I still think the lawyer who wrote a letter to the St. Pete Times a couple of years ago had it about right. He said that the Malins would move to Havana when Fidel croaked, and that the Devil Rays would then move to Miami. I would be willing to bet the Devil Rays will be in another Florida city in six years.
'No one ever fronted a stadium swindle better than George W. Bush,'' Zirin writes. And then he goes on to explain how Bush became managing partner of the Texas Rangers.
Like many sports teams, Bush and his partners threatened to move the Rangers out of Arlington if the city didn't buy them a new stadium. Local government gave in and ponied up $135 million in taxpayer money. This is the same Bush who now loves to say tax money belongs to the taxpayer.
''The scam didn't end there,'' Zirin continues. ''As part of the deal, the Rangers' ownership was granted a chunk of land in addition to the stadium...the Arlington Sports Facilities Development Authority...had the power to seize privately owned land deemed necessary for stadium construction.''
This all-to-familiar scenario was parlayed very skillfully by the future president and his partners. They made out not like Rangers, but like Pirates.
"...whether the public interest issue is taxes, size of government, property rights, or public subsidies of private sports ventures, Bush's personal ownership interest in the Texas Rangers baseball team has been wildly at odds with his publicly declared positions on those issues. And ongoing litigation over the Ballpark deal has revealed documents showing that beginning in 1990, the Rangers management--which included Bush as managing general partner--conspired to use the government's power of eminent domain to further its private business interests."
Robert Bryce writing for The Texas Observer
Critics of the recent Supreme Court decision on eminent domain cite it as an example of the kind of decision judges appointed by Bush wouldn't make. Think again. Tell it to the owners of the thirteen acres in Arlington, Texas which were taken at half the assessed price to build Bush a baseball stadium.
The Rangers also encouraged the state legislature to allow creation of the quasi-governmental Arlington Sports Facilities Development Authority as owner and developer of the ballpark with the power of eminent domain. Never before had a Texas municipal authority had the right to seize private property for the benefit of a sports facility, and it used its power to condemn 13 acres for half of the appraised value. The owners sued the authority and won, and in 1999 after years of haggling, the Rangers agreed to reimburse the authority for the $11.2 million total plus interest.