MA EXECS TAKE THEIR "LAST, BEST" SHOT AT KEEPING PATRIOTS
MA officials yesterday unveiled their "last, best
offer" to keep the Patriots, according to Tina Cassidy of
the BOSTON GLOBE. A new bill offers the Patriots $50M for
"land and improvements" around Foxboro Stadium, and calls
for team Owner Robert Kraft to spend "that amount" on
facility improvements. But the deal still "hasn't got an
OK" from State House Speaker Thomas Finneran, who has been a
"vocal opponent of spending public money on anything beyond
infrastructure improvements." Cassidy adds that Finneran
did not "specifically endorse the new bill, and was cagey in
response to the legislation." MA Sec. of Admin. & Finance
Charles Baker said that the state's offer "won't get any
better" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/26). In Providence, Tom Mooney
reports that MA officials said "repeatedly" that should the
bill pass, "they believe Kraft will keep the Patriots in
Foxboro." Neither Kraft nor any team officials were
available for comment yesterday (JOURNAL-BULLETIN, 9/26).
Also in Providence, Christopher Rowland writes that Gov.
Lincoln Almond's administration "is refusing to sit down"
with the team for more stadium talks "until the Patriots
show a willingness to close the deal." Almond said that a
difference of "about" $2M remained between the two sides and
sources tell Rowland that a "key sticking point" remains
disagreement over the size of a ticket surcharge that would
help pay development costs (JOURNAL-BULLETIN, 9/26).
BANKING NEWS: Boston-based Fleet Financial Group has
been "quietly advising the state of Rhode Island" in its
negotiations with the Patriots, according to Joan Vennochi
of the BOSTON GLOBE. Vennochi adds that Fleet spokesperson
James Mahoney "stresses the bank - so far - is working on
behalf of Rhode Island, not the Patriots." While Fleet's
"local rival," BankBoston, is the team's banking partner,
Vennochi writes that it is "clear Fleet is interested" in
the team as a business partner (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/26).