CLEVELAND -- Alan Glazen used to be an advertising whiz.
He played a key role in persuading Cuyahoga County voters to approve the sin tax first to build Gateway, then to launch what became FirstEnergy Stadium.
"I wrote the TV commercials, " he remembers.
But now Glazen is stepping out in a prominent role, speaking against the proposal to extend the sin tax to pay for stadium upgrades and repairs.
He says some of the claims, like 28,000 good-paying jobs in the original sin tax pitch, were "deliberately deceptive."
"I should have listened to Lou Stokes and Mary Rose Oakar. They were right. This thing was based on false information," he said.
Glazen has launched a Facebook group called "It's a Sin, Cleveland.
He claims the goal is to defeat the tax extension in May and bring teams and city and county officials back to the bargaining table to create a deal that has some benefits for the community, like money for Cleveland schools or teams paying property tax on buildings.
"We're not going to let this happen again. We're not going to be deceived into voting yes again," he declares.
Sin tax backers argue the money is a needed investment to maintain publicly-owned buildings. They say that would help keep fans and visitors coming and help keep downtown vibrant and busy.
Glazen is now in the restaurant business. He owns a handful of places, including some downtown.
"Well, look at all the good Gateway did. That's exactly right. But we paid for those results...I'm a big supporter of Cleveland. Everything I invest in and do is in the city of Cleveland, " he said.
He continued, "Our goal is to lose in May, to crush it in May, so they will finally sit down and talk. ...I am not the enemy of the teams or Frank Jackson or County Council. I want to give the public a voice in getting back together."
Glazen called the claim that defeat of the issue would mean Cleveland and Cuyahoga County would have to make budget cuts to pay for improvements and repairs obligated by lease.
He called that "the biggest lie."
The tax runs out in July 2015, If the vote is defeated in May, it would leave time to put it on the ballot again before the obligations come due,.
Jeff Rusnak, a spokesman for sin tax backers, said, "What Alan Glazen lacks in credibility, he makes up in chutzpah. We are not running our campaign based on something he said 25 years ago. Instead, we are talking about the positive benefits that have occurred since."
Those include 75 million ballpark and arena visitors, $400 million in local tax revenues, $4 billion spent downtown and dozens of bars and restaurants, four new hotels that opened since then plus 1,000 residents in a newly created neighborhood.
"Mr. Glazen may not care about keeping Cleveland , competitive, but we are confident the voters will.," Rusnak concluded.