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News » Lawmakers to get update on Saints


Lawmakers to get update on Saints


Lawmakers to get update on Saints
BATON ROUGE -- Gov. Bobby Jindal said Tuesday he and his staff will bring key lawmakers up to speed on the progress of negotiations between the New Orleans Saints and the state at a breakfast meeting at the Governor's Mansion today.


"We don't have a deal signed," Jindal told reporters after testifying on an unrelated bill. However, he said there has been "significant movement" between the two sides on a new agreement to keep the Saints playing in the Louisiana Superdome.

Jindal Chief of Staff Timmy Teepell said the meeting is designed to give lawmakers insight into what has been discussed, the options to finance a deal and the possible timeline to reach an agreement.

"The Legislature wanted to be briefed," Jindal said. "They have said they want to know what concepts have been discussed."

Members of the New Orleans delegation meet at noon today at their weekly luncheon and are expected to be updated on the talks.

Jindal said a range of options has been considered, including having Saints owner Tom Benson purchase the Dominion Towers adjacent to the Superdome and lease some of the building's office space back to state agencies.

Jindal said he wants to see a deal structured to place more of the burden on the Saints to generate money.

He said the tower deal is just one item that has been talked about.

Any new deal with the Saints will have to be approved by the Legislature. Several lawmakers have complained they have not been apprised of what has been offered to the Saints by Jindal's administration.

Neither the state nor the Saints have been willing to talk publicly about the negotiations.

Two weeks ago, Jindal said he will not bring a deal to the Legislature unless it is in the best interest of taxpayers.

The existing 10-year deal expires after the 2010 Football season. The deal requires the state to pay the team $186.5 million in inducements, including about $23.5 million this year and next.

House Speaker Jim Tucker, R-Algiers, said last week that the priority should be on hammering out a good deal for the state rather than meeting a mid-May deadline. National Football League owners meet in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., May 18-20 to award the 2013 Super Bowl, and the city has made a pitch for the game.

The league is wary of awarding its marquee game to a city or state that does not have a firm contract in place with its NFL franchise.

Sen. John Alario, D-Westwego, who first discussed publicly the Dominion Tower element of a possible Saints deal, said the two sides appear to be moving closer to an agreement.

"How close is close, I can't say," Alario said. "There are still lots of moving parts" among the state, the team and other private sources.

. . . . . . .

Ed Anderson can be reached at eanderson@timespicayune.com or 225.342.5810.



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 29, 2009

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