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MA EXECS TAKE THEIR "LAST, BEST" SHOT AT KEEPING PATRIOTS
Published September 26, 1997
MA officials yesterday unveiled their "last, best offer" to keep the Patriots, according to Tina Cassidy of the BOSTON GLOBE. A new bill offers the Patriots $50M for "land and improvements" around Foxboro Stadium, and calls for team Owner Robert Kraft to spend "that amount" on facility improvements. But the deal still "hasn't got an OK" from State House Speaker Thomas Finneran, who has been a "vocal opponent of spending public money on anything beyond infrastructure improvements." Cassidy adds that Finneran did not "specifically endorse the new bill, and was cagey in response to the legislation." MA Sec. of Admin. & Finance Charles Baker said that the state's offer "won't get any better" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/26). In Providence, Tom Mooney reports that MA officials said "repeatedly" that should the bill pass, "they believe Kraft will keep the Patriots in Foxboro." Neither Kraft nor any team officials were available for comment yesterday (JOURNAL-BULLETIN, 9/26). Also in Providence, Christopher Rowland writes that Gov. Lincoln Almond's administration "is refusing to sit down" with the team for more stadium talks "until the Patriots show a willingness to close the deal." Almond said that a difference of "about" $2M remained between the two sides and sources tell Rowland that a "key sticking point" remains disagreement over the size of a ticket surcharge that would help pay development costs (JOURNAL-BULLETIN, 9/26). BANKING NEWS: Boston-based Fleet Financial Group has been "quietly advising the state of Rhode Island" in its negotiations with the Patriots, according to Joan Vennochi of the BOSTON GLOBE. Vennochi adds that Fleet spokesperson James Mahoney "stresses the bank - so far - is working on behalf of Rhode Island, not the Patriots." While Fleet's "local rival," BankBoston, is the team's banking partner, Vennochi writes that it is "clear Fleet is interested" in the team as a business partner (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/26).