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AS CLOCK WINDS DOWN IN MN, POHLAD TRIES FOR A BUZZER BEATER
Published November 7, 1997
Amid a "political show of force," legislators, corporate and union leaders and the mayors of both Minneapolis and St. Paul "unveiled a plan" to transfer Twins ownership from Carl Pohlad to a nonprofit foundation, according to Jay Weiner of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. The plan is "tied to" building a new ballpark using Twins and Vikings players' income taxes, user fees, and new state lottery games. The "two-pronged proposal" will be introduced as a bill when a special session reconvenes next week. As part of the donation plan, Pohlad would give to the foundation the $37M in equity he's had since his '84 purchase of team, and would also transfer to the foundation the $86M in "debt and interest costs" he has incurred. The foundation would sell the team "within three to five years to citizens via a stock offering or to a local investment group" and at that point Pohlad's debt "will be paid off to his creditors." Any sale profits over and above the debt "will go to the foundation, not Pohlad," and should the team sell for "less than" $86M, Pohlad would have to "reimburse the foundation." Pohlad would "continue" to manage the team and would "cover the team's losses" in the Metrodome during the four years it would take to build the new park; losses during that time period won't be paid back through the foundation (STAR TRIBUNE, 11/7). The deal also calls for an "irrevocable" 30-year lease (PIONEER PRESS, 11/7). HOW IT PLAYED: Reaction to the new proposal in the Twin Cities was mixed, with "neither solid stadium supporters nor the hardened naysayers ... confident" about the outcome of next week's special session (Jim Ragsdale, ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 11/7). A PIONEER PRESS editorial: "It might be the sweetest deal ever from a team owner. ... Pohlad clearly has gone above and beyond what is expected of an owner in this situation" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 11/7).