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Bengals President Mike Brown said yesterday the city has "breached its 1993 agreement" and given the club the right to terminate its stadium lease at the end of the year. Brown has said the city failed to complete a $1.2M payment by a February 28 deadline. Brown said the team had "carefully worded the agreement (with the city) that we needed the money for accounting and tax purposes. (The city) just said details, details. ... The stadium problems are very real and we're falling farther and farther behind." Hamilton County Commissioner Guy Guckenberger, Co-Chair of the Regional Stadium Task Force, said the Task Force "has to keep on moving and try to keep the Bengals and Reds happy" (Geoff Hobson, CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 3/13). Brown was asked if he would consider moving the team to Baltimore: "We're aware there are alternatives. Whether Baltimore would be one I don't know. Maybe it would." Orioles Owner Peter Angelos, who failed in his quest for the Bucs, said he would "be interested in talking to him (Brown) whenever he is prepared to do so" (Vito Stellino, Baltimore SUN, 3/13).
The Minneapolis City Council finally approved a city buyout of the Target Center on Friday. A final concession by T-Wolves buyer Glen Taylor was to agree to give the city one year's notice of "any intent to invoke the escape clause if his taxes increase by more than 2% a year." That will give the city two years, instead of one, to try to find a local buyer for the team. The city will borrow up to $84.6M to buy the arena. Taylor will pay no rent for his team to play at the arena, but the city will be repaid by money Taylor pays through property taxes on the building. The city will also pay current team owners Marv Woflenson and Harvey Ratner $54.6M for the arena and assume some $22M of their existing debt on the arena. Taylor's purchase of the team was contingent on public takeover of the facility (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 3/13).