– 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
Corinne Scott
David Scott
Richard G. Parker Jr.
Cecil Scott Wiggins
Phil Carney
Alexis Baden-Mayer
O. “Mac” McCauley, Jr.
Ralph N. Johanson, Jr.
D. Anne Scanley
Joseph Martin
Tommie Jordan
Alex Mathews
Gregory R. DuRoss
Laura McGiffert Slover
Millie Pacl
Mike Silverstein
Alexander M. Padro
Patricia E. Steele
Ed Dixon
David J. Mallof
Andy Litsky
Richard Hancuff
Debby Hanrahan
Thomas Monroe
John Hanrahan
Mary Pat Rowan
Elinor Hart
John G. Gloster
Scott Armstrong
Naomi J. Monk
Karen (Kay) Hixson
Andrea E. Rosen Philip Polivchak
John Capozzi
Robert (Bob) Siegel
Norris Colbert
James Harvey
Tracy Hooks
Tricina Hooks
Calvin Reid
Shirley Reid
Adam Eidinger
Beth A. Paulson
John Grimberg
Ann Loikow
Chuck Wilde
Victoria Lowe
Chris Otten
Kathleen Nelick
Jan Cone
Robert Meehan
Shirley Sutphin
Michael Dawson
Dee Birkenholtz
James N. Norris
Nancy Huvendick
David Barrows
Shira Keyes
Susan Coleman
Brenda H. Tobe
Roland L. Edmonds
Rashad Muhammad
Budd Lane
Bruce Goffin
Anne D. Williams
Marc Bjorge
Rob Halligan
Paul J. Riley


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