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RI Officials Ask for Info on PawSox’s Financials

Pawsox Ballpark at Slater Mill rendering

Rhode Island house committee recently discussed a proposal for a new Pawtucket Red Sox (Class AAA; International League) ballpark, with the team’s financials becoming a point of focus. 

Rhode Island officials have been considering a proposal for a new PawSox ballpark that, if approved, would lead to the facility being built on the site of an Apex department store in Pawtucket. Under the financial framework of the $83-million project, the PawSox would contribute $45 million ($12 million upfront, the rest paybacks on money borrowed by the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency), Rhode Island would pay $23 million (with Pawtucket committed to paying the money back), and the city would allocate $15 million.

On Tuesday, it was the Rhode Island House Finance Committee that took a look at the proposal. Over the course that discussion, some officials–including representative Kenneth J. Mendonca–expressed their desire to see the PawSox’s balance sheet to gain more information on the team’s financial standing. However, PawSox chairman Larry Lucchino indicated his reluctance to provide that information. More from The Providence Journal:

Lucchino emphasized that the team must report its financial standing each year to baseball’s International League — reports that he said indicate the team has a “solid balance sheet year after year.” Lucchino pushed back to Mendonca, saying the proposed stadium financing deal is not a “legal investment,” although he said he’d agree to provide legislators with a letter from the team’s accountants.

“We’re not going into business with each other. We’re building public infrastructure,” Lucchino said. “That’s the reason why we may defer or demur to the questions.”

To that, Rep. Kenneth A. Marshall, a Democrat from Bristol, took up Mendonca’s request to see the team’s balance sheet. While this might not be a legal partnership, he told Lucchino it is a “financial commitment” by both parties: “You’re asking us to take a leap of faith that if we build it they will come.”

While the house committee took its turn at the proposal on Tuesday, the Rhode Island Senate Finance Committee has already held a few hearings relating to the plan. The PawSox have been seeking a replacement to McCoy Stadium, where their lease expires after the 2020 season. Pawtucket is not the only city that has been linked to the PawSox during their ballpark pursuit,  as Worcester, MA has had discussions with the team.

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