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February 18, 2007

Stuff I would rather write about

I am so sick of this. Phenomenally sick of this. Stupendously sick of this. I can't even think straight anymore I am so sick of this. There are so many things I would rather write about. For example, I would rather write about:

In fact, I love butterflies and flowers. Take a look at this picture:

butterflyflower.jpg

What a pretty butterfly! What a pretty flower! Tee hee! TEE HEE I SAY! Fly away butterfly! Fly away!

Oh no! What is this? The big boot of LPII is coming for my butterfly! The big boot of LPII is coming to stomp my butterfly! Stay away LPII! Don't hurt my butterfly!

deadbutterfly.jpg

Ahhh!!! LPII has killed my butterfly! I didn't have enough money for my butterfly! So LPII mercilessly stomped my butterfly to death. Now I won't be able to watch my butterfly anymore. Why?

Why did my butterfly have to die?

I need help.

Posted by snackeru at February 18, 2007 9:48 AM

Comments

M-U-S-T r-e-s-i-s-t u-r-g-e to defend LPII.

Can't do it. Everybody knows I'm an LPII apologist and "Oputz" hater. But after that, we're all on the same page. Save Shanes' butterfly! (the boot was Opat's, by the way).

Let's talk about greed. "Greed is good" (GG)

Is LPII greedy? maybe. How about the faceless nameless citizens of HC? I mean, let's face it; nobody has any problem blaming LPII for being greedy, that they should be "stoned" (in the biblical sense) for holding out for sooooooo much. Yet we all know, that if the citizens of HC were allowed to vote on giving up .03 cents out every $20.00 purchase - this thing would've been resoundingly defeated!

A HC commissioned study estimated that the average annual expense to an average HC family would be what?, $30-$40 dollars? per year? and this legislation wouldn't have stood a chance! How greedy is that?! There was some late talk during the stadium debate that some Reps and Sens proposed a metro wide .025 % tax (about 4.5 cents on every $20.00 purchase) that would've paid for the Twins Stadium, Vikes Stadium, Gophs Stadium AND provided about a half billion dollard per year for roads and transite! NEVER MADE IT OUT OF COMMITEE. Who's greedy? We're all greedy!

LPII is greedy. But being greedy over $20M is quite a bit different than being greedy over 30 bucks a year.

Posted by: Stadiumshill at February 18, 2007 10:20 AM

This has gotten to the point where I see the following odds:

Stadium being built on Rapid Park site: 30%

Stadium being built on another site: 10%

Stadium not being built at all: 60%

Ater all this time to be at this point SUCKS. I give up.

Posted by: David Howe at February 18, 2007 10:34 AM

yes these landowners are being pricks but if the twins want the ballpark bad enough they're going to have to bridge some of this gap, it's that simple. if the twins ownership doesn't feel they are obliated to do this they are just as greedy as any the parking lot owners. they're being given 300 mil. in free money by the taxpayers. so what its worth to them to keep the team here? they're complete buffoons and eternal optimists if they think this has a chance of being revised at the legislature. they'll be guffaws, laughs and back slaps all around. we won't hear the end of it, from newspaper columnists to talk radio hosts. (we're already hearing the same, tired voices playing their favorite game of monday morning quarterback) so twins, what's keeping the team in minnesota worth to you and reaping new revenue at a shiny new ballpark? in the grand scheme, 10-20 million is chump change because i dont think the price of the land will be determined by the court to be near the 40-50 mil. figure the little old lady in houston, brucey boy or rich, (look at me, i'm a big time lawyer) are reported to want.

Posted by: mullen at February 18, 2007 10:52 AM

'Shill - just curious, are you sticking to your statement that HC will condemn the land in the next three weeks?

Posted by: Jeff T. at February 18, 2007 10:56 AM

Yes.

Posted by: Stadiumshill at February 18, 2007 11:00 AM

You're being a bit fatalistic David.

Remember to follow the selfish interests of those involved.

While the options may vary from bad to worse, the WORST option for everyone involved is to build no stadium. If no stadium is built, all parties with direct interest in the project (HC, LPII, Twins, Legislature, City of Minneapolis, etc.) will quite literally go down in history tied to what would likely be the largest fiasco in the history of metro area development. Business folks will become pariahs and many a political career will end on an ignomious note.

