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Pro-stadium group Minnesota Wins said that a new poll it commissioned shows that the stadium issue "could swing some legislative races" in '98 if legislators reject a gambling-linked ballpark finance package and the Twins move, according to Jay Weiner of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. The 607-person poll conducted by MN-based Decision Resources Ltd. of Minneapolis, found that "up to" 14% of state voters "would punish their legislators for voting against a ballpark package if gambling were the funding sources and the Twins fled." The poll also shows 7% of voters would "reward" legislators for such a vote. Political consultant John Himle said that net swing of 7% "could affect tight races in the" '98 House elections. State Sen. John Hottinger called the poll "highly suspect" since it was paid for by Minnesota Wins "at a cost of about $10,000." Weiner adds the poll "reflects ambivalence among Minnesotans." Asked first if they would support a new stadium, 59% said no. But later, asked if they would support a ballpark if there were no "new taxes and no state general revenues used," 73% said yes (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 9/30).
Olympia Development, owned by Tigers & Red Wings Owner Mike Ilitch, confirmed Monday that it "has bought about three acres of parking lots" near the site of the Tigers' new ballpark, according to Patricia Montemurri of the DETROIT FREE PRESS. Olympia spokesperson Alexander Sebastian said the land was bought for "stadium-related development." The purchase gives Ilitch "more control over future development in the area" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 9/30).
Oakland Alameda Coliseum authority officials filed a lawsuit yesterday against the Raiders charging them with interfering with a $17.5M naming-rights deal with UMAX Corp., according to Rick DelVecchio in a front-page story in the S.F. CHRONICLE. The dispute "is the most dramatic example of the deterioration of relations between the NFL team and East Bay officials." The Coliseum complaint accuses the Raiders of making "unreasonable objections to the name sale to extract more cash from the Coliseum." The Coliseum authority is seeking damages from the team "and a judgment on whether the Raiders have a right to break" their lease. Raiders attorney Joseph Alioto: "We are trying to work things out with them. ... We're not talking about leaving Oakland, but if they're trying to force us out of Oakland they're going about it the right way." Alioto said that the Raiders "aren't bluffing and will insist in the counterclaim that East Bay officials haven't fulfilled their end of the lease agreement" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 9/30). In San Jose, Frances Dinkelspiel reports that Raiders officials contend "they had been misled" by East Bay officials who told them in '95 that selling out the Coliseum "for Raiders games would be no problem." UMAX officials had no comment on the lawsuit and said they "still hope the name deal is viable" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 9/30).