Steelers blast trash talk of Chesney concertgoers
Quit carping about the trash, or country star Kenny Chesney and other headliners might go away for good.
That's the warning the Pittsburgh Steelers gave North Shore parking executive Merrill Stabile, who spoke up about the 60,000-pound avalanche of garbage that some music fans scattered outside Heinz Field last month. He told reporters he wants the daylong party to be shorter and said some partiers are part of a difficult crowd that, by one estimate, dumped five times as much trash in the lots compared with an average Steelers game.
The critiques aggravated Chesney's managers and jeopardized booking concerts because Stabile “chose to publicly slander the fans” after the June 22 show, according to Jimmie Sacco, the Steelers' executive director of stadium management.
“Apparently, Mr. Stabile's main complaint was that the Chesney fans left behind too much garbage,” Sacco wrote in a July 1 letter sent to the city Stadium Authority and obtained by the Tribune-Review. Sacco said the show caused no serious property damage, and he urged the authority board to ask Stabile for an explanation of his remarks.
The Stadium Authority owns parking lots near Heinz Field, where Chesney has played summer concerts since 2005. Stabile's Alco Parking Corp. manages and organizes cleanup for most parking in the stadium area, including about 10,000 spaces used for the Chesney show.
Stabile called Sacco's letter “ludicrous,” saying he wasn't complaining but merely making observations when reporters called him.
“It's a feeble attempt to set me up as a fall guy if this concert or other similar ones don't occur,” Stabile said. He said his company profits from the Chesney show, which attracted 49,042 attendees, and that he didn't suggest eliminating the event.
In a letter responding to the Steelers' management company, PSSI Stadium LLC, Stabile said no one would benefit by denying the problem. Though most fans were responsible, the tailgaters produced more garbage and crowd control problems than other events, he said.
“If the Steeler organization is waiting for an apology from me, I can only characterize my sentiments with a title to an old country-western song, ‘If the phone don't ring, it's me,' ” Stabile wrote.
Stabile, who has a history of spats with Steelers management, dismissed the idea that his remarks could put shows at risk.
“We want to do better next time around, and we want to continue to encourage concerts,” Stabile said. Los Angeles-based AEG, which manages Chesney's tours, did not respond to requests for comment. Sacco said his letter speaks for itself.
Stadium Authority Chairman Michael Danovitz referred questions to Executive Director Mary Conturo, who said city, Alco and stadium officials are collaborating to strengthen management of the next Chesney show.
“We're focused on improving the event for next year,” Conturo said.
Cleanup workers outside the concert, part of a national tour with other acts, said the mess left behind was one of the worst since Heinz Field opened in 2001. The garbage haul of 60,000 pounds from Alco lots — not including recyclables — was about 20 percent bigger than refuse after Chesney's 2012 show. It included a putrid melange of human waste, half-eaten food, warm beer and dirty furniture.
Sacco has said parking managers could better handle the ordeal. He wrote in his letter that Alco failed to implement management suggestions made this year.
Stabile disputed that, saying his company added portable toilets — for a total of 85 — and garbage receptacles for this summer's show. He said attendants handed out garbage bags to visitors, and the company plans to pre-sell parking for concerts next summer to ease traffic and partying.
Additional security and clean-up efforts are in the works, Stabile said.
Councilman Corey O'Connor, a Stadium Authority board member, advocated a comprehensive cleanup approach that would bring together private and public entities. His father, the late Mayor Bob O'Connor, coined Pittsburgh's “Redd Up” campaign.
“They have worked together before,” O'Connor said. “I don't see why they wouldn't be able to work together in the future.”
Adam Smeltz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5676 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- More witness intimidation charges are filed against Plum teacher
- 80 percent of drivers found exceeding speed limit in Mt. Lebanon, Bethel Park
- Wet weather puts Three Rivers Regatta events in jeopardy
- Southside zoning clashes with parking: Workers hurt
- Pittsburgh capital plans shift to repairs to police, fire, paramedic stations
- American Airlines manager arrested in Pittsburgh on sex crimes charges
- Run-down duplex that Dormont helped to rehab not on the market long
- Newsmaker: Dr. J. Anthony Graves
- Reserve poker player with investor backing exits tournament early
- In a first, City of Pittsburgh offers free swim lessons
- Tribune-Review columnist Heyl honored nationally