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Saints' facility passes Louisiana inspection

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Saints' facility passes Louisiana inspection - Benson reaches out Louisiana state officials encouraged the Saints to return to their training facility in suburban New Orleans after an inspection Wednesday revealed the 34-acre site fit for use. "The facility is in ...

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Old 10-27-2005, 05:00 PM   #1
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Saints' facility passes Louisiana inspection

Saints' facility passes Louisiana inspection - Benson reaches out


Louisiana state officials encouraged the Saints to return to their training facility in suburban New Orleans after an inspection Wednesday revealed the 34-acre site fit for use.

"The facility is in very good condition," said attorney Larry Roedel, who represents the commission that operates the Louisiana Superdome. "From our standpoint, it can be used by the Saints to practice for their upcoming ballgames."

The state's tour of the facility coincided with the publication in Louisiana newspapers of a full-page letter from owner Tom Benson to Saints fans.

Although Benson said he wants to return to New Orleans, he added, "No decision has been made about the future of the team, because no decision has been made about the future of New Orleans. There are many factors that will affect the future of our team, the same factors that will affect the future of many other companies when faced with the decision to return to New Orleans."

The Saints have been based in San Antonio since being displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Mayor Phil Hardberger says Benson has agreed to begin negotiations after the season to relocate the Saints to San Antonio on a permanent basis.

Katrina severely damaged the Superdome, which officials say could be available for games by October 2006. But Hardberger has suggested Benson, who has strong personal and business ties to San Antonio, is concerned about New Orleans' ability to recover from the disaster.

In his letter, Benson said: "It must be made very clear that the future of our team in New Orleans will be determined by factors that are yet unresolved, such as, economics and facilities, the very issues that we have struggled with prior to Hurricane Katrina."

Benson notified the state of Louisiana two weeks ago of his desire to terminate the lease agreement for the training facility because of damages the Saints said the property received while occupied by federal and state agencies in the weeks following Katrina.

But Roedel and other officials who toured the facility said they found only cosmetic damage.

"It looks to be very functional, very usable," said Tim Coulon, the state's chief negotiator in talks with the Saints. "I think it is a better facility than the facility they have to practice at now" in San Antonio.

The lease on the facility, which opened in 1996, expires after the 2010 season and calls for the Saints to pay the state $1 a year.

"We consider the lease to be in full force and effect," Roedel said, "and it is up to the Saints to return to the practice facility as soon as they are able to do so."

A Saints spokesman declined comment. In his letter, Benson said he "had no choice but to move our operations since federal and state authorities took over our training facility without notice or permission."

Team sources said FEMA, which no longer uses the compound, failed to inform the Saints when it would vacate the facility. FEMA officials could not be reached for comment.

Saints coach Jim Haslett said the team would "finish out the rest of the season (in San Antonio) and see what happens when the season's over."

Critics in Louisiana say Benson is turning his back on the state during its lowest point. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin suggested last week that Benson is not welcome in New Orleans and said talk of relocation to San Antonio is "disrespectful" to Saints fans.

The Saints have until Nov. 28 to exercise a destruction clause in their lease with the state for the Superdome that would enable them to break the contract without penalty. Sources have told the San Antonio Express-News that Benson plans to invoke the clause.

In his letter, Benson said: "Many cities desire an NFL franchise, and the politicians of these cities are going to continue to voice this desire. (Nagin) did a similar thing in leading the campaign to bring the (NBA) Hornets to New Orleans from Charlotte. Yet, when the subject matter of the Saints arises, comments from (Nagin) are made without a single phone call being placed to our team to check on our plans or to get the facts.

"If the Saints and Tom Benson were as important to (New Orleans) as (Nagin) has claimed in the recent past, why such harsh comments, when a simple phone call could have saved him some embarrassment."

http://www.mysanantonio.com/sports/f...n.b9b90ee.html
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Old 10-28-2005, 04:43 PM   #2
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Critics in Louisiana say Benson is turning his back on the state during its lowest point. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin suggested last week that Benson is not welcome in New Orleans and said talk of relocation to San Antonio is "disrespectful" to Saints fans.

Perhaps Nagin should sleep on it and get back to us later. I'll say it again. Nagin's comments were "knee-jerk". From the heart, no doubt. As an initial statement, it's ok. Pressure. Hopefully, he's re-grouped and is formulating a real plan to keep the Saints in New Orleans. It's gonna take alot more than venting to the press.


The Saints have until Nov. 28 to exercise a destruction clause in their lease with the state for the Superdome that would enable them to break the contract without penalty. Sources have told the San Antonio Express-News that Benson plans to invoke the clause can probably be in question with special circumstances and the court would probably rule so. The November date is probably why you are seeing the Superdome folks releasing statements of their progress.
Unless extended or amended, November 28 is a very important date in the process. I have no legal mind, but this one stood out. My gut feeling is this clause can be extended or killed by special circumstances. Local courts may say just that. Dome officials are trying to head this off at the pass with statements of dome repair. The public statements from the Hornets' organization hasn't hurt the effort one bit. Don't remember the Hornets owner's name right off. But I like his grit.


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Old 10-28-2005, 05:48 PM   #3
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Happy Birthday dog. It's my wifes b-day too......
One word for ya ....MAKERS MARK......
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Old 10-28-2005, 06:50 PM   #4
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If the Saints return to the practice facility, it would be a good gesture of staying in NO. I don't see it happening. Benson will find some reason why the Saints "can't" return.

All I know is the fans better come out in full force on Sunday and the Saints better show up and play a good ball game. We need this.
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Old 10-29-2005, 12:31 PM   #5
xan
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If Benson returns to NO, he's lost his bargaining chip. They won't play in SA next season and they won't practice there either. He's got to stay in SA or he'll be in NO forever.

Plus, why wouldn't he be the first to know that the federal agencies vacated the facility weeks ago? If it mattered at all he should have been glued to the situation. His absence from all of it is more telling than the fluff piece he put in the paper.
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Old 10-29-2005, 05:30 PM   #6
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I don't think its much of a big deal... I mean the Dome is going to be ready for some games next year. They - NFL has already mapped out the Saints schedule for the rest of the year... They will not be back not even to practice this year or show face in NO at all this year that has been declared sometime ago. Its mostly when the Dome is going to be ready and I am hearing as early as the 3-4 week of the season.
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Old 10-29-2005, 05:52 PM   #7
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Happy belated birthday Tally. Go easy on the Geritol.
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