Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Gandhi Says WAAAH!

DC CFO Nat Gandhi isn't happy with the proposed lease that's up for vote by the Council next week.

1) The final version of the lease took out a rent reserve. I'm assuming that this is the reserve they had established in case terrorism prevented play in the new stadium. That was inserted at the behest of our Wall Street Overlords to improve the bond rating.

2) This one seems petty, but he throws a hissy fit over the private financing scheme being dropped out of the proposal. It does seem like the communication was poor, but from reading the Times story, it seems as much a case of the good doctor having a bruised ego as anything. Dropping the scheme was the right way to go. DC would get $246 million up front, but they'd lose many more millions in revenue over the life of the deal.

  • The Washington Post throws the weight of their editorial board on Gandhi's side. But, strangely, they didn't see fit to actually, you know, write a story in their pages about this. Here's your opinion. Oh, you want the facts, too?

  • Meanwhile, the Council gets briefed today starting at one. Expect heady denouncements of the unfair lease, and how it violates the sanctity of DC's women and children by about five.

    Keep in mind that the stadium opponents are the stadium opponents. Their noise doesn't matter. If Marion Barry or David Catania allege that Tony Williams and Jim Bowden are planning to use the stadium to systematically slaughter DC's children one by one for a giant blood orgy, it doesn't matter. They weren't going to vote for it in the first place anyway.

  • DC Watch helpfully posts Mark Tuohey's letter to Linda Cropp, which summarizes the major differences between the latest lease, and the earlier submission.

    If you're looking for the info, that's the best place to go, rather than someone's rehashed summary.


    Now that I'm looking at the DC Watch link a little more closely, it seems like it contains the answers to Gahndi's problems:
    Deletion of Section 4.6. Section 4.6 of the Original Lease, which contained provisions governing the Rent Reserve Account, has been deleted from the Lease. As noted above, this Section may be restored if required by the rating agencies to assign investment grade ratings to the stadium revenue bonds.

    Part of the fear was the one-more-dollar clause, which reportedly required DC to lose one of its two skyboxes if they asked for anything more from MLB. If I'm reading the summary correctly, MLB has okayed the inclusion of the rental reserve IF our Wall Street Overlords demand it. Problem solved, it seems.

    All DC would need to do is amend the lease in the Council, which shouldn't require a super-majority, just the regular 7 votes which would be necessary for final passage of the whole damn thing anyway.

    Much ado about nothing, or am I senile?