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A's Sale is all but complete!!!

OAFC BBS - All Topics: Archive: A's Sale is all but complete!!!
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By simplefan on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 08:59 am:

http://www.insidebayarea.com/oaklandtribune/ci_2537613

Schott always considered himself a "caretaker" of the franchise, not eager to sell, but not in the ownership game for the long haul.

SINCE when has Schitt been anything but a pain in the A**???

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By kevink on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 09:16 am:

Well not much really new in that article, except that Hofmann is now agree to sell to Wolff.

Why would anyone ask Schott's opinion about player transactions once the team is sold?

Wow, Schott turned $68 Million into possibly $180 Million in a matter of 10 years. Considering his cashflow each year from consessions/parking, while he could cry poor because on the books he was "losing" money, this was not a bad investment AT ALL!!!

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By me_94501 on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 11:57 am:

I don't know if I should be happy that Wolff is buying the team or what. I guess anything is better than Schott at this point. I'll withhold judgment for the time being.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By finleyshero on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 03:53 pm:

Was this story that earthshaking it had to be printed twice?

Was this story that earthshaking it had to be printed twice?

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By eyleenn on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 11:27 pm:

Bizarro.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By deajay on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 09:52 am:

Well, the Trib's latest article on all this is also printed twice, this morning. Weird.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By gregorymark on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 10:30 am:

That Wolff is supposedly close to Selig, and that this deal looks like it is greased to be approved by the owners, makes me queasy. Expect the A's to be contracted, or in Las Vegas within three years.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By sactodavey on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 11:13 am:

The A's will never be contracted but Vegas could be a real deal watch out !!!!!!!!

we will know within 1 yr if the A's are goin to vegas because if a stadium deal is not made and wulff him -hawing around then Wulff has the deal set for vegas and is buying time.

this is a guy that is a doer and if he is going to buy the A's either he has got the deal to build a stadium or move the A's but not keep the team at the Net in present state of things.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By deajay on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 03:03 pm:

All one has to do is consider the (very lowly rated) tv market in LV and then really wonder if any team would be anxious to relocate there. Not to mention would mlb want any team to relocate there? TV revenue plays a big part in mlb successes. The bay area market is tied for #5 with Boston area. Portland is like #24 and LV like #51.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By tekgraf on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 03:17 pm:

I believe that Wolff and the city of Oakland are actually going to work with forrest city and build the ball park downtown along with a new luxury hotel and some very nice condos and rental units.

This would make sense. Wolff, forrest city and the city of oakland will benefit from this arrangement. And that whole area will become an incredible jewell to oakland and the eastbay.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By kevink on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 03:20 pm:

I like your thinking tekgraf!

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By tekgraf on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 03:28 pm:

Thank you. We must remain hopefull. Afterall, it's our A's, not SJ or any other place.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By kkdaz on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 03:40 pm:

I would love to buy a condo in that location.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By oaklandfasho510 on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 08:34 pm:

Yeah, that would sort of be like how SBC is as far as close by condos. SBC has condos right across the street.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By rocket on Friday, January 28, 2005 - 11:00 am:

>>>If you liked Schott and Hofmann, you're likely to love Lewis Wolff<<<

Gary Peterson predicts how Wolff will handle the
payroll in the future.

http://www.contracostatimes.com/mld/cctimes/sports/columnists/gary_peterson/10756633.htm

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Friday, January 28, 2005 - 11:37 am:

Well, he won't be like Schott if he makes a commitment to building a ballpark in Oakland...

...and his line of business is service oriented and mindfull of comfort and catering to customers.

Schott should go back to the business of watching over his inventory of kitchen and bathroom utensils and not ballplayers and baseball.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By oakfan on Friday, January 28, 2005 - 12:47 pm:

And although I hope he will "make a commitment to building a ballpark in Oakland" he sure hasn't yet. All I've heard so far is that he won't be moving them to SJ and that he will give it a try in Oakland.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By nickb on Friday, January 28, 2005 - 12:56 pm:

What really-really-really bothers me most about what I've read about Wolff is this ... he has stated that there's no way that he would undertake a ballpark project with the exclusive use of private funds like that Giants did. So I'm thinking that the max he'd be willing to pony up would be the $100M that was previously discussed. That leaves $300M or so to be picked up by Oakland taxpayers. How many of us think this is likely? Thought so. Also, I've heard that Selig and MLB owners are ok with Wolff especially since he wouldn't challenge the Giants south bay territorial rights issue as Schott has made noise about in the past. I'm thinking that Wolff, being a bottom liner as he is, is looking to make a return on his investment. He would look to get as much public funds as possible. Without this being possible in the bay area, could Las Vegas be that far-fetched as I've previously postured in this forum? More and more, unfortunately, this looks like a real possibility. Would anyone care to "bet" I'm wrong?

