– The boilerplate 108-page draft lease does not address or mitigate any of the key issues of major financial risk facing our city;
– The draft agreement has no provision for adequate up-front down payment by the sole and exclusive tenant, the new team owner;
– The draft lease does not include a sufficient payment by the new owner to help cover interest and principal;
– And most critically, the draft agreement does not protect our fine city in the event of cost overruns and specification changes to the massive project.
We keep hearing from the Mayor and Mr. Tuohey the fiction that the City will only spend the $535 million that was authorized in last December’s bond legislation — even though there is no legally binding cap on that $535 million. A year ago in September, the number was $435 million. Mr. Gandhi’s numbers keep rising, now standing at $667 million — and that seems to be an understatement, given what we heard at Tuesday’s hearing. What will it be next September?
None of the major cost components of the project are locked down with firm contracts. The stadium construction contract is not yet written. The landowners’ court cases make it uncertain what the final (and higher) purchase price of land will be. Metro and the federal government have not agreed to contribute to any of the significant transportation and infrastructure costs. So just how can the Mayor and Mr. Tuohey possibly say the number will not be $735 million — or more — by next September? One councilmember thinks we could be on our way to spending $1 billion, and the Mayor even mentioned $800 million in passing on the news the other night, and told us not to worry. What guarantees can the Mayor write or has he received in writing? Verbal promises carry no weight legally. How much should any city subsidize a private party without risk sharing and shared contributions written into a contract? What we do know is that D.C. is assured of paying almost 100%, yet we don’t have any legal protections on what the final cost will be. This is an unprecedented giveaway in the annals of urban public financing for sports and entertainment.
If you and the Council vote “yes” on Tuesday, you will send a message that this one-sided deal can surely get even worse in the coming months, that you will continue to “roll with it” by adding tens of millions of dollars of new costs as each new revelation is presented by the Chief Financial Officer. If you vote “no,” it allows time for MLB to see your displeasure, for talks to continue to discuss the addition of financial risk sharing to protect the people of D.C. at the current target site, or to consider a move to the RFK site. The legal cost of buying more time is trivial, even nonexistent. A “no” vote is in no way a vote to kill baseball — unless MLB in a heavy-handed way unilaterally chooses to do so.
If the Council votes “yes,” another sorry situation with new overruns and embarrassments will likely face the city again by springtime. Then DC’s voters next September and November will hold accountable those councilmembers seeking reelection — or higher office — who continue to go down this fiscally irresponsible path.
As concerned D.C. citizens, we urge you to retain an independent party immediately to analyze this draft lease and come up with recommendations for provisions that will protect the city’s taxpayers and fiscal integrity. Then send this dangerous draft lease back for more discussion and further negotiations.
Mary C. Williams, ANC Commissioner 6D03
Lee Glazer, Save Our Schools
Evan Pehrson, Save Our Schools
Ed Delaney, No DC Taxes for Baseball
Shawn McCarthy, League of Fans
Marc Borbely, FixOurSchools.net
Jenefer Ellingston, D.C. Statehood Green Party
Renee L. Bowser, ANC Commissioner 4D02
Anne Anderson, LICSW
Wayne Turner, Ward Six
Richard G. Parker Jr.
Cecil Scott Wiggins
O. “Mac” McCauley, Jr.
Ralph N. Johanson, Jr.
D. Anne Scanley
Gregory R. DuRoss
Laura McGiffert Slover
Alexander M. Padro
Patricia E. Steele
David J. Mallof
Mary Pat Rowan
John G. Gloster
Naomi J. Monk
Karen (Kay) Hixson
Andrea E. Rosen Philip Polivchak
Robert (Bob) Siegel
Beth A. Paulson
James N. Norris
Brenda H. Tobe
Roland L. Edmonds
Anne D. Williams
Paul J. Riley
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO. He discusses the use of Native American names and logos by sports teams and the decisions to drop the Chief Wahoo logo and the upcoming change to the team name. Other baseball topics include health and safety, possible MLB rule changes and youth participation in the sport.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
Episode #8 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Save College Sports From Overcommercialization and Professionalization? – The guest is Dr. David Ridpath, a sports business professor and past president of the Drake Group
Episode #7 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Brain Trauma and CTE Risk in Sports With Dr. Ann McKee – Dr. McKee works in the field of neuropathology and has demonstrated that “mild” repetitive head trauma can provoke chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a devastating neurodegenerative disease.
Episode #6 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Need for Quality Physical Education in Our Schools is Greater Than Ever – The guest is Clayton Ellis, one of our nation’s leading advocates for getting our young people to be more physically active.
Episode #5 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Youth Sports with Positive Coaching Alliance Founder Jim Thompson – Thompson started Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in 1998 to help create a movement to transform the culture of youth sports from “win-at-all-costs” to a positive, character-building experience.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
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