Mayor says Jazz owner gets plenty of public help

Mayor says Jazz owner gets plenty of public help



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The mayor has disclosed some sweeteners granted to the owner of the Utah Jazz as he tries to persuade other public officials to help keep a Major League Soccer team in town.

The public airing by Mayor Rocky Anderson is also a jab at Jazz owner Larry Miller, who has criticized public aid proposed for Real Salt Lake.

"You only have to look at the facts to see that Larry Miller's basketball team and baseball team would not be here without many millions of dollars in public subsidies," Anderson said Monday.

He said Miller has a $1-a-year lease on land under EnergySolutions Arena, formerly known as the Delta Center, where the Jazz play. In 2040, a city agency will get control of the land and arena.

"It's uncertain what the value of that stadium, at the end of 50 years, will be," said Valda Tarbet, acting director of the Redevelopment Agency, referring to the 1990 deal.

The agency has been spending $2.3 million a year to pay off a $25 million bond, a figure that will climb to $7.5 million a year before the debt is retired in 2015, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Tuesday. Miller pays property taxes that also help cover the bond.

Miller also owns the Salt Lake Bees, a Class AAA baseball team in the Pacific Coast League. The city spends $100,000 a year for operations at Franklin Covey Field, down from $300,000 before Miller bought the team in 2005.

"Larry Miller didn't want it reduced," Anderson said. "So much for not wanting government help with private business."

A deal to build a soccer stadium in Sandy failed Jan. 29 when the Salt Lake County mayor refused to spend $30 million in hotel taxes on the project.

Anderson and others have been trying to come up with another deal that would keep Real in Utah, possibly at the state fairgounds in Salt Lake City.

Miller has criticized Real owner Dave Checketts: "All I see is him with his hand out asking for money."

"I think it's really nice that David's got a champion in Rocky," Miller said Monday night at halftime of the Jazz-Bulls game. ------ Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, http://www.sltrib.com

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) APTV-02-06-07 1059MST

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