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What am I missing about the Rays and Hines deal? Why isn’t City Hall getting the facts to the public and asking their opinion? 

The first materials about the Rays Hines proposal were only provided to the public at the end of October. It then took a month or so for us to get additional details behind the deal in order to analyze it more fully. (Even now there is not sufficient information to do a complete and thorough analysis.) 


Our analysis, as we described in December in the Tampa Bay Times, shows that the deal will require $2.4 billion of taxpayer resources ($1.6 billion from St. Petersburg, and $808 million from Pinellas County). We contend that these funds are desperately needed for high priority community needs and there are no logical, or reasonable arguments to give up all these funds for baseball. As a result, we concluded that the deal needed to be renegotiated as it was unfair and totally one-sided with the Rays and Hines ownership receiving a huge windfall at the expense of taxpayers. Further, if it could not be renegotiated, we suggested an alternative plan as the Gas Plant site is prime for development, with or without a stadium. As someone said to me “Hines Rays are making chumps of the city. They are eating the city’s lunch.” 


So why does it appear that at least some of the City Council Members are in favor of the deal, and since the impact on taxpayers and the city will be so profound, why are they not sharing the information with the public and asking for their thoughts? This is going to have a huge impact on St. Petersburg for the next 30 years and beyond. 


Do the taxpayers know the facts? (Do the City Council Members know the facts?) How would they know the costs of the deal, as it took us quite a bit of time to do our analysis and we think we are pretty good at analyzing deals. If they were provided with the facts, would they still be in favor of the deal?  


The St. Petersburg Council Members owe their fiduciary and fiscal responsibilities to the citizens of the city. They are elected to represent the interests of the community and manage public funds for the benefit of the citizens. Why not at least ask people what they think?


When I was a deal maker at Raymond James and if the facts were presented to me (as they were presented to the City Council Members in late October) that demonstrated a profound impact on my client, at a minimum I would provide them with all the data I now had, give them my opinion, and ask them whether they still wanted to do the deal. 


So why is the City Council not presenting all the facts to its citizens and asking them if they think the city should proceed with the Rays Hines proposal as-is? I think it is fiscally irresponsible not to do so. 


I created three polls on Nextdoor that reached many St. Petersburg residents. The first poll asked those on Nextdoor if they know the facts – do they know that the Rays Hines deal would transfer $1.6 billion of our city’s resources to billionaires. 55% of 175 voters said no – they did not know the facts of the deal.  Among the comments: “Outrageous...I love baseball too, but a new stadium should be paid for by the people who are profiting off this” “This is a private business like a good restaurant.” “The current city officials don’t care what we the people want. That is obvious.” 


The second poll asked what you think about the Rays/Hines deal with a cost of $1.6 billion to St. Petersburg taxpayers. 73% of 205 voters said they don't like it. Among the comments: "A foul ball at best" "What happened to government for the people."


The third poll asked if the decision to spend $1.6 billion of St. Petersburg’s taxpayers' resources on a new baseball stadium should be up to the citizens or up to 8 City Council Members. 89% of 507 voters said the citizens should decide. Among the comments “But of course the taxpaying citizens will be out maneuvered by City Council once again.” “When there are no more potholes, when they fix the flooding in Shore Acres, when they build enough sewage treatment plants and stop polluting the bay...That's when we can have a conversation about baseball stadiums?"  


I was a very successful deal maker for 35 years with a very good reputation. I had that reputation and was successful because all parties to the deals I did (and there were thousands of deals), knew that I was making sure the deals were fair to everyone. I looked at all sides of a deal and made sure that everyone would walk away happy. That is how I was able to do so many deals – my clients knew I was looking out for their interests first. 


So – we now know the major implications of the Rays Hines deal. And the City Council Members do as well. I sent them our Tampa Bay Times Perspective as well as our complete Rays Hines Deal Analysis that is on our site at nohomerun.com.  


What am I missing? Why is the City Council not providing the facts of the deal to the citizens and getting their opinion.  (And why is the Tampa Bay Times not doing a thorough analysis - interviewing local developers, lenders, former city officials, other groups that made proposals for the development of the property, and reading about Stadium Deals Around the U.S., also on nomhomerun.com - and then reporting their findings in the newspaper?) 


What am I missing? 





2 Comments


Guest
Jan 20

Keep up the good work!

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Guest
Jan 16

Ron

What’s you’re missing is the fact that the city council doesn’t look at it from a business perspective they look at it as their gift to their constituents. They just want to get reelected you and I have to live in this community for the rest of our lives and so do our children. !

When you think past your life, it’s an easy decision When all you care about is today then you make a different decision.

I’m mad as hell that my council member is not protecting me. All they’re doing is protecting themselves.

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