Governor delays seeking approval of Browns deal

January 12, 1996|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Marina Sarris contributed to this article.

The Glendening administration bowed to legislative pressure yesterday and postponed consideration of the financing plan for a downtown Baltimore football stadium for the Browns.

The Maryland Stadium Authority had intended to seek Board of Public Works approval next Wednesday for the plan.

But legislative leaders, along with several rank-and-file members, urged administration officials to slow down and let lawmakers study the stadium proposal.

"We've decided we need to brief the General Assembly members more thoroughly on the whole stadium issue first," said Frederick W. Puddester, the governor's deputy chief of staff. "It's important to dispel the misinformation before going to the Board of Public Works."

Mr. Puddester would not say when the bond item would reappear on the agenda of the board, which meets weekly during the legislative session.

Stadium Authority Chairman John A. Moag began making the case for the stadium yesterday to the Senate Finance Committee, the first time he has made a public pitch to lawmakers since sealing the deal with the Browns last fall.

Stadium proponents, concerned about finding the votes to approve the stadium agreement, say it would be easier to sell in Annapolis if Browns owner Art Modell contributed to the stadium's costs.

Some stadium supporters have begun pressuring Mr. Modell to make a financial contribution to community projects as trade-off for the state-funded facility.

Sen. Larry Young, a Baltimore Democrat, said he wants to meet with Mr. Modell to ask him to fund scholarships or renovations at a community center in his poverty-ridden West Baltimore district.

Del. Dana Lee Dembrow, a Montgomery County Democrat and one of several lawmakers to sign a letter asking that the Board of Public Works consideration be postponed, said that decisions on the Browns stadium were proceeding too hastily.

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