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DC Financial Control Board Chair Andrew Brimmer on Friday "withdrew approval of a $625,000 lease of a luxury suite requested by Mayor Marion Barry for the D.C. Sports Commission at the new MCI Center," according to Woodlee & Vise of the WASHINGTON POST. Brimmer's actions "were prompted by an outraged congressional leader's threat to block the deal and by angry city residents who called to voice their displeasure." Barry said that the suite was intended for use by the DC Sports Commission rather than by him. Brimmer said that he spoke with MCI Center Owner Abe Pollin about giving the District a suite. But Pollin said that city officials "had not asked for free seats when the arena deal was negotiated" (WASHINGTON POST, 11/15).
The Dallas City Council on Friday formally scheduled a January 17 funding election for the Mavericks' and Stars' proposed $230M arena at the site of an auxiliary TU Electric power plant, according to Mede Nix of the FT. WORTH STAR- TELEGRAM. Mavs Majority Owner Ross Perot Jr.: "We picked the best possible site. It's the toughest site to develop, but it will open up the West End." Perot's Hillwood Development Corp. will acquire the site and build the arena, which is scheduled to open in 2000. The power plant site "would allow for additional development, such as hotels and office buildings, as envisioned, but not promised, by Perot" -- something that would have been "unlikely had the previous front-runner," a parking lot south of Reunion Arena, been chosen. With the new site, Reunion Arena will not have to be razed. The Council is likely to vote on final agreements with the teams December 10 (STAR-TELEGRAM, 11/15).
In an "unexpected turn of events," MA House Speaker Thomas Finneran Friday unveiled a revised bill for helping the Patriots rebuild Foxboro Stadium that calls for the state to spend $52M to improve infrastructure around the facility in return for $2M in annual parking fees, according to Tina Cassidy of the BOSTON GLOBE. Finneran, on Patriots Owner Robert Kraft: "He can take it or leave it." But in the revised bill, a plan for the state to pay Kraft $20M for land surrounding the stadium was eliminated. The MA House could vote on the plan this week. The team said it would review the bill before commenting (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/15).
Twins Owner Carl Pohlad "gave no public hint as to what his plans are" after Thursday's legislative defeat of a new ballpark, but MN Gov. Arne Carlson said the team was likely headed to NC, according to Weiner & Whereatt of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Carlson: "He has no choice but to move the Twins out of Minnesota. It's become apparent that the Minnesota Twins will leave our state." Carlson "left open the door" for another special session if enough legislators indicate they would change their positions and vote for a new ballpark (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 11/15). In St. Paul, Patrick Sweeney reported that some legislators said they believe Pohlad's agreement to sell the team to NC business exec Don Beaver "is far from a done deal," and some legislative leaders speculated that a stadium for the Twins "could be an issue" when lawmakers return for the '98 session in January. But Twins President Jerry Bell said, "My instructions are, beginning next week, to begin negotiating the definitive agreement with the people from North Carolina" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 11/15). Clark Griffith, son of former owner Calvin Griffith, still wants to buy the team. Griffith plans to talk with Cubs broadcaster Steve Stone, who represents a group interested in building a stadium for the Twins (PIONEER PRESS, 11/16). REAX: In Minneapolis, Dane Smith, on the Twins' legislative defeat: "Chalk one up for the most powerful special interest group of all: an aware and aggressive swarm of citizens with their minds made up" (STAR TRIBUNE, 11/16). Columnist Dick Youngblood called the politicians who voted down the stadium plan "demagogues," and added, "Add up all the invective, throw in the political posturing, and you have to wonder why Pohlad has stood it for so long" (STAR TRIBUNE, 11/15). But in St. Paul, columnist Jim Caple: "If the Pohlads need someone to blame, they should look in the mirror" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 11/17). In Minneapolis, Robert Whereatt offered 10 reasons for why the ballpark was defeated. Among them, No. 1: "There was suspicion that Carl Pohlad was bluffing;" and No. 8: "Minneapolis legislators fled from the plan" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 11/15). CAUTIOUS CAROLINIAN: Don Beaver on Friday said, "There are still things going on up there, so we'll stand by." Beaver said he would "consider" an MLB request for more time to work out a deal in MN. He also "stressed" Friday that unless voters in Guilford and Forsyth, NC, counties approve a May 5 referendum to impose a 1% prepared-foods tax to help finance a ballpark, MLB owners "would not allow the team to relocate here" (Greensboro NEWS & RECORD, 11/15). In Raleigh, Chip Alexander: "Right now, Triad residents don't appear any more eager to put their money in the pot than the Minnesota taxpayers" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 11/16).