DesperateDerelict Posted January 16, 2009 Report Share Posted January 16, 2009 Well, you've got to hand it too idiot-Mikey, simpering Katie, Pete, Troy, Paul II and the rest of the gang....they may be football morons, but they're damn good attorneys.Payments will tilt to BengalsBy Peter Bronson • email@example.com • January 15, 2009The Cincinnati Bengals have made their last rent payment for Paul Brown Stadium – and in 10 more years taxpayers will start paying part of the salaries of tomorrow’s Ocho Cincos and Carson Palmers. Hamilton County Commission President David Pepper says that’s a problem, and wants help from the Bengals or NFL.But Bengals’ owner Mike Brown said today the team is being scapegoated again.With county budget deficits causing cuts in jail space, prisoner releases and public safety concerns, Pepper told The Enquirer he’s considering a plea to the NFL for a bailout. “It may be a Don Quixote mission, but it’s worth raising,” he said.“It’s a bleak contrast,” Pepper said. “We have this first-rate stadium on the river, and 10 blocks north we have an under-funded county government.”Brown replied, “I’m surprised at the remarkable staying power of the political arguments around this project. There have been many attempts to scapegoat this situation for political reasons. I just think it’s odd how it has cropped up here.”Pepper had no specific plans but said the county may try to meet with the Bengals. “It would be nice to get some kind of relief and sit down and work it out.” Commissioner Greg Hartman agreed the lease is hurting the county financially, but hopes the county and Bengals can work together on the issue.“It’s not a deal I would have done,” he said. “(But) I think if we deal with this collectively with the Bengals, I think we can deal with the situation we’re in.”Commissioner Todd Portune did not return a call, nor did the NFL. Hamilton County residents voted 61 percent to 39 percent to pass a half-cent sales tax in 1996 to build a new stadium and keep the Bengals, shortly after watching Cleveland lose its NFL team to Baltimore. The county and Bengals then negotiated a lease. The Bengals final lease payment under the May 29, 1997 contract was paid this month. The annual rent payments started at $1.7 million in 2001, then dropped by $100,000 each following year, for a final payment of $900,000 on Jan. 10, 2009. The total payments were $11.7 million, but about $3 million for two years (2002 and 2003) was not paid, part of a dispute from a lawsuit by the IRS involving the Bengals and the county.When the lawsuit was settled, said Bengals Vice President Troy Blackburn, “The county owed us $3 million and we owed them $2.9 million and they didn’t pursue it.” Pepper said the county is still pursuing payment.Commissioners need to discuss the contract this year, he said. “We obviously have to decide what we’re going to do. We will go upside down in a couple of years,” as rent payments cease.After 2018, taxpayers start paying the Bengals. The contract caps the county’s first payment at $2,670,000, then allows payments to increase 5 percent each year.“There’s very little wiggle room for the county,” Pepper said.The county considered renting out its luxury box to raise some cash, but any rental income would also go to the Bengals, under the lease, Pepper said. “Every time I think this or that would help – sorry. They thought of that too.”Enquirer Link Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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