SBD/Issue 2/Facilities & Venues

Bruton Smith, County Officials Clash Over Lowe's Incentive Deal

Smith Clashing With Cabarrus County
Officials Over $80M Incentive Package 
SMI Chair & CEO Bruton Smith, who owns Lowe's Motor Speedway (LMS), and Cabarrus County (NC) officials are in a "clash over his $80[M] incentives deal" for the track, as Smith "wants to get his money within three years, and the governments want to take up to 40 years to pay him," according to Adam Bell of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. When the two sides "reached a general agreement in November, no one had talked about how long the deal would take to complete," but now Smith is "throwing around terms like 'snake in the woodpile' and 'fraud.'" Bell noted "no one knows when the issue will be resolved, although local leaders have indicated they're willing to negotiate." The two-page letter last November from the city of Concord and Cabarrus County officials to Smith "committing to the deal was short on details," and the "only time reference in the letter was for the city and county to secure $20[M] of the $80[M] within three years if they could not get the state to provide it." Cabarrus County Commissioner Bob Carruth said of the agreement, "We were under the gun. If we had two or three months, there would have been more specificity." The offer was a "standard economic incentive package," but "instead of three years, a typical period for Cabarrus County, the payout could take up to 40 years." Smith last week said that he "no longer trusts local officials and that his lawyers are looking into potential fraud by the governments." Smith added that while he cannot "move his track now," he still has "bargaining chips." Bell noted "one possibility is moving a top race -- perhaps the Bank of America 500 -- to another of his tracks, such as" Las Vegas Motor Speedway (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 9/14).

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