RI/PATS TALKS CONTINUE, WILL MA OFFICIALS MOVE AT ALL?
Patriots Owner Robert Kraft "is expected to head to
Providence today to complete an accord that would bind the
Patriots to negotiating exclusively" with RI for a stadium
package, according to Tina Cassidy of the BOSTON GLOBE.
Talks "were expected" to go through the weekend with an
announcement by RI Gov. Lincoln Almond planned for Monday.
One of the "sticking points" in the deal is "how an
exclusivity agreement would be defined. Almond wants Kraft
to agree to stop pursuing a stadium proposal in [Foxboro]
while he negotiates with Rhode Island." Sources say Kraft
"accepts the idea of an exclusivity clause but not one that
is 'all encompassing'" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/19). In Providence,
Christopher Rowland reports that Almond was expected in West
Springfield today, and he does not mention a potential
meeting with Kraft. Rowland adds that among issues yet to
be resolved include: Financing and ownership of a stadium
parking garage; development rights for a related hotel,
sports museum, retail shops and restaurants that Kraft would
build; and how the state would be protected if the team
moves before stadium bonds are paid off. An NFL source also
tells Rowland that the future home of Kraft's MLS Revolution
is part of the negotiations (JOURNAL-BULLETIN, 9/19).
ANARCHY: Patriots VP/Communications Don Lowery
responded to comments made by MA House Speaker Thomas
Finneran, who described Kraft as a "whining
multimillionaire" seeking "bribes" to keep the team in MA.
Lowery: "At a time when we would expect leadership from the
State House in resolving this issue, all we have seen is
character assassination and mudslinging." But MA Acting
Gov. Paul Cellucci called Kraft to say "he would try to
quickly pass through the Legislature" a proposal to expand
Foxboro Stadium (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/19). In Boston, business
writer Joan Vennochi: "The truth hurts, but here it is: Bob
Kraft, more than anyone else, is the reason the [Patriots]
appear to be moving. ... His team has many champions. He
doesn't." Vennochi criticizes Kraft's lobbying efforts,
adding that "he continued to get blitzed by the same
defensive team" and while he "believed he could scramble
past them ... he never could" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/19).