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  • PICKING THROUGH THE WRECKAGE IN MINNEAPOLIS

         State and local officials in MN "scrambled" Monday to
    explain how the Target Center buyout "abruptly collapsed, and
    acknowledged that they haven't figured out how to save it."  In
    hastily called news conferences at the Metrodome and the State
    Capitol, officials said they were "optimistic they could find
    ways to counter Sunday's shocking revelation that the financing
    method appears to violate federal tax law.  But they offered few
    concrete ideas and admitted that time is running out."
    Meanwhile, IRS officials and other bond experts said the industry
    has "known for a year that regulations on such tax issues were
    expected by the end of 1994."  Henry Savelkoul, Chair of the
    Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, said the NBA is
    "growing impatient" with the delay.  Glen Taylor's bid to buy the
    Timberwolves hinges on a public buyout of the Target Center.
    Currently, Marv Wolfenson and Harvey Ratner own both the Wolves
    and the  arena.  MN Gov. Arne Carlson said he would not rule out
    more state aid for the arena deal, "although he acknowledged that
    legislative leaders do rule it out."  Some state legislators
    hinted that Members of MN's congressional delegation might be
    asked to intercede on the IRS ruling, allowing the public buyout
    of the Target Center to occur (Ison & McGrath, Minneapolis STAR
    TRIBUNE, 1/10).  In Minneapolis, columnist Jim Klobuchar is
    confident a deal will be worked out:  "Sweat no bullets.  Arne
    the Governor has the messiah franchise well in hand, but event if
    he didn't, a way will be found. ... The Target Center deal will
    be rescued because the alternative, not rescuing it, will be even
    wackier and more expensive, the bottomless swamp to end them all"
    (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/10).  "Whatever deal is worked out,
    it almost certainly will involve the Timberwolves and Ogden
    [Entertainment] turning back part of their ticket proceeds into
    debt payments on the arena" (Patrick Sweeney, St. Paul PIONEER
    PRESS, 1/10).
         ST. LOUIS, FRANCHISE THIEFS?  Sid Hartman writes that if
    nothing can be worked out, St. Louis "is waiting with open arms
    to buy the Timberwolves.  And NBA Commissioner David Stern won't
    have any problem with the Wolves moving to new Kiel Auditorium"
    (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/10).
    

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