HC will condemn the land after a few weeks of consideration indicates they have no real other alternative. The condemnation process will slow down the project and in the end it will be sold for more than HC is currently willing to pay and less than LPII is demanding. The Twins will help cover the difference.

The reason that they haven't proceeded yet is because as everyone knows, this is a lousy solution. They are hoping to find the needle in the haystack that offers everyone a way out. If they find it, the prospects are even better.

Final result: Stadium on Rapid Park Site, although maybe not by 2010.

Posted by: Tato at February 18, 2007 11:03 AM

i agree and i think that's the consensus of this forum. they are going to have to bite the bullet and deal with what the condemnation hearing decides. there isn't another option to solve this unless the two sides can perhaps somehow bargain with an arbitrator present. hell, just sit at a table and talk for godsakes, they aren't even doing that. it's all playing out in the media and it's doing nobody any good.

Posted by: mullen at February 18, 2007 11:38 AM

this guy had it right in yesterday's st'rib:

Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat expects Land Partners II to accept less money for their land than they were offered three years ago. Because of this, he blames them for a possible delay in building the Twins stadium.

The Twins organization, which stands to make millions off the new stadium, refuses to increase its contribution of $100 million to cover increased land cost. Opat does not blame it for a possible delay.

That doesn't make sense.

PATRICK FOLEY, NORTHFIELD, MINN.

i don't blame the county for offering less than lp2 was offered 3 years ago. real estate market hasnt been great over the last 3 years........my house is the 1st example i think of.

but the twins stand to gain by far the most if the stadium is built........and lose the most if it fails.

what i see here are two greedy private companies, verses a governmental body trying to hold the line. lp2 has been unreasonable all along. just look at the shrill's comments. negotiating with them is pointless.

as is going back to the legislature. the solution is: to condemn and the twins should agree to pay the condemnation judgement minus the county's $13.5 offer. period. let's play ball.

Posted by: Vince at February 18, 2007 12:31 PM

My anger over this situation was initially placed solely on LP. After further reading on the topic, it was 50/50 between LP and HC. Today, I think I'm more angry with the Twins than anyone. Where are they in this whole thing? Granted this land deal should have been worked out awhile ago, but if it falls apart because the Twins refuse to cover the extra costs of the land, I'll put most of the blame on the Twins.

When you are handed $300+ million, I wouldn't think dishing out an extra $20 million would be a tough decision.

On the other hand, maybe the Twins are being quiet about this because they don't want LP to know that they are willing to cover the difference. If LP knew that was the case (and maybe they do), it would give LP even more of a reason to not budge on their price.

Posted by: Aaron at February 18, 2007 12:41 PM

Aaron,

Remember who we're dealing with here....Shelling out another $20 million from pohlad is like taking candy from a baby. When this man opens up his wallet, moths fly out of it for a reason!!

I'm angry at all 3 parties for different reasons. I'm angry at the Twins for expecting everyone to do everything FOR them. I'm angry at HC for trusting that a bunch of land tycoons represented by a firm from sh*tkicking Texas would actually deal in good faith.

And I'm angry at the landowners for just plain greed and not having one ounce of civic pride in wanting to help their community become a more vibrant one.

If Shill's prediction of 3 weeks doesnt come true...pull the deal off the table, start imploding brookdale mall and build it there for opening year 2011...Make the Twins pay ALL of the cost overruns so there wouldn't be a need to find more funds. Leave LP2 with their parking lot and a declining real estate mkt...there, we're all happy.

Posted by: kevin in az at February 18, 2007 1:10 PM

then u hear dave st. peter on the radio doing his, gee i hope it all works out for twins fans spiel. yea, gee, i hope it does too, but it's out of our hands mr. st. peter. we already sent our emails and letters to the legislature and governor. i hate to go back to the whole billionaire team owner bitching, but it comes down to that if they want their shiny new playground. there is blame all around but ulimately this is going to financially pay off for the team. they must blink in this game of chicken. they're getting all the naming rights, concessions, they're getting a pretty damn good deal.

Posted by: mullen at February 18, 2007 1:12 PM

you're right mullen, it's greedy twins vs greedy landowners...The county's hands are tied. The Twins either pay now for the land they want the ballpark on, or they pay later for another site. The county will NOT go back the legislature to raise the cap, as they shouldn't.

