SBD/4/Facilities Venues

JOHNSON WILL BACK CITY BONDS FOR PIECE OF NBA BULLETS

     BET President Bob Johnson "has switched gears and offered to
back the [Washington, DC's] investment in arena construction in
return for an opportunity to buy an interest in the Bullets."
Under the plan, Johnson would guarantee the repayment of city-
issued bonds and Bullets/Caps Owner Abe Pollin would "sell
Johnson an interest in the Bullets immediately." Johnson would
also have the first right to "buy the team in the future at
whatever price Pollin sets."  Johnson changed his proposal after
"concluding" that his original offer to build an arena with his
own money was gathering little support.  The new proposal
increased pressure on Pollin to "at least consider a partnership
with one of the area's highest profile African-American
businessmen."  Last week the DC Chamber of Commerce "urged Pollin
to meet with Johnson because, in light of the financial condition
of the city," Johnson's offer could not be ignored (Howard
Schneider, WASHINGTON POST, 11/4).
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