Expansion a political football Schaefer, Schmoke meet on city's bid

November 04, 1993|By Jon Morgan and Ken Murray | Jon Morgan and Ken Murray,Staff Writers

Gov. William Donald Schaefer and Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke bTC met for nearly two hours last night in an unusual summit devoted to re-examining Baltimore's NFL expansion strategy.

Neither political leader would comment after the session, which comes as pressure builds for action that will put the city over the top.

NFL team owners last week awarded a franchise to Charlotte, N.C., and deferred a decision on the second team until later this month. St. Louis, a city whose bid is in turmoil, is expected to benefit most from the delay. Jacksonville, Fla., and Memphis, Tenn., also are among the four finalists.

Herbert J. Belgrad, chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority and a coordinator of Baltimore's bid, said the group exchanged information and narrowed some issues that require further exploration.

"We are taking under consideration all of our options," Belgrad said after the closed-door meeting -- also attended by Rouse Co. chairman Mathias J. DeVito and NFL consultant Ernie Accorsi -- in the offices of the Greater Baltimore Committee.

He said the group will be meeting again soon to come to a decision on whether and how to enhance the city's strategy.

Belgrad declined to discuss the options being considered, but neither of the two potential ownership groups was at the meeting.

Belgrad played down the significance of the absence of the two, Florida-based corporate investor Malcolm Glazer and retail executive Leonard "Boogie" Weinglass. Both have critics among NFL owners.

But, Belgrad said, the city retains the right to seek additional investors or to back one of the men -- a change from the current strategy.

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