Posted by: kevin in az at February 18, 2007 1:20 PM

Can the county condemn the land and then back out? If so, that's the way to go. Esp. if LP2 isn't budging.

If I'm the county, I make another offer to LP2 for not much more than the 13.5, and threaten to condemn that land (if the county can indeed pull out), and acknowledge if the price is too high from the codemnation, then the county will walk. I think that puts LP2 either in the seat of making a counter offer or accepting it, because then LP2 knows if the price is too from the condemnation process, they lose the chance of the ballpark being built there. I dount all the LP2 investors are on board with Shill, many probably want this deal to get done, esp. given the real estate market.

Posted by: Pseudofool at February 18, 2007 1:35 PM

Pseudo - This has been touched on before; but, no they (HC) can't back out. Once they (HC) complete the "quick take" process, they own the land. No backing out, and are obligated to pay whatever the court deems appropriate.

Posted by: Stadiumshill at February 18, 2007 1:44 PM

so are the twins obligated to pay cost overruns if the park is delayed a year? not infrastructure, but materials related to the park construction itself like steel, etc.

Posted by: mullen at February 18, 2007 2:15 PM

mullen,

i believe all material/labor cost overruns are the responsibility of the twins, not HC.

Posted by: kevin in az at February 18, 2007 2:20 PM

Not to throw water on your fire, but I think the Twins would have an argument if the cost over runs could be tied to delays beyond 2010. In fact, I'm sure they've excluded any cost over runs beyond 2010 from their deal.

Posted by: Stadiumshill at February 18, 2007 2:23 PM

oh ok, i wonder if they have an out clause or something. if they want this that badly they will have to make it work. if they don't, adios.

Posted by: mullen at February 18, 2007 3:43 PM

Man I love you guys. I write the dumbest post in the history of the Machine, and you all still bring it back around.

I seriously doubt the Twins have an "out" clause after 2010 for paying cost overruns. The County would have never signed on for something like that. The Twins are on the hook for the stadium cost overruns period. That is the one negotiating ploy the County has to convince them to pay now or pay later. Whatever the case, the Twins are surely beginning to realize they will be paying more than they expected.

Posted by: Shane at February 18, 2007 4:09 PM

Sorry Shane, but no lawyer worth his weight in salt is going to agree to cost overuns tied to acquisition timing they have nothing to do with.

That's be like saying, if it didn't get done till 2015 - the Twins still have to pay? no way.

This is all moot anyway, so don't anybody get excited. However, the Twins being stuck for cost overuns is definitely tied to the stadium being completed in 2010. If it goes beyond that, "all bets are off." This is just one of the ticking time bombs I mentioned yesterday.

Posted by: Stadiumshill at February 18, 2007 4:17 PM

once this thing begins to rise out of the ground there is no way it doesn't get completed. they're gonna let a half-finished structure just sit there? now that would be biggest fiasco in twin cities development history.

Posted by: mullen at February 18, 2007 4:25 PM

Huh. I disagree.

Sec. 14, Subd. 2 of the enabling legislation:

"Team contributions. The team must agree to contribute $130,000,000 toward ballpark costs, less a proportionate share of any amount by which actual ballpark costs may be less than a budgeted amount of $390,000,000. The team contributions must be funded in cash during the construction period. The team shall deposit $45,000,000 to the construction fund to pay for the first ballpark costs. The balance of the team's contribution must be used to pay the last costs of the ballpark construction. In addition to any other team contribution, the team must agree to assume and pay when due all cost overruns for the ballpark costs that exceed the budget."

That's it. End of story. The only part of the legislation that actually mentions years after 2010 is the provision where the MBA recoups part of the County's investment in case of a sale of the team.

"The portion required to be so paid to the authority is 18 percent of the gross sale price, declining to zero ten years after commencement of ballpark construction in increments of 1.8 percent each year."

If the Twins wanted the same language for cost overruns, they should have put it in.

This is the only reason the Twins are suddenly OK with bridging some of this gap. If the County decides to move the ballpark to another site, they know they will incur more cost. This is the County's ace in the hole.

Whatever though. As you say this may all be moot.

Posted by: Shane at February 18, 2007 4:31 PM

In addition, the county's own web site makes it clear:

"The Twins will ... Assume responsibility for ballpark construction cost overruns."

