Kucinich challenges Cost of Stadium Fix-up

Kucinich Challenges $1,000,000,000 Cost of Stadium Fix-up; Browns’ Owners Want New Stadium? "Let Them Pay for It."

"Browns Not Going Anywhere," Says Kucinich, Author of Taxpayer Protection Act. 
He Calls for a County-Wide Vote on Any Tax Expenditures for Stadium

Closed door meetings fuel suspicions of influence-peddling, political pay-offs. “We don’t want another First Energy-type scandal on our hands, again.” 

CLEVELAND, Thurs. (May 2) --  Dennis J. Kucinich, who authored an Ohio law which gives taxpayers serious leverage over pro sports team owners, today raised questions about the true cost of fixing the lakefront stadium where the Browns play and said that if the owners want a new stadium, they should pay for it.

"A 2019 report said the stadium could be improved for $35 million," Kucinich pointed out.  Now taxpayers are being asked for at least a half a billion dollars to fix it, or pay more than a billion towards a new stadium."  This is how billionaires become billionaires.  They get the middle class to pay their expenses.  It is time for the taxpayers to become shareholders.” 

"Some communities could pay THREE times for a stadium, since state, county and local taxpayers will be asked to provide the funds, whatever the cost. Taxpayers have already paid at least $210 million for the existing stadium and now they are asked to pay again.&nxpayers, This is corporate welfare." Kucinich said.

"This multi-billion dollar proposal, which could likely cost taxpayers billions, is being discussed by owners and public officials behind closed doors.  This is wrong.  It fuels the worst suspicions of influence-peddling and political payoffs.  The integrity of the process has already been undermined.  We need full transparency.  All proposals, including the 2019 report, must be brought forward so that the taxpayers can decide.  I think, ultimately, the public should be able to vote on this,"  Kucinich said.  

"I urge the county council to put this question on the November ballot.  This is a decision which must be made by the taxpayers and not by a privileged group of office holders who are meeting secretly, behind closed doors, with team owners,” he insisted.  “We don’t want another First-Energy type scandal on our hands.”

"If taxpayers decide to contribute, they should receive an amount of shares in the team commensurate with the value of the Browns, which is currently close to $5 billion, projecting a recent study published in Forbes Magazine.  This means that if taxpayers give $500 million for a stadium, they should receive a 10% ownership,"  Kucinich said.

"The taxpayers cannot be steamrolled," Kucinich declared.  "The law that I wrote in 1996 protects taxpayers from the threats which team owners make to 'either fork over billions or they will move.'

ORC 9.67, Kucinich's law, requires team owners who have received taxpayer support to give the city or local investors the option to purchase the team.  "The Browns aren't going anywhere," he said, except perhaps to the ballot to decide if the taxpayers want to provide billions of dollars."

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