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PawSox Boss Lucchino Missing in RI

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

 

Larry Lucchino, head of the PawSox ownership group. Photo: GoLocalProv

While the future of the new PawSox stadium is in peril, Larry Lucchino -- chair of the ownership group asking for approximately $40 million in public financing -- has been barely seen in Rhode Island as of late.

Neither Senate President Dominick Ruggerio nor Speaker of the House Nick Mattiello has spoken or met with Lucchino in months according to their spokespeople.

Lucchino did not attend the Senate Finance Committee hearing and passage of the funding structure. Nor did the PawSox chair attend the full Senate vote.

When the PawSox scheduled a public meeting in Mattiello’s district in January, it was long-time PawSox executive and Ben Mondor holdover Mike Tamburro, Vice Chair of the PawSox, who made the presentation to those that attended the event. Lucchino did not attend.

According to David Ortiz in Governor Gina Raimondo’s office, they cannot identify the last time Raimondo spoke or met with Lucchino.

Mattiello Has Criticized Deal and Lack of PawSox Communications

"My primary concern is that the citizens of the state oppose the deal — two out of three — so that’s of concern," said Mattiello on LIVE. "We’re asking the public to be a partner in a public-private partnership, so they’ve got to be willing partners and my sense right now is that they’re not willing partners."

State leaders have not meet with Mattiello in months

Mattiello cited the poll conducted by John Della Volpe at Harvard commissioned by GoLocalProv while on LIVE.

"There are areas of the deal that can be made better — you’re talking about the amount of the contribution by the owners, there’s no personal guarantees. There’s a lot of areas that the deal can be made stronger for the taxpayers but I think it’s for the taxpayers to determine," said Mattiello. "There’s got to be outreach. The PawSox need to reach out to the public in a way they haven’t done and see what the public’s looking for."

Bill Wanless told GoLocal on Tuesday night that Lucchino is still leading the effort and is committed to building a new stadium. “Larry was just in the office yesterday,” said Wanless.

 

Related Slideshow: New PawSox Deal—December, 2017

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Compliance with Public Corporation Debt Management Act: The legislation was amended to better conform to the requirements of the State’s Public Corporation Debt Management Act, or “Kushner Act.” The Budget Office’s fiscal note indicated that the bill as originally written did not meet these requirements. The statute requires that financing leases to which the state is a party must be authorized by the General Assembly through resolution. The resolution must include the maximum possible obligation of the state. The original language only listed the value of the principal to be borrowed and not the cost of issuance and total debt service. The amended language more clearly identifies the maximums as $41.0 million, $26.0 million, and $18.0 million for the Series A, B, and C bonds respectively.

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Naming Rights: Based on the fact that the Pawtucket’s redevelopment agency will be the owner of the new ballpark and the determination that Pawtucket will experience a gap between new revenue and its annual debt obligation until sufficient ancillary development has taken place, S-0989 was amended to direct 50 percent of the ballpark naming rights revenue to the City of Pawtucket to assist with its annual debt service payment. This revenue is estimated to be $250,000.

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Ticket Pricing: Based on the determination that Pawtucket will experience a gap between new revenue and its annual debt obligation until sufficient ancillary development has taken place, S-0989 was amended to reflect the transfer of the premium ticket surcharge revenue from the state to the city. The bill clarifies the definition of a “ticket” and was amended to include language memorializing the team’s commitment not to raise ticket prices for five years.

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50K sq. ft. Ancillary Development: The legislation requires any future lease to include a provision that the team develop a minimum of 50,000 sq. ft. of real estate contemporaneously with the construction of the ballpark.

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Maintenance and Capital Improvement: S-0989 was amended so that any future lease must contain a requirement that the team is responsible for the daily, operational maintenance of the ballpark and its costs. The lease must also explicitly make clear that the state is not responsible for operational maintenance. The lease shall require that the team be responsible for a minimum 50 percent of annual capital expenditures and that the city, state, and team must contribute a minimum of $150,000 in total per year into a capital expenditure fund to finance capital expenditures. The parties will be required to develop a multi-year capital improvement plan detailing expected, future capital projects and outlays. No capital expenditure funds shall be used for operational maintenance.

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Construction Costs: The $12.0 million of equity pledged by team owners is required by the legislation to be the first funds expended towards the construction costs of the new ballpark. In the event that land acquisition and ballpark construction costs come in less than $83.0 million, the savings shall be distributed on a pro-rata basis to the team, city, and state at a rate of 46.5 percent, 32.4 percent, and 21.1 percent respectively. Lastly, any construction cost overruns that exist will be paid by the team.

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Public Park: The bill memorializes the commitment by the parties of making the new ballpark available as a public park facility. The bill requires the lease to contain a provision directing the city to provide planning and operational assistance on public park aspects of the park. The lease must also specify that the facility will be operated year-round in and around the ballpark, separate and apart from the ballpark’s baseball-related uses, in order to create public recreational, social, and communal benefits.

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Green Design & RIIB Financing: S-0989 was amended to encourage the use of energy efficient and sustainable design, construction, and operations at the new ballpark. It encourages the use of financing programs available through the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank, including, to the extent practicable, the State Revolving Funds and the Efficient Buildings Fund, which provide low cost financing for eligible renewable and energy efficiency, stormwater abatement, water conservation, and other sustainable infrastructure projects.

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Fair Labor Standards Act Compliance: The legislation was amended to affirm the requirement that the team comply with fair labor standards. Employers associated with the business of the ballpark, including the team, would be required to adhere to state and federal Fair Labor Standards practices, including provisions that prevent labor misclassification by incorrectly designating workers as “independent contractors.”

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Lease Conditions: The lease is required to be for 30 years and must be reviewed and approved by the State Properties Commission prior to the issuance of bonds.

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Eminent Domain: Based on the concerns expressed during public testimony and a subsequent determination that the need for this expansion was overstated, S-0990 was amended to eliminate the expansion of eminent domain powers under the Redevelopment Act and to restore the definition of “blighted and substandard” throughout the bill.

 
 

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