ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€ÂThe state of Louisiana once again had to borrow the money needed to make its annual payment to the Saints on July 5.
With a loan arrangement approved by the State Bond Commission on June 27, the state borrowed $10.5 million of the $15 million due the team under terms of the deal former Gov. Mike Foster brokered with owner Tom Benson in 2001.
The new money came through a financing mechanism the state hadn't used for at least a decade. Members of the Bond Commission said there were few options since the State Legislature adjourned last week without approving a new tax source for the Saints or setting aside dollars in the budget.
It wasn't immediately known how the loan will be repaid or how the state will meet future obligations to the team. Last year, the state had to borrow money from an economic development fund to make its annual payment.
"We have an obligation that we have to live up to," said Sen. Diana Bajoie of New Orleans. "Some of us many not agree that it's the best contract, but it's a contract we have to live up to. The full faith and credit of the state is behind it."
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€ÂSince the end of the 2004 season, the Saints have seen a drastic change in their pro and college scouting staffs. Five of their nine scouts have left or been fired since the team finished a second straight 8-8 campaign.
It should be noted, however, that area scouts Tim Heffelfinger, Mark Sadowski and Andy Weidl were offered two-year contract extensions to remain with the team but decided to leave for better offers.
Heffelfinger went to the New England Patriots, Sadowski to the Chicago Bears and Weidl to the Baltimore Ravens.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think that besides being a heck of a football player, he does a lot for this team off the field." ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Â Saints coach Jim Haslett, on what veteran left tackle Wayne Gandy means to his team.
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