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Saints and Governor

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; A promise is a promise Wednesday, August 03, 2005 - Times Picayune Even with the increased revenue to the state, Gov. Kathleen Blanco says there is no money to pay the Saints or the city of New Orleans for services ...

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Old 08-04-2005, 08:32 PM   #1
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Saints and Governor

A promise is a promise

Wednesday, August 03, 2005 - Times Picayune

Even with the increased revenue to the state, Gov. Kathleen Blanco says there is no money to pay the Saints or the city of New Orleans for services it provides to Harrah's as agreed to in written contracts.

What do you suppose would happen if I told the company that holds the mortgage on my home that I don't have the money to make the payments? I would think the next step would be foreclosure and that I would be evicted.

Perhaps, since she can't pay the state's bills, Gov. Blanco should be evicted in the next election.

-------

Probably not a happy topic for Saints fans in New Orleans. If someone could give me a quick Reader's Digest primer of the relationship between Louisiana government and the Saints, it would be appreciated.

Then we'll move on and talk more football!


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Old 08-05-2005, 12:06 AM   #2
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RE: Saints and Governor

That's what I'm talkin bout!
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Old 08-05-2005, 10:32 AM   #3
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RE: Saints and Governor

Uh - let's see.

State
Governor Blanco has been playing to her Northern LA constituency by playing "hard ball" with the Saints. She claims that the deal forner Governor Mike Foster signed with the Saints to pay them $186 million for 10 years to stay in New Orleans (in lieu of a stadium deal), is a bad deal for the State and that LA cannot afford it. Technically, she's right, b/c the only funding source for the state payments to the Saints is the hotel/motel tax in New Orleans, which is coming up well short every year of the $15 million the state has to pay the Saints. That number will continue to grow (the contract was backloaded).

Of course, the flip-side is that the State has all this money it never expected to have due to increases in oil and gas and other tax sources. That money goes into the General Fund, which admittedly the Governor cannot touch without legislative approval, but which she is totally ignoring as a potential way to pay the Saints. She claims the State is broke while it's sitting on hundreds of millions of dollars of "extra" money. Likewise, she's lashed out at Benson in the media by trying to depict him as a greedy old millionaire trying to milk the people of LA for all they've got and give nothing in return. It's a smear campaign, and isn't really the best form... but b/c Benson has the power (he can move in 2010), she has no choice but to undercut his credibility (something he's done a lot of himself recently).

Bottom line - the state wants to rework the current deal, and asked Benson to negotiate. Benson wants a new stadium. The state offered to renovate the Dome and continue to pay the Saints. The offer, which has a potential value of more than $700 million dollars over 20 years would be the best public subsidy in the league, but Benson rejected it and now refuses to talk to the State.

Saints
Since buying the Saints in 1985, Tom Benson has watched as the New Orleans market has fallen in market share, and basically turned into one of the smallest and poorest markets in the NFL. The guy wants to make money, and all but 4 or 5 NFL teams have gotten new stadiums (which boost revenues to the team owners) in the last 10 to 15 years. Benson thinks it's his turn and wants a new stadium to keep up with the Joneses.

Of course, Benson, like the State, is crying poor. He claims that he can't make as much as the other owners and needs public help. The few published numbers suggest otherwise - in fact, one publication had him in the top 15 of all NFL teams for the last 5 years, and another had him at 6th and 8th in the league in Income in 2002 and 2003. Benson is the head of the NFL Finance committee, so it's real hard to believe that the guy isn't making money. The current deal is already one of the best in the league, and he got the state to offer an even better one, which he had the balls to turn down.

Since then, Benson has had his shady lawyer suggest that the Saints were talking to San Antonio about moving, and claim that someone offered him $1.2 Billion for the Saints (the team is worth $640 million and only the Redskins come anywhere close to being worth $1 Billion), but Benson turned them down out of the goodness of his heart b/c he wants to keep the Saints in NO.

All reports suggest that Benson ha his eye on the L.A. market, but there is serious doubt as to whether the NFL would ever let a team with a losing history like the Saints be the one to move to L.A. My thoughts: highly doubtful. But Benson is playing the fear card while he can. By 2008 or 2009 the NFL wants to have a new team in L.A. At that point, Benson's options in threatening to move are far less persuasive, so he's doing what he does best, playing on fear and trying to milk the State out of as much money as he can while there is still time. He is now banking on the Saints having a good season this year to sway public opinion back in his favor and get a better deal.

Bottomline
Expect to hear about Benson leaving every year until a new deal is signed. After that deal is signed, you will have about 2 to 3 years of peace before one of the sides starts to complain and this all starts again. The State is playing a dangerous game and lying about their finances. Benson is clearly lying about just about everything, to get as much free money as possible. Benson has the power, but at least to this point the State did step up and offer Benson the best subsidy in all of football. Now we'll have to see who blinks first, and the Saints' season this year could determine just that.

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he said.[i]\"You know you should stop, but you just can\'t.\"
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Old 08-05-2005, 11:31 AM   #4
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RE: Saints and Governor

exactly... what is going on is that the NFL has a great negociation tactic and that is having LA as a great oppitunity to move a team to. So every team who wants a new deal or up for contracts they can use that as cover to negociate. Hell the talk here in SD is the Chargers are moving, Jacksonville, Minnesota, so go to several NFL cities and someone has a rumour about there team moving to LA
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Old 08-05-2005, 01:08 PM   #5
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RE: Saints and Governor

I really hope the state and the saints get on the same page some time soon.
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Old 08-05-2005, 01:27 PM   #6
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Thanks for your responses.



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