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Friday, January 28, 2005 - 01:45 pm:

I'm not betting anything...and I'm a strong believer in the saying, 'tell me who your friends are and I'll tell you who you are' and we all know he is best friends with Bud Selig.

But I also know for a fact that he has met several times with some coorporate civic leaders and Oakland officials who seem to feel he is being upfront in negotiations. In fact, the last I heard we will have some concrete news in February in respect to what they have planned so far.

So the above is a hell of a lot better than what happened while Schott kept his pipe dream alive.
He never once showed any interest in coming to the table with Oakland. All he did was whine about being stuck there.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By nickb on Friday, January 28, 2005 - 02:34 pm:

That's all well and good that he appears to be negotiating in good faith. I guess that's my point. My feeling is that he will in fact "appear" to have a plan for Oakland, come forward with it, and have it fall apart since any plan will have to rely on a huge amount of public funds and there is absolutely no way (in my humble opinion) that Oakland taxpayers will be willing to come up with another subsidy (especially after the Raiders debacle). I feel that this is his grand scheme (supported by Selig) to pave the way to sin city.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By deajay on Friday, January 28, 2005 - 03:01 pm:

And once again, I repeat, take a look at the tv market in LV ... it is highly unlikely a team will be locating there in the near future. Not to mention the transient residency and 24/7 casinos ... meaning the # of people who have night jobs.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By kevink on Friday, January 28, 2005 - 03:29 pm:

That's okay DJ, they'll just play all day games in the 110 degree heat.
Or spend $600 Million on a retractable dome stadium so everyone can watch baseball indoors. BLEH!

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Friday, January 28, 2005 - 03:37 pm:

nick, I totally agree that Wolff/Selig may very well have an agenda and could be setting up a situation for failure. But I also feel the folks that are meeting with them are very well schooled on their MO, having dealt with MLB for quite a few years now.

The good guys in Oakland have to be prepared to call their bluff and what they are doing now is showing that the city and the A's could partner in an association which would bring benefit to both parties involved. If Wolff/Selig are acting in bad faith, we will soon find out and then they have to be dealt with accordingly.

Everybody knows the days of corporate welfare are over, especially in a city like Oakland, but there are creative and productive ways of funding a ballpark where everybody wins and I believe they are working on that very issue before they come forward with a viable plan.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By tekgraf on Friday, January 28, 2005 - 04:07 pm:

Again, as I stated before, I truly believe that the ball park is going where JB's pet project is going. It would seem to me that all parties involved would benefit from building a park, condos, retail and possibly renovating the fox theatre in that location. Forrest city would get the rights to build. Wolff gets his ball park and maybe a luxury hotel. And Oakland gets the benefits of a revitalized downtown. So, I wouldn't mind if some of my tax dollars goes into this venture. So, pooh, pooh to you nay sayers.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By simplefan on Friday, January 28, 2005 - 04:52 pm:

Hm.. Forrest City was desginated by Jerry Brown for low income houseing... I don't figure that in for a ball park site!

In a perfect world, it would make sense to build in downtown Oakland and bring the city to the forefront, but that most likely won't happen!

The Coliseum area is building rapidly.. trust me, we all will be happy to enjoy our Starbucks and In and Out Burger's as well as shopping at Walmart!

