SBD/July 20, 2012/Franchises

City Of Chester (Pa.) Seeking Millions In Payments Due From MLS Philly Union

Under the deal that brought MLS to Chester, Pa., the Union "agreed to pay the impoverished city $500,000 a year in lieu of property taxes," but that "hasn't exactly been happening," according to William Bender of the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS. The team now owes the city $1M "after missing last month's deadline for its 2012 installment." It has "yet to cough up the 2010 cash, though they paid 2011's bill." Chester Mayor John Linder said, "We have not received the payments to date, but we are talking with them about everything." Linder has been "seeking to collect the past-due payments and raise additional revenue from the team and, most likely, its fans." He has "proposed a 20 percent parking tax and 10 percent amusement tax aimed at the Union." Team CEO Nick Sakiewicz has previously said that the proposed taxes "would be 'catastrophic' for the team," costing it $2M annually, or 10% of its gross revenue. Sakiewicz Thursday "disputed Linder's description of the missed payments." He said that the amount owed in '10 "was being renegotiated due to 'costs we incurred on the city's behalf' that year." A source said that construction setbacks that delayed the opening of the $122M stadium in '10 and "unforeseen costs are among the reasons why the team hasn't paid the $500,000 that was due that year." The source added that the two sides "are engaged in 'intensive negotiations' that could lead to an agreement on the new taxes and back payments" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 7/20).
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