‘Right now, we’re not there’: Legislators skeptical of alleged Royals stadium price tag
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - On Monday, Jackson County lawmakers met for the first time since a leaked document raised questions about the Royals stadium’s price tag.
It showed taxpayers might have to pay more than $6 billion to build a stadium downtown. That’s $5 billion more than what the Royals estimate claims it would cost.
Some lawmakers, including Manny Abarca, told KCTV5 they’re not happy with how the County Executive has been handling the negotiations.
“There’s literally a billion-dollar error in the spreadsheet, and so at that point, it throws out all the information, at least for my reliance on that as being truthful,” Abarca said.
The Royals are sticking to their original estimate of $1 billion and calling the number in that leaked spreadsheet “erroneous, misleading, and inconsistent.”
Abarca said now, the legislators might have to take matters into their own hands.
“It’s a challenging situation,” Abarca said. “I think the ‘chief negotiator’ is probably not reacting in the best way to make these negotiations happen. So, I think the legislator, at least from my involvement, is trying to figure out ‘how do we continue down this road so we can get real information?’ So, we can get to a point where we are actually negotiating and not just spitballing numbers.”
Legislator Sean Smith said the whole situation has been startling.
“I am anxious to have the Royals come back to us with what I would really want to support on the ballot; right now, we are not there,” Smith said. “I haven’t been convinced yet that it’s time to retire Kauffman, and I haven’t been convinced that the Royals have a definitive plan on where they want to be.”
If the Royals do end up downtown, both legislators agree the deal must benefit the taxpayers.
“I think there is genuine effort and understanding from a majority of my colleagues, at least that I’ve talked to, that want to make sure that the taxpayers get the best deal they can possibly get, and we try to do everything we can to keep both the Royals and the Chiefs in Jackson County,” Abarca said.
KCTV5 reached out to the county executive’s office for comment following the meeting, and they said White was not available. However, last week, White told KCTV5 that he wants to make sure the lease benefits the county.
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