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By deajay on Friday, January 28, 2005 - 07:57 pm:

Guess I'm naive, but for now anyway, I have faith that Wolff doesn't have an "agenda", except to try to get a new park built in Oakland. Selig, however, may be fervently praying nightly for another outcome.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By oaklandfasho510 on Friday, January 28, 2005 - 08:43 pm:

What bothers me the most is SOME people on this message board. It seems like negativity in here flows like water in S.F. bay. We should calm down and at least give this dude a shot. Sometimes things can be spoken into existence and if SOME people in here continue to speak of the A's moving to Las Vegas than that just might be what happens. Sometimes attitudes can determine alot and if we go into this with that type of attitude than why would anyone wanna commit to us? Let's just see what this man and the city of Oakland can do.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By deajay on Friday, January 28, 2005 - 10:19 pm:

The guy is a mega-successful businessman. I really doubt he is buying the team to have an agenda, other than trying to make it a success in a new ballpark in Oakland. He's no dummy; therefore, I hardly think Las Vegas would be attractive to him for all prior reasons noted. And, remember, TV revenues are a big part of a team's success; it simply ain't there in LV.

I mean, let's face it, nearly all of these rich guys who are into sports, sooner or later want part of a baseball team. He's getting a team which has been in the black for several years, while still being competitive. He's getting (hopes to) a brilliant GM who keeps it that way. He's getting a team with a considerable number of very bright looking prospects. Their future success = Free Agents need not apply here, meaning he's buying a team which has a great opportunity to succeed in the very near future without plunking down huge contracts for older successful players.

DeLaFuente has clearly stated his (Wolff's) interest in a new stadium and several discussions with him on that topic. Otherwise, I sincerely doubt he would have assembled a team to look into sights/ more importantly financing, to get this done.

I don't care if he does operate on the same shoestring budget Schott has, as long as he is moving forward toward trying to get a new park and keeping the team here. Until I see evidence otherwise, I believe that is what he is doing ... and that is the No. 1 priority.

I agree with oaklandfasho, at this time, there is every reason to be positive.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Saturday, January 29, 2005 - 08:46 am:

I agree there is a reason to feel positive... but I don't blame anybody who worry and feel negative about what is going on... those who have followed closely what Selig has intended to do to relocate, contract, merge (with the Angels) Oakland have all the reasons to worry and feel suspicious...

and I certainly don't put any credence on the theory that those who worry have any negative impact on what happens...

all we can do is hope and do whatever we can to REPRESENT as A's fans when the time comes to put our moneys when and where they ask for the charter seats and season tickets. THAT'S when we'll know who can make a difference.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By eyleenn on Saturday, January 29, 2005 - 02:10 pm:

Here's an article from today's Times by Guy Ashley who has been following the ballpark issue for a long time. The article is generally positive, but ends with a sobering note of realism that left me a little nauseous.

Still licking wounds, officials begin push for new A's stadium

By Guy Ashley
CONTRA COSTA TIMES

OAKLAND - A queasy feeling plagues elected officials whenever talk turns to committing public resources to satisfy the desires of Oakland's professional sports teams.

Yet a committed cadre of officials, several of whom bear the taint of supporting the controversial deal that returned the Raiders football team to the East Bay -- say they are ready to stick their necks out once again. This time it's to preserve Oakland's status as a major-league city by pushing for a new baseball park to keep the A's -- a project that could cost $400 million.

"I'm very leery of going down this track again," said Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley, who as an Oakland city councilman voted in favor of the Raiders' 1995 deal. "But keeping the A's in Oakland is something that I think is important. I would work hard for it."

Officials including Oakland City Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente and Alameda County Supervisor Gail Steele have met with A's executives and owner-in-waiting Lew Wolff in recent weeks to lay the groundwork for a public-private collaboration to build a new ballpark. Officials hope to strike a deal that doesn't dig too deeply into the public purse.

Steele says the talks have made an essential point clear: The A's are committed to Oakland, as long as the community will help the team build the kind of intimate, baseball-only stadium most other major league teams now enjoy.

"If we can't do a stadium, then they will look to move somewhere that can," she said. "It's a business decision."

Behind the scenes, officials are assembling a committee of business representatives that includes an attorney and a developer to try to work out a stadium financing package within the next six months. The A's say they'll spend up to $100 million for a new stadium, about a quarter of its estimated cost.

The efforts come as Oakland's hopes for a new ballpark downtown or on the waterfront have shifted to another spot, the land around the Coliseum, where the A's have played for the past 36 years. It's not pretty, but it's practical.

Wolff, the A's vice president for venue development -- and the future team owner once the sale by current co-owners Steve Schott and Ken Hofmann is completed -- has said he believes land around the Coliseum is the best location available for a new stadium.