There are no provisions for "after 2010."

Posted by: Shane at February 18, 2007 4:39 PM

What else do we have to talk about.

Your quoting the "authorizing legislation." That's NOT where it would be. According to the Development Agreement;

"The Team is obligated to pay for all Ballpark construction costs in excess of the approved budget and the County has no obligation to provide more than $260 million for Ballpark construction costs under any circumstances, except for cause to be defined in the Construction Agreement"

That last sentence "except for cause" is the ominous one. "Cause" being anything outside the teams control say like, LAND ACQUISITION.

Just FYI

Posted by: Stadiumshill at February 18, 2007 4:41 PM

Well, neither of us knows for sure. I'd be pretty surprised though if the County would let the Twins off the hook so quickly. Everyone knows 2010 is a tight deadline. For the County to say, "OK, after 2010 you don't have to pay cost overruns" ... that would be comically stupid.

Which is probably why you think they did it! I guess I have a little more faith. Call me naive, but ignorance is bliss in this case.

Posted by: Shane at February 18, 2007 4:47 PM

I tried to post the link but your site wouldn't let me, must be some unknown characters or something - but if you go here;

http://wwwa.co.hennepin.mn.us/portal/site/HCInternet

then>On Deck - View latest updates>2006 proposal for construction.

You'll find it.

Posted by: Stadiumshill at February 18, 2007 4:49 PM

No, you misunderstood. What I'm saying is ANY costs associated with going beyond 2010 (i.e. inflation for 1 year if it took till 2011), the Twins wouldn't be obligated for.

It's not an all or nothing proposition, but it does give them some inflation/construction cost protection beyond 2010. That's all.

And, it'd be no more stupid than not buying the land before now (sorry, had to get my "dig" in.)

Posted by: Stadiumshill at February 18, 2007 4:52 PM

I must be dense. I know exactly what you are talking about. I've read it before. Upon reading it again, all I can find is this:

"The Team is obligated to pay for all Ballpark construction costs in excess of the approved budget and the County has no obligation to provide more than $260 million for Ballpark construction costs under any circumstances, except for cause to be defined in the Construction Agreement."

It would seem that this clause protects the county more than it protects the team. What in this document is leading you to believe that the "Twins wouldn't be obligated" after 2010?

Posted by: Shane at February 18, 2007 4:58 PM

I think it's a bit of wasted energy for us as non-lawyers (I'm assuming) to start picking apart this langauge. Suffice it to say that it's not in the Twins best interest to start fighting with Hennipen County over cost-overuns at this stage of the game.

Shill, you seem to assume that if there's any loophole in the legislation the Twins will exploit it. That seems to the attitude of LPII to be sure, but they're only in this game until they get thier money or another site is picked. The Twins and HC will be in this together not just until opening day, but for the next 30 years or more.

Posted by: David Howe at February 18, 2007 5:54 PM

Well, I am pretty cynical, but the fact that costs will grow exponentially for HC after 2010 is further incentive for "Oputz" to condemn and move on. His threat to move the location, costing HC and the Twins another year, only raises the costs for HC which further compounds the deal.

Posted by: Stadiumshill at February 18, 2007 6:28 PM

i hope the county will come to the conclusion that it is more desirable to sacrifice some infrastructure to secure the land and start building. you need the lot to build. a bigger plaza or whatever else can always be built down the road. yes they want to avoid the mistakes experienced at the metrodome, but the public and the team expect a ballpark.

Posted by: mullen at February 18, 2007 7:04 PM

As I was reading the comments about the Twins paying for the difference between the $13.5 million offer by HC and the ultimate value determined through the eminent domain process, I started thinking about things (i.e. player contracts) that the Twins paid for that were not near the value of a new ballpark. Kyle Lohse (his $6.35 million salary over the last two years, albeit via arbitration, was pretty ridiculous - $2.5 million in 2005 and $3.95 million in 2006), Joe Mays $19.5 million from 2002-2005, Juan Castro $2 million from 2005-2006, and Tony Batista $1.25 million in 2006, are a few recent examples. That's basically $29 million right there in some pretty shitty deals. (Salaries taken from Baseball-Reference.com)

Granted, the Joe Mays wasn't so bad at the time it was signed, but the Lohse, Castro and Batista deals account for almost $10 million by themselves. That number is interesting because in this case $10 million would put the HC offer at $23.35 million, which would appear to be pretty reasonable.

