New Stadium Funding Fight Isn’t Over in Las Vegas

Proposed NFL venue loses major private investor.

The Oakland Raiders' current home, the Oakland Coliseum (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

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The Oakland Raiders’ move to Las Vegas — where plans for a new $1.9 billion stadium await — hit a significant roadblock Monday, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

The Raiders’ deal with Goldman Sachs to finance the stadium is in jeopardy after a partner in the deal, wealthy casino owner Sheldon Adelson, withdrew his $650 million investment in the project Monday. Adelson said he left the partnership because the Raiders presented a draft lease agreement to the Las Vegas Stadium Authority last week without his knowledge or involvement.

Adelson’s move means the terms of the Raiders’ deal with Goldman Sachs were breached, and the team’s now short of funds for the 65,000-seat venue. Raiders ownership already committed $500 million for the stadium, and the city agreed to throw in $750 million in bonds that it said would be repaid by Clark County hotel room tax revenue. Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said no additional public money would be given to the project.

Meanwhile, state Democratic leaders said if the stadium project doesn’t seem to be progressing, they would consider diverting that room tax revenue to other job- and revenue-generating infrastructure projects — which studies show may be a better investment for the city in the long run. State Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford told the Review-Journal:

“Many of us supported bringing the Raiders to Las Vegas because we were guaranteed that our community would benefit in the form of new jobs and investments in neighborhoods that need it most. We expect that the community benefits plan announced in October will be honored in any new financing negotiations. If we do not receive adequate guarantees that the stadium project will hire local residents — including low-income residents, minority communities, people with disabilities, veterans, ex-offenders and those within the LGBTQ community — we will act legislatively to ensure those provisions are enforced.”

With the Raiders’ Las Vegas stadium plans now up in the air, other cities are courting the team. San Diego officials said they’re interested in the Raiders as a replacement for the Chargers, who moved north to Los Angeles last month after 55 seasons in San Diego. Oakland also announced a plan in December to keep the Raiders in town with a $1.3 billion stadium that includes $350 million in public money.

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Kelsey E. Thomas is a writer and editor based in the most upper-left corner of the country. She writes about urban policy, equitable development and the outdoors (but also about nearly everything else) with a focus on solutions-oriented journalism. She is a former associate editor and current contributing editor at Next City.

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Tags: stadiumslas vegasstadium welfare

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