Speros fears funding pass broken up

September 24, 1994|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Sun Staff Writer

Baltimore CFLs owner Jim Speros says he no longer expects to receive state funds from Gov. William Donald Schaefer's administration for renovation costs at Memorial Stadium.

"My understanding is I'm not going to get any help in the near future, meaning the end of Gov. Schaefer's term," Speros said. "I'm frustrated.

"I've accepted the fact that my next effort [for funding] will have ,, to be with the next governor."

Speros said last May he had reached an agreement on funding with Mark Wasserman, head of the Department of Economic and Employment Development, calling for a $400,000 loan and a $100,000 grant.

Last week, Speros said, he was informed the money would not be forthcoming.

But Joe Harrison, press secretary for Schaefer, said the deal was not necessarily dead.

"If Speros is saying it's dead, that's not true," Harrison said. "The request is pending."

Wasserman was unavailable for comment.

Meanwhile, Bob Hannon, executive vice president with the Baltimore Development Corp., said the state funds were to be funneled through the city and acknowledged that he notified the team of the holdup last week. "We advised them the application was put on hold," he said. "I didn't say it was rejected."

Originally, Speros expected to receive the money in mid-September.

Speros launched the renovation project after he was awarded the Canadian Football League franchise in February. He was given a $500,000 loan from the city of Baltimore and labor from the Department of Public Works.

According to Speros, he spent approximately $1.1 million on renovations, including the city loan. He further estimates that he was able to get another $250,000 in improvements through corporate trade-offs.

"I don't want to come off as sour grapes," he said. "We've performed. We've done everything we said we were going to do.

"Now, there is no risk on the state. They can come in and see the renovated stadium, see the team on the field. I wish the state would take a close look at what we're doing."

Schaefer said he was agreeable to a state loan after a 30-minute tour of the stadium on April 26.

Speros wants to make further upgrades to Memorial Stadium for next season. He wants to add a new scoreboard and a video board, and improve the sound system.

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