Given that history of Twins spending, it doesn't seem unreasonable to expect them to nut up and split the difference in the event of a higher condemnation valuation. Just something to think about...

Posted by: The Rational Actor at February 18, 2007 8:05 PM

Please watch Kare 11's piece on all of this. I believe they will be playing it tuesday at 7. Always remember- being opinionated without being informed is really just being an idiot.

Posted by: kat at February 18, 2007 8:32 PM

Kat - Tuesday at 7, KARE 11 will be broadcasting Dateline. Will they be talking about the Twins stadium?

Posted by: Jeff T. at February 18, 2007 9:10 PM

We can only hope that the Twins activity in all of this is going on behind the scenes. From what has been available through the media they certainly appear to simply be 'fidgeting on the sideline.' But IF they were inclined to cover the cost over-run caused by the condemnation, it obviously wouldn't be in thier best interest to broadcast it at this point.

I'm quite nervous that it is the former, though. As well run as they have been from a baseball prospective, they have bungled thier quest for a stadium in every way possible. If only they could put Terry Ryan and Jim Rantz in charge of the stadium too, they'd probably have it already. No offense to Jerry Bell, he seems well-meaning and hard-working enough. But I haven't seen one single quote attriubuted to him since this whole situation started. Did he retire or something?

Posted by: David Howe at February 18, 2007 10:05 PM

A sunday night vent-

There is a saying on Wall Street-“Bulls make money, Bears make money, Pigs get slaughtered.? Is LP a piggy in this? I don’t know. And that is what angers me the most. LP won’t tell anyone what they think their land is worth. I met a few of the LP partners. I liked them. They sent me a DVD copy of their presentation they showed the Legislature. In it, senior citizens talk about how important the Twins are in their lives. I ask LP, what do you say now to those senior citizens? Are you justified in not accepting HC’s offer or are you oink oink oinking all the way to the piggy bank? A lot of us on this Board feel we had a small role in getting the stadium bill LP wanted passed. LP owes us along with the senior citizens they used an explanation and, possibly, an apology for killing our beautiful butterfly.

Posted by: BP Twin at February 18, 2007 10:12 PM

Here's a tidbit from Sid's monday column, the majority of which is about Flip Saunders coaching the Gophers (I wish):

"On the snag over the sale of the land for the new Twins ballpark near Target Center, Higgins also replied to the headline on Sunday's column: "By the way, we aren't just 'Fiddling while Rome burns,' as you suggest. We just do a lot of talking in nonpublic ways and spaces."

Posted by: David Howe at February 18, 2007 10:15 PM

jerry bell's infamous quote was a stupid one. he said the landowners were being greedy. he should've kept his mouth shut. not the smartest thing to say by a man who works for one of the richest men in the state and just had a sales tax approved to benefit his company. it made a terrible impression and then we had the opinion piece in the star trib by reps. from LP II defending their position, which they are entitled to after being smacked in public like that. and so on, and so on, and here we are a few weeks later with both sides staring eachother down.

Posted by: mullen at February 18, 2007 10:19 PM

SShill writes:
Is LPII greedy? maybe. How about the faceless nameless citizens of HC? I mean, let's face it; nobody has any problem blaming LPII for being greedy, that they should be "stoned" (in the biblical sense) for holding out for sooooooo much. Yet we all know, that if the citizens of HC were allowed to vote on giving up .03 cents out every $20.00 purchase - this thing would've been resoundingly defeated!

A HC commissioned study estimated that the average annual expense to an average HC family would be what?, $30-$40 dollars? per year? and this legislation wouldn't have stood a chance! How greedy is that?! There was some late talk during the stadium debate that some Reps and Sens proposed a metro wide .025 % tax (about 4.5 cents on every $20.00 purchase) that would've paid for the Twins Stadium, Vikes Stadium, Gophs Stadium AND provided about a half billion dollard per year for roads and transite! NEVER MADE IT OUT OF COMMITEE. Who's greedy? We're all greedy!

LPII is greedy. But being greedy over $20M is quite a bit different than being greedy over 30 bucks a year.

