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A special commission drafting legislation to construct the megaplex in Boston is "nearing agreements with several corporations" that could bring $90M or more to the project, according to Richard Kindleberger of the BOSTON GLOBE. A source close to the panel said earlier this week that agreements with two corporations are "close to being nailed down," and a third company has expressed "strong interest" in participating. The commission's timetable calls for the Legislature to approve the project before lawmakers break for their summer recess. But "key" legislators say such action is "extremely unlikely" without evidence of the corporate investment that backers of the project acknowledge is "critical to its success." Commission member Peter Larkin said a corporate commitment of $90M "would be a tremendous boost" to the project (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/13).
OH Gov. George Voinovich said Monday that if Cleveland Mayor Michael White and the City Council "don't stop arguing over how to pay for fixing up the Stadium, the city will find itself without a football team and stuck with 'a hulk' that needs to be torn down," according to the PLAIN DEALER. Voinovich "urged Cleveland's leaders to get their act together -- before it is too late." Voinovich said leadership must come from Mayor White and City Council President Jay Westbrook -- and urged the two to come up with a mutual plan (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 6/13). In an analysis in Sunday's PLAIN DEALER, Stephen Koff writes that the "distrustful" relationship between White and the City Council "has the potential to hurt efforts to keep the Browns from skipping town" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 6/11).
As a result of a "state-backed" $15M effort to help bring an NHL franchise to MN, the Vikings and the Twins are left asking, "What about us?," writes Jay Weiner in the Minneapolis STAR- TRIBUNE. Due to the fact that the Vikings have 17 years left on their Metrodome lease, Weiner reports the Twins will likely be the next focus of attention as they are the "next pro sports crisis on the horizon" with their lease expiring after '98. Weiner: "Simply put, the Twins and Vikings want to squeeze more money out of the Dome and out of the [Metropolitan Sports Facilities] commission." Twins President Jerry Bell is aware of his position and is looking closely at a bill before the Legislature that calls for the use of income tax revenues to pay off bonds that could be used to purchase the Jets. Bell: "I don't have anything too specific in mind now, but I intend to have something in the near future." Weiner notes studies by the NFL show the Vikings have the second-highest tax bill and the sixth-highest rent in the league. Also, in addition to having the "poorest concessions deal" in the NFC Central, the Vikings were 27th out of 28 NFL teams last season in revenues gained from net ticket sales. Vikings President Roger Headrick said about the team's Metrodome lease, "A deal's a deal," but also said he has had "15 to 20" meetings with MSFC leaders without one "voluntary offering" of help from MSFC Chair Henry Savelkoul. Denying his statement is a threat to move the team, Headrick stated, "You know, the Rams had a deal in Los Angeles and St. Louis paid it off. There is an opening in Los Angeles right now for an NFC team" (Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 6/14).