The District of Columbia told Washington Redskins owner Jack Ke
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The District of Columbia told Washington Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke it would not extend a lucrative leasing arrangement at RFK Stadium, an issue that has prompted a threat from Cooke to take the team elsewhere for the coming NFL season.
″There was never any promise that we would be keeping the favorable terms forever,″ said Vada Manager, a spokesman for Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly.
Manager said the city has sent Cooke a letter explaining that the lucrative, temporary lease agreement was ″inextricably linked″ with Cooke’s plans to build a new stadium in the district.
Cooke could not immediately be reached for comment.
Last season, the Redskins owner received for the first time a portion of parking and concessions from games at RFK while he and the city were negotiating the construction of a new, 80,000-seat facility near the current stadium.
Under terms of interim, game-by-game deal, the team’s rent was cut from 12 percent to 10 percent of gross receipts and Cooke gained 25 percent of the parking and advertising revenue, along with 20.5 percent of the concession proceeds. The arrangement netted Cooke about $900,000 during the regular season; $375,000 from two playoff games was held in escrow pending completion of the stadium deal.
But when the city told Cooke it would not extend the favorable terms unless he agreed to a 10-year lease on city-owned RFK or signed a deal on a new stadium, the mercurial owner notified the city by letter on Wednesday that he would begin searching for a new, temporary home for the Redskins while he explores construction options in suburban Virginia.
Although he did not say so in his letter to the city, Cooke has talked of moving the team to Baltimore’ 0 restored, even if he proceeds further in his plans to relocate the team.
″Cooke has felt at every point that he had the city over a barrel,″ said one top city official familiar with the separate stadium and lease negotiations. ″That’s been his modus operandi all along, and he has known he can get a lot of what he wants because the district really wants to keep the Redskins in Washington.″