EY: How did they get that number? Did that number include the hidden increased property taxes for Hennepin County - since municipalities are NOT exempt from sales tax.

Citizens of Minneapolis have voted to increase their taxes for schools and libraries - hardly the act of greed - but clearly expressed their opinion about public funding for professional sports stadiums. In Minneapolis, 3 public libraries have closed, and many local branch libraries are open 3 days a week. Our property taxes are going up, up, up and services are going down.

I'd feel a little happier about this tax if I knew that Dakota county residents (where Governor Pawlenty of Tax increases lives) was sharing the tax burden.

Posted by: Eva Young at February 18, 2007 10:23 PM

well what you advocate is a non-starter. you can't rewrite history. and just like with the stadium issue, minneapolis is having to be bailed out on the libraries.

Posted by: mullen at February 18, 2007 10:41 PM

Can someone put all of this into simple terms?

Thanks!

Posted by: Simba at February 18, 2007 10:44 PM

I've resisted, to this point, bringing the Twins into this debacle because; from my perspective, "the Twins are who we thought they were! and we let 'em off the hook" (I miss Denny), anyway - a couple of people have pointed out how much the Twins stand to gain in this deal.

By their own admission - Revenues should increase by $40M per year, once the stadium opens. The $130M that they're required to put in, will almost certainly be paid back immediately through naming rights. So their "skin in the game" will be almost zero once the stadium opens.

The first thing they'll point to is the "blank check" they are obligated to by covering cost overuns. Let's be honest - I'm sure they had pretty good estimates on what those might be, and it won't be a lot, if any.

So with that, it's time for Pohlad to step up and bail out his puppet commissioner (Oputz) and pick up the tab for the site to keep this on schedule! I did a little math, and just to use round numbers, assuming Pohlad is worth a BILLION dollars (we know he's worth more) and the average of us are worth $50,000 (maybe); that means $10 million to Pohlad is like 500 bucks to each and every one of us!. He could "dig deep" pony up $20 million, added to HC's offer of $13.35M and smoke out LPII. That'd be like any one of us coming up with a thousand dollars to invest in something that's going to pay us back $2,000 per year, every year, for 30 years. Big deal!

Pohlads been trying to get this done on the cheap for years. It's time to put his money where his mouth is and "get 'er done!"

Posted by: Stadiumshill at February 19, 2007 8:29 AM

Forgive me, Kare 11 on tuesday at 10 pm. It's gonna be huge. If you're interested in the stadium WATCH.

Posted by: Kat at February 19, 2007 9:02 AM

WON'T SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE BUTTERFLIES?!?!?!?!

Posted by: Vicki at February 19, 2007 9:17 AM

Shane, what could you possibly write about Barry Manilow?

Posted by: Freealonzo at February 19, 2007 9:40 AM

I share Shane's desire for this issue to go away.

Cancel the project! That's the best solution.

Posted by: Mark at February 19, 2007 10:29 AM

Thanks for bringing that up Free, that comment about Barry Manilow was troubling me as well. It could go something like this:

At the Ra-pid, Rapid Parking Lot
The cost of it makes the stadium shot!

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at February 19, 2007 11:00 AM

it's gonna "huge", eh? thank you donald trump. i'm guessing it will be similar to the report KARE did on the gophers stadium project last month. basically things we already know and a recap of the situation for ollie and lena out in the sticks. maybe they'll have some interviews with the players, who wisely havn't been saying much since jerry bell's "greedy" statement a couple months ago. they're going with "who dropped the ball" in their promos. real original.

Posted by: mullen at February 19, 2007 12:06 PM

Wait a minute, those are 2 different butterflies!

It's a bait and switch! To arms! To arms!

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at February 19, 2007 12:13 PM

The one thing I would like to say about the "greed" issue is that "greed" is not the main issue here. It is "honesty".

The Twins have been up front about their greed from the start. We have long known their position: "We need a stadium to boost revenues and we are willing to pay X." Greedy? Arrogant? Annoying? Sure, but we have always known where they stand. I personally wish these teams would pay their own way, but we don't live in that world anymore.

The citizens of HC have long made our feelings known as well. Many don't even want to pay one dime for the stadium, and at least a simple majority don't want to pay as much as we are paying. Greedy? That seems a little harsh, but even if you think so, we (this is a collective "we" because I am certainly pro-ballpark) are honest and have been so for the 12 years of stadium debates.

