CITIES WRESTLE WITH HOW BEST TO HANDLE FACILITY ISSUES
The city of Denver has paid $1.5M in legal, financing
and engineering consultants to handle issues concerning
replacing Mile High Stadium and McNichols Arena since '91,
according to Alan Snel of the DENVER POST. Snel: "Hiring
sports consultants poses an age-old dilemma for cities.
Faced with local professional teams seeking new taxpayer-
subsidized stadiums, municipalities nationwide have to
decide whether it's more cost-effective to create in-house
positions to handle complicated stadium negotiations or hire
private-sector consultants for those jobs." Denver has
"gone the consultant route" and its top money-makers have
been local development lawyer Tom Ragonetti and MN sports
finance consultant Craig Skiem (DENVER POST, 11/23).
IS IT WORTH IT? Snel listed all sports facility-related
expenditures, which included $255,866 to Coopers & Lybrand
from '91-95 for financing advice on "sports trends" and the
arena issue. The city has also paid Skiem's MN-based CSL
Entertainment $215,605 over six years. City Council
President Cathy Reynolds: "Yeah, the city spent a lot of
money on consultants. But it's worth it." Mayoral staffer
Liz Orr said having people work in-house on sports "is a
waste of taxpayer money." Skiem added that he "doesn't know
one city that has a full-time staff person that performs"
his type of consulting duties (DENVER POST, 11/23).