Baltimore has Camden Yards and M and T Bank Stadium thanks to the work of the Maryland Stadium Authority. One might think that after spear-heading the drive for stadiums for the major sports franchises that call Maryland home that the Stadium Authority had met its mandate and could close its doors. Marylanders should be so lucky.
In a recent editorial, the Baltimore Examiner outlined some more of the Authority’s accomplishments.
Last year, its operating expenses outpaced revenue earned from stadiums and convention centers by nearly $7 million. Its overall loss was about $31 million, before government subsidies fixed its budget hole. In 2004, its expenses outpaced its revenues by about $33 million, according to MSA annual reports. Its economic outlook: “The Authority will continue to closely monitor revenues and expenditures to the best of its ability.” Notice it did not say, “balance its budget,” or even — gasp — make money.”
Under its close monitoring regime the MSA spent more than $100,000 on outside counsel in 2005 to prepare a potential lawsuit against Major League Baseball to block the Washington Nationals from coming to the region. The hiring violated state procurement laws, according to officials at the Attorney General’s office. Due to cost, state lawyers must first approve hiring outside counsel. This was not the first time it did not follow the rules. A state audit in 2004 found that the MSA improperly awarded $66 million in construction projects, prompting the resignation of the executive director.
It loses money, violates the law, and works to protect the monopoly status of a private business.
Maryland has recieved all those good works from an agency created in 1986 with the “mission of returning a professional National Football League (NFL) team to Baltimore and ensuring that our Major League Baseball team, the Orioles, remained in Maryland.” Now that’s good government!