Hennepin County Commissioners may be greedy by trying to get the land for a lower price than initially thought. They have to work within the parameters set by the State. But, there has long been an understanding that the land is available for a reasonable price and in a reasonable time. And, had they intended to lowball LPII, they certainly wouldn't have built a site-specific bill. That would have been stadium suicide. So not really greedy. Stupid maybe. Shortsighted certainly. But not greedy.

LPII however, has not been entirely honest. Lambrecht was dead-set against any public funding (actually forming an anti-stadium-tax group) until he found out it might be built on his land and saw the dollar signs. Okay, that's fine, he can change his mind. But, in their meetings (which I attended as a Twins fan) and "pitch packets" (which I received and showed to numerous people to help change their mind on the ballpark issue) they quoted the land as being worth $17.5 Million. They stated their Mission as being "To build a major-league ballpark in Minneapolis." That's it. No mention of making millions of dollars on the land. Just getting a ballpark built. I certainly expected them to want to avoid losing money on this, but not to make THIS much. (As I understand, they paid roughly $8 Million.) They allowed this site-specific bill to go through because they knew they could put us (yes, "us" as we are paying for it) in a corner and take us for millions more than it is worth. They may not be greedy, they may not be stupid, but they are certainly being dishonest. They may be due more than the county is offering, but to dupe people like you and me into thinking that their goal was baseball-related, and to be willing to hold up, and jeopardize, THEIR OWN STATED MISSION over money, proves the dishonesty. There is no other way to look at it. Do we have all the facts? No. Will we look back later and think everyone is stupid and short-sighted and at-fault? Probably. But, LPII took advantage of our enthusiasm and attempted to turn it into profit WITHOUT LETTING US KNOW THIS. For this reason, I am unable to blame anyone more than I blame LPII. I don't think it was Lambrecht's intention to screw me over personally. He is a nice man, and I am sure not as dishonest as I make him out to be. He always responds to my emails graciously and is willing to converse. Bottom line though, had LPII simply been honest, as everyone else was, we may very well be breaking ground on time IN SPITE of the greed, stupidity, arrogance, short-sightedness, and general ignorance show by all parties.

Here's to hoping the Schill has quality sources, and this process will move forward and we can all enjoy a Twins game, outdoors, (And no, we don't need a retractable roof. Sitting in a soup can and the only way to know you are outdoors is to look straight up? Doesn't sound fun.) in the best transportation-related site in America in 2010. Go Twins!

Posted by: Derek at February 19, 2007 12:15 PM

Why do people put a "c" between the "S" and the "h" in my moniker?

Posted by: Stadiumshill at February 19, 2007 1:58 PM

"Shill" definied in the OED is:

A decoy or accomplice, esp. one posing as an enthusiastic or successful customer to encourage other buyers, gamblers, etc. -- One who poses as a disinterested advocate of another but is actually of the latter's party; a mouthpiece, a stooge.

"Schill" is defined as:

A European pike-perch; the ZANDER.

So, obviously, a lot of people think you and your stadium views are a little "fishy." Can't say I disagree!

Posted by: Shane at February 19, 2007 2:02 PM

Derek, Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility was not an anti-stadium-tax group. Reusse dropped the CFR reference irresponsibly without background which is pretty typical of the hacks at the Strib. CFR was in existance at a time when the states spending was out of control. The annual bonding bill was reaching ridiculous levels. CFR was shedding some light on the issue. An uneducated view of the group was that they were anti-everything. Only a fool would not see the need for transportation and education spending. Would the group have been against the stadium tax? Maybe but anyone saying it would is just guessing.

I keep hearing everyone talk about Lambrecht's greed. Let me assure you that he is not greedy. He is a businessman. He wants the stadium to be built, and he wants to make money off of his vision. The two can indeed mutually co-exist.

The old offer was $13.5M and five acres for ten acres. My guess is that if HC came up with the same deal that it would be accepted. Anyone want to guess which Major League baseball team-owning billionaire has been promised those sought after 5 acres? If Pohlad would kick in those five acres, this could maybe all be done, but then where would he park his limo!

