Got your attention, didn’t I?
But it’s true – sort of. Chatting with a few councilmembers this morning, we found that City Council, aided by thus far unnamed, prominent and, most importantly, solvent members of our community, are furiously working to restructure the U.S. Olympic Committee/city/LandCo deal.
The key to the restructuring: a new financing package from a “major bank,” thus far also officially unnamed.
Like all “major banks,” this one is only liquid (not to mention solvent) because of the government’s injection of funds (OK, OK, that’s “taxpayer dollars” for all you unreconstructed right-wingers out there) into the banking system.
So the path is clear – it’s not Tinker to Evers to Chance but Taxpayer to Banks to (new) Developer to USOC. Not a mere double play, but a triple play!
According to our sources, Ray Marshall and the city were in urgent talks during the weekend. Purpose: to make Marshall’s lawsuit go away, and either replace him with another developer, or make him the junior partner in a newly created entity that will take over LandCo’s contractual responsibilities.
The key to the deal is simple, even elegant: who wants to put up $16 million for the agreed-upon improvements to the Olympic Training Center?
Absent a big, fat loan from a big, fat bank, the city will have cough up the dough right away, instead of working out a complex deal that might shift much of the burden to other deal participants (the state, the Downtown Development Authority, El Pomar Foundation, etc.).
If it works out, it’s only because of TARP, which has loosened the purse strings of all those big, fat banks – that’s right, the ones that paid big, fat bonuses to the big, fat CEOs who earned them by … oh, never mind.
Give council credit – they’re doing their best to keep the deal from blowing up, after being blindsided by the news of Marshall’s financial/legal difficulties. It’s easy to blame our elected officials for being asleep at the wheel, but let’s be clear: they were ill-served by both the city attorney and the city administration.
So far, council has taken the position that the original deal, however flawed, would have worked out if the economy hadn’t gone south. Maybe – but even a year ago, when the deal was first inked, many in the development community scornfully dismissed it as unworkable. And as Marshall’s well-documented financial and legal problems multiplied, no one in either office gave council a heads-up.
Will heads roll? We’ll see – but any such reckoning will have to come after a successful restructuring. And when that happens, there might be a quiet resignation or two.
But in the happy event of a new and doable deal, don’t expect council to pass a resolution of appreciation thanking the folks who made it possible- Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and President Barack Obama.
I’m sure they’d appreciate it …
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