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RI/PATS TALKS CONTINUE, WILL MA OFFICIALS MOVE AT ALL?
Published September 19, 1997
Patriots Owner Robert Kraft "is expected to head to Providence today to complete an accord that would bind the Patriots to negotiating exclusively" with RI for a stadium package, according to Tina Cassidy of the BOSTON GLOBE. Talks "were expected" to go through the weekend with an announcement by RI Gov. Lincoln Almond planned for Monday. One of the "sticking points" in the deal is "how an exclusivity agreement would be defined. Almond wants Kraft to agree to stop pursuing a stadium proposal in [Foxboro] while he negotiates with Rhode Island." Sources say Kraft "accepts the idea of an exclusivity clause but not one that is 'all encompassing'" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/19). In Providence, Christopher Rowland reports that Almond was expected in West Springfield today, and he does not mention a potential meeting with Kraft. Rowland adds that among issues yet to be resolved include: Financing and ownership of a stadium parking garage; development rights for a related hotel, sports museum, retail shops and restaurants that Kraft would build; and how the state would be protected if the team moves before stadium bonds are paid off. An NFL source also tells Rowland that the future home of Kraft's MLS Revolution is part of the negotiations (JOURNAL-BULLETIN, 9/19). ANARCHY: Patriots VP/Communications Don Lowery responded to comments made by MA House Speaker Thomas Finneran, who described Kraft as a "whining multimillionaire" seeking "bribes" to keep the team in MA. Lowery: "At a time when we would expect leadership from the State House in resolving this issue, all we have seen is character assassination and mudslinging." But MA Acting Gov. Paul Cellucci called Kraft to say "he would try to quickly pass through the Legislature" a proposal to expand Foxboro Stadium (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/19). In Boston, business writer Joan Vennochi: "The truth hurts, but here it is: Bob Kraft, more than anyone else, is the reason the [Patriots] appear to be moving. ... His team has many champions. He doesn't." Vennochi criticizes Kraft's lobbying efforts, adding that "he continued to get blitzed by the same defensive team" and while he "believed he could scramble past them ... he never could" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/19).