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BROWNS TO BALTIMORE III: CLEVELAND WILL FIGHT BACK
Published November 6, 1995
Cleveland Mayor Michael White will hold his own press conference in Baltimore today. Arriving last night with a delegation from the city, White said, "It is not a fait accompli that this move will ever take place" (Shapiro & Babington, WASHINGTON POST, 11/6). On Wednesday, White is expected to submit his own financial package to Modell, although Cleveland officials acknowledge they can't match Baltimore's offer. Cuyahoga County voters go to the polls tomorrow to consider a referendum on extending a sin tax to pay for Cleveland Stadium renovations. White, on Saturday: "It will be up to every citizen in this community to reject this cruel hoax being perpetrated by Baltimore and some of the NFL leaders" (Michael James, Baltimore SUN, 11/5). More from White: "We want to send a very, very clear message: They are our Cleveland Browns and keep your hands off them" (David Adams, Akron BEACON JOURNAL, 11/5). Fred Nance, White's chief counsel, said Cleveland would not be able to match the reported $30M in annual profit Modell would get in Baltimore. White's proposal is designed to make the Browns "competitive" financially with other NFL teams, with Nance saying, "Our goal is not to get them in the top two, three, four in the league. Our goal is to get them in the top third" (Stephen Koff, Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 11/5). SIN TAX VOTE: Polls conducted by backers of the tax report support was up to 68% on Friday, up 5% from the previous day (WASHINGTON POST, 11/5). But BEACON JOURNAL columnist Terry Pluto notes financing for renovations is "just a shell game" (Akron BEACON JOURNAL, 11/5). GRIES BACKS OUT: Browns minority partner Robert Gries said he would sell his 43% stake in the team rather than be part of a move to Baltimore (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 11/5). Will McDonough reports Modell will buy out Gries with his partner Al Lerner, once part of a bid to get Baltimore an expansion franchise (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/5). IN HIS OWN WORDS: Modell held an interview Friday, picked up by the PLAIN DEALER, BEACON JOURNAL and in Sunday's Baltimore SUN. On charges he didn't give Cleveland a chance to respond: "I've been waiting six years for something to happen, and if there's something in the 11th hour where a rabbit can be pulled out of a hat, then I'll know and I'll change my tune. But right now, I see nothing on the horizon" (Mult., 11/4-5). Modell missed the Browns' home game yesterday, his first home absence in 35 years. There were several bomb and death threats and the game was played amid heightened security. One source said Modell will fly to FL after today's Baltimore news conference. He has no plans to attend any of Cleveland's remaining home games (Baltimore SUN, 11/6). Modell, in an interview with Ohio's WJW radio: "This is the most agonizing, most anguishing, emotionally traumatic experience of my life. I'm not like some other owners moving to make more money. I'm moving to survive" ("Sports Tonight," CNN, 11/4).