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Fenty: Lerners "Very Sincere"

Mayor Fenty appeared on WTOP host Mark Plotkin's Politics Program this morning, where he was asked about the Post's story on the dispute between the city and the Lerner family that owns the Nationals over whether the ballpark is "substantially complete." To recap: the family has refused to pay $3.5 million in rent because it believes the stadium is not finished, while the city is demanding the money because the team is playing games there.

Fenty, who bashed the stadium financing package as a council member, stuck up for the Lerners, calling the family good corporate citizens and playing down the fight.

"I'm not disappointed, disturbed or surprised," Fenty said. "I'm the mayor of the District of Columbia and I've watched a lot of big development deals happen. This is the biggest one that's ever happened in the city, and I think, to be honest with you, if all the t's were crossed and all the i's were dotted this soon after being complete, we'd be living in some fantasy world. Every development project has issues that remain unresolved this far in, and I think on our side the deputy mayor is doing a fantastic job. On their side, I think the Lerners are very sincere in what they believe are their rights and obligations and we'll come to an agreement as soon as possible."

He went on: "I'm not into every detail of it, and I dont know how much is accurate. What I do know is like in most major agreements there are some issues that are unresolved. It would be almost impossible to see this as glass half-empty. This is a very full glass, with the stadium being finished on time and so many District residents and residents from around the area having such a great time at the stadium and it being such an impetus for future economic development in the area, especially along the Anacostia."

Seems Fenty (D) has taken a go-along, get-along approach to the deal since taking office, even though his anti-baseball stance as council member struck a populist cord that many say helped him win the mayor's office. It should not go unremarked that the Lerners have laid the groundwork with the mayor, hosting a fund-raiser for his handpicked Ward 4 successor, Muriel Bowser, when she was running to replace him.

By David A Nakamura  |  July 11, 2008; 2:55 PM ET
Categories:  David Nakamura , Nationals  
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He is defending the Lerners?

Is he nuts, or on the take?

Posted by: Krishna | July 11, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

The lede is misleading. Read the full quote, Krishna.

Posted by: Mark | July 11, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Sure he defends them he is trying to build a sports complex himself to say nothing of bringing slots into the District.

Business as usual. Tony Williams and Marion Barry in a different suit.

The public should take the road of staying away from a stadium they built. These guys the Nat's are stil the Expo's. Who will get stuck when they decide to move again?

Posted by: K Blit | July 11, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

City's, in my opinion, should not be in the business of buying sports teams stadiums. DC gave store away and the Lerners are taking advantage. They have done nothing with the team since they bought it. No new quality players. No big names. And the nerve to ask the city to pay for uniforms!!! Lotta nerve. So the kids can't read or graduate. At least they can sell hotdogs at the stadium. But don't expect them to be able to count the change when their city invests in pro teams and no pro students.

Posted by: KA Bride | July 11, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse


Please do the following...

1. Kick Lerner in the nuts and tell him he's locked out of the stadium and to take his pathetic team back to AAA

2. Call the owners of the Marlins and tell them DC has a new stadium and needs a team with owners who care about the product on the field

3. When Selig comes protesting kick em in the nuts

Posted by: Kick em | July 11, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Fenty likes Lerner because like Lerner he has no clue about baseball.

...and he probably has a very large wad of cash telling him to like him.

Posted by: Southeasterner | July 11, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Fenty's probably going to screw this up by shooting off his mouth the way he did over the thug teen in SE who got shot by the cops over the dirt bike. Every time Fenty opens his stupid mouth, it costs the city and ultimately hurts us as taxpayers. I wish he would just go away and am hoping he has sucked up enough to Obama that he'll move over to the federal payroll by this time next year.

Posted by: Here he goes again... | July 11, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Kick em writes: Call the owners of the Marlins and tell them DC has a new stadium and needs a team with owners who care about the product on the field.

That ain't happenin'. Don't get me wrong, in the business world it makes sense, but due to the antitrust exemption baseball has had since the 1920's, MLB can block any move without any legal consequences. Why do you think it took THIS long to get a franchise in DC?

Posted by: TimDz | July 11, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

what a schmoozer .. the post should classify articles between reality and schmooze... of course the mayor is not going to call the duck a duck, he wants money

Posted by: jeez | July 11, 2008 6:28 PM | Report abuse

You want the MARLINS instead?!!!

Posted by: OD | July 11, 2008 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Most of the morons who have posted, or will post about the team/stadium/move out of town, have never seen a game don't know a baseball from a hockey puck.

Posted by: Jay | July 11, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Mr. Nakamura for the item about the Lerners funding the Ward 4 successor. You will probably get a call from your boss about that but I commend you. Obviously, the Lerners and the Mayor are scratching each others' backs. I think Colbert King is right about the "elves".

The Mayor says that there of some i's to dot and some t's to cross. The Lerners seem to agree and want $100,000 per day as a result. That adds up to about $9 million since April 1.

Posted by: RTGreenwood | July 11, 2008 8:26 PM | Report abuse

This is a disaster. And now the GM, Bowden, is being investigated for skimming in the Dominican Republic.

Fenty can dance all he wants around this, but this may be the quickest free-fall for any relationship between a community and pro owner ever. Kick em is write, lock the bums out.

Posted by: Charles | July 11, 2008 9:30 PM | Report abuse

This is BS. the building is substantially complete. All this will cost is more of OUR tax dollars to tell the Lerners to take a hike. Hey, if the Lerners are such good corporate citizens maybe they will give the taxpayers a break and accept that they got their stadium built.

Posted by: ep | July 11, 2008 9:34 PM | Report abuse

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