Team sale would trigger review of public stadium funding

Updated: July 16, 2008, 12:49 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

PITTSBURGH -- Allegheny County Controller Mark Flaherty says the Pittsburgh Steelers may have to reimburse taxpayers for public money used to build Heinz Field if the team is sold.

The new stadium opened in 2001 with the Steelers contributing about $76.5 million and state and county taxpayers paying $281 million.

Flaherty says he sent a letter to the team's owners saying a new stadium funding agreement must be struck if the team is sold.

Steelers chairman Dan Rooney is haggling with his four brothers over ownership of the team. Each brother owns 16 percent of the team and another family owns the rest. The other brothers are said to want more money than Dan Rooney is willing to pay for their shares, leading both sides to look for investors who might buy part of the team.

On Wednesday, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that billionaire Stanley Druckenmiller, the chairman of Pittsburgh-based Duquesne Capital Management, is interested only in purchasing a majority share of the team from the four Rooney brothers. The newspaper said that according to a source with knowledge of Druckenmiller's dealings with the brothers, he will not get into a bidding war if the shares of the team are opened to public bid.

According to the report, Druckenmiller is involved solely in financial discussion with the four Rooney brothers -- Art Jr., Tim, Patrick and John -- and is not part of the plan team majority owners Dan Rooney and his son, Art II, have put forward to retain control of the franchise.

Druckenmiller has reportedly had discussions with Dan Rooney about him remaining in control of the franchise if Druckenmiller becomes majority owner.

Analysts have put the franchise's value at between $800 million and $1.2 billion.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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