Fenty: Lerners "Very Sincere"
Mayor Fenty appeared on WTOP host Mark Plotkin's Politics Program this morning, where he was asked about the Post's story on the dispute between the city and the Lerner family that owns the Nationals over whether the ballpark is "substantially complete." To recap: the family has refused to pay $3.5 million in rent because it believes the stadium is not finished, while the city is demanding the money because the team is playing games there.
Fenty, who bashed the stadium financing package as a council member, stuck up for the Lerners, calling the family good corporate citizens and playing down the fight.
"I'm not disappointed, disturbed or surprised," Fenty said. "I'm the mayor of the District of Columbia and I've watched a lot of big development deals happen. This is the biggest one that's ever happened in the city, and I think, to be honest with you, if all the t's were crossed and all the i's were dotted this soon after being complete, we'd be living in some fantasy world. Every development project has issues that remain unresolved this far in, and I think on our side the deputy mayor is doing a fantastic job. On their side, I think the Lerners are very sincere in what they believe are their rights and obligations and we'll come to an agreement as soon as possible."
He went on: "I'm not into every detail of it, and I dont know how much is accurate. What I do know is like in most major agreements there are some issues that are unresolved. It would be almost impossible to see this as glass half-empty. This is a very full glass, with the stadium being finished on time and so many District residents and residents from around the area having such a great time at the stadium and it being such an impetus for future economic development in the area, especially along the Anacostia."
Seems Fenty (D) has taken a go-along, get-along approach to the deal since taking office, even though his anti-baseball stance as council member struck a populist cord that many say helped him win the mayor's office. It should not go unremarked that the Lerners have laid the groundwork with the mayor, hosting a fund-raiser for his handpicked Ward 4 successor, Muriel Bowser, when she was running to replace him.
David A Nakamura
July 11, 2008; 2:55 PM ET
Categories: David Nakamura , Nationals
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