Triple-A team ownership to pay for ballpark overcharges, 'no strings attached'
Updated On: Jan 16 2014 02:06:07 PM CST
El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser clarified in a news conference Monday afternoon that the City will not raise the ballpark's construction budget beyond the $64 million already approved by city council.
"We are not paying another penny over $64 million," the mayor said.
Over the weekend, Leeser directed city staff to release to the public letters indicating MountainStar Sports Group, which entered into a public-private partnership with the city to build the stadium and bring the team, offered to pay up to $10 million more for "anticipated additional costs" on the project.
"This is it. The City has made a commitment of $64 million," mayor Leeser said. "They have made a commitment that they're going to pay anything above that."
MountainStar Sports Group's offer came with conditions, which mayor Leeser stated in his weekend letter he could not support.
Among them, that the team ownership be given more control of the ballpark construction schedule, that the city forfeit a luxury suite in exchange for tickets in other parts of the stadium, and that the city find other funding sources to pay for projects that would integrate the ballpark with the neighborhood.
Monday, the mayor said the city agreed to accept MountainStar's offer to spend more money on the ballpark, "no strings attached," and called it a "positive agreement."
"If they want to make it more aesthetic, it's up to them now," Leeser said.
Josh Hunt, vice president of the MountainStar Sports Group blamed the media for any misconception that it was asking the city to spend more money.
"We regret the headlines or newscasts that said we were asking for more money. Just like the mayor or city council, we want the ballpark to be capped at $64 million," he said.
Hunt said it is in everyone's best interest to have a first-class facility.
"We want it to be one of the best in the country," he said.