LEASE DISAGREEMENT ESCALATES BETWEEN STARS, DALLAS
The Dallas City Council voted Wednesday to tell the Stars
they will face a lawsuit if they fail to sign a long-term lease
to play at Reunion Arena or any future site owned by the city.
The Stars, who have been playing in Reunion under a letter of
agreement since their move to Dallas before last season, want the
same lease terms as the Mavericks, which the city refuses.
Council Member Glenn Box says the $65M the Mavs have promised to
invest in a new arena gives them "most-favored nation status":
"You cannot have two prime tenants. ... It's a fundamental
conflict." Stars President Jim Lites says it was the city that
"changed terms" on the initial agreement: "We signed a letter of
agreement when we came here in March, very detailed on what the
Stars' relationship would be with the Dallas Mavericks and the
city of Dallas. ... And we're not giving anything back." Lites
added the Mavericks' deal to pay the same rent in a new building
as they do in Reunion is not something the Stars enjoy: "We could
be forced to be a tenant on very bad terms." Council member Don
Hicks has threatened the Stars with his own ultimatum: "Either
they sign the lease or we're going to kick them out of here."
Lites' response: "When a council member says 'We're out of here,'
that's totally irresponsible. It creates an atmosphere that's
not conducive to selling tickets." The city attorney's office is
expected to deliver "final" proposed lease to the team next week
(Barry Shlachter, FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 1/20).