Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (Erik Spanberg/Charlotte Business Journal) -
Monday Night (political) Football wasn't on the local agenda for Monday night since Charlotte City Council members had the evening off.
In Raleigh, neither the governor nor N.C. lawmakers have signaled in recent days any changes in discussions about providing $200 million in taxpayer money to pay for improvements at the NFL stadium in Charlotte.
The Panthers declined to comment Monday on the progress of the discussions.
Plenty of politicians, though, are worried about the turn of late. A stadium-funding drive that began in January with closed-door negotiations at the Government Center and a fast consensus among city and team executives has since stalled.
Last week started with Gov. Pat McCrory, the former seven-term Charlotte mayor, telling me and other reporters the state has no money to invest in the home field of the Carolina Panthers. To further complicate matters, the franchise suffered a setback in the court of public opinion when sports website Deadspin obtained financial statements showing the Panthers posted combined profits of $100 million in 2010 and 2011.
A stadium overhaul sought by the team and endorsed by the City Council calls for two-thirds of the $300 million in stadium and related improvements to come from state and local taxpayers. (The Panthers contend the Deadspin audit lacks important details and context.)
Asked whether the disclosure of the NFL team's healthy profit exacerbates the situation, state Sen. Malcolm Graham, leader of the local legislative delegation, told me Monday, "It's the finances of the state, not the team."
Graham, a Democrat who served on the City Council while McCrory was mayor, said he is part of a group having breakfast with the governor later this week. At that time, Graham added, he plans to ask McCrory about any potential untapped revenue that could be used to help the team.