el paso ballpark gate

MountainStar Sports Group is once again asking the city of El Paso to amend their ballpark agreements and raise the construction budget.

The city has released communications between MountainStar and Mayor Oscar Lesser. A letter dated September 20 from MountainStar to Mayor Leeser requests a series of amendments to the Ballpark Development Agreement and the Ballpark Lease Agreement as well as raising the ballpark construction budget.

“After agreeing to the revised deal, it has since become evident that the $64 million budgeted for the Ballpark likely will not be sufficient to complete construction,” said the letter. “As a result, the City and MountainStar began discussing additional ways to cover these anticipated additional costs, which could be as much as $10 Million.”

The letter also states that MountainStar would reimburse the City for cost overruns actually incurred by the City over $64 million in connection with construction of the Ballpark. However, the City would have to agree to allow MountainStar the right to modify the Ballpark Schedule, Project Plans and Ballpark Budget in order to manage cost overruns, modify city’s game ticket packages, include use of Missouri street, modify leasehold premises and clarify ancillary budget items.

In June, the City approved a resolution that would increase the ballpark construction budget from $52.8 million to $64 million. MountainStar agreed to pay $12 million of the City’s debt it inquired to pay for the ballpark by doubling its rent and extending its lease to 30 years. The rest of the stadium funding will come from hotel occupancy taxes visitors pay when they stay in El Paso hotels and from revenue from the ballpark, like ticket surcharges, according to the city.

After that meeting Mayor Leeser told MountainStar that no more amendments would be considered. “We don’t want to see you anymore,” he told a MountainStar representative during the meeting.

Mayor Leesers Response

A response letter from Mayor Leeser to MountainStar shows little support for the proposed amendments.

“I will not support the proposed amendments to both the Ballpark Development Agreement and the Ballpark Lease Agreement as delivered by email yesterday,’ said the letter. “I have asked that MountainStar provide a clear commitment to cover the additional expenditures, and I believe your proposal adds additional modifications that I cannot support.”

However, the Mayor is willing to consider a new agreement in which MountainStar will “fund anything in excess of the ‘not to exceed the $64 million’ contractually committed by the city.” In the letter he provides a deadline of Monday, September 23, 2013. “Should an agreement not be reached, then I will have no choice but to request that the City Manager direct the CMAR (Construction Manager at Risk) to begin value engineering the project and deliver a design that can be delivered within the approved project budget, he says.”

See the Letters(.PDF)

MountainStar Sports Letter

Mayor Leeser Response Letter