Field of Schemes
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January 07, 2011

Bengals on lease concessions: Ha ha, we had our fingers crossed!

No yay after all. It turns out when the Cincinnati Bengals agreed to pay $7.4 million in extra rent last month in exchange for naming rights on their stadium — in order to help the county close a $130 million funding gap — they neglected to mention they also wanted a new scoreboard, $30 million in future lease breaks, and a 20-year lease extension with the county agreeing to pay for upkeep. But these, Bengals officials say, are mere details:

In a statement Friday morning, the Bengals said: "The facts show that the Bengals and the County reached an agreement on December 1, and the Bengals submitted a document to the county entirely consistent with that agreement. The Club stands ready to affirm its pledge to Hamilton County and continues to be willing to provide the County with $8 million to help stabilize the stadium fund."

Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune, who once sued the Bengals for defrauding taxpayers with their original stadium lease, was having none of it, saying, "We're seeing what happens with these 11th-hour agreements. Even though I didn't like the original deal, the fact is the Bengals need to do what they originally agreed to do and stop trying to beat up their favorite opponent." Wait... isn't that what they're paid to do?

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