Wolff, who will be in town Monday to talk about his plans for the team, declined to be interviewed for this article. But officials involved in talks with the A's say the Coliseum site's proximity to a major transit hub is the primary lure. It sits next to Interstate 880, a BART station and a soon-to-be-completed Amtrak station, and in coming years could be linked to Oakland International Airport by an elevated rail shuttle.

Local officials bent on keeping the A's say the finding is fortuitous.

Still nursing wounds from the Raiders deal, which has cost Oakland and Alameda County taxpayers nearly $190 million over the past decade, East Bay officials say the Coliseum site may hold their best hope of achieving a ballpark deal that minimizes risk to the public treasury.

The biggest factor in their favor is that the city and county own the land, so an estimated $50 million in land acquisition costs are cut from the stadium equation.

In addition, land near the Coliseum already is slated for transformation, with about 800 housing units already approved on both sides of the complex and a push on for a "transit village" that would add several hundred more units in what is now a BART parking lot. A massive new shopping center also is being built directly across I-880.

Furthermore, the Coliseum complex sits within the largest of Oakland's 10 redevelopment areas, which means that private investors, theoretically, at least, could be enticed by tax incentives to pay a large portion of the up-front costs needed to build a ballpark, especially if it is part of a large-scale housing and retail development that would benefit from the sports crowds.

"The taxpayers cannot pay for a stadium, so we have to figure out a way it won't come out of their pockets," De La Fuente said. "Let's say we can attract enough investment for other projects out there -- for housing, for entertainment, for retail and restaurants -- it's possible private parties would contribute to a stadium project because they see they're going to benefit from all the people coming out there."

In a July report to A's executives, Wolff made the case for a new stadium by contrasting the A's financial backbone with that of their cross-Bay rival, the San Francisco Giants.

Though the two teams have had similar success on the field in recent years, Wolff noted that the Giants have drawn more than 1 million fans more than the A's each season since SBC Park opened in downtown San Francisco in 2000. The stadium was built without public money, although the demise of the big-money dot-com days has put a damper on all-private financing for future ballparks, including the one in Oakland, Wolff said.

The Giants' surge in popularity since the new ballpark opened has translated into a surge in revenue, from gate receipts and expanded concessions to parking fees and luxury boxes, that has allowed San Francisco to spend about $40 million more on players each season than do the A's.

Wolff said San Francisco's new stadium has led to a large number of season ticket holders as well. These 28,000 fans "insulate" the Giants from financial problems that could result from a poor season, he said.

The A's, by contrast, have a dismally low number of season ticket holders, about 8,000, even though they've consistently fielded competitive teams.

A bad year on the field for the A's, he asserted, "would have severe financial repercussions," adding that the team would need season tickets to rise to about 20,000 to become financially stable.

De La Fuente said several East Bay developers have expressed interest in participating in a large-scale project at the Coliseum site.

For them, the attraction could be more than the excitement of a stadium. State law allows communities to designate redevelopment areas as ways to clean up blight. To lure investors, increased property taxes generated by these upgrades can be diverted back into a project, or given back directly to the investors who financed the improvements.

In the case of a major redevelopment project, property tax rebates can easily equate into an annual windfall of millions.

"It's a powerful financing tool," said Michael Ghielmetti, president of Pleasanton-based Signature Properties, which has had a hand in several Oakland redevelopment projects.

The key to a stadium project, he said, would come down to how far local communities would be willing to go to lure investors through property tax rebates, land acquisitions, infrastructure upgrades and other public support.

"That's the $64,000 question," Ghielmetti said. "It's doable if the incentives through redevelopment are enough to cover the costs. The question is, what's the plan."

To cover the costs of a $400 million ballpark, those incentives would have to be grand in scale. So would the scope and quality of the infrastructure and amenities that would surround a ballpark project, said Robert Bobb, the former Oakland city manager who was the key proponent of a downtown ballpark project.

"It would almost have to be an entire new community, a place exciting enough that people would want to be there even when the three (sports) facilities are dark," Bobb said.

"To make the Coliseum work, you would almost need a Disneyland-like development right next to it."

The push for a new ballpark is bound to meet its share of naysayers, especially given the city's failed collaborations with pro sports teams.

Several officials, including Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown, are refusing to comment on the ballpark push until a specific proposal is presented. Brown has been lukewarm toward past stadium initiatives.

