The Atlanta city council is raising more questions about the Falcons stadium deal, but again, it’s not around how much money this will cost the public:
The city of Atlanta’s economic development arm would get free seats at some events at a new downtown stadium for the Falcons, a provision in the proposed deal that drew questions Thursday as key votes loom on the plan.
“Is this even legal?” councilwoman Felicia Moore asked at a City Council discussion of the stadium plan. She said the city can’t require event tickets in contracts and Invest Atlanta, a quasi-government agency that promotes economic growth, shouldn’t be able to either. “If I can’t get tickets they shouldn’t be able to get tickets.”
Teams giving free tickets to public officials is certainly a concern — especially when there’s an indication of a quid pro quo (that’s Latin for “bribe”) — but usually the issue isn’t stated quite so much in terms of “Hey, where’s my free tickets, then?” In any event, given that this isn’t something that would cost the Falcons anything to give up — in fact, it would get them back some tickets that they could then sell at face value — it’s hard to see it as a major stumbling block.
Meanwhile, two historic churches on the proposed stadium site are deciding whether they’d be willing to sell and relocate to make way for the Falcons. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution describes this as maybe the “biggest stumbling block remaining” to the deal, but given that the Falcons have the option of another site that wouldn’t require the churches to move, that’s probably an overstatement. The only real stumbling block would be somebody balking at handing over 30 years’ worth of future hotel taxes (which still nobody has enumerated how much they’d be worth), but not a peep so far on that issue.