O's owner asks state for stadium agreement equal to Browns' deal Angelos' stance affects debate in Annapolis over football facility

January 25, 1996|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Jon Morgan contributed to this article.

Orioles owner Peter Angelos has told state officials he wants to sweeten his lease at Camden Yards to make it equivalent to the deal struck with the Browns for the proposed downtown football stadium.

Under the Orioles' lease with the Maryland Stadium Authority, the team is entitled to "parity" with the terms of the lease given to a football team at Camden Yards.

While it's unclear if the state would owe Mr. Angelos any money, the announcement this week that he would seek a better deal gave stadium opponents in Annapolis new fodder and dismayed some legislative leaders trying to ensure General Assembly approval of the Browns project.

"It makes a volatile situation even more difficult because it gives ammunition to the opponents of the Browns proposal," said Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr.

In a five-page letter to Gov. Parris N. Glendening and legislative leaders, Mr. Angelos said he thinks the Orioles' lease lags the one given to the Browns.

"Based on our analysis thus far, we feel strongly that the extremely favorable terms of the Maryland Stadium Authority-Browns agreement now require significant adjustments to the Orioles' lease," Mr. Angelos wrote.

Under the parity clause, the Orioles should be given better terms in a "host" of areas, such as rent, parking and concessions, the letter said.

It also suggested the state might be required to help build a "training facility" for the Orioles or add more luxury suites at the baseball stadium.

If the Orioles and the stadium authority could not agree on a lease to match the Browns' terms, the matter would go to arbitration.

In a letter to Mr. Angelos yesterday, Mr. Glendening said the authority "is prepared to begin arbitration with the Orioles so that there is no prolonged debate regarding the interpretation of the parity provisions in the lease."

"I agree with you that this is an issue needing greater examination and discussion," he added.

Stadium authority chairman John A. Moag, who has said that the Orioles actually stand to lose money if their lease is brought into parity with the Browns' agreement, declined to comment.

"I see nothing to gain in responding publicly to Mr. Angelos' letter," Mr. Moag said.

Stadium opponents, however, rushed to capitalize on Mr. Angelos' position.

"The money he's talking about is potentially millions and millions of dollars," said Sen. Christopher Van Hollen Jr., a Montgomery County Democrat.

But Del. John Adams Hurson, the House majority leader, downplayed the impact of Mr. Angelos' statements.

"I think his letter will not really affect the outcome," said Mr. Hurson, a Montgomery Democrat. "It only raises the specter of a loss of money if an arbitrator says so."

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