MN SENATOR CALLS FOR PRIVATE FUNDING OF WILD'S ARENA
MN State Sen. John Marty, "who last year galvanized
public opinion against a state-subsidized Twins stadium,"
called on St. Paul officials Tuesday "to delay the imminent
demolition of the RiverCentre arena until a private
financing plan to 'take taxpayers off the hook' is in place
for a new NHL arena," according to Whereatt & Weiner of the
Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Marty: "As each day passes, this
hockey deal sounds worse and worse." A spokesperson for St.
Paul Mayor Norm Coleman said that demolition will go ahead
as scheduled. Wild VP/ Communications Bill Robertson:
"We're too far along in the process to stop now." Asked
whether the team's investors would consider funding the
arena of their own, Robertson said, "No. We've already
entered into an agreement with the city and the NHL." A
House-Senate conference committee seeking to resolve
differences in capital-improvement bills will examine the
Wild's financial arrangements today. Meanwhile, NHL
Commissioner Gary Bettman, in St. Paul yesterday, said the
arena is "right on course," and called the proposed state-
city-team arena-financing plan "a best-case public-private
partnership" (STAR TRIBUNE, 3/25).
MARTY CRASHER: Marty: "Even if satisfactory answers are
forthcoming to the questions about conflicts of interest and
secret dealings, they cannot hide the fact that this subsidy
is a bad deal for taxpayers." Bettman: "I don't see a
problem because we have here strong local ownership in Bob
Naegele" (PIONEER PRESS, 3/25). In an op-ed in the STAR
TRIBUNE, Marty wrote, "Wealthy investors in professional
sports teams need to take responsibility for their own
financial needs. If they fail to do so, why should
Minnesota taxpayers foot the bill?" (STAR TRIBUNE, 3/25).