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Cleveland narrowly approves $30 million contribution to stadium enhancements

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When we posted an item last week on the news that the Browns and the City of Cleveland had struck a tentative deal that would result in Cleveland kicking in $30 million of the $120 million for upgrades at the First Energy Factory of Sadness, some suggested that there was no deal to be struck because Cleveland already had the obligation to kick in the money.

Cleveland City Council almost disagreed.

According to Leila Atassi of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the plan narrowly passed the city’s governing body on Monday after four hours of heated debate.  With 12 votes needed, only 13 were obtained from the 18 members present.

The $30 million will be paid out over 15 years, with a present value of $22 million.

Concerns included whether the stadium lease indeed obligates the city to share in the costs of the proposed upgrades, and the speed with which Mayor Frank Jackson was trying to force the measure through City Council.  Some members also had questions about whether, for example, new scoreboards are needed.

“[W]e’re about to spend $2 million [per year] of my community’s money, and I need you to prove to me me that the scoreboard needs to be fixed today,” Councilman Jeffrey Johnson said.  “Respect me enough to bring me something that proves it.  Don’t play me for a dummy.”

Kevin Kleps of Crain’s Cleveland Business has more details regarding the meeting, including one member of City Council suggesting that, in the early stages of the negotiations, the Browns “wanted the baby, the bath water, and the soap.”

Fittingly, the vote came the day after the guy who coined the term “Factory of Sadness” posted a new video in which he complains about the team in colorful fashion outside the stadium after a loss.

Unfortunately, he has ditched the Ryan Pontbriand jersey.

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22 Responses to “Cleveland narrowly approves $30 million contribution to stadium enhancements”
  1. jackblackshairyback says: Nov 26, 2013 10:13 AM

    OK, let’s get the facts. The money being approved last night was money the city is already contractually obligated to pay. All this agreement did was define where the money is going, and restructure the deal so that the city wouldn’t have to go from annual payments of $850K for the next ten years, and then have then balloon to over $8 million a year in the final 5 years of the lease.

    There are zero additional funds being allocated here.

  2. godofwine330 says: Nov 26, 2013 10:13 AM

    In a city where they just laid off a bunch of cops and fire fighters it makes a whole lot of sense to spend $30 million to contribute to stadium enhancements. Am I not the only one that believes that the money could have been better spent? One of the best things I ever did was move out of Cuyahoga County, not that politics aren’t crooked nearly every place you move to.

  3. stillers213 says: Nov 26, 2013 10:22 AM

    So that leaves like $50 to fix the rest of the city.

  4. dws123 says: Nov 26, 2013 10:28 AM

    This is a joke. Every street in Cleveland is like driving through the grand canyon with potholes, and the city is expected to pay for a scoreboard that the team can’t even put points on.

  5. comatrip1 says: Nov 26, 2013 10:30 AM

    More escalators and new scoreboards mean nothing to us. Field a winning team. That’s the only way you’ll improve my fan experience.

  6. doctorrustbelt says: Nov 26, 2013 10:38 AM

    Cleveland (and every other NFL city who built an overpriced stadium for billionaires),

    You got off easy.

    Signed,

    Cincinnati Bengals (Hamilton County residents)

  7. ravensrooster94 says: Nov 26, 2013 10:40 AM

    A clear reflection of how my friends who are (still) Browns fans feel but can’t articulate it as well. This guy is good.

  8. The Shoeman says: Nov 26, 2013 10:41 AM

    Never been to Cleveland . .

    but , , , excellent video

  9. polamalurulz43 says: Nov 26, 2013 10:50 AM

    How this guy does not have a show or internet gig is beyond me.

    I don’t know if I can get drunk enough to make the game (JAX vs CLE) watchable, but the difference between Browns management and me is that I’m going to try…

    Brilliant.

  10. schmitty2 says: Nov 26, 2013 11:04 AM

    They ought to make that guy the GM.

  11. doctorrustbelt says: Nov 26, 2013 11:06 AM

    GOOGLE: Wall Street Journal/Bengals Stadium Deal

  12. SparkyGump says: Nov 26, 2013 11:13 AM

    That’s socialism!…..wait…it’s for the already rich so it’s a-ok! Now let’s cut some food stamps. Roads? The rich don’t need no roads! They’ve got helicopters!

  13. cuda1234 says: Nov 26, 2013 11:21 AM

    C’mon, where’s the link to the original Factory of Sadness video? THAT was a classic!

  14. CKL says: Nov 26, 2013 11:23 AM

    I thought the “sin tax” was supposed to help pay for the stadium?

    It’s why I never buy anything “sin taxed” in Cuyahoga county nor would I ever live there. 8 % sales tax…ye gods.

    I love football, but taxpayers should never ever ever ever be forced to pay for private buildings. Especially in economically depressed areas like Cleveland. Crony capitalism is not capitalism.

  15. buckybadger says: Nov 26, 2013 12:02 PM

    I see a sitcom in this guys future.

  16. stairwayto7 says: Nov 26, 2013 12:03 PM

    Upgrade our other stadium when we come to visit.

    Signed Steelers fans who buy up the tickets Brownie fans sell!

  17. laxcoach37 says: Nov 26, 2013 12:49 PM

    OK… I see. When any Franchise other than the Miami Dolphins asks for Taxpayer funding it is fine. The crazy part is Miami has a 100% chance of Hosting Super Bowls ( not play in play in them, but that is a different story for this heartbroken Fan). I personally have a better shot at Hosting a SuperBowl at My House than the Cleveland ever will!

  18. pascalswager42 says: Nov 26, 2013 1:01 PM

    OK, let’s get the facts. The money being approved last night was money the city is already contractually obligated to pay. All this agreement did was define where the money is going, and restructure the deal so that the city wouldn’t have to go from annual payments of $850K for the next ten years, and then have then balloon to over $8 million a year in the final 5 years of the lease.

    There are zero additional funds being allocated here.

    Thank you – funny how inconvenient things like the facts are always left out in exchange for a headline.

    If anything, this is a much better deal for the City and its residents than the previous one.

  19. dalcow4 says: Nov 26, 2013 1:29 PM

    The video is kinda unsettling… It makes you remember how stupid it is for an adult to be so so so wrapped up in sports and teams.

    He’s thinking, “Everybody’s gonna love this!” while I’m watching and thinking, “There is so very much more to life, dude.”

  20. seriously27514 says: Nov 26, 2013 2:16 PM

    3,000 10 grand college scholarships to a college in the area so the money stays in the area or 30 mill to the stadium. Which is better for Cleveland?

  21. arcaero says: Nov 27, 2013 12:29 AM

    And by the way, the City of Cleveland still owns $87 Million on the original financing of First Energy Stadium and part as of this deal (allegedly) the Browns (and their parent company) are going to throw their rather substantial marketing power into getting the Sin Tax renewal passed in 2015. Without it, Cleveland is in BIG TROUBLE.

  22. oldcracker says: Nov 28, 2013 12:55 PM

    More taxes on the wage slaves and consumers while the billionaire owners pay no tax for their play pen.

    What happened to all of the TV/radio income???

    F-(orget) them all.

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