WASHINGTON -- Washington Mayor Anthony A. Williams agreed
Wednesday to consider a plan by District of City Council Chair
Linda W. Cropp that calls for the city to consider private
financing for the proposed ballpark for the Expos.
"By all means we want to do that, and I certainly fully endorse
it," Williams said, adding that any deal must accommodate the
city's agreement with the Expos, which contains a Dec. 31 deadline for
financing to become law.
Cropp postponed Tuesday's scheduled vote on the mayor's ballpark
plan for two weeks.
"Let's just see what happens," she said. "I think it can be
achieved," she said, adding she had a "responsibility to do
everything we can to reduce the cost" of the $435 million project.
Cropp claims one financier has approached her offering $350
million, but she declined to identify the investor or to detail that
City officials said a private investor would not be able to
profit from the revenue promised to the Expos, such as naming
rights for the stadium or concession income. Rather, Cropp said the
incentive would be profits through a "tax advantage."
"It can be win-win," D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission
chairman Mark Touhey said. "I think there are much better
proposals that we're going to be seeing."
The votes of seven of 13 council members are needed for
Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer, did not return a
telephone call seeking comment.
While the proposed move is on the preliminary agenda for the
next meeting of baseball owners, on Nov. 18 in Chicago, it's
unclear if the decision by the council to delay its vote on
financing will cause baseball to put off approval of the move.
D.C. mayor endorsed the idea of considering private financing for the proposed ballpark for the Expos.