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dispute. On April 3, nearly a year after the Tarrant County jury decided the Mathes heirs were owed $4.2 million more than the ASFDA offered, Studer told the Observer, “We haven’t discussed it at all with the Rangers at this point.” While the two stadium allies contemplate liability, both sides in the lawsuit have appealed the verdict. Sodd’s clients are claiming the land should never have been taken in the first place. If the appeals court agrees with them, they could seek millions of dollars from the ASFDA and the city for the loss of the use of their property. In addition, since their land was part of the collateral upon which the bonds were issued, the whole deal underlying the stadium could fall apart. Meanwhile, the city of Arlington is appealing the verdict.. Jeanene McIntyre, assistant city attorney, said “The appeal is based on our belief that the judgment given to the Mathes family was excessive.” PROPERTY RIGHTS FOUL BALL Of all the issues surrounding the stadium construction, the issue of governmental power and eminent domain is the most troublesome. The Republican Party has long advocated less government intrusion into the property rights of citizens. Bush actively campaigned for governor on a property rights agenda. In October 1994, he told members of the Texas Association of Business, “I understand full well the value of private property, and its importance not only in our state but in capitalism in general, and I will do everything I can to defend the power of private property and private property rights when I am the governor of this state.” But evidence in the Mathes case suggests that the Rangers owners were planning to condemn the Mathes’ land and other tracts at least six months before the ASFDA was created. In an October 26, 1990, memo to Tom Schieffer, Mike Reilly, an Arlington real estate broker and part owner of the Rangers, said of the Mathes property, “In this particular situation our first offer should be our final offer….If this fails, we will probably have to initiate condemnation proceedings after the bond election passes.” Reilly’s memo was written nearly three weeks before the Arlington city council called for a referendum on the sales tax proposal for the stadium, and a full three months before the referendum went before voters, yet it assumes the proposal will pass and condemnation will be a legal option. In his memo, Reilly also suggests that Schieffer should inform Arlington city officials that the team owners will expect also effective controlby city ordinanceof any neighboring land they won’t own outright. Reilly wrote, “The Rangers want the City to establish development standards…that you can have input on. By doing this, no one within a certain radius of the ballpark development could get a plat or building permit approval without the City’s approval. The ‘development standards’ established by ordinance would give you a tremendous amount of ‘quiet’ control over the land parcels you do not own in this area [emphases in original]. On November 7, Reilly wrote another memo to Schieffer regarding the Mathes property, saying he had spoken to Jane Mathes Kelton, and since she was not being cooperative, in Reilly’s judgment, he believed “the City will have to condemn her land,” and therefore Schieffer should “get the City” to hire condemnation attorneys. Apparently wary of any competition for the land parcels, Reilly also advised Schieffer to tell Bob Bennett, the president of Six Flags Over Texas, that the Rangers “plan to condemn this land so he will not waste his time” talking with the Mathes family about 4.Q4 Like ditU f it ,l It nau notaing to ao witty it and I took all the heat, which is as it should be. At this point, I believe the City will have to condemn her land. I am fairly certain she will retain capable legal counsel and I believe you should get the City to hire qualified, experienced outside condemnation counsel to counter hers. I also need, toam’ a rnnv of tho e 4nnfrnrf Pn&-rair co,o. Except from a memo to Torn Schieffer from Reilly Brothers Property Company But enabling legislation hasn’t yet passed the House and a lobbyist for Perot said legislators might not want to pass another tax bill after they deal with the giant property tax rewrite. A House bill by Arlington Republican Kim Brimer, that would allow Dallas and other municipalities around the state to levy new taxes on car rentals, tickets, parking, and other services to pay for new sports facilities, has been controversial. Brimer says his bill, HB 92, is set up so that “in ten years if Texas wanted to have an Olympics, we could do it.” As the Observer went to press, his office expected an April 30 House vote on the bill. Brimer predicted HB 92 was “in pretty good shape.” In Houston, grocery magnate Drayton McLane wants the city to build a new baseball stadium for his Astros. If they don’t, he’s planning to leave town and take his team with him. Comptroller’s cost estimate: $265 million. Houston Democrat John ‘Whitmire has passed a bill through the Senate that would allow Houston to use rental car taxes and other local levies to pay for the facility. But Whitmire’s bill may fall by the wayside if Brimer’s bill gets through the House, and in any case, it doesn’t quite address the desires of Rockets’ owner, Florida stock tycoon Les Alexander, for a new playpen for his hoopsters, or the Aeros’ hockey team for the same. 01, ouston also wants an NFt teem to replace the now-departed-and-soon-to-beknown-as-Nashville Oilers. To do so, they are going to need a first class stadium, and the Astrodome doesn’t cut it anymore. It was finished in 1965 at a cost of $36.5 million: remodeling costs are estimated at five-and-a-half times that amount, and current plans call for Houston taxpayers to pick up the entire bill through increases in hotel and car rental taxes. And while his vision for the Eighth Wonder of the World has become officially decrepit, you have to give Judge Hofheinz credit for thinking like a modern team owner: he arranged for Harris County taxpayers to pay the entire cost. R.B. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 9 MAY 9, 1997