David Gilbert Reminds Us That Many of the People Coming for the GOP Convention Are Freeloaders

David Gilbert stopped by the Lake County Chamber of Commerce this week to talk about the 2016 GOP Convention in Cleveland. Gilbert, of course, is the president and CEO of the Cleveland 2016 Host Committee, among 17 or 18 other jobs, by last count, including CEO of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission and Destination Cleveland.

The message was about what you'd expect: It's going to be great, we're working hard to make sure it's a fantastic event, we're excited about all the ancillary projects around the convention, we hope to make meaningful change to the city. If we remember it one day as "a really cool week in Cleveland" and nothing more, "we've failed at our job," he said, according to the News-Herald, which has a pretty full account of his thoughts from the talk.

Gilbert did make a point of emphasizing that while hundreds of millions of dollars will be spent in Northeast Ohio when the Big Show comes to town, a lot of people dropping by the shores of Lake Erie for the circus will be here for a free lunch.

"We have to set expectations so that people know that afterward if their pocket wasn’t filled, they aren’t retiring because of the RNC, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t successful.”

Gilbert expects between $200 million and $250 million in direct spending in the region during the convention, but they don’t know where that money will be spent.

“A lot of these people who are coming here are looking for every free meal they can,” he said. “So it’s not that every restaurant is going to do tremendously well.”

The Cleveland food industry will have to put off retirement. No word yet on how the convention will affect the Cleveland t-shirt industry. We'll keep you updated.
Like this story?
SCENE Supporters make it possible to tell the Cleveland stories you won’t find elsewhere.
Become a supporter today.

Vince Grzegorek

Vince Grzegorek has been with Scene since 2007 and editor-in-chief since 2012. He previously worked at Discount Drug Mart and Texas Roadhouse.
Scroll to read more Cleveland News articles

Join Cleveland Scene Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.