Legal foundation of stadium deal demands scrutiny | Opinion | Columbus Ledger Enquirer

5
Jun

Legal foundation of stadium deal demands scrutiny | Opinion | Columbus Ledger Enquirer

From a purely practical standpoint, Common Cause Georgia’s latest demand for accountability in the deal to build the Atlanta Falcons a new home is almost certainly an exercise in futility. It’s quite clear (if little else about all this is) that the stadium plan is a done deal.

That, according to Common Cause, is precisely the problem.

“They have decided to include the public’s money,” former state lawmaker and Common Cause board member Wyc Orr told the Associated Press, “but exclude the public.”

Consequently, one of the wealthiest owners in the world’s wealthiest sports league is set to receive $200 million in corporate welfare from a public with no say in the matter.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, one of the stadium project’s most passionate proponents, makes the familiar — and, to a point, valid — arguments about the economic impacts of big-league sports.

But some of these “greater good” arguments, especially for projects whose most obvious “good” is for political and economic insiders, were already getting dubious long before the Supreme Court’s troublesome Kelo v. City of New London ruling in 2005. That was the one, remember, that upheld the “right” of a local government to invoke eminent domain seizure of property from one private owner and give it to another, in the ostensible pursuit of economic development. (In New London, the developer defaulted on financing and the whole thing fell apart.)

That’s not going to happen in the case of Atlanta and the Falcons, but the buck-passing over who’s in charge of what is still speaks volumes.

via Legal foundation of stadium deal demands scrutiny | Opinion | Columbus Ledger Enquirer.

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