- The Washington Times - Friday, June 10, 2005

THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Efforts to inject private financing into the Washington Nationals’ planned stadium in Southeast, already all but dead, received another blow yesterday as Natwar Gandhi, the District’s chief financial officer, again declined to endorse a proposal from a group calling itself D.C. Baseball Stadium Associates.

The DCBSA bid, involving equity investments and depreciation tax credits, was deemed by Gandhi to be more expensive than the existing, ratified plan to use city bonds; legally questionable; and one that could delay further a project on an uncertain course to be ready by its intended 2008 opening.

Gandhi outlined his opinion in a letter sent yesterday to D.C. Council members Linda Cropp and Jack Evans. The pair asked Gandhi to review an amended proposal from DCBSA.

?Nothing in the revised plan affects my previous decision not to certify the DCBSA proposal,? Gandhi wrote.

Gandhi’s blessing is not a mandatory element of the search for private stadium funds but still carries significant weight. Two weeks ago, Evans and Cropp canceled scheduled hearings on a bill to incorporate private money into the stadium project, seeing no particular proposal holding broad support on the council.

?I think we’re at an end now on this,? Evans said. ?I’ve said all along the best deal on the table is the one we have now, and I still believe that.?

? Eric Fisher

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