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BORDER WAR: CONFLICTING REPORTS ON PATRIOTS' FUTURE
Published September 23, 1997
The Patriots could sign a "tentative deal" to move the team to RI "as early as today," according to Tina Cassidy of the BOSTON GLOBE. Sources close to the deal tell Cassidy that RI's proposed contribution to help the team build a new stadium has increased to "as much as" $157M, "far above" the $80-120M first projected. Cassidy's sources also say that the deal "would prohibit" team Owner Robert Kraft "from negotiating with any other community, including" Foxboro, although "it was not clear" whether there was a time limit on the exclusivity clause. Cassidy adds that a bill being put together by Foxboro officials "now includes only" $50M in infrastructure improvements around Foxboro Stadium (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/23). In Providence, Scott MacKay reports that RI Gov. Lincoln Almond "will likely decide sometime this afternoon" whether to go ahead with the negotiations or "conclude that the stadium deal asks too much of state taxpayers and opt out." MacKay also reports that Kraft has asked that a deal with Foxboro "be sweetened by about" $20M, with the extra money being used by the state to purchase land around Foxboro stadium. The state would then "lease it back" to the team (Providence JOURNAL-BULLETIN, 9/23). DOUBLE TAKE? Almond's administration "acknowledged yesterday" that the annual payments on the state's reported $135M share of the deal "would come from" its general fund, according to Christopher Rowland of the Providence JOURNAL- BULLETIN. RI State Senate Majority Leader Paul Kelly "is calling for a nonbinding referendum" on the stadium, while State House Finance Committee Chair Antonio Pires said the deal seems to "fly in the face" of Almond's pledge not to expose taxpayers to risk (JOURNAL-BULLETIN, 9/23).