"The mayor has always said that if you show him someone willing to spend a couple of hundred million dollars, he's ready to talk," said Gil Duran, a Brown spokesman.

Brown in the past has cited studies asserting that pro sports teams provide only limited economic benefits to surrounding communities, research that flies in the face of many backers who believe a new stadium could be a catalyst for economic development.

"The reason a community should care about keeping a baseball team is that the people in that community like baseball," said Roger Noll of Stanford University, a leading sports economist. "No baseball or football facility in 40 years has ever returned its cost. Financially, they are never worth it."

Noll said it's true that stadiums have been part of larger, successful urban renewal projects in other cities. But in Baltimore, Cleveland and Indianapolis, for example, "the city subsidized the sports complex," he said.

Oakland may not have to award those kinds of subsidies, he said, even with threats of moving the team to Las Vegas, the South Bay or Sacramento. The relatively small markets that would be interested in luring the A's would be likely to have the same issues as Oakland, including limited bases of fan and corporate support that make it difficult to be financially competitive with baseball's big boys.

Even if the A's do leave, Noll added, local officials should worry more about the anger of furious fans than the prospect of touching off an economic tailspin.

"My advice to local political leaders is to make it look like you're trying to keep the team," Noll said. "And when they say they want to leave, let them go."

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By ballparkfrank on Saturday, January 29, 2005 - 10:36 pm:

Redevelopment money is NOT free, nor as available as it once was. The state is the big loser as far as the real estate tax revenues going to RDAs, but the city also loses their 12% share to the RDA as well. In addition, the governator's new budget plans on tapping into RDA money for the schools. This has the RDA folks quite upset. This will not only make new projects more difficult, but will create problems for paying off outstanding bonds as well. Additionally, 20% of all such money going to RDA has to be spent on low income housing.

LINK: http://www.calredevelop.org/Leg/ProposedBudgetCuts0405JF1.pdf#search='california%20redevelopment%20funds'

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By deajay on Sunday, January 30, 2005 - 09:47 am:

Timing is everything. Jerry Brown as mayor, is bad timing. It's going to be tight, but doesn't Oakland elect a new mayor this Fall? Let's hope no rash decisions are made before the new mayor is seated next year.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By kevink on Sunday, January 30, 2005 - 10:49 am:

I dunno DJ.
Brown is definitely no pro-sports mayor, but Oakland does not have a history of electing wonderful mayors in the past.
Crime exploded in Oakland under Lionel Wilson. I don't remember much about Harris, but things were not good in oaktown then either.

My point is it could get worse with a new mayor, so I'm hoping they can work things out with Moon Beam.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Sunday, January 30, 2005 - 11:03 am:

"My advice to local political leaders is to make it look like you're trying to keep the team," Noll said. "And when they say they want to leave, let them go."

That statement by Roger Noll, if correct and authentic, speaks loads regarding his credibility
and integrity.

Cities spend a lot of resident's money researching and making plans to build a ballpark. Oakland, for instance spent a lot when they hired HOK and formed a task force under Robert Bobb (trips were taken to research other ballparks around the country). Andy Dolich (citizen and resident of Oakland) spent two years of time and money putting together the group to buy the A's, only to see Selig table the deal without even a decency of a vote.

If his advive to city officials is to lie to their constituents while spending city funds, then I feel his statements and analysis as an economist could very well be scewed and biased.

Economists deal with numbers and we all know how numbers can be manipulated to show negative or positive outlooks, depending on the agenda and interests for who those economists and bean counters are working for...so...(no pun intended here)

Roger Noll may be a well known economist but doesn't show he has any integrity.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By eyleenn on Sunday, January 30, 2005 - 03:35 pm:

I agree, Lil. I did a double-take when I read his concluding statement. How could he in good conscience recommend that local leaders play that game of deception? That sounds more like advice from Bud Lite to teams -- string the locals along, make them think the team will stay, and then say, oh well, we tried...

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By ballparkfrank on Sunday, January 30, 2005 - 04:02 pm:

In many ways, the Marlins attempt to get a new stadium parallel that of the A's. The MArline are willing to put up $194M (compared with the A's $1M) to build a $420M park and are still coming up $60M short. The Oakland group working on the A's ballpark proposal should watch the Florida drama with keen interest.

