Kiam cancels mystery meeting pending Massachusetts' move

April 10, 1991|By Vito Stellino

New England Patriots owner Victor Kiam, who is unhappy with his stadium situation, won't be coming to Baltimore this week for a meeting, Herbert J. Belgrad, chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority, said yesterday.

Kiam had said at the National Football League owners meeting in Hawaii last month that he would be meeting with Baltimore officials this week at the request of a friend.

"I've been told a meeting won't take place," Belgrad said. "If my sources are reliable, that's a fact. Whether or not a future meeting will take place depends on what's happening in New England."

Kiam, who has not returned phone calls to his office the past two days, told Massachusetts officials last month that he was giving them a six-month "window of opportunity" to come up with plans for a new stadium. He told them Baltimore was one option if he didn't get one.

Although Belgrad said he didn't plan to attend the meeting with Kiam and has declined to reveal who was supposed to meet with him, he discouraged it when he was told it was planned.

"I expressed my strong reservations about any steps that would be counterproductive to our expansion effort," Belgrad said.

"If our efforts become fragmented and we have different groups and individuals who all speak for Baltimore, it's going to have a negative impact on our efforts."

Belgrad said he's been called occasionally by representatives from various teams because the state has funding in place to build a new football stadium downtown next to the baseball stadium being constructed. It can be built only if the city gets a team.

But Belgrad has declined to enter into any talks unless a team definitely has decided to move and the NFL commissioner has no objection to the talks. The only team that met those criteria was the St. Louis Cardinals in 1987. Belgrad negotiated with them, but they moved to Phoenix.

Belgrad said he is especially leery of getting involved in talks now, because the league may be moving forward on expansion. The topic is supposed to be on the agenda at the owners meeting next month in Minneapolis.

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