Cobb County officials still don’t know how much Braves stadium cost, because they’re afraid to ask

The Atlanta Braves have played two seasons now at their new Cobb County stadium, but still no one knows how much the whole thing cost, because — I swear I am not making this up, and neither is the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which reported it — nobody in the county has bothered to ask for all the receipts:

The Braves, who managed the stadium construction, say at $684 million, the ballpark exceeded its budget, with the team covering more than its share. But Cobb only has invoices covering $536 million, meaning there are roughly $148 million in construction costs for which Cobb officials have not reviewed receipts.

“We have invoices for all work that was the county’s responsibility to pay for,” the county said in a statement.

The county has the right in its contract to demand an audit of stadium expenses, but, according to one county commissioner:

Commissioner Lisa Cupid, who has been a consistent skeptic of the Braves deal, said there is little appetite on the board to damage the relationship with the team by asking “pointed questions.”

On the one hand, this probably isn’t a huge deal in the long run: The county knows where its $392 million went, and it isn’t getting any of that back unless the Braves’ share came in way under budget, which it almost certainly didn’t. Still, we don’t know how much our private partners are spending on this project because we don’t want to upset them by asking is pretty telling about elected officials’ usual approach to stadium deals.


4 comments on “Cobb County officials still don’t know how much Braves stadium cost, because they’re afraid to ask

  1. Given how thoroughly (some) public projects are run, this lack of transparency and rigor is disappointing. I have helped run down thousand dollar expenses on billion dollar projects before.

  2. After all I’ve read on here…I keep thinking no one is that stupid, then Georgia says “hold my beer.”

  3. “there is little appetite on the board to damage the relationship with the team by asking “pointed questions.”
    ___________________

    This nicely sums the main problem with the “stadium game.” Nobody on the government side understands leverage AT ALL. They just built the stadium so the Braves aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Effectively, the relationship is irrelevant right now. And when they inevitably come back begging for more money the relationship can be instantly healed at that time by telling them “yes.” And if the answer is “no” that would kill the relationship no matter how happy the were with you right now. But these schmucks continue to suck up to the team because they’re not smart enough to realize they don’t have to right now.