Half of borrowed money to be used for Saints payment

Updated: June 29, 2005, 1:54 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS -- The Superdome Commission outlined how it intends to use $10.5 million it is borrowing to cover pressing expenses, including paying millions due to the New Orleans Saints next week.

More than half of the borrowed cash will be used to complete the $15 million annual payment the state owes to the Saints.

Another chunk of the money will go to the Hornets, to whom the state owes $2.3 million: $1.6 million for not having sold the naming rights to the arena and $675,000 for the team's failure to hit attendance figures specified in its contract.

The Saints and Hornets payments are due Tuesday.

Even with the new cash, the commission plans to pay only $950,000 of the $4 million it owes this year in insurance premiums on the Superdome and New Orleans Arena, although it will pay off $2.5 million in premiums it still owes from last year.

Another $250,000 is dedicated to improvements at the baseball stadium Zephyr Field.

The commission agreed Tuesday to issue the "revenue anticipation notes," borrowing from its anticipated future revenue to meet its immediate bills.

But unless the Legislature bails out the commission with a major new revenue source, or the Saints agree to give up millions of dollars in annual subsidies that the state -- acting through the commission -- owes to them, Superdome officials acknowledged they were postponing the day of financial reckoning.

The commission's financial plight was eased slightly by a recent upsurge in revenue from the 4 percent tax it levies on hotel rooms in Orleans and Jefferson parishes, and it stands to gain some money after slot machines start operating at the Fair Grounds. But the slots money won't start flowing for more than a year.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press