Stadium lot plan is put on hold Governor wants authority, Orioles to work out differences

November 19, 1997|By JON MORGAN | JON MORGAN,SUN STAFF

Injecting himself into the simmering feud between the Orioles and one of his own state agencies, Gov. Parris N. Glendening has suspended plans by the Maryland Stadium Authority to solicit ideas for developing an "urban entertainment complex" between the stadiums at Camden Yards.

Instead, Glendening has urged the team and its landlord to put aside their differences and negotiate a long-term settlement to a shortage of parking brought on by the construction of the Ravens stadium.

"I'm urging both sides to cool off a little bit and to sit down like mature adults and professionals and say, 'Here are my needs and here are your needs, but most importantly, here is what's good for the fans and what's good for the sports complex and for the taxpayers,' " Glendening said yesterday.

"Within that, I think there is a lot of ground to work. We've got to get beyond some of the emotion that is out there and some of the personalities," Glendening said.

Orioles owner Peter Angelos and stadium authority Chairman John Moag have had an antagonistic relationship almost from the start of Moag's tenure. Taking the volunteer post in early 1995, Moag crafted a strategy -- ultimately successful -- of trying to procure an NFL team that did not include Angelos, who had tried to land a team.

Angelos asked Glendening to fire Moag that year, but the governor refused.

Since then, Angelos and Moag have squabbled over a range of issues, from development of Camden Station to a proposal by Angelos to build a hotel north of Oriole Park. Earlier this year, the team went to court accusing the stadium authority of printing its NTC own fraudulent parking passes for employees.

On Oct. 30, the stadium authority convened an unusual, in-person meeting of its members to unveil plans to seek development ideas for 7 1/2 acres of land between Oriole Park and the Ravens stadium under construction to its south.

The idea was for a private company to build a parking garage that could be used by the sports teams in exchange for the right to develop new attractions at the site, perhaps using the latest in "virtual reality" and other urban entertainment innovations.

This way, the stadium authority hoped, parking displaced by the Ravens stadium could be replaced without additional costs to taxpayers.

The idea ran up against immediate opposition from the Orioles, who labeled it state-sponsored competition and threatened to sue to block the development. But Moag said the team did not have the right to control development on the state-owned land and said the request for development ideas -- a draft of which was circulated -- would be issued and responses requested within 30 days.

Plenty of time would be available for objections to be raised later to any ideas that were produced by developers, Moag said.

The Orioles, however, lobbied legislative leaders and the governor to stop the process. Orioles attorney/lobbyist Alan M. Rifkin declined to comment yesterday on the governor's latest statements.

Moag said he received approval from the governor's office to bring the proposed development before the stadium authority last month, and does not interpret the delay in winning final approval from Glendening as a rejection of the idea.

Moag met with the governor Thursday to give Glendening his first face-to-face briefing on the entertainment complex idea.

"He said, 'Thanks for the briefing. I want to think about this a little longer. I'll get back to you,' " Moag said.

Glendening said yesterday that he did not necessarily oppose the concept of an urban entertainment complex, but he wanted the Orioles and state to work together on any parking solution.

"I told him [Moag] I want them to work together. You can't have the authority just going out and saying, 'This is what we are going to do,' and you can't have the Orioles going out and saying, 'We're going to block this and to heck with the needs of the fans and everyone else,' " Glendening said.

Moag said he and stadium authority executive director Bruce Hoffman called Angelos' office on Monday to request a meeting with the owner. They had received no response by last night.

Moag and Angelos have not met since 1995.

"We want to resolve this issue and have tried to resolve this issue and will continue to try and resolve this issue," Moag said.

Moag's term as chairman expires next year. Glendening declined yesterday to say if he intended to reappoint Moag, a Baltimore attorney and Capitol Hill lobbyist. The appointment would traditionally be included on a list submitted in February to the General Assembly for approval.

"Moag's doing a fine job. We just have to get people working together," Glendening said.

Moag declined to say last night if he will seek reappointment.

"I don't want to comment on that," he said.

Pub Date: 11/19/97

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