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Volume 24 No. 154

Facilities Venues

          DC Financial Control Board Chair Andrew Brimmer on
     Friday "withdrew approval of a $625,000 lease of a luxury
     suite requested by Mayor Marion Barry for the D.C. Sports
     Commission at the new MCI Center," according to Woodlee &
     Vise of the WASHINGTON POST.  Brimmer's actions "were
     prompted by an outraged congressional leader's threat to
     block the deal and by angry city residents who called to
     voice their displeasure."  Barry said that the suite was
     intended for use by the DC Sports Commission rather than by
     him.  Brimmer said that he spoke with MCI Center Owner Abe
     Pollin about giving the District a suite.  But Pollin said
     that city officials "had not asked for free seats when the
     arena deal was negotiated" (WASHINGTON POST, 11/15).

          The Dallas City Council on Friday formally scheduled a
     January 17 funding election for the Mavericks' and Stars'
     proposed $230M arena at the site of an auxiliary TU Electric
     power plant, according to Mede Nix of the FT. WORTH STAR-
     TELEGRAM.  Mavs Majority Owner Ross Perot Jr.: "We picked
     the best possible site.  It's the toughest site to develop,
     but it will open up the West End."  Perot's Hillwood
     Development Corp. will acquire the site and build the arena,
     which is scheduled to open in 2000.  The power plant site
     "would allow for additional development, such as hotels and
     office buildings, as envisioned, but not promised, by Perot"
     -- something that would have been "unlikely had the previous
     front-runner," a parking lot south of Reunion Arena, been
     chosen.  With the new site, Reunion Arena will not have to
     be razed.  The Council is likely to vote on final agreements
     with the teams December 10 (STAR-TELEGRAM, 11/15).

          In an "unexpected turn of events," MA House Speaker
     Thomas Finneran Friday unveiled a revised bill for helping
     the Patriots rebuild Foxboro Stadium that calls for the
     state to spend $52M to improve infrastructure around the
     facility in return for $2M in annual parking fees, according
     to Tina Cassidy of the BOSTON GLOBE.  Finneran, on Patriots
     Owner Robert Kraft: "He can take it or leave it."  But in
     the revised bill, a plan for the state to pay Kraft $20M for
     land surrounding the stadium was eliminated.  The MA House
     could vote on the plan this week.  The team said it would
     review the bill before commenting (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/15).  

          Twins Owner Carl Pohlad "gave no public hint as to what
     his plans are" after Thursday's legislative defeat of a new
     ballpark, but MN Gov. Arne Carlson said the team was likely
     headed to NC, according to Weiner & Whereatt of the
     Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE.  Carlson: "He has no choice but to
     move the Twins out of Minnesota.  It's become apparent that
     the Minnesota Twins will leave our state."  Carlson "left
     open the door" for another special session if enough
     legislators indicate they would change their positions and
     vote for a new ballpark (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 11/15). 
     In St. Paul, Patrick Sweeney reported that some legislators
     said they believe Pohlad's agreement to sell the team to NC
     business exec Don Beaver "is far from a done deal," and some
     legislative leaders speculated that a stadium for the Twins
     "could be an issue" when lawmakers return for the '98
     session in January.  But Twins President Jerry Bell said,
     "My instructions are, beginning next week, to begin
     negotiating the definitive agreement with the people from
     North Carolina" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 11/15).  Clark
     Griffith, son of former owner Calvin Griffith, still wants
     to buy the team.  Griffith plans to talk with Cubs
     broadcaster Steve Stone, who represents a group interested
     in building a stadium for the Twins (PIONEER PRESS, 11/16).
          REAX: In Minneapolis, Dane Smith, on the Twins'
     legislative defeat: "Chalk one up for the most powerful
     special interest group of all: an aware and aggressive swarm
     of citizens with their minds made up" (STAR TRIBUNE, 11/16). 
     Columnist Dick Youngblood called the politicians who voted
     down the stadium plan "demagogues," and added, "Add up all
     the invective, throw in the political posturing, and you
     have to wonder why Pohlad has stood it for so long" (STAR
     TRIBUNE, 11/15).  But in St. Paul, columnist Jim Caple: "If
     the Pohlads need someone to blame, they should look in the
     mirror" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 11/17).  In Minneapolis,
     Robert Whereatt offered 10 reasons for why the ballpark was
     defeated.  Among them, No. 1: "There was suspicion that Carl
     Pohlad was bluffing;" and No. 8: "Minneapolis legislators
     fled from the plan" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 11/15).  
          CAUTIOUS CAROLINIAN: Don Beaver on Friday said, "There
     are still things going on up there, so we'll stand by." 
     Beaver said he would "consider" an MLB request for more time
     to work out a deal in MN.   He also "stressed" Friday that
     unless voters in Guilford and Forsyth, NC, counties approve
     a May 5 referendum to impose a 1% prepared-foods tax to help
     finance a ballpark, MLB owners "would not allow the team to
     relocate here" (Greensboro NEWS & RECORD, 11/15).  In
     Raleigh, Chip Alexander: "Right now, Triad residents don't
     appear any more eager to put their money in the pot than the
     Minnesota taxpayers" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 11/16).