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Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp
Letter to Mayor Anthony Williams on the need to improve the baseball stadium lease
January 20, 2006




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Government of the District of Columbia
Washington, D.C. 20004

January 11, 2006

The Honorable Anthony A. Williams
Mayor of the District of Columbia
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20004

Dear Mayor Williams:

After additional dialogue with my colleagues and with you and others during the past week, I am forwarding you further definition of the list of issues that must be addressed with documentation, prior to the Council's consideration of any revised ballpark lease. This list is identical to the list set forth in my January 11, 2006 letter to you, with the following further definitions that we have been discussing: defining the “baseball-related income” in item #2; providing an example of how to guarantee construction costs in item #6; specifying some of the strengthened community benefit obligations in item #10, and including items #11 and #12:

  1. No residential taxpayer will pay anything for baseball.
  2. No more money shall be allocated for baseball other than the $535 million already authorized and the following baseball-related income: $37 million collected, plus any interest, in the Ballpark Revenue Fund in 2005; $30 million in interest earned on the borrowing; $9 million in premium received on the sale of the bonds due to investment grade rating; and $20 million and any additional contribution from the team or third parties.
  3. All local, small and disadvantaged business enterprise contracting and employment requirements will continue.
  4. The commitment from baseball for local ownership of the team, and, for tax purposes, that the team will be based in the District.
  5. Land and environmental costs of the baseball stadium will be capped and guaranteed by third parties, such as Major League Baseball, potential owners and/or developers.
  6. Construction costs of the stadium will be guaranteed so that taxpayers will not face an open checkbook problem. The checkbook will be closed. This could be accomplished through the development of a formula that provides a fixed amount of dollars to the builders of the stadium to whom control over construction would be provided; under this example, a check would be provided for the budgeted hard costs of construction and the District would provide no additional dollars for such costs.
  7. All development rights in the area outside of the baseball footprint, and taxes generated therefrom, will benefit the District and its residents, not baseball.
  8. The District will have development rights on top of parking required by baseball) on the baseball footprint, which will be directed to protect taxpayers from any cost overruns.
  9. The $20 million team contribution to the stadium project budget shall be applied only to previously approved costs within the initial project budget as designated by the Sports and Entertainment Commission, and may be increased by the team's new owners.
  10. Certain community benefit obligations of the baseball team will be strengthened or clarified, including:
    1. an initiative to rebuild youth baseball infrastructure in the District, which shall include sponsorship of a baseball academy for youth, renovation of baseball fields, support for baseball clinics for players, coaches and umpires, expanding after-school and summer leagues, and provision of baseball equipment and uniforms;
    2. ensuring that the minimum 50 personal public appearances per season by the team, in support of education, youth sports or other public service activities, will take place in the District of Columbia;
    3. substantially increasing the number of regular season tickets for free each year that will be made available to underprivileged District youths accompanied by adult mentors; and
    4. a commitment to employ District residents at all levels of the team's operations, from the front-office to game-day personnel to paid internships.
  11. Failure by the team to pay rent shall include sufficient remedies and penalties to enforce the requirement and shall not trigger a cancellation of the lease that would trigger the cancellation of the non-relocation agreement.
  12. If the March 1, 2008 deadline for completion of the new stadium is not met despite reasonable best efforts by the District to meet the deadline, the team will continue to pay rent for playing at RFK Stadium in the first 12 months beyond the deadline.

I look forward to continuing to work with you, the members of the Council, and the baseball team owners to ensure a timely resolution of this matter.

Linda W. Cropp

cc: Councilmembers
City Administrator
Chief Financial Officer
Sports and Entertainment Commission
Anacostia Waterfront Commission

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