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.