New demands for ballpark tossed up

Revisions to stadium plan could make team more attractive to buyer

By Brian Bakst

Associated Press

ST. PAUL -- The lawyer Carl Pohlad hired to find a Minnesota Twins buyer presented legislators with an 18-point list of "necessary changes" to a stadium plan, revisions he described as key to attracting a new owner.

The new slate of demands surfaced publicly Wednesday, a few hours before a House-Senate conference committee held its first hearing. The list, drawn up by Minneapolis attorney Ralph Strangis at the Twins prompting, wasn't discussed in detail. But Strangis testified that his goal is to reduce "impediments to a transaction."


No one has inquired about the team since Gov. Jesse Ventura released the stadium proposal that has become the focal point of discussions, Strangis said.

A top concern, Strangis said, is the $165 million down payment required of a Twins owner and other private sources. The money would go into a baseball fund established to pay principal and interest on $330 million in state bonds. Strangis said more leeway is needed, possibly by allowing public dollars to flow to the account as well.

"One hundred sixty-five million dollars is a very high hill to climb for a buyer," he told the conference committee.

The Twins also are requesting that any requirements specific to Major League Baseball be stripped, including one that guarantees Minnesota will have a franchise for 30 years and another that makes stadium construction contingent on baseball economic reform.

Furthermore, they're asking legislators to remove specific investment goals for the ballpark fund. Other Twins requests include:

Having the state pay the cost of issuing the bonds, which could be a few million dollars or more.

Giving the host city the right to impose a ticket surcharge of up to $2 for the first 10 years of games in the new stadium and $3 after that. House and Senate stadium plans would limit the surcharge to $2 over the life of the 30-year lease.

Allowing any excess earnings in the ballpark fund to go for any stadium-related purpose, including ongoing operations and future improvements, such as a roof.

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