Clark County may loan $500K for stadium; January vote expected
LAS VEGAS — Clark County may loan $500,000 to the entity that oversees a proposed Las Vegas NFL stadium project aimed at attracting the Raiders, after commissioners discussed the idea on Tuesday.
Commissioners voted 6-1 to draft a short-term loan agreement that will be up for final approval at their next meeting on Jan. 3. The money is expected to cover startup costs for the stadium authority before expected tax revenue rolls in, and the loan is expected to be paid back in full in May.
Authority staff member Jeremy Aguero said the agency needs money as soon as possible to hire lawyers who will help draft an agreement between the authority and the developer partners — casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and the Raiders. A basic framework agreement is part of the application that the authority wants to submit to the NFL in January to seek permission for the team to move from Oakland, California, to Las Vegas.
More details will be fleshed out before the NFL decides whether to greenlight the move, Aguero said. That’s expected to happen sometime after the Super Bowl in February.
Lawyers who work on NFL deals are highly specialized and can charge hourly fees of $800 to $1,200, according to commission chairman Steve Sisolak. He said he didn’t want the authority to be limited in its ability to get quality lawyers who can aggressively represent the public’s interests.
Thirty law firms from across the nation had formally expressed interest in the job by a Monday deadline.
Skeptics of the loan amount included Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani, the lone dissent on Tuesday’s vote. She said she was worried the authority would spend too much and hire too many people, making it difficult to wind down the authority’s operations if an NFL team doesn’t come.
“I just don’t want to create the opportunity for people to use the money for other things that sound legit but really start to obligate people down the road, and it’s harder for them to shut down if and when they have to go away,” she said.
The stadium authority is a public board whose operations will be funded by a newly approved Las Vegas-area hotel tax increase that’s expected to yield $13 million a year. But casinos won’t start collecting that until March 1, and money won’t flow to the authority until April.
In addition to lawyers, the authority is paying for office space rent, administrative help from the county at a rate of about $3,000 a month, and staff help at Aguero’s company, Applied Analysis, for up to $25,000 a month.
The proposed 65,000-seat domed stadium is expected to cost $1.9 billion, including $750 million in hotel tax revenue, $650 million from Adelson and $500 million from the Raiders and the NFL. Any relocation to Las Vegas must be approved by three-fourths of NFL team owners.