GOLDMAN: Mayor Jones giving $200 million freebie to Shockoe proposal developers

Paul Goldman is a local lawyer who helped run Doug Wilder's historic campaign for governor of Virginia.

Paul Goldman is a local lawyer who helped run Doug Wilder's historic campaign for governor of Virginia.

RICHMOND, Va. – How many sports stadiums have been built in America in recent years where YOU, THE PUBLIC, was forced to guarantee 100 percent of all the stadium costs and the other improvements required by the developers?

That’s right, the Mayor’s proposed Shockoe stadium is a totally public-funded construction deal. There is no contribution from the developers directly covering any construction costs.

When you add the proposed construction costs, the debt service on the 30 year bonds to be issued to finance the construction, and the normal cost overruns, you get roughly $200 million in total principal and interest.

So again, how many other Mayors are doing it this way?

NONE.

The Jones sweetheart deal for developers is like no other deal in recent times and like no other in Richmond history. It likewise defies the historic norm in stadium funding around the country.

The developers are putting up ZIP, NADA, NOTHING, ZILCH, ZERO, did I say NOT ONE PENNY? They get the stadium and all the improvements in Mayor’s proposal WITHOUT HAVING PUT UP A PENNY for any of it.

What gives?

I have to ask, why is the Mayor giving the developers a $200 million freebie?

For example, Fredericksburg has approved a minor league baseball stadium, but private enterprise is putting up most of the money to build it.

Not in Richmond. YOU are paying 100 percent in the form of one stream of tax money or another, plus millions of dollars more to pay for other flood-plain associated improvements, NOT TO MENTION additional public funds to deal with traffic and related issues along with cost overruns certain to be required only yet to be revealed.

Yesterday, I showed how we could modernize all the Richmond schools – the oldest in the state by far – if we had a Mayor and City Council interested in a different priority.

So I ask again, why the $200 million freebie for the Shockoe developers?

Why is the Mayor, contrary to best practices around the country, giving the developers a free pass? The Mayor himself has said, or so I remember, that nothing in this life is free except what you were born with.

No one can claim being born with box seats to a Squirrels’ game at a Shockoe Stadium.

Thus, by the Mayor’s own account, what have the developers offered to get their $200 million freebie? This is why we need a referendum to have a fair and open process, and let the people decide.

Paul Goldman is in no way affiliated with WTVR. His comments are his own, and do not reflect the views of WTVR or any related entity. Neither WTVR nor any of its employees or agents participated in any way with the preparation of Mr. Goldman’s comments.