Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Vote on Overpriced Stadium Delayed

The Washington Post reports:

Mayor Anthony A. Williams requested yesterday that the D.C. Council delay today's scheduled vote on a stadium lease agreement between the District and Major League Baseball as council support for the ballpark project appeared to be waning.

The last-minute move angered Major League Baseball officials, who threatened to take the lease deal to binding arbitration if it is not finalized by Dec. 31. But council Chairman Linda W. Cropp (D), who complied with the mayor's request, said she does not expect to schedule a vote until after Jan. 3, when the council reconvenes from its winter break. Cropp held a rare closed-door meeting with some of her colleagues late yesterday to explain the delay.

If the lease is not approved by the end of the month, "the City will be in default on its contractual commitments and we will then have no choice but to prepare for arbitration," Major League Baseball President Robert A. DuPuy said in a letter to Cropp. "In arbitration, all prior concessions by MLB would be revisited."


Council members, who approved a stadium budget of $589 million in public funds, have become increasingly worried about the rising price of the project, whose costs were estimated by city financial officials at $667 million last week.

The legal arrangements between the city, MLB, developers, and whoever else is involved remain somewhat unclear, but the increase in the stadium's cost from $244 million to $337 million is disturbing.

Click here for our previous review of rising costs and plans to spend infrastructure funds on making the stadium "classy".

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