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January 12, 2007

Letter to the editor

I was recently sent a letter to the editor of the Star Tribune that 1) I don't think the Strib will print in its entirety (if at all) and 2) that I think is worth reading. Check it out:

The letter written by Bruce Lambrecht and Richard Pogin, President and CFO of Investment Management, in these pages on January 6th was a valiant attempt to dodge the real issue, but they came up short. This company, for years, has been holding meetings, sending out promotional material called "Pitch Packets", and encouraging people like me to send letters to legislators, all to achieve their stated Mission of building a Twins ballpark. According to their website, www.MNTwinsville.com, and the various materials they mailed to me and encouraged me to help distribute, their Mission is "To build a world class, major league outdoor ballpark in Minneapolis." They make it clear that they have a "willing seller", that their land is available for this purpose, and even go so far as to mention that the “seller� will finance the sale of the land in such a way as to assist in financing the overall project. In recent weeks, they have obviously forgotten their Mission, or are no longer holding to it, as they now haggle over a few million dollars in land price, which threatens to scuttle their Mission. I feel stupid, because I was duped into thinking they cared more about their Mission than about a relatively small amount of money. But, they appear ready to allow this to stand in the way of their Mission. I am certain these are reasonable and honorable men. If they truly care about building a Twins stadium and completing their stated Mission, they will discontinue this ridiculous wrangling and do what people like me have done: make a sacrifice to do something for the greater good of Minnesota.

This is written by your average Twins fan. What I think it demonstrates is what I wrote about last weekend, that if this deal falls through the land owners will take the brunt of the blame. I have no doubt of this, whether it is justified or not. Thanks for sending Derek!

Posted by snackeru at January 12, 2007 2:30 PM


Couldn't agree with this letter any more.

The landowners will and should take the brunt of the blame.

I personally met one of the land owners at the celebration at the Summit Brewery and I thought a great deal of him then, and thought that he did truly want a Twins Stadium to be built....well, now I don't have such great feelings about him and I feel that he and his group is letting greed get the best of them.

If this is a matter of the Twins under offering...well, the landowners and the Twins should have had these discussions well before this passed legislation.

No matter what, if this fails all parties will be to blame for poor communication, lack of goodwill negotations, and laok of foresight/planning. But the landowners will certainly be the "evil" party in most eyes.

What's best for everyone involved? Building a ballpark!

Posted by: Adam at January 12, 2007 3:20 PM

I agree the landowners will be the villians here. But they may be thinking who cares?! It's not like they're elected officials or anything and could lose their job. If this deal goes through they will be making F.U. money: "you can villainize me all you want, I'll be at the bank counting my filthy lucre."

In other news, anyone else see that the Packers are seriously after Randy Moss. God won't that be fun.

Also Lane Kiffen gets announced as the new Gopher football coach Saturday. Remember you read it here first!

Posted by: Freealonzo at January 12, 2007 4:13 PM

Freealonzo....I thought I heard the Lane Kiffen announcement today on Kfan but I can't find the news anywhere on the net. Did you find it somewhere?

I think that would be huge......he has been one of the top, if not the top, recruiters in all of college football!

I think Jim needs to give Bruce, Richard and Mike a tour of Summit...just sayin!!

Except someone should probably supervise because if the tour lasts too long he might talk them into a deal for St Paul.

Posted by: MOJO at January 13, 2007 12:05 AM

The landowners may indeed be greedy businessmen. But if so, then Carl Pohlad (or his kids) should be able to stand toe to toe with them.

It's time for them to step forward with thier checkbook and say 'cut the B.S. how much do you want for the freakin thing?' and cut a check. Then they can simply happily re-sell to HC for whatever the agreeed upon price needs to be.

Posted by: David Howe at January 13, 2007 12:36 AM

Are you guys serious? What kind of average Twins fan thinks that millions of dollars is a small amount. If Derek indeed thinks that it is a small amount, then I invite him to step up, pull out his checkbook and bridge the gap.

Whoever authored the county tax bill is the real villian. Such short-sightedness on land acquistion is beyond foolish, it's negligent.

Could you guys explain why you have a problem with 'fair market value'? LP2 has been very consistent in this.

If you guys think giving something away for nothing to get this done is such a noble cause, then why don't you send the County some money for this purpose. I guarantee you that they'll accept it.

Posted by: ScottD at January 13, 2007 8:39 PM

Guess I blew that Kiffin prediction. With Colts win, looks like no Dungy either.

Posted by: freealonzo at January 13, 2007 8:54 PM

Good points, Scott. Like I said above, however, justified or not Land Partners II will take the brunt of the blame if this deal falls through. From your average Twins fans perspective, LP2 could either become rich or really rich. If LP2 and the county don't come to an agreement it will be chalked up to greed. Twins fans will be angry, and seeing as they are already footing $480 million of this, LP2 will be the scape goat. True, there is enough blame to go around, but can you really see it happening any other way?

If this deal falls through nobody will get anything and that land will remain a parking lot for the next 50 years. I don't think anybody wants that. Whatever it takes ... sacrifices, the county finding a few extra dollars stashed away, the Twins bridging the gap ... it needs to happen.

Posted by: Shane at January 14, 2007 8:06 AM

Both parties will deserve blame if this falls through. But it will be a landslide like Shane says that Land Partners 2 will get the majority of the criticism.

How these parties weren't closer on terms and dollar figures before now is completely foolish and makes both of them look stupid in my opinion.

If a few million dollars ends up killing a deal that took 10-15 years to get, and has a total price tag of $480 Million, and all the while it's killed by the 2 parties of people that marketed and pushed the deal for so many years....all I can say is...only in Minnesota.

Posted by: Adam at January 14, 2007 2:31 PM

I'd really like to see Opat come up with a new site. I've never been too fond of the location being next to a trash burner anyway....Plus, it will put LP2's tit in the wringer and bring them back down to earth.

Posted by: kevin in az at January 14, 2007 3:59 PM

Land Partners II in their 2005 purchase agreement with the City of Minneapolis asked for $12.95 million for their property. http://www.mntwinsville.com/topics/plan/documents/LandOption_000.pdf

That is why the state only budgeted aprox. $13m for the land. It was the Fair Market Value set by Land Partner II in 2004. Given the downturn in the real estate market-especially the condo market- the value of the land, if anything, has decreased since then.

What about the surface lots across from the Armory/Trib buildings downtown? I think we can fit the stadium there.

Posted by: BP Twin at January 15, 2007 1:49 PM

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