"Everyone has to compromise so the Nationals can enjoy a strong future.
We are offering a compromise that I call on District leaders to
MLB is requesting the City Council agree not to adopt any additional
"conflicting legislation" that will violate the terms of the signed
lease; that the city will immediately move forward and issue bonds for
the funding of the stadium; that the Ballpark Act passed on December 21,
2004, remain available as the legal vehicle to finance the project, and
that the District's Attorney General issue a legal opinion to the public
affirming the legality of the signed agreement.
"I urge the City to accept this compromise," DuPuy said. "We all have
worked long and hard and it's time to give the Nationals a new stadium
and a strong future by bringing this matter to a successful close."
The Council will study MLB's provisions during the next two days, but
the initial reaction was positive.
"I don't see anything that could be a deal-breaker," Councilman Jack
Evans told The Associated Press. "The devil is in the details, but all
of that sounds like something we can move forward on."
Mark Tuohey, chairman of the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission
and a lead negotiator for the city agreed with Evans and Vince Morris, a
spokesman for Mayor Anthony A. Williams, told The Associated Press that
the additional provisions "should be OK," although city leaders would
spend Sunday night and Monday examining them.
"We're delighted, and I'm betting millions of Nationals fans are too,"
Morris said. "This clears one of the last hurdles in the process and
gets us ready to finally break ground on a ballpark that gives the
Nationals a new home and sparks an exciting economic revival in
The agreement includes a $610.8 million cap on the cost of the project,
a provision the Council enacted on Feb. 7.
The Council also has stipulated that any overrun costs on the project
would have to be picked up by the team, eliminated through savings on
construction or paid by private sources. The cap, though, doesn't
include about $80 million in land acquisition costs that will be paid by
The city needs the signed lease to sell $535 million worth of bonds to
fund construction of a ballpark on the banks of the Anacostia River,
which was originally supposed to be ready for the opening of the 2008
Since signing a term sheet early last year, MLB already has made several
adjustments in the original deal, agreeing during negotiations this past
summer to pay $20 million of cost overruns and paying upfront $24
million of $92 million in rent payments due over 30 years.
In mediation conducted during January, MLB also agreed to the concept of
a cap on the construction costs of the new ballpark; to fund a local
baseball academy like the one opened this past week in Compton, Calif.,
at a cost of $3.5 million; to increase its allotment of free game
tickets to local underprivileged youth from 8,000 to 10,000 per season;
that Nationals players would make a minimum of 50 youth, educational or
charitable appearances a year in the District, and that the owners would
hold one of their quarterly meetings in Washington before the summer of
MLB purchased the Expos/Nationals franchise on Feb. 15, 2002, for $120
million and is about to embark on its fifth season of ownership. Eight
groups have been vying for the past year to buy the team, but MLB has
stipulated that it won't sell until the stadium lease is signed sealed
MLB officials have said that the sale for a reported $450 million could
be consummated within 30 days of when the lease dispute is resolved.