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CITIES WRESTLE WITH HOW BEST TO HANDLE FACILITY ISSUES
Published November 25, 1997
The city of Denver has paid $1.5M in legal, financing and engineering consultants to handle issues concerning replacing Mile High Stadium and McNichols Arena since '91, according to Alan Snel of the DENVER POST. Snel: "Hiring sports consultants poses an age-old dilemma for cities. Faced with local professional teams seeking new taxpayer- subsidized stadiums, municipalities nationwide have to decide whether it's more cost-effective to create in-house positions to handle complicated stadium negotiations or hire private-sector consultants for those jobs." Denver has "gone the consultant route" and its top money-makers have been local development lawyer Tom Ragonetti and MN sports finance consultant Craig Skiem (DENVER POST, 11/23). IS IT WORTH IT? Snel listed all sports facility-related expenditures, which included $255,866 to Coopers & Lybrand from '91-95 for financing advice on "sports trends" and the arena issue. The city has also paid Skiem's MN-based CSL Entertainment $215,605 over six years. City Council President Cathy Reynolds: "Yeah, the city spent a lot of money on consultants. But it's worth it." Mayoral staffer Liz Orr said having people work in-house on sports "is a waste of taxpayer money." Skiem added that he "doesn't know one city that has a full-time staff person that performs" his type of consulting duties (DENVER POST, 11/23).