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MN SENATOR CALLS FOR PRIVATE FUNDING OF WILD'S ARENA
Published March 25, 1998
MN State Sen. John Marty, "who last year galvanized public opinion against a state-subsidized Twins stadium," called on St. Paul officials Tuesday "to delay the imminent demolition of the RiverCentre arena until a private financing plan to 'take taxpayers off the hook' is in place for a new NHL arena," according to Whereatt & Weiner of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Marty: "As each day passes, this hockey deal sounds worse and worse." A spokesperson for St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman said that demolition will go ahead as scheduled. Wild VP/ Communications Bill Robertson: "We're too far along in the process to stop now." Asked whether the team's investors would consider funding the arena of their own, Robertson said, "No. We've already entered into an agreement with the city and the NHL." A House-Senate conference committee seeking to resolve differences in capital-improvement bills will examine the Wild's financial arrangements today. Meanwhile, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, in St. Paul yesterday, said the arena is "right on course," and called the proposed state- city-team arena-financing plan "a best-case public-private partnership" (STAR TRIBUNE, 3/25). MARTY CRASHER: Marty: "Even if satisfactory answers are forthcoming to the questions about conflicts of interest and secret dealings, they cannot hide the fact that this subsidy is a bad deal for taxpayers." Bettman: "I don't see a problem because we have here strong local ownership in Bob Naegele" (PIONEER PRESS, 3/25). In an op-ed in the STAR TRIBUNE, Marty wrote, "Wealthy investors in professional sports teams need to take responsibility for their own financial needs. If they fail to do so, why should Minnesota taxpayers foot the bill?" (STAR TRIBUNE, 3/25).