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).