LINK: http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/10717639.htm?1c


Marlins deal running out of time
Labeled ''terrorists'' for their negotiation methods, the Florida Marlins are in a familiar position: stumbling in their effort to get state help to build a stadium.
BY MARC CAPUTO
mcaputo@herald.com
The Miami Herald

TALLAHASSEE - The Florida Marlins have accomplished the seemingly impossible in their short life span: They have won two World Series titles in a decade, yet failed to persuade a business-boosting, sports-happy Legislature to give them a tax subsidy for a new stadium.

This year marks the fourth time the Marlins will ask for a subsidy -- now totaling $60 million. And already a powerful politician who could kill the proposal has labeled the team ``terrorists.''

Senate President Tom Lee this week hurled the accusation -- later watering the epithet down to ''blackmail'' -- after the team met with Las Vegas officials, suggesting it might leave Florida. Marlins President David Samson, who wouldn't comment on Lee's pejoratives, said the team wasn't trying to exert undue pressure.

Whatever the motivation, the trip to Vegas was interpreted as a threat by city, county and state politicians, constituting yet another public-relations misstep for the team, which nevertheless faces a good chance to get state money. Since 2000, its subsidy requests have been doomed by a combination of the tricky politics of Miami-Dade and the state Legislature, as well as what critics say is the team's arrogance.

''They think they're more important than they are,'' said state Rep. Gus Barreiro, a Miami Beach Republican. ``When the average citizen sees them paying millions to a player for his salary, it's difficult to understand why [the Marlins] are asking for someone's hard-earned tax money and not paying for everything themselves.''

Barreiro tried to persuade the Marlins in 2003 to borrow the needed money at a cheap rate from the nation's largest union-owned insurance company, ULLICO, as long as it used union labor during construction. The deal fell through.

$60 MILLION SHORT

All told, the 38,000-seat, retractable-roof, air-conditioned stadium the Marlins are seeking to build would cost $420 million, including the cost of land. The Marlins plan to pay about $192 million. Subtracting city and county help, the project needs another $60 million.

Team President Samson said the Marlins don't have the finances to completely pay for a new stadium and are locked into a money-losing deal at Dolphins Stadium, which the team must leave by 2010. He said the team deserves the subsidy because seven other sports teams in Florida already get it.

''The government provides subsidies and incentives for business to locate and do business in a certain place,'' Samson said. ``We just want to be afforded the same opportunities that other businesses, and other sports teams in the state, already have.''

A WRINKLE IN LOGIC

There's a wrinkle in Samson's logic, however.

The franchise technically already received the money when the Marlins started playing baseball in 1993. Then-owner Wayne Huizenga persuaded lawmakers to give him the money to retrofit the Dolphins' football stadium to accommodate baseball. Huizenga kept the cash, but sold the team.

In fact, Huizenga did more than recoup the cost of the $10 million retrofit: He'll get an additional $50 million from taxpayers because of the way the subsidy program is structured. It guarantees a team owner the right to collect $2 million annually from the state for 30 years once the state certifies that the team generates at least $2 million in sales tax collections in its first year.

Last year, as lawmakers flirted with steep healthcare cuts, then-Senate President Jim King said the perception of such ''corporate welfare'' made it tough to contemplate helping the Marlins. But what really doomed the team's effort was the fact that it dallied in filing a bill, one of the most essential tasks in any legislature.

The team's proposal surfaced only two weeks before the end of the 60-day spring lawmaking session. By that point, slowness, not speed, kills. And the proposal wasn't easy to spot. It surfaced on page 16 of a 17-page House bill concerning taxes, mortgages and escrow accounts.

There was no companion legislation in the Senate -- another near-must. Also, Samson said at the time that the financing request was ''now or never,'' something that lawmakers saw as a veiled threat.

To Capitol observers, it all looked like a replay of 2001, when the owner of the team at the time, John Henry, said the Marlins would leave Florida unless it got a roofed stadium. The team, which had won a 1997 World Series, said it could never repeat that because the field was too rainy. The Marlins, under Jeffrey Loria's new ownership, won the title again in 2003.

The team didn't file a stand-alone bill in 2001. Instead, it slipped language into a bill largely consisting of technical cleanup provisions in the tax code, and a few minor, agreed-upon tax breaks. When House leaders larded the bill with pet proposals, the Senate killed it on the last day of session.
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