The State is Playing Games.
SAINTS' PATH OUT OF BIG EASY GETS EASIER
Lost in an AP report regarding the $15 million that the State of Louisiana will save by cutting subsidy payments to the NFL's New Orleans Saints and the NBA's New Orleans Hornets is that the reduction of the Saints' annual chunk of charity change from $15 million to $2.5 million constitutes a potential breach of the ten-year agreement signed in 2001 to keep owner Tom Benson from moving his football team.
The real story here is that, once the State of Louisiana puts the Saints officially on notice of the $12.5 million haircut, all hell could break loose.
But there's no mention of that possibility in the AP account, which reads, frankly, like an adroitly-crafted effort to win public support for the notion that Louisiana is doing nothing wrong by shorting the Saints and that, if the Saints balk, they'll look like insensitive a-holes.
Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that the team has declined comment on whether it will accept the reduced payment.
Though the folks who run the Superdome seem to think that the Saints can get the lost money from their business interruption insurance policy, our experience with insurance carriers is that they don't like to give money away unless they absolutely have to. (Even then, they still are inclined at times to try to find ways to avoid paying up.) In this case, if the insurance carrier concludes that the State of Louisiana owes the money to the team and that the reduced payment isn't justified by any fine print in the contract, there's no way that the insurance company will cough up a dime.
So then the question becomes whether the Saints will eat the $12.5 million loss, sue the State of Louisiana for the money, or declare a breach and move the team out of town.
That's the news item that the AP should be pimping. Even though the NFL has successfully managed to keep a muzzle (and perhaps a straitjacket) on Benson for most of calendar year 2006, getting stiffed on his money might be all that it takes to get him to affix a "For Sale" sign on the fleur-de-lis -- raking in a cool billion or so from an L.A. ownership group that would bring not only pro football back to L.A. but also, more importantly, Reggie Bush.
This was my take on the deal and now some one else thinks the same. The state is strapped I understand but they also have to relize some day they need to protect the few companies that will risk calling La. home.
The Saints already have two out clauses still in place for the end of the 2006 season. Reducing the payment by the state does not change a damn thing. The state could have paid every penny that was in the agreement, and still Benson would have two out clauses at the end of the season. The first being, he can simply pay back whatever the state has already given him, and leave. That has been in the contract as a loophole for the end of 2006 since Mike Foster signed it. As far as I know, that has never been changed. The second is that they extended Benson's right to invoke Force Majeure until the end of next season. So at that time, he could still go in and claim that due to lost revenue and damages suffered because of the hurricane, he is allowed to leave. He'd have a legal fight on that one, especially if the Saints play to a sold out dome this year, but neverthless, the clause is still there. But that's nothing compared to the simplicity of him paying the money that was given to him back and leaving. If I was the state, i'd give him every penny and make it a larger amount he has to pay back. As it stands now, he will have to come up with 12.5 mil less should he decide to leave. Let's see, if a group in L.A. is willing to pay a billion dollars for the team, why would they balk at an additional 81 million, oh excuse me, shorten that by 12.5 mil, so 68.5 mil to help the team move?
the point woodi is the way they reported. sugar and spice. The Nfl would kick in alot of insinitves to help the second largest market get the team. Despite the poor track history they have. you already have Cal conecctions with Drew and Reggie. who to say the NFL, La., L.A., and Benson do not have a plan working that is not reported. kind of like insider trading
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