Posted by: Ray Kinsella at February 19, 2007 2:07 PM

Thanks for your input Schane! Although, that's giving quite a bit of credit to your "readerschip"

Posted by: Stadiumshill at February 19, 2007 2:16 PM

"Why do people put a "c" between the "S" and the "h" in my moniker?"

Actually they should be putting an "r" after the "h" and before the "i"

Posted by: Freealonzo at February 19, 2007 2:27 PM

Kinsella, if they really would accept the previous offer, then they should be asking for about $20 million with no land swap. By your logic, in asking for $40 million they are valuing that other 5 acres at $27 million! That's called trying to screw the government and hit the jackpot.

Posted by: D Howe at February 19, 2007 3:16 PM

I think about $22 million is a very realistic number. A 10% increase is reasonable. The only one saying $40 million is Sid & Reusse. LP2 has never said $40. They're probably getting those numbers from Opat. HC offers $13, an insulting number, if LP2 throws out a number $9 high, rather than low, we all make fun of them for making a counter-offer of $31. Bruce routinely has said that a counter-offer frames the debate. Condemnation makes the most sense for all, and certainly can not be deemed as screwing the government.

The one uniting theme that I've seen emerge recently is most of us are just waiting for Opat to grow a pair.

Posted by: Ray Kinsella at February 19, 2007 4:34 PM

I wouldn't have a problem with LPII making a counter-offer of $31. At least it would provide a starting point for negotiation. They're refusal to provide a # because it 'frames the debate' is pathetic. Yes I think the HC commissioners need to 'grow a pair' but LPII also needs to quit acting like they work for the Vikings and actually tell us something.

Posted by: David Howe at February 19, 2007 4:53 PM

Don't you think it would be sort of, um I don't know, retarded for LPII to make a counter offer at all? They're being sued for eminent domain for christ's sake! If the county wanted to negotiate, they should have just negotiated. But they decided to file for eminent domain in the mean while, "just in case," in which case, LP has every right to refuse negotiations at all. If the county wants the land, all they have to do is take it, and fight about the difference in court. That is if they wanted to pay a fair price for the land. And if they think the great american judicidial system won't give them a fair deal in eminent domain proceedings, then they have more pressing political duties than building stadiums. So, no, LPII shouldn't have to tell us anything unless it's in court, or HC drops eminent domain.

Posted by: ralph the dog at February 19, 2007 7:27 PM

Ralph,

That would be a great point if the County had actually started with condemnation, but they haven't at this point. So LP2 can and should give a figure. You can't negotiate a deal when one of the parties is not willing to negotiate. Yes, HC lowballed their first offer...That's normal...the other side should high-ball...and meet somewhere in the middle...That's how it's done, but right now, only one party is sitting at the table.

Posted by: kevin in az at February 19, 2007 8:05 PM

they're not sitting at the table, stenglein asked opat if he would meet with bruce l, and he declined, according to a story i saw in the strib not that long ago. at least someone on that county board is trying to get the sides to talk.

Posted by: mullen at February 19, 2007 8:20 PM

Kev-

HC started condemnation in November. They just had a "contest" hearing in January, whereby LPII had the opportunity to contest whether or not the "taking" served a public service, in front of Judge Aldrich. LPII didn't contest this, so the process is all but completed, except for the actual seizing of the title by HC.

You're a little behind on where this is at.

Posted by: Stadiumshill at February 19, 2007 10:28 PM

somehow i knew you would end your insightful comment by being an a$$

Posted by: kevin in az at February 19, 2007 11:02 PM

I couldn't let you down.

That was kinda bush. I guess I'm actually petty on some stuff. Sorry.

Posted by: Stadiumshill at February 20, 2007 7:03 AM

I forgive you Shill...For the most part you've really turned into a great contributor to this blog...So tell me this since I'm out of town and can't exactly keep up with everything to the minute like you guys can...What is the timeline for a court decision? And once the court makes a decision, can LP2 appeal the decision and keep this thing going on and on?

Posted by: kevin in az at February 20, 2007 10:19 AM

The only timeline left would be in determining the value of the land.

HC can take title anytime they want and make it effective immediately. After that, it could be a couple of years of court wrangling to determine what the value is/was and what HC would have to pay. HC could appeal any court decision as could LPII, dragging it out even further.

Posted by: Stadiumshill at February 20, 2007 11:07 AM

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