SBD/26/Facilities Venues

MA EXECS TAKE THEIR "LAST, BEST" SHOT AT KEEPING PATRIOTS

          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).

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