Logosm.gif (1927 bytes)
navlinks.gif (4688 bytes)
Hruler04.gif (5511 bytes)

Back to DC Sports and Entertainment Commission main page

Ralph Nader
Statement on DC Council's baseball stadium giveaway
February 8, 2006




Dorothy Brizill
Bonnie Cain
Jim Dougherty
Gary Imhoff
Phil Mendelson
Mark David Richards
Sandra Seegars


DCWatch Archives
Council Period 12
Council Period 13
Council Period 14

Election 1998
Election 2000
Election 2002

Election 2004
Election 2006

Government and People
Anacostia Waterfront Corporation
Boards and Com
Campaign Finance
Chief Financial Officer
Chief Management Officer
City Council
Control Board
Corporation Counsel
DC Agenda
Elections and Ethics
Fire Department
FOI Officers
Inspector General
Housing and Community Dev.
Human Services
Mayor's Office
Mental Health
Motor Vehicles
Neighborhood Action
National Capital Revitalization Corp.
Planning and Econ. Dev.
Planning, Office of
Police Department
Property Management
Public Advocate
Public Libraries
Public Schools
Public Service Commission
Public Works
Regional Mobility Panel
Sports and Entertainment Com.
Taxi Commission
Telephone Directory
University of DC
Water and Sewer Administration
Youth Rehabilitation Services
Zoning Commission

Issues in DC Politics

Budget issues
DC Flag
DC General, PBC
Gun issues
Health issues
Housing initiatives
Mayor’s mansion
Public Benefit Corporation
Regional Mobility
Reservation 13
Tax Rev Comm
Term limits repeal
Voting rights, statehood
Williams’s Fundraising Scandals


Appleseed Center
Cardozo Shaw Neigh.Assoc.
Committee of 100
Fed of Citizens Assocs
League of Women Voters
Parents United
Shaw Coalition



What Is DCWatch?

themail archives


For Release: Wednesday, February 8, 2006
Contact: Ralph Nader (202) 387-8034

Statement of Ralph Nader on the DC Council’s Baseball Stadium Giveaway

The late-night backroom deal-making which resulted in a 9-4 emergency vote in favor of the Major League Baseball stadium lease is an affront to the taxpaying residents of the District of Columbia.

Not only did the DC Council subordinate the life necessities of District residents to Major League Baseball, they also approved the stadium at all cost. Despite initial reports of a “cap” on city spending of $610.8 million, a major loophole renders this so-called cap meaningless.

The legislation requires that, in the event of cost overruns, unidentified private and federal sources be tapped. Should nothing come of these unspecified sources, the DC taxpayers would again be responsible for costs above and beyond the $610.8 million, which the project will far surpass without the turning of a single shovel of dirt. The legislation passed by the DC Council fails even to require Major League Baseball to be responsible for cost overruns.

The request for more money from District taxpayers is inevitable as spending pressures mount and costs continue to escalate out of control. If construction begins, Mayor Williams, the DC Sports & Entertainment Commission, the team owners and others will come back to the DC Council with hat in hand, demanding  funding beyond the $610.8 million. With the project underway and no committed sources for funding these further cost overruns, taxpayers would be forced to pay the open-ended costs.

Perhaps most reprehensible, were the votes of Kwame Brown, Vincent Gray and Marion Barry. In autumn 2004, District voters ended the representation on the DC Council of all three incumbent members up for re-election who supported spending tax dollars on a stadium (at that time, $440 million), and replaced them with three new members who campaigned against it. The three who were elected on the strength of their then-principled stances -- Brown, Grey and Barry -- sold-out the voters who put them in office by voting in favor of the stadium lease after more than three hours of closed-door deal-making “recesses” in the middle of the public Council session.

For these councilmembers and the others responsible for allowing Major League Baseball to run roughshod over the District’s government and residents -- Schwartz, Patterson, Cropp, Evans, Orange and Ambrose -- one prediction is certain. There is no putting this Major League Baseball power-grab behind them. It will return again and again, and they will be held accountable.

While the majority were fantasizing about their luxury box seats at future Nationals games, the few councilmembers who refused to stick citizens with the bill for a stadium -- Catania. Fenty, Graham and Mendelson -- have done a great service under tremendous pressure from developers, lobbyists and compliant politicians by standing-up and representing the interests of the citizens of the District of Columbia.

To be sure, this boondoggle is not over. Many more legal and financial problems will emerge, and the stadium deal will deservedly collapse under its own bloated weight. To those on Wall Street who are contemplating issuing the bonds, the ooze and bile from this deal will flow strong in the months to come. This fight is not over. It is still unlikely the stadium will be built unless Major League Baseball’s freeloading “capitalists” put private investment funds into this entertainment project.

Back to top of page

Send mail with questions or comments to webmaster@dcwatch.com
Web site copyright ©DCWatch (ISSN 1546-4296)