans has a history of alleged predatory lending that led to a lawsuit from the federal government. The Nation recently dubbed him “Cleveland’s Corporate-Welfare King” as he’s profited off of public funds, most recently using anywhere $140 million and $240 million to renovate Quicken Loans Arena. He also wanted to use taxpayer money to build a prison and MLS stadium in Detroit.

So regardless of how you view Gilbert as a franchise owner and how he’s ruined LeBon James’ Cavs twice, remember how he’s taking tons of resources away from Cuyahoga County and the City of Cleveland.

Or as The Nation put it:

Make no mistake about what is happening here. This is stadium construction as substitute for anything resembling an urban policy for the people of Cleveland. It is an act of corporate welfare, where public money magically becomes private profit for Dan Gilbert. It is crooked Trumponomics, the people’s funds flowing up to one of Trump’s most slavish billionaire backers. It is the politics of predatory lending—slumlord politics—bereft of democracy or morality.

Gilbert has promised the Cavs will pay the city back partially with playoff revenue from 2016 to 2023, even though the may not be a playoff team after next season is James indeed leaves in free agency. According to Cleveland.com, that revenue is projected at only $8.7 million.

Gilbert can write as many long apologies as he wants. But his track record shows he doesn’t care for the people in the cities where he lives and works.

[Sports Illustrated]

About Jesse Kramer

Jesse is a writer and editor for The Comeback. He has also worked for SI.com and runs The Catch and Shoot, a college basketball website based in Chicago. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Follow Jesse on Twitter @Jesse_Kramer.