Friday, July 11, 2008

Are the Nats Deadbeats?

The Nationals are withholding rent on their new ballpark:
More than midway through the baseball season, the Washington Nationals' owners have failed to pay $3.5 million in rent for the District's new ballpark, contending that the state-of-the-art stadium is still incomplete . . .

. . .The fight centers on whether the ballpark was "substantially complete" by March 1, when the city, which oversaw the construction, was contractually obligated to hand the keys to the Lerners. District officials said the city secured a certificate of occupancy, as well as an additional letter from the architects, that declared the building fit for business before the season began. Since March 29, when the Nationals faced the Baltimore Orioles in an exhibition, the team has played 48 regular-season games at the ballpark, selling an average of 29,000 tickets a game.
The article says that the District will hire a "Special Lawyer" to pursue the unpaid rent. I'm a special lawyer! Here's my special argument: it doesn't matter if the stadium is unfinished. Given how bad the Nats are, they aren't using half the seats, most of the light bulbs on the scoreboard, and the visitor's bullpen has been virtually untouched, so what's the problem if the place isn't done yet?


Mark said...

Hey, here's my idea: how about the city just locks the doors to keep the Nats out until they pay up. They'll probably get their money pretty quick, and they'll be donig a civic duty by protecting the population from seeing any more Nats games in person.

Ken Dynamo said...

a lot of this will depend on the specific language of the lease, which im sure is tortuously long and convoluted, but i've worked for a while in commercial real estate and every new tenant almost always has a 'substantially complete' move in clause. what it means in that context is if the rentable space is usable, and if the business, whether office space or a retail store, can move in and conduct business, then the space is considered 'substantially complete' and they rent starts to become due.

so again, without looking at the actual lease, its tough to say who's write, but given the history of the lerners in dc so far, and the fact that the nats have played half a season without, as the wapo article mentions, anyone asking for a refund, seems to me that the nationals front office is pulling some bullshit right here.

Anonymous said...


There was much speculation that Selig selected the Lerner's for ownership of the DC franchise as a reward to Angelos. Knowing them as he does, Selig figured that the Lerners would pull stunt after stunt (parking canopies to obstruct season ticket holder views, non payment of rent) that would divert attention away from Angelos, just 33 miles up the BW Parkway.

Just Bud's way of saying thanks to to a pal who was there for him in '94.

Anonymous said...

Public financing of ballparks wins again!!

Anonymous said...

You don